Cupcake Crazy

Yes, yes, I know cupcakes are a trendy thing in the city right now, but I can’t help but love the morsels of goodness! And, let’s be honest, I’ve never been one to discriminate against sweets.

There are dozens of cupcake spots all over the city, so it’s become one of my fungoals totry out as many aspossible, thoughI think that the more I try, the pickier I become. Below are some of the cupcakes spots I’ve been to within the past year living in NYC:

Crumbs

I would say Crumbs is one of the most well-known cupcake bakeriesin the city. If someone were to name somewhere to get a cupcake, the first bakeries they’d most likely say are Crumbs and Magnolia (which I still can’t believe I haven’t tried.Magnolia isnext on my list!). Crumbs is known for their large cupcakes covered in a generous layer of frosting and toppings. They are tasty, but even as one who loves sweets, Crumbs is so sugary, I admit it may leave you feeling a little heavy and guilty. When I go to Crumbs I usually split a cupcake with a friend. I’ve tried Cookies & Cream, Grasshopper, Peanut Butter Cup, and Raspberry Swirl. The Raspberry Swirl was the best of those I’ve tried at Crumbs, but none of them were so good as to make me a strictly-Crumbs customer.

Sprinkles

I went to Sprinkles upon a friend’s suggestion. We tried the limited time Salted Carmel cupcake. It was so good that I still think about it and crave another one. Sprinkles cupcakes are slightly smaller than Crumbs, making me feel a little less guilty about the indulgence. The Salted Carmel was the perfect combination of sweet and salty. I have not have a cupcake that was able to nail the combo taste quite so well. I’m bummed that it was only around for a limited time though!

Baked by Melissa

Baked by Melissa in Union Square was the first bakery I went to after moving to the city. They just opened a new location a few streets away from my office, so it may be tempting to go out for a little mid-day sweet treat. My only complaint is that they’re bite size.Some people only like a little taste of each flavor, but I’m anoinker andlike a few bite fulls of each.

Cupcake Cafe

I’m very happy to have stumbled upon this bakery gem. Cupcake Cafe’s cupcakes are not too sweet, so you don’t feel guilty and heavy afterward. Their frosting is like none I’ve tried before–it’s very light and airy with the

perfect amount of sweetness. In addition, it stands out from the rest because instead of a heap of toppings, the top of each Cupcake Cafe cupcake is adorned with colorful, delicate blooming flowers.

Sweet Revenge

Sweet Revenge is unique to the other bakeries because it is best known for its expert pairing of cupcakewith wine or beer to bring out its flavor accents. Sweet Revenge has also been making a lot of media appearances, one being on The Today Show this past May. I tried the Cafe Mocha cupcake with sangria, and to be honest, I liked the sangria more than the cupcake. I do plan on going back though to try one of the signature pairings. In addition, Sweet Revenge is a really great date spot; its quaint shop gives it an intimate feel. My only suggestion is to go on a weeknight, because it gets pretty busy on the weekend.

Writing about cupcakes and recounting my experience at each bakery is making my mouth water! I’m more than happy to jump on the cupcake mania bandwagon. You can call me a cupcake connoisseur. 😉

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Book Review: Shantaram

After three months and 933 pages later, I finally finished Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. The book was recommended to me by a friend, and although it took me longer than normal to finish, it was definitely a good read. The book draws the reader in instantly by stating, “”And the choice you make, between hating and forgiving, can become the story of your life”” (3). Roberts is a very engaging writer. I was surprised that I was not bored at any point throughout the lengthy novel. Perhaps it’s because Shantaram is based on Roberts’ life.

The main character, Lin is plain and simple a bad ass. He escapes from a high-security prison in Australia and fleas to Bombay, India to live under a false identity. What I like most about Shantaram is the depth of emotion it brings to the table. At times it made me pensive, sometimes certain parts made me laugh, and others I cringed from the pain Lin describes. Roberts is able to write beautifully for such a rough man. Or perhaps it’s the hardship he has faced that enables him to write from a place of experienced wisdom.

“”Each breath was an angry little victory”” (4).

