Entries Tagged 'Lists' ↓
December 31st, 2010 — Lists, Sports, Year In Review
It’s already December 31, 2010. Where does the time go? 2010 was a turbulent year for the world, marred by a recession and an oil spill. But for me, 2010 was a downright banner year. Here’s my personal “best of” list.
Best Night Out: July 22
Dishes shattering in the driveway. German beer on tap and bratwurst on the grill. Kaulsdorf’s best band playing under the stars. My friend Ellen’s pre-wedding polterabend was the best night out of 2010. Described to me as a tradition when dishes are broken for good luck, the polterabend turned out to be one hell of a party. Instead of separate bachelor and bachelorette parties, everyone united for a casual backyard barbecue, German-style. But with Ellen marrying the mayor’s son, the polterabend was no small affair. We broke dishes, we drank beer, we danced in the rain with a hundred new friends.
Best Day Off: April 13
If I had written a 2009 review, it would have been filled with highlights of the Yankees’ championship season. On April 13, 2010, I made the season’s first pilgrimage to Yankee Stadium to see the team receive their World Series rings. The loudest applause was reserved for a visiting player. Hideki Matsui, the World Series MVP who had signed with the Angels in the offseason, received his ring last. When his teammates surrounded him in an impromptu mob hug, I doubt there was a dry eye in the House That George Built.
Best Career Achievement: January 26
On January 26, I walked into 30 Rockefeller Center, signed in with NBC security, and auditioned for 30 Rock. It was an audition that I had secured all by myself, by catching the eye of the director while working on set the month before. It was one of those moments when I had to marvel at how far I’d come from a boring marketing job in a windowless room in Queens. I auditioned for 30 Rock. Me. That’s right. And I’ll be back.
Best Example of Right Place, Right Time: October 2
I rose long before the sun that day to help my friend Karen with an event in Central Park. Handing out flyers wasn’t glamorous, but hey, I got paid in cash, saw my friend, and enjoyed a beautiful autumn day. Then I recognized a former colleague who said his company could use freelance help. So that’s how a few hours of fun grunt work turned into a month-long stint at Newsweek.
Best Use of $80: November 9
Best New Obsession: July 11
When I first began dating my boyfriend, he told me he’d be out of commission during the World Cup. Since I wouldn’t be able to pry him from a TV during those four weeks, I joined him and gained a new sporting obsession. Even though Spain was ranked number one at the start of the tournament, John was pessimistic after years of disappointment by his native team. But La Furia Roja (literally, “The Red Fury”) just kept winning games. He told me was excited as I had been for the Yankees last year, except more so, because in all his life, Spain had never made it far in the World Cup. If they won, he wouldn’t know what to do with that level of joy. On July 11, we watched nervously as Spain defeated the Netherlands in the final minutes of regulation. I still don’t think John has processed that Spain actually won the World Cup.
Best Tribute: April 10
This year, my family lost our patriarch. My grandfather was one of the last surviving veterans of World War II. He fought in North Africa and Europe, including the Anzio beach landing. He raised six children and guided five grandchildren. He found true love the second time around, marrying the love of his life at age 55 and staying by her side until he was 92. On April 10, with an Army bugler playing Taps and a Champagne toast, we bade farewell to this great man.
Those are just some of the highlights of an amazing year. I can only hope that 2011 will bring you as much prosperity and happiness.
January 7th, 2009 — Lists, Year In Review
Is it too late to look back on 2008, although we’re already seven days into 2009? I hope not.
2008 was an unforgettable year for me. I jumped out of a perfectly good plane, dined with the chief of a Fijian village and appeared on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
I danced the samba during carnival in Brazil, hiked on a glacier in New Zealand and parasailed in Argentina. I met people from all over the world. I crossed the international date line twice and the equator five times.
I cheered for Botafogo at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. I drank aguardiente, Fernet, caiprinhas and kava. I learned how drive on the left side of the road and where to find the Southern Cross in the Southern sky. I got paid to bake cookies and became a Lost Girl. I learned that a visa isn’t a credit card, it’s a major hassle. I got hooked on Vegemite, alfajores and ceviche. I read books by Leo Tolstoy, Jules Verne, Joseph Heller, Isabel Allende and Bill Bryson.
