Saturday, June 30, 2007

A little scratch for my phone...a little memory for me

Well, it had to have happened sometime. I totally busted on the sidewalk. Like, both hands on the ground, cell phone flying through the air, hurt pinky toe - classic you're-on-the-ground-before-you-know-what-happened fall. I was walking up the stairs of the subway at Union Square and heard my cell phone ringing. I fumbled it out of my bag, missed the call, saw I had a text message and started to read it...but instead of walking onto the sidewalk, I missed one little half-step down and literally my arms flew up in the air, my cell phone shot out of my hand, and I remember yelling "Oooh my!" as I was going down. While I was down I saw my cell phone skid to a stop on the sidewalk about 10 feet away. Of course there were a lot of people around, and of course my yell and hair flying and scrambling for my cell phone just created a scene. I did get two "Are you okay?'s" and lots of looks, but since I was just laughing and not calling for an ambulance or anything, I think that's pretty decent for New York.

Fun evening tonight with sweet Annie Rocchio, a friend from Hoover High School who is in town from LA. She is as fun and fashionable as ever. I love to hear and see her laugh. We went to her friend's apartment in the East Village which was so small but so cute. I would love to live there. She opened up a closet and there was more stuff crammed in there than you could ever imagine. Ate at a French restaurant Danal (it was so good, but all I could think about was some cheap McDonald's to really fill me up!) and had dessert at Max Brenner: Chocolate by the Bald Man. It was like Willy Wonka in there, and I had chocolate not just all over my face, but on my shoulder and arm too! Yum! Had so much fun, and so thankful for friends like Annie who I can pick up with right where we left off so many years ago!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Razzle Dazzle

The title of my blog came from a name my little sister Elizabeth made up for me. We were driving from Birmingham to Tuscaloosa for an Alabama game about two years ago and trying to entertain ourselves on a backed-up I-59. Elizabeth loves playing games like "would you rather" (especially when it involves Saved by the Bell characters or any personality from the 80's). Anyway, a would-you-rather game turned in to us coming up with names for everyone in our family that 1) described them, and 2) started with the same letter as their first name. I complained that there just weren't any good "R" names that were descriptive and fun. Any time I'd had to come up with an "R" name to describe myself (you know those terrible ice breaker games...), I always just used "redhead" or, even lamer, "radical". So, Elizabeth - being the creative genius she's always been - said, "What about 'razzle dazzle'?" Of course I freaked out and thought it was the best name I'd ever heard! So, from then on, "RazzleDazzle" has stuck! Elizabeth got me a "Razzle Dazzle Martini" picture that has a redheaded girl sitting on a martini glass (she's holding a cane that looks very much like a baton!) which I love...several folks (you know who you are) call me the Razzler...and I always get a "Razzle Dazzle 'em" good luck wish for my tap show or a trip to New York. I would say it's the best word ever! ;)
Love, "Razzle Dazzle Rebecca"

