Thursday, January 29, 2009

An open letter to Mr. Bloomberg

Dear Mr. Bloomberg,

We've never met, and even if we had, I doubt you would have taken my 5'4" stature and my perky strawberry blonde curls too seriously, but believe me, I know what I'm talking about.

Banning trans-saturated fats from menus in the city was a pretty shocking move, I've got to tell you. I mean, if people want to cause their own cardiac arrest, it's their perogative, in my humble opinion. I could almost see where you were coming from with that one, though.

This new low-salt initiative, on the other hand? What the fuck? Oh sure, for now it's completely voluntary that restaurants comply. For how long, though? I happen to like a lot of salt in my food. In case you were wondering, I also go to the gym 3-4 times a week and am in great shape. I don't have a sodium problem. And I don't need you telling me (or anyone from whom I choose to purchase my food) what I can and cannot eat. 

I'll give it to you that you have balls, Mike. Getting term limits voted down just to serve your own needs? That took skill. But leave my food the hell alone.


One of your newest politically-interested residents.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

UES thrift adventure

Today I spent a good chunk of my morning  scouring the Upper East Side for elements of my wedding centerpieces. It sounds terribly tacky, but you’ll just have to go with me on this one and trust me that it’s not for now, because I’m not giving up what my centerpieces are going to be.

Anyways, after checking out the internet for where the best places to head were, I found many out-of-date locations and a bunch of not-so-helpful reviews of the places. I mean, “it’s dimly lit” is basically a given in any thrift store I can afford to shop in, and “the aisles are close together” doesn’t really tell me if this place is stuffed with just ratty clothes or if it has household wares, which is where my interests were.

So here I have for you by far not a comprehensive list, I’m sure, but a pretty decently-sized one, along with updated addresses and my personal take on each one.

I have only listed the block that each one is on because A. I didn’t pay much attention to the specific numbers and B. I found from looking them up online that the numbers weren’t always particularly helpful when planning my trip, especially when the store was on an avenue.

I started off my trip by taking the 5 up to the 86th street stop. My first drop-in was:

GOODWILL on 2nd ave btw 88th/89th on the east side (which I found online named something like “Stuyvesant Square Thrift,” which has clearly been bought out.

There were some really cute vintage dresses and skirts here, tucked in with a lot of crap. Of course, you have to be willing to get that trademark “Goodwill Scent” out of anything you buy. They had some cute shoes, too, but very little in the way of any quality home furnishings. It was actually really roomy inside, considering it was a store located in Manhattan, but I left empty-handed.

I walked down 2nd ave to:

COUNCIL THRIFT on 84th st btw 2nd/3rd (much closer to 2nd) on the downtown side

This was the real gem of the day, as far as what I was looking for. There were just a few racks of clothing, but nothing too spectactular. Tucked away in the corner, though, was a large collection of really unique home furnishings. And as I was paying, I noticed a few more items on a shelf behind the register that I wanted. As it turns out, everything on that shelf is always 50% off. Score. I wouldn’t come here looking for clothes or shoes and any large furniture, but for small trinkets and such, this was the place to be.

After that, I walked down to:

OUT OF THE CLOSET on 81st st btw 2nd/3rd (much closer to 2nd) on the uptown side

I didn't even go into this store. It was so upscale that I was too intimidated to go inside. It was like one of those Gucci or other some such nonsense stores on Madison that I would never shop at, even if I had the money. Plus, I could see from the street that there was only clothing. Expensive clothing.

On my way down 3rd ave, I ran into an awesome thrifting block where I went into:

MEMORIAL SLOAN-KETTERING THRIFT SHOP on 3rd ave btw 82nd/81st (on the west side)

This place didn't even feel like a thrift store, it was so nice. I was kind've annoyed because a cranky older woman made me check my shopping bag at the front. I'm always insulted at the implication that I would steal. And from a thrift store, no less. A charity thrift store. But I did pick up a nice item because they had a decent selection of home goods. They had some cute vintage little girls' clothing, too. The adult clothing was kind've slim pickings, but they did have some cute shoes.

Then I ran just a few doors down to:

ARTHRITIS FOUNDATION THRIFT SHOP on 3rd ave btw 82nd/81st (on the west side, just downtown of MSK)

If I had more money, this would have been my favorite stop of the day. Things weren't particularly cheap here, but almost everything was fun to look at. They had vintage hats and shoes that were to die for and a decent bunch of home goods, to boot. I want to go back to this place with some cash to spend on myself or for a theatre company.

My final stop was just a few blocks further downtown at:

HOUSING WORKS THRIFT STORE on 84th st btw 2nd/3rd (on the downtown side)

I love the cause here: helping people who are living with HIV get back on their feet. The store was really nice, too. It wasn't too crowded with things and it had a very SOHO feel to the place. That said, they didn't have all that much for sale. The stuff I did see was nice and they had a few pairs of killer shoes that weren't my size, but there was hardly anything as far as household goods. There was a decent-looking selection of books in the back, though.

And that concludes my whirlwind UES thrift store adventure. Don't linger in any one place too long, or you won't make it to all six, that's for sure!

To answer your question: no, today was not the day to be thrifting. The weather sucked. And I nearly drowned. But I had fun anyway.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A baker's heaven

I'm hosting a small dinner party tomorrow night and in honor of that, have decided to try out my Mom's new recipe for individual molten chocolate cakes, kind've like the ones they have at Applebee's and Chili's, for those of you suburbaners (don't get me wrong, I actually miss the simplicity of Applebee's at times).