I found paradise. I waddled with penguins, fed kangaroos, held a koala and played with monkeys. I danced the tango, made empanadas from scratch and spoke Spanish with a distinctly Argentine accent. I waded into the Indian Ocean. I found myself in the middle of a major Islamic city at sundown while the faithful broke their Ramadan fast.
I declared my independence and leaned on my wonderful, amazing friends. I started running. I channeled Cameron Diaz for Halloween and filmed a vignette for the WE network. I dialed Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Nevada for Obama and helped win an election. I met a band named “God or Julie,” I was quoted in New York Magazine, and I was sketched on my way home to Brooklyn. I got a column and started a new blog. I turned thirty.
2009 may not be filled with as many exotic destinations, but I hope it’s just as exciting. I hope that when I look back on 2009, my list includes, “I found a job I love.” Maybe I’ll throw some trapeze lessons in for good measure.
Happy new year, everyone. May it be a happy one indeed.
December 19th, 2008 — Cool Stuff & Awards, Lists, New York
One of my dreams is to see my name in print in New York Magazine, preferably in byline form. (Two years with my name on the advertising masthead do not count.) This week, I am halfway there. I was quoted in their annual Reasons to Love New York issue, after answering a call for submissions on nymag.com. It’s one of the few reasons that is not also listed on their website, but you won’t hear me complaining.
On page 41, reason number 10 to love New York: “Because sooner or later everybody comes to New York: every band, every friend, everybody I want to see.”
I could go on for ages with my reasons to love New York, but here are a few more reasons to love this city.
The eight-piece brass brand that plays in the concourse of the Union Square subway station. (Have you seen these guys? They are amazing.) They remind me to slow down and listen to the music.
I look around on me on the subway and I see people reading newspapers in Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, and Hebrew, and I marvel that we are all sitting next to each other peacefully.
Five dumplings for $1.25 on Elizabeth St in Chinatown, and lamb gyros at the Halal trucks in midtown.
Ethiopian food at Awash on E. 6th Street, and all the hawkers for the Indian restaurants on the same street.
I love the view of the Brooklyn Bridge, downtown, and the Statue of Liberty in the distance as I cross the Manhattan bridge on the subway. It’s breathtaking, and I see it every day.
New York is really just one big small town. Where else would you constantly run into friends on the street?
Hitting golf balls at the Chelsea Piers driving range. The sun is setting over the Hudson, and the Statue of Liberty is quietly watching the harbor.
With three international airports, I can get a direct flight to anywhere. Layovers are so provincial.
Be sure to check out New York Magazine’s Reasons to Love New York. What are your Reasons to Love New York?
August 31st, 2008 — Favorites, Lists, Travel
I will soon be packing my backpack again for the first time in ages. After nearly four months of living out of a car and then an apartment, I’ve accumulated a fair amount of stuff. Faced with 15kg baggage limits on Jetstar
(Qantas’ low-cost subsidiary), I can only take the bare essentials. Fortunately, I almost have packing down to a science. There are a few things in my backpack that now stand out as must-haves. For those of you who are embarking on a round-the-world trip soon, pack much
less than you think you’ll need (you can buy stuff along the way), but don’t leave home without these crucial items.
- Inflatable neck pillow, eyemask, and foam earplugs: Indispensable for overnight buses or rowdy hostels, and the pillow will also come in handy when camping. Spend a few bucks on an eyemask with a soft lining, and keep the airplane freebie as a spare. Make sure the inflatable pillow has a removable, washable exterior.
- Convertible pants: Space in my backpack is precious, so everything must perform double duty. Convertible pants zip off at the knee into shorts. You’ll find these at outdoor stores like REI, EMS, The North Face, and Patagonia. Shop around to find a brand that fits and flatters, and remember these are “summer clothes” that won’t be in stores past September.
- Space Bags: Put clothes into these plastic bags, zip shut, and roll the air out. I simply would not be able to fit all my clothes into my backpack without Space Bags, available at The Container Store.
- Collapsible water bottle: Both Nalgene and Platypus make soft water bottles that take up little space or weight when empty.
- Quick-dry towel: It may only be one foot long by two feet wide, but hey, it dries quickly.
- Sarong: If you’re going to be spending time on beaches, bring a sarong or buy one as a souvenir. I’ve used mine as a beach towel, dress, bathrobe, picnic blanket, and scarf.