Lin also has an interesting love/hate relationship with pain. He dislikes pain because when it is brought upon him he feels as if the freedom he has been fighting so hard to maintain is being taken away, yet at the same time, he thinks he deserves to be in pain for leaving his wife and family in Australia. I want to call him a selfish man for escaping prison and leaving his family behind, but after the loyalty he shows to his Indian friends and his philanthropic tendencies, such as volunteering to be the pro bono slum doctor, I think he redeems himself. One cannot erase the past, but one can make decisions moving forward not to repeat the same mistakes.

Shantaram is unlike any novel I have read before. I also never thought I couldrespecta criminal.Although the novel is technically fiction, the main character’s deep knowledge of Bombay and vivid descriptions of the criminal world are undeniably linkable to someone with personal experience, like

Roberts himself. I like the novel all the more knowing that the majorityof the events that take place most likely did happen in his life, even if he did have to condense a longertime period and alter a few things to maintain the flowing rhythm of the novel that also beautifully resembles the pulse of Bombay.

Reading Shantaram is like taking your own trip to India. I feel like I have a much better understanding of the Indian culture now. The love for India is evident in not only the main character’s desire to remain living in Bombay even when things go awry, but also from his sporadic declarations such as, “”The simple and astonishing truth about India and Indian people is that when you go there, and deal with them, your heart always guides you more wisely than your head. There’s nowhere else in the world where that’s quite so true”” (35). On my reading journey through Shantaram, for once I felt as if I should drop my hesitations, because rhythmic life in India, as Roberts more appropriately formulates in the sentence above, is the train, and one living there simply becomes the passenger; resistance will not help things go more smoothly, and in actuality, some of the best experiences are those that are unplanned and unexpected.

Shantaram is a novel I think everyone can enjoy and

take something from. It certainly is a time commitment considering its length, but once the book is opened, it’s easy tobecome entrancedin the story. I highly recommend it.

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Tea Time and Scones at Alice's Tea Cup

My friend Courtney and I enjoying brunch with tea at Alice's Tea Cup Chapter II

“Scones are the new cupcakes! “” exclaimed my boyfriend this past weekend as he dug into a blueberry cream cheese and a chocolate chip banana scone at Alice’s Tea Cup. I’m certainly not “”over”” cupcakes, but I do think that scones are underrated. Anyone who tries a scone at Alice’s Tea Cup will realize their true potential.

Aside from the scones, the idea of Alice’s Tea Cup in itself is any girl’s dream young or old. The walls are adorned with pictures from Alice in Wonderland-themed photo shoots and the Alice in Wonderland sculpture (constructed in 1959 byJosج© de Creeft) located in Central Park. The tea cups and saucers are all mismatched, but that’s what gives the shop it’s personality and uniqueness–and it’s characteristic of the tea party in Lewis Carroll‰غھs classic story. Each room is decorated a little differently from the next, but all are charming nonetheless. At Alice’s Tea Cup Chapter II (156 E. 64th St.) the ground level seating is more dimly lit, providing a more intimate experience. The second floor seating is bright and airy with baby blue walls, windows that allow sunlight to stream in, and plush purple decorative booths.

Being able to have your own afternoon tea party tucked away from the crazy busyness of Manhattan is special and refreshing. It’s no wonder why there is usually a 30-60 minute wait on the weekend to get a table. It’s surely worth the wait though! There are dozens of different tea varieties. Anything you would possibly want to be included at your tea party can be found on the menu.

Alice’s Tea Cup is definitely one of my new favorite brunch spots. It’s one of the more relaxed, less rushed brunches I’ve had in the city. It’s a quaint, fairy-tale resembling spot that most anyone would find enjoyable whether or not you’re a big tea drinker. Plus, they have the best scones I’ve tasted to date. Cupcakes may be my dinner dessert, but scones will now be my go-to breakfast dessert thanks to Alice’s Tea Cup!

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What's Cookin' Good Lookin'?

There are so many amazing restaurants in the city, but sometimes I either want to save a little money by eating in or I simply don’t feel like going out. Usually when that happens I dig through the scant amount of food in my cupboard in search of something that looks somewhat appealing. If I’m feeling really ambitious I’ll drag myself to the Food Emporium a few blocks

away to pick up a few items. Lucky for me, my boyfriend knows how to cook fairly well, so this past weekend after a fun day running around in Brooklyn, we decided to make fajitas. Let’s just say I was impressed. Very impressed.