I didn't have the correct pan to make said dish, however, so I ventured down to Chelsea and hit up New York Cakes and Baking Supply on W 22nd street, between 5th and 6th.

Much as I had expected, it was literally a pastry chef's wet dream. There were mountains of cookie cutters, cake pans, wedding cake decorations, dozens of varieties of sprinkles, baking get the picture. I found several different options for what I was looking for and, of course, ended up going with the most expensive one (because it was the coolest!). I got a pan that looks kind've like a muffin pan, except instead of muffins, it makes six individual bundt-shaped cakes. I guess only a kind've dorky 22-year-old would be excited by this, but whatever.

As I had been warned on the Chowhound boards, the service was brusque and abrasive, but you can't beat the selection for your baking needs. This place, combined with my accidental find of Broadway Panhandler (See: previous entry, "Non-cookie cutter cookie cutters"), should keep me well-supplied with anything I need for my kitchen.

One of my favorite parts of living in Manhattan is the ability to find a specialty store for just about anything you could possibly want. You can get so much unique stuff if you know where to look, which I don't always. I won't lie, though...I still wish they would build a Target in Manhattan. Brookyln's got us beat on that one.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

For anyone who's interested, this is the promo that I shot this past week for College Humor and MTV.

I got the call that I was booked for it the day before the actual shoot, so I spent four hours running around Midtown looking for a new swimsuit, quite unsuccessfully. The only ones I liked were $100+ and that was just too much. So, I wore my old one. Oh well.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fashion faux baaaahhhh

I just can't seem to figure out why women choose to wear these weird, dead-sheepy-looking-halo-things around their heads whenever it gets cold out.

Yes, it's freaking freezing. No, this isn't warmer than a real hat. And just because it's covered in fake fur, doesn't mean that you couldn't keep your head covered in a far more appealing manner. I mean, even the color is bad. It matches the subway seat she's sitting on!

I do not understand this phenomenon, although maybe I'm missing something, because there are lots of women out there who partake in this particular travesty of fashion. 

Please forgive the innocent gentleman in the foreground who is sporting perfectly acceptable (albeit, unsophisticated) head fashion.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tibetan disappointment

A few weeks back, the future hubby and I got take-out Tibetan food from a place over on 3rd avenue (I can't remember the name off the top of my head). We felt like spoiling ourselves, and since we're both in The Biz, take-out is currently an indulgence.

We got several smaller dishes so that we could try out a few different things, and we also ordered extra bread because usually that's Dan's favorite part of ethnic food. Take Naan bread, for example. Worth the trip alone. 

Not only was the food kind of like bland Thai, the bread was literally inedible. It was oddly doughy and had absolutely no flavor. Perhaps we just ordered from a bad place? Or made bad menu choices? But I was sorely disappointed.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Two Gentlemen of Verona

I apologize for once again going a little MIA for the past couple of weeks. I opened and closed my first Shakespeare production, "Two Gentlemen of Verona," in New York this past week at the American Theatre of Actors, the same theater where I performed in "Jekyll & Hyde."

I had a really great time getting to play Silvia, and an even better time getting to know my fellow castmates. I love that each time I perform, I add to my group of friends in The Biz. It's really comforting to have a little family out there, pushing as hard as I am, that is always as happy to run into me as I am to run into them.

Funny enough, Jamie (Julia in the show) and I worked on a shoot for MTV together today, the day after the show closed. And Danny (who played the Duke, my father) had an audition in the same building. It's such a small world.

Oh, and that bar I posted about a few months back, Uncle Vanya's? They still have Georgian wine and good old Russian hospitality.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

How unsanitary!

One thing I dislike about living in New York, is that on windy days, you don't just get wind in your face. No, no, no. You come home from a long day of fighting the bruising wind, only to take off your coat, look in the mirror, and discover that you've been going through your day with little black specks of dirt all over your cheeks and forehead. A. How embarrassing for you and B. Gross! I guess there's no arguing that New York is dirty, if a little wind is enough to throw shit in your face.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Mysterious Process of "Typing"

And no, I'm not talking about on a computer.

I went to the "Little Women" open call at Pearl Studios today and experienced my first bout of typing.

I have no particular issue with typing, myself. Some actors complain about it to no end, but my feeling is that if they're not even going to consider me, why bother waiting around all afternoon and getting all worked up over it? I might as well spend my time doing something more productive, like auditioning for a smaller production or sending out more headshots.

The curious thing to me, though, is why they choose some people and not others. I always wonder what they were looking for when they choose certain actors and not others. Sometimes it's obvious: they only want fresh twenty-somethings and half of the people there are 35. Today, though, I couldn't figure it out. I personally think my look is perfect for "Little Women," but I got typed out. And I ran into one of my friends from Hofstra at the audition, who was also typed out, and we saw several girls get in who looked exactly like her. Curious, indeed.

Another thing I question at big open calls is why some people feel the need to get there before dawn when the audition isn't until the afternoon. There were people there who had shown up for a 2 PM call at 5:45 in the morning just to be first in line, only to be sent home before even auditioning. I know, I know, everyone wants to get seen, but wouldn't showing up at 10 (4 hours early!!) have been sufficient? I love that actors are among the most ambitious people I know, but sometimes it frusterates me how exaggerated their efforts get. It just makes everyone have to get there earlier and sit there longer.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Mean People Suck

I hate when people do shit like this. I, sadly, see it almost every day. Like it's not bad enough that this guy has to ride a bike, but you've gotta steal the parts to sell for some kind of minimal cash return, on top of it? Come on.