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Subway Thoughts

1. I will never, never, never eat anything while on the subway. Or while standing in or around the station. Those who do make me gag.
2. I tend to stand beside or behind the poles on the platform. I have such a fear of someone pushing me down into the tracks or tripping and falling down there. It's not just that I'm scared of falling into the tracks and a train coming, but have you seen how disgusting it is down there?! Murky water, trash and who knows what else.
3. Speaking of who knows what else, I've still not seen rats or mice in the subway. Everyone keeps telling me I'll see cat-sized rats in the subway. I always glance down in the tracks to spot one, but I've not seen any yet! :)
4. My ultimate goal is to be able to balance and not hold on to anything while standing up. I saw a guy doing this while reading a thick book, and I was so impressed...until I saw what book - Harry Potter! It really made me laugh - he was this late 20s-ish cute guy reading Harry Potter!
5. Not only does balancing mean you're a real New Yorker, it also means you don't have to touch the handles. I'm really becoming OCD about touching them!
6. Purell. I love Purell. I have a strategy - I always hold the pole with my left hand, and I only hold it in one spot (I figure if I only touch one spot rather than all over the pole, I won't get as many germs). After I get off the subway, that hand can't touch anything else until I've either Purelled it or washed it. I can open my bag and get my Purell (it has it's own compartment!) with my right hand and clean my left hand before too many germs have spread!
7. I thought I was the only person with this germ phobia until I saw the funniest thing so far on the subway! I sat down (sitting down is a toss up in the germ my clothes are infected!) and a guy got on and stood next to me. He put his hand up to hold on to the pole, but he just put his hand around it and didn't touch it. He was making a big circle with his thumb and finger so it was around the pole but not touching it! It looked so funny, and I was like, "Poor dude, good idea, but what good is it going to do?" He was still going to jostle into the pole and have to touch it when the train started moving. It made me do the choking laugh that happens when something is so funny but you have try to make yourself not laugh!
8. Did you know there is an "Uptown" and "Downtown" for every line, and to go either direction you have to be standing on a specific platform which sometimes requires entering from another side of the street? I did not, and this information would have saved me much trouble and confusion. It was a total "Oh!" moment when I discovered this!!
9. The hottest place in the city on a hot and humid day is standing on the platform waiting for the train.
10. Morning 6 trains are so PACKED with people - literally cars just full of people - sitting, standing, holding on to anything, squeezed up against the door and windows. It's really kind of funny. Usually if you wait two minutes or so another train comes that isn't so packed. What adds to the amusement of the packed cars for me is how quiet everyone is. Usually no one is saying a word, yet there are a gillion people piled on top of each other.
11. Riding the subway is like riding in your car. Especially in the morning. It's your time to gather your thoughts and get ready for the day. Non-New Yorkers seem to always comment on how no one talks on the street or on the subway - no eye contact, no smiles hello or good morning. Well, think about it - you get in your car and drive quietly by yourself to you say good morning to anyone along the way?
12. It's always a strange feeling to me when I see a subway packed with people coming in to the station. Car after car after car, each more full than the last. Where did all of you come from?! Where are all of you going?! Will I ever see any of you again?!

Monday, June 25, 2007

What a difference a month makes

Eating with Kristen today was an awesome we were sitting at the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park, I just started laughing. I remembered the last time we'd gotten together for was in SoHo in Birmingham a week or so before Crimsonette tryouts which are at the end of couldn't have been more than six weeks ago. At lunch that day in April, Kristen told me she and Adam MIGHT be moving to DC, she really wasn't sure what was going to happen. I remember saying how fun that sounded, that they should go for it if Adam gets the job. And, of course, I threw in a "and I want to move to New York!" Today I just started laughing - look at us! Can you believe you're actually in DC and I'm actually in New York and everything that is real to us today was just a dream a few weeks ago?!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Basics of my New York life!

Where I live
I live in a 40-floor building called the Plaza on the corner of East 56th Street and 1st Avenue. I live with Jane - she was a Crimsonette at Alabama in the 70s, and I met her at Alabama's Homecoming in Fall 2006. Jane's lived in the building for 21 years. and she is so sweet to let us girls rent space from her! The apartment has a master bedroom and bath, a large den that flows into my "area" that flows into the dining area, and a small kitchen is off the dining area. A hallway leads to the guest room and hall bathroom. Cameron and Mary Jane (both girls graduated from Alabama last year) live in the guest room – they share a bed that folds out of the wall – and the three of us share the bathroom. Sharing the bathroom has worked fine so far – Jane has color-coded towels for each of us, and there is plenty of hooks, cabinets, counter space and mirrors.

Main living area - my space is back near the window!

I feel so blessed that Cameron and Mary Jane are here - it's fun to live with girls close to my age. I was supposed to be in the room they're in, but the apartment they were going to rent fell through just before I moved here. Although I initially freaked out about not having my own room, God totally knew what he was doing in having all of us here!

Something unique to our building is we have a pool on the rooftop. I’ve been up there a few times, but unless you want to swim with old people, it’s really more fun to go out to Central Park to sunbathe.

My space
My space is super cute. I have a very comfortable bed, a desk area and an armoir that has a TV and extra space for my "stuff". I keep all my books, pictures and letters from home in there - I love it! I store my comforter and pillow in a hamper and put a really cute matching canvas case over the mattress during the day. The case makes it look less like a bed sitting out in the living room! Jane is so sweet and puts the comforter on my bed lots of nights for me while I'm getting ready for bed. The night before I started work, she turned on the lamp and put out a glass of water - it was so cute! One night she left a chocolate on the pillow. :)

My little area - glass desk in bottom corner and armoir on the right...and view out the window (pic taken at night...will have to do a better day shot so you can see!)