- Video iPod: If you’re going to be on the road for a year, buy an iPod with the most memory available. Load it with as many TV shows and movies as it will hold, especially videos that you can tolerate watching over and over again. Ever wanted to watch all six seasons of Lost, from the start? Now is your chance. (Ripping DVDs takes time, so don’t leave this for the week before you depart.) Take advantage of all the free (!) podcasts on iTunes and stock up, especially on language learning podcasts like Coffee Break Spanish. Add some audiobooks and upload some games too, while you’re at it. When you are homesick or stuck on yet another 20-hour bus, your iPod will be your most valuable possession.
- Sleeping bag liner: Perfect for when it’s BYO linen, or when your sleeping bag needs to be just a bit warmer. Invest in a silk liner, which weighs less and takes up less space.
- Flash drive: This isn’t a must, but it’s nice to have, and they are teeny tiny. Use it to store scans of your passport, immunization records, and résumé. Flash drives are also perfect for transferring photos from your camera. Otherwise, be sure to store a scan of your passport in your online email account.
- Money stashes: To split up your cash and cards, you’ll need something in addition to a money belt. Try flip-flops with a secret compartment, a bra stash, or a belt with a hidden zipper. The flip-flops are heavy, but worth it.
Wondering what else is in my backpack? Tennis shoes, hiking boots, a pair of jeans, a pair of shorts, ten pairs of underwear, ten pairs of ankle socks, two pairs of hiking socks, three bras, one tank top, four short sleeve shirts, two long sleeve shirts, one skirt, a micro fleece, a 3-in-1 jacket, t-shirt and boxers for pajamas, three bikinis, sleeping bag, mini first aid kit, assorted toiletries, camera, journal, books, a deck of cards, backpack rain cover, small Swiss Army knife, one bandanna, one bucket hat, three luggage locks, electric plug adapters, one small bottle of hand sanitizer, and a copy of my travel insurance policy. Now that we are out of cold weather for the foreseeable future, I’m ditching the winter hat, scarf, gloves, and sweater I bought in South America. Pack much less than you think you’ll need, I can’t say it enough.
What are your travel essentials?
May 14th, 2008 — Cool Stuff & Awards, Lists, Travel
We were recently honored to be included in Travelhacker‘s list of the 100 Best Travel Blogs. As it turns out, we are in good company!
Check out the full list.
As the kiwis would say, sweet as!
March 28th, 2008 — Favorites, Lists, Travel
Inspired by Esquire magazine’s regular feature, here is what I’ve learned.
Keeping in touch with friends keeps homesickness at bay.
In small towns, there are always street dogs running around. All they want are scraps and some love.
Everything weighs something.
Indigenous people do not like having their picture taken.
Toilet paper: don’t leave the hostel without it.
Grilling on an Argentine parrilla is serious business. They don’t care if it takes hours; for them, the taste of steak cooked over wood coals is worth it.
In first class, a 17-hour bus ride can be enjoyable.
If my daypack feels heavier than normal while I am wearing it on my back, someone is trying to open it.
Ceviche cures a sushi craving.
People love wearing Yankees hats, even if they don´t know exactly what the NY stands for.
Don’t travel on the Day of the Dead, especially if it falls on a Friday.
Hand sanitizer, peanut butter, and my iPod are worth their weight in gold.
Keeping a daily journal and a blog of our travels are major commitments.
Chileans and Argentines speak entirely too quickly.
Liability isn’t really a concept there. We’ve climbed the rafters of churches and walked right up to the mouths of geysers.
The whole continent is obsessed with soccer. Cities practically shut down to watch big games.
If I order one of my favorite American foods such as a cheeseburger or pizza, it will never turn out quite the way I’d hoped.
Vitamin B tablets will make you smell bad to mosquitoes.
Tang packets make purified river water taste good.
In Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, the set lunches at restaurants are a steal. A three-course lunch for $1.50? Count me in!
You have to shake a mercury thermometer before using it.
If you want to visit Argentine wineries, go to Cafayate instead of Mendoza.
All the dollar coins ended up in Ecuador, which uses the U.S. dollar.
Never wake a sleeping anaconda.
Sometimes Lonely Planet can be a little too enthusiastic when describing places. If they say a place is “off the beaten path,” it will be overrun with backpackers.