Chef Kevin and Sous-Chef Kayla made home-made guacamole, quesadillas, and vegetarian chicken and vegetable fajitas. What a feast! It was delicious and I was sickly full afterwards. SO worth it though. The one downside to cooking are the dishes that need to be cleaned afterward when all you really want to do is to go into a food coma. Regardless, cooking an actual meal in NYC can be fun occasionally…Well, at least if you have someone cooking with you that has somewhat of a clue of what they’re doing. It’s going to be one of my new goals to cook a full meal once a month and to experiment with recipes a bit. Plus, I love having leftovers. Who says you can’t be frugal living in the city?! 😉

  • Total cost at the grocery store for all of the ingredients: $90
  • People fed: 2
  • Meals made per person: 2
  • Average: $22.50/meal
  • Fun in the kitchen while preparing the meal: Priceless

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My First Time Trying Bikram Yoga

I have never been that interested in yoga. Trying to turn off your brain and enter a zen-like state while stretching isn’t quite up my alley. Not only am I much too fidgety, I‰غھm also usually always fretting over my memorized “”to do”” list. I had heard of Bikram Yoga, ‰غدaka hot yoga‰غ‌ when I was living in Ann Arbor, but it wasn’t until I moved to NYC when I learned more about it. For those who don‰غھt know, Bikram yoga is a practice of yoga with 26 postures; the catch‰غسyou do the postures in a 105 studio.

New Yorkers seem to love their Bikram. I‰غھve grown up playing sports, so cardio has always been my thing, and I didn’t think yoga would benefit me in any way. But after my gym membership expired mid-July and I didn’t feel like shelling out a few hundred dollars to renew it yet, I started looking into other options. I was originally trying to find a cheaper gym close to work or my apartment when I came across a Bikram yoga deal at BikramYogaNYC on Bloomspot.

I was really nervous going into my first class. I went alone and I wasn‰غھt entirely sure what to expect. I’ve only done yoga a handful of times let alone yoga in extreme heat. The only advice I was given by a co-worker who had done Bikram before was to drink a lot of water beforehand. I ended up doing fairly well my first session even though I was extremely tired afterward, and low and behold, I became kind of hooked. The deal I purchased was for a month membership, so over the course of a month I averaged about three sessions a week which isn’t too bad considering it’s pretty time consuming at 90 minutes per class.

Some days were good and others were bad during Bikram. One instructor told the class during a session that even though he has been practicing Bikram for several years, it‰غھs often the days he goes into class overly confident that he feels poorly and the days he arrives not feeling it that he leaves feeling good, and I found the same to be true with me. One thing that is vital in Bikram is making sure you drink even more water than you normally would before going to class. For those who have never done Bikram, you cannot take a sip of water for the first 25 minutes. The first week or two, I couldn‰غھt wait to guzzle water at the 25 minute mark, but as I became more familiar with the routine I learned to pace myself and I could go longer without drinking as much.

Overall, I‰غھm glad I tried out Bikram. Classes are normally pretty expensive (about $25 for a single walk-in visit at BikramYogaNYC), but the deal I bought on Bloomspot was for an entire unlimited month

for $50. It was definitely a steal of a deal. Every instructor I had at the Flatiron BikramYogaNYC location was very nice and encouraging too which provided an unintimidating, welcoming atmosphere. The only downside to Bikram is that it can be time consuming as I mentioned before, especially if you go regularly which is highly encouraged by the instructors. Since you sweat profusely throughout the entire class, I often left dehydrated and tired. I didn‰غھt have energy to do much after finishing a Bikram class. The perks are that there are supposed health benefits, you work on your balance and flexibility, and you test your mind.

All in all, I am very glad I tried Bikram Yoga, and I foresee myself continuing to practice. I’m just looking out for another great deal! For anyone curious to try it, I suggest you do. It is definitely a work out, but if you push yourself and stick through the entire class you will leave feeling proud of yourself and feeling good about your body. It can also be a good weight loss method because after working your butt off for 90 minutes, you want to keep the rhythm going and replenish your body with healthy, nutritious foods.

Namaste.