The best part about my space is the window. My bed runs alongside the door and window that look out to the balcony and the VIEW. I happily trade having walls for the view! It HAS to be the best view in the city.

The view!!
It is amazing. I’m not even going to try to describe it, and the pictures truly do not do it justice. You just have to see it for yourself! It’s almost an overwhelming feeling, and for however long I live here, I really don’t want to ever get used to it – you know?! I want it to always be an awestruck feeling, and I want to always be appreciative of it. The focal points are the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building and the “MetLife” building, but it's truly a bird's eye view of midtown Manhattan! Jane sent me a picture of the view before I visited New York in February with Ansley and Jackie. I remember sitting at work and opening the email. The picture so overwhelmed me – and was so my dream – that tears welled up in my eyes and my throat tightened and I truly felt changed. I can’t believe it is now what I see everyday!

Top: Zoomed in shot (Chrysler and Empire State Bldg) Bottom: This is only half the view - I need to do some "panoramic" shots! Even that still wouldn't be the full effect of feeling it in person...
How I get to work
Well, the first few days I thought it was super fun to walk to and from work…it’s 34 blocks plus the avenues, so it’s over 2 miles! It takes around 35 minutes walking fast. I’ve quickly given up walking for riding the subway, which is usually a pretty good adventure in itself. I take the 6 train (Downtown in the morning and Uptown in the evening). I walk up from 1st Ave to Lexington (that’s long avenue blocks 1st Ave, 2nd Ave, 3rd Ave, Lex) and get on the subway at either the 59th Street stop or the 51st Street stop (I live on 56th Street).

The 59th Street stop is usually SO packed!! Several times I’ve had to wait for another train or been so squeezed on I literally have to suck my body in as small as I can be and hold my breath (who wants to breathe in other people’s morning breath?!) So, since 59th is so packed in the morning, I’ve decided to start catching the train at 51st Street instead – seems like hordes of people get OFF at 51st St, so it’s a little less crowded. Plus, the station is at the Citigroup Financial Center and there are tons of cute guys who all they do is work, work, work so they need a Southern girl to smile at them in the morning! :)

In addition to the morning congestion problem at 59th Street, the other problem is the evening temptation its location presents. Does 59th and Lex ring a bell? Bloomingdales. Bloomingdales is not so much the problem, but H&M, Urban Outfitters, Banana, Express, Zara, you-name-it-it’s-there! I have a tendency to just “take a peek”…and we all know taking a peek means three shirts and two skirts later you’re on your way home. It’s just safer all around if I stick to 51st Street in the morning and in the evening!

In the morning it’s about a 10 minute walk to the station, and a 10 minute subway ride to 23rd Street stop. (There are four stops on the way). I exit on 22nd Street, so I just walk right up the block to the office. Trains come every two to three minutes during rush hour, but a few mornings I’ve had to wait longer.

Where I work
DC Design is a small company owned by David Chu, the creator of Nautica brand clothing. Our office is a 6-story brownstone on the lower east side – I love saying our address “East 22nd Street between Broadway and Park”!! The exterior is very beautiful with a walkup entry.
L to R: The townhouse, the front door and the plaque at the front door.

The inside is immaculate – white marble floors, granite countertops, black and white framed photos (mainly of New York landmarks) accented by bright works of art. In addition to being a billionaire, David is an art collector, furniture designer, involved in real estate and very nice and friendly. My mom asked me the other day if I’ve seen any famous people, and I said no. She asked if I ever see David Chu. I do, all the time – he walks through our office area and says hi just like any other person. So, since in some circles he is very famous, I guess I see a famous person almost every day!

Okay, I tried to make this look panoramic! Top pictures are the reception area. I love this area because I remember when I came for the interview, I felt very at ease and at home from the first second I walked through the door! Bottom picture is part of the conference room and showroom on the first floor (it's the room behind the red piece of art).

We have a showroom on the first floor which is set up with the current season’s collection so we can show it when the specialty store buyers come. The second floor has HR, accounting, logistics, IT and PR. Mallory & Church, a mens dress furnishings company, is on the third and fourth floors. My office is on the fifth floor – we share space with the designers and a large planning area where the sketches and samples are displayed and worked on. The sixth floor is SO cool. By day it’s a custom tailor shop called Bespoke, and by night it’s a fabulous place for a party! There’s a patio that has a really great view of the Empire State Building. I’m mad at myself that I haven’t taken pictures of the view yet because construction has begun on the block behind us for a tall condo building…the cranes and equipment are starting to block the view.