I never met a hot spring I didn’t like.
Street food is yummy. Meat kabobs, fresh squeezed orange juice, caramel popcorn, churros, corn on the cob….
You can buy carne (meat) at a carnecería, libros (books) at a librería, but you can´t buy ferrets at a ferretería. They sell hardware.
Argentines and Urguayans love their yerba mate tea. Even on the hottest days you’ll see them clutching thermoses and gourds of tea with metal straws.
Portuguese doesn’t sound a thing like Spanish. I learned that the hard way.
There are still nice people in the world. In Saquarema, Brazil, a woman walked 20 minutes out of her way to take me to the one shoe repair shop in town. Instead of asking for a tip, she gave me her phone number in case I had any other questions.
You can buy anything at street stalls in La Paz. Batteries, eggs, you name it.
The best way to learn geography is to travel.
August 14th, 2006 — Favorites, Lists, New York
New York women are tough as nails. They wear skirts with bare legs in the winter, they apply liquid eyeliner on a moving subway, and run around all day on stilettos. I am not one of those New York women.
Cold is relative.
New York is a city of limitless possibilities, which may explain why my next career always seems more appealing than my current one.
Netflix, really warm boots, and an iPod are essential for getting through the winter.
Yankee Stadium takes my breath away every time. Some people wait their whole lives to see a game there, and I go ten times each season.
Sooner or later, every band comes to town.
Sooner or later, all my friends come to visit.
I can get a direct flight to every city worth visiting.
In New York, I am the master of my city. In London, Washington D.C., or Los Angeles, I am just another lost tourist.
Driving is totally overrated. Being driven rocks.
Prevously: What I’ve Learned: Part 1
July 14th, 2006 — Favorites, Lists
My good friend Lola and her friend Brian put their own spin on Esquire‘s regular feature “What I’ve Learned.” So inspired by Lola, here is What I’ve Learned (part 1):
Some guys are appealing only because they are unattainable. Some of us can’t resist a challenge.
Gorgeous guys are always trouble. It’s the dorky cute ones that are worth their weight in gold.
An engagement ring is not a status symbol like the newest it bag. If you want to get engaged, make sure it’s because you love the guy you with, not because you have a case of diamond ring envy and “it’s time.”
Sometimes staying in on Friday night is just what the doctor ordered.
Despite all my protests, dairy and I really don’t get along that well.
My first instinct is usually the correct one.
The best way to a case of the hiccups is to challenge the afflicted person to hiccup on command. It works every time without the messiness of drinking from the other side of the glass.
I procrastinate for one of two reasons: I am either afraid of doing the task or I don’t know how.
Usually most things I put off for weeks only take five minutes. I could avoid so much stress and pressure if I just did them right away.
Supportive and knowledgeable bosses can make all the difference in my happiness at work. But I am not at work to make friends.
April 4th, 2006 — Lists, New York
My friends and family in the warmer climates of Florida and California can not quite appreciate the yearly miracle that is spring. After four or five long months of bare trees, gray skies, below freezing temperatures, and 5pm sunsets, spring breathes life into the weary city. But what, specifically, do I love about spring? A sampling…
Plain old restaurants morph into sidewalk cafes, and New York starts to look like Paris. I’ll gladly sacrifice the square footage on the pavement.
The city resembles a giant Easter basket. Trees that only two weeks ago resembled collections of sticks are now bedecked in pink or white flowers. The flowers eventually drop off and reveal bright green leaves. Yellow daffodils decorate the grounds of parks. Even the Empire State Building gets into the act, wearing yellow and white lights at night.
Suddenly I can wear my skirts and short sleeve shirts! After months in wool pants and sweaters, it’s like doubling my wardrobe for free!
Sunsets in December are at 4:30. By March, it’s around 6:00. After this weekend’s time change, we’re up to 7:23pm. Yay!!
Walking to work is fun again. No longer do I have to huddle in the subway station because it’s 20 degrees outside.
The Shake Shack is open! Home to some of the best burgers, fries, and ice cream East of In-N-Out Burger, the Shake Shack is a seasonal affair in the middle of Madison Square Park, right in my ‘hood.
Yankee Stadium is alive again! The Boys of Summer are back, and judging by last night’s grand slam by A-Rod, this year’s Bronx Bombers are going to be wonderful to watch.