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Home Sweet Home: Visiting Michigan Over Labor Day Weekend

The last time I had seen my parents was in April, and the last time I had actually been back home to Michigan was in December. I was aching to go back anyway, but when my cousin set up our Bergin family pictures, it was just another reason why I needed to go home. My trip was extra special because my whole extended family was able to make it including my cousin Sean living in California, and my aunt Terry, cousin Olivia and her baby, Karma living in Tennessee. It was also a big weekend because it was the first time my parents met my boyfriend. It was an eventful weekend to say the least! My parents’ home in Michigan will always be home; even though I have an apartment in the city, it may be a while until I move into a place that’s comfortable enough to call home. Home is where the heart is, so I guess mine is still in Michigan although my head is focused on my career in NYC and I have no plans on moving anytime soon.

My trip homewas a little reminder why I love my family and enjoy coming home so much. Here’s a quick recap of my 2011 Labor Day weekend:

  • Family pictures followed by a pizza party at la casa de mis padres– As I mentioned, my cousin organized family photographs by a professional photographer at a beautiful park in my hometown called Kensington Park. Although the weather was much warmer than we would have liked, the pictures turned out great. The last time we had a professional family photo taken was about 10 years ago, so itwas great to have the whole family together again for another memorable picture. The fun continued on to my parents’ house where we brought out the alcohol, ordered a few pizzas, and had more time to socialize…and take more pictures.
  • First Michigan football game of the season with awesome seats in The Big House-My parents and my boyfriend and I went to the Michigan season opening game vs. Western Michigan (actually my parents’ alma mater although they are much bigger Mich. fans) and we had great seats. The weather was a bit crazy and the game ended up getting called the 3rd quarter because of a storm, but we still had a lot of fun and we got to tailgate at my brother’s place close to the stadium.
  • Cider mill –My parents, boyfriend and I went to the Parshallville Cider Mill in Fenton. Fall is by far my favorite season, so I was ecstatic that

    the cider mill was opening the weekend I was in town. Even though there was hardly anyone there (usually there is a huge line to even get into the mill to purchase anything) we still had fun and got all of our goodies–fresh apple cider, sugar doughnuts, caramel apples dipped in nuts and sprinkles, and even an apple cider slushie. It was the first time my native-Californian boyfriend had ever been to a Cider Mill too!

  • Michiganopoly and going to Dairy Queen every night–There are no Dairy Queens in the city, but I grew up with a DQ in my town only 15 minutes from my house, so one of my goals while I washome was to get my fill of DQ before coming back to the city. Therefore, every night after dinner our treat was Dairy Queen’s delicious blizzards (I’m so obsessed that I’ve actually blogged about DQ before.) Additionally, on the last night I was in townwhen we didn’t have anything planned for the evening, my parents, boyfriend and I played a game of Michiganopoly with my dad and I vs. Kevin and my mom. Needless to say, my dad and I won creamed them. The game was surprisingly a lot of fun and quite entertaining.

    I had such a great weekend and I’m already looking forward to flying back home for Christmas. Home is such a wonderful place. <3

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  • The Addams Family

    They’re creepy and they’re kooky,
    Mysterious and spooky,
    They’re altogether ooky,
    The Addams Family.

    Their house is a museum.
    When people come to see ’em
    They really are a screa-um.
    The Addams Family.

    I

    can’t believe I have been living in the city for over a year and just saw a Broadway show. BUT,the wait was totally worth it. Not only had I been wanting to see a show for a while, I also had something special to celebrate–my six month anniversary with my wonderful boyfriend, Kevin. Wah hoo! We saw The Addams Family musical starring Brooke Shields. Although we were in mezzanine seating (I’m not made of money here people) and I had to put my glasses on to see a little better, they weren’t terrible seats and the show was still incredible.

    I was smiling and felt fully engaged throughout the entire show. When I was an adolescent I watched The Addams Family (1991) and TheAddams Family Values (1993) movies with Christina Ricci as Wednesdayseveral times. The Addams Family theme song is also an iconic, recognizable tune. Legendary cartoonist, Charles Addams created the characters in 1933, and the cartoons were eventually turned into a TV series and then into movies. So, as one who is familiar with The Addams Family, I was excited to see how themusical would be. I wasn’t disappointed. I enjoyed the storyline, the set and the familiar characters. The girl who plays Wednesday, Rachel Potter, has an incredible voice. I also thought all the actors did a great job mimicking the movements characteristic of the Addams Family, like Morticias tiny steps when she walks and the way she positions her hands, and Wednesday’s non-expressive face. Although Shields, who plays Morticia, doesn’t have a great voice, I still think she did afantastic job.