Who I work with
I started working June 4 along with two other new account executives. I had been pretty nervous to see who my coworkers would be, but as soon as I saw them – before we even spoke – I had such peace feeling that I already knew and liked them. Shane is originally from Hawaii but has lived in New York for the past nine years. He studied fashion and has worked in mens high fashion retailers for several years. He is a wealth of knowledge and really helps us. Lauren is from Chicago and just moved to New York a month before I did. Her fiancĂ© is also from Chicago and has lived in New York for a year. She worked in advertising for a tradeshow company, so we both share an advertising and marketing background and are new to what we’re doing! We were fast friends and have eaten lunch together from day one! I’m so thankful for her, and for the dynamic between the three of us. The senior account executive is Amy – she’s from Florida and has been in New York for five years. Our VP of Sales is David – he is a lifetime New Yorker, and he and his wife live in New Jersey and have two kids. David’s claim to fame is he used to dance on MTV on the “Downtown Julie Brown” show!!! He was none too happy that we found out this little bit of information, and we are hoping he will show us some moves soon!

We went to a menswear awards lunch at New York Athletic Club on June 19th. The Club is beautiful and has great views of Central Park. George Zimmer of Mens Warehouse was an award recipient and in attendance. Our picture from the event made the “Schmoozing” page – not a publication as great as my beloved “About Town”, but I guess it’ll do for now! :)
We’re the 12th picture; l to r: Lauren, Shane, Amy, David, Rebecca

What I do
I’m an account executive for the menswear clothing line Lincs David Chu. It’s a high end menswear line sold at specialty stores across the country. It’s relatively new – first season was Fall 2005. It’s so exciting because the company and line are so young and just now starting to grow. I really feel like the experience working here will be anything I want it to be.

I am responsible for servicing existing accounts and getting new ones, so it is a sales-type job (I always swore I would never be in sales!) I have the southeast territory – for obvious reasons!

Lauren, Shane and I spend a lot of time getting familiar with the clothes and with how to show them. We have frequent field trips to Saks 5th Ave to see the product in action with consumers. (It’s a hard job, but somebody’s got to do it!) The glamour of Saks visits is balanced by a lot of time spent in the storage area at the townhouse – opening and inventorying the Spring 2008 line as it arrives. Lauren, Shane and I have some of our best times down in the basement talking! Even the most boring of tasks - like going through swatches or looking at inventory spreadsheets - is a great opportunity for me to get familiar with fabrics, styles, etc. All this is so new – it’s very exciting to learn!

We’re working toward the summer show season which begins with the New York Collective July 23-25. Buyers from specialty stores all over the country will be here to see the Spring lines of all the menswear retailers. The Collective’s website is (Count the pictures as they fade in and out – the sixth picture you’ll see is of David Chu on the left showing an orange garment to two seated men.)

After the New York Collective, I’ll be traveling to Charlotte August 4-6 since many of my buyers are in that region. Lauren will go to Chicago because she has the Midwest accounts, and Shane will go to Las Vegas. I’m being a big girl and not pouting that I don’t get a more exciting city than Charlotte!

Typical Day
I love it! I was meant for this New York schedule because I do NOT do mornings!! Our hours are 9 to 5 with an hour lunch, and we get off at 1 pm on Fridays during the summer!! Unlike Birmingham where I hit the snooze like six times every morning, in New York I usually wake up before my alarm goes off! I don’t pull the shades because I love going to sleep looking at the city lights, and I love waking up to the most awesome view ever. The sun comes in the huge windows by my bed, and I love looking at it glinting off the windows of the buildings, especially the top of the Chrysler Building. Seeing the city just gives me energy and excitement to start the day. I get up around 6:30 and usually take second shower after Cameron. I take my time getting ready in my “space” and watching the Today Show (I keep having to remind myself the show is happening just a short 15 minute walk away!) Morning is my quiet time to be by myself and get ready for the day. I leave the apartment at 8:30, wave bye to the doormen, put on my sunglasses (gotta have sunglasses!) and zigzag through the streets to the subway.

There is no typical evening yet – I’ve been exploring and shopping, or going to