    For those who aren’t familiar, The Addams Family Broadway show is about Wednesday who falls in love with a boy, Lucas Beineke,and starts to feel sunny and happy to her parents’ dismay. The Addams family invite theBeinekes to dinner to meet them andthere, each character goes through a little crisis of his/her own. It was a riot. My favorite songs were in Act One–“”When You’re an Addams”” with the whole Addams family and Wednesday & Pugsley’s solo, “”Pulled.””

    I can’t say enough good things about The Addams Family musical, and I’m already looking forward to the next show I go to as long as it’s half as good. I feel very fortunate that I was able to see it starring Shields and share the experience with Kevin. What a funsix months it has been!

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    What They Don't Tell You Before You Graduate

    As one who has been out of school and working full-time for over a year now, I think I have some insight into the world of young professionals. Our teachers, advisers, parents and friends have given us advice and have tried their best to prepare us for life in “”the real world,”” and while I thank them for providing as many tools as possible in order to succeed, there are a few things I wish someone would have come clean and warned me about. Below are the 11 things they don't tell you before you graduate:

    1. Your employer wants you to stay later than the company's hours of business. It doesn't matter if you're actually doing work or leisurely browsing through different social media messaging with your friends, as long as your employer sees you parked in your seat after hours, you get brownie points in his/her eyes and it shows “”commitment to the company.””

    2. When you land your first job out of college, you will be so excited to start working and getting a steady paycheck that you'll eagerly tell your employer that you don't mind working late. Cut to several months into the job and your butt and eyes hurt from constantly sitting and staring at your computer, by the time 5 or 6:00pm rolls around you're ready to bolt out of there. (Unfortunately, this counteracts with #1.)

    3. You think that time cannot go slower than when sitting in a classroom full of students listening to a professor's lecture, but then you work Monday-Friday 40+ hours a week and realize that no, time goes much slower when you are confined to the cubicle in the office all day long. You will begin to cherish your 30 minute lunch break (when you actually take one) and feel giddy to get on your feet and walk around outside. Once you begin working in an office you'll start to wish you never complained about the walk to and around campus from your off-campus house.

    4. Enjoy being able to roll out of bed several minutes before class because that won't be acceptable once you enter the workplace. You must look put-together at all times.

    5. Even if you've been trained a certain way, every colleague you work with will like things

    done a little differently. Not only do you need to be knowledgeable in your industry and perform well at work, you also need to have the skills to be able to read your colleagues. Being able to communicate well with other staff members and being able to foresee the things they may want before being asked is almost as significant as your work experience.

    6. You will work your butt off and will most likely be underpaid. Colleagues and advisers do warn you in advance that you have to start out at the bottom to get to the top, but it doesn't quite set in until you're actually on your own and realize that one whole paycheck goes to rent and darn, you still have a student loan payment to make too. It's tough, but on the positive side, you learn to budget better. 🙂

    7. It's just as important to be involved in groups and clubs after college as it is to get into a good college. Especially if you move to a city without many contacts, you kind of have to start over and join memberships and go to networking events to make new friends and meet potential business partners. (I'm a PRSA-NY member, AWNY member, I'm in two book clubs, and I don't even know if that's enough.)

    8. Coming out of college, you almost expect everyone to have basic skill sets that you once had shared with your school peers, but that is not the case. Once you're integrated with several generations in one office, you must take out your patient pants when you see that some colleagues type painfully slow with their two pointer fingers or can't figure out how to put on their own out of office automated reply. In turn, those same people can be very knowledgeable and experienced in other (non-tech related) areas.

    9. While working day-in and day-out with the same people, you'll naturally develop friendships with some co-workers. It's important to remain somewhat cautious, and try to keep your verbal filter on at all times.

    10. Obviously one is hired based on previous work experience and accomplishments, and most of us know that the majority of internships are unpaid. Parents and advisers will tell you that you can certainly find paid work during summer breaks, but what they either don't tell you or simply don't know is that many of the internships you need under your belt are the unpaid ones, and those unpaid internships are often the golden ticket to get an entry-level job at your ideal company after graduating. The little money you make at that summer paid job may be outweighed later when you have to spend a year gaining experience at one company in order to get an entry-level job at the one you've wanted all along.

    12. Not everyone is willing to help. Recruiters and people you thought were your friends will happily exclaim that you sound like a great fit for a particular job and that they will certainly pass along your resume. You will then follow up with them about the opportunity just to never hear from them again. That's rejection, best get used to it in the “”real world.””

    11. Even though we have been preparing most of our lives for the big step from school to the workplace, just remember that when you're super stressed and feeling down about work it isn't the end of the world. Of course there will be good and bad days just like we had some good and bad exams.

    I felt ready to graduate by May 2010, and while I do feel nostalgic from time to time about my college days, I'm still happy to be at the beginning stage in my career. It's fun and exciting and there are still so many possibilities. Colleges nationwide encourage us to focus on one field for the best chance to get a good job and succeed, but now that I'm out of school I'm realizing that no one should feel “”stuck”” in one particular area. Whatever your major may have been in college, it does not define who you are to be the rest of your life and it certainly doesn't set your career path in stone.

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    Living for Weekends

    The work week is often so busy that I don’t plan any evening activities after I get off work. Living Monday-Friday inside of an office, I often forget that I’m living in the big apple, the “”place where dreams come true”” yadda yadda. It’s the weekends when I have time to explore and unwind after a long day that I realize how lucky I am to be living in this intense, wonderful NYC. These two past weekend I have done some really fun things. Below is a brief overview:

    Friday, September 30th

    Black Eyed Peas concert in Central Park. My friend Luke got free tickets to the concert. It was originally scheduled during the summer, but it was rescheduled due to a thunderstorm. I’m not a huge Black Eyed Peas fan, but it was a lot funner than I had expected. I had heard that Fergie doesn’t vocally perform well live, but I was pleasantly surprised by her voice as well.

    Saturday, October 1st

    I started the day sleeping in and being lazy in bed until afternoonBikram yoga class. Then I had a delicious vegetarian dinner at Curly’s. The nachos were particularly amazing. It’s definitely one of my new fav vegetarian spots. After dinner my boyfriend and I saw Moneyball. I went mainly because it was a movie my boyfriend really wanted to see, but I ended up enjoying it too.

    Sunday, October 2nd

    My boyfriend and I had a double date brunch in Brooklyn at Five Leaves. I ordered the Moroccan Scramble which I highly recommend although I was sickly full after eating it all. While we were in Brooklyn, I stopped in my favorite jewelry boutique, Norbu, which sells gorgeous druzzy pieces. Last but not least, my boyfriend and I went to the Tigers v. Yankees playoff game at the Yankees stadium. Even though we were two of few Tigers fans in a stadium full of Yankees, I still had a lot of fun supporting my home team. Yes, we did have our whole section shouting asshole at us, but it was worth it because we won 🙂 (See picture below as a prime example of how popular Kevin and I were in our section.)

    Friday, October 7th

    After another long week at work, I was looking forward to Friday evening to unwind. I met my boyfriend after work in the Meatpacking District at a place called Sea for a thai dinner. I will definitely be going back for their vegetarian basil duck. So good!

    Saturday, October 8th

    After breakfast at a trendy brunch spot in my neighborhood, Eatery, my boyfriend and I went to Queens to see the Detroit Disassembled exhibit by Andrew Moore at the Queens Museum. It was a trek, but it was a beautiful day and we had a lot of fun. Being from Michigan, the exhibit felt close to home. I enjoyed the narrative Moore’s photographs told, and I like the idea of nature taking over the city as a part of the process of regrowth. Read more about about Detroit Disassembled here or watch a slideshow with narrative by Moore here.

    Not only was it my first time at the Queens Museum but it was also my first time at Flushing Meadows Park to see the unisphere*. We got mister softee ice cream and ate it by the fountain while watching all the families enjoying the day.

    In the evening, I met up with a college buddy to watched the Michigan vs. Northwestern football game at one of the Michigan bars in the city, Professor Thoms. At halftime we walked across the street for dinner at an Italian restaurant called John’s and to my surprise they had a whole vegan menu. It was a fun evening, and it didn’t hurt that we won too 🙂

    Sunday, October 9th

    After early morning Bikram yoga I had brunch at Dim Sum which is a banquet hall-like place that serves a la cart Chinese. It was definitely an interesting experience. I can’t say I’d go again, as the vegetarian options were very limited, but I enjoyed the preview into Chinese culture. After brunch we walked around and browsed through stores before seeing a French film at the Paris Theater–The Women on the 6th Floor. One of my new favorite things to do is to see French films at the Paris Theater, andbecause most people don’t enjoy films with subtitles the theater is never too crowded. The Women on the 6th Floor was really good and I feel lucky to live in a city that has a number of movie theaters that don’t just play mainstream films. Since it was such a nice evening, we were able to walk home. Then we made delicious vegetarian steak fajitas for dinner.

    The past two weekends were the perfect combination of adventure

    and relaxation. I love living in a city where there is so much going on at any given time. I can honestly say that I’m never bored. We’ll see what these next two weekends in October have in store for me :).

    *TheUnisphere, built as the theme symbol for the 1964/1965 World’s Fair, is the main sculptural feature of the [Flushing Meadows] park. (Wikipedia)

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    The Importance of Networking Events and the Integration of Social Media

    Networking seems like a no-brainer when you’re looking to meet new people either in a similar industry or with similar interests. Since moving to NYC a little overa year ago, I’ve become a member of PRSA-NY andAWNY (and two book clubs…don’t judge). With the encouragement of my current employer, I try to go to at least one networking event or conference per week. Especially as one just starting my career, I think it’s important to go to events to make new connections and to have my face be seen so that I will become a recognizable player the in the field. Additionally, the more events I go to in NYC, the city starts to feel less like a big, hectic place full of strangers, and more like a place of opportunity to meet the right people.

    An event I attended this week that made me realize how beneficial networking can be to not only make new connections but to also serve as a way to help adjust to city life was a Young Professionals “”TweetUp”” event (#YPNYC). It was a lot of fun. I met several wonderful people in the same industry with similar interests whom I hope to stay in contact with. I found the event on Twitter and I thought it was an interesting concept: using Twitter as the medium to reach out to a certain audience about the event, bringing those people together to meet face-to-face, and then continuing those conversations afterward via Twitter or LinkedIn. Despite the modest size of the event, it was one of the more successful networking event I have gone to. What I’ve also realized (in my long, illustrious career and networking experience 😉 ) is that the size of the turnout of an event does not matter as long as the people in attendance have interesting backgrounds and provide enriching, inviting conversation.

    For those who feel too shy to attend an event solo, I recommend trying it not once, not twice, but at least

    three times. There’s a good chance that by the third event you attend alone you’ll feel more confident and comfortable entering a room full of strangers. My second piece of advice for those trying to get out there more is toNOT bring a friend along as a crutch. Everyone is there for the same reason, so it’s important to look approachable; people might be more intimidated to join a conversation if it seems like you and your pal are attached at the hip. If you do attend an event with a friend or co-worker, at least split up. I actually prefer going to networking events alone now because I can work a room at my own pace and talk to the people I want to without feeling obligated to stand and talk to the same group as my friend/co-worker.

    Being able to develop a relationship with someone by either making an introduction through social media like Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook or using social media as a way to stay in contact is a powerful networking tool. When I attended the PR News Digital PR Summit, everyone was tweeting about the event using the event hashtag, and from there it was easy to connect with the people attending. The Digital PR Summit was a large event, so social media served as a vehicle to connect people even if they weren’t able to have any face time.

    Networking can be a little scary, but all the pros are worth swallowing your fears and overcoming your nervousness. I also keep

    telling myself that getting in the habit of frequently introducingmyself and making conversation at networking events will be helpful in my career as I interact with more and more clients. I strongly believe in the 3-touch rule in not only making an impression on potential business partners but also when making new friends to meet up with outside of events, and think social networks have become very useful mediums to continue the extension of that reach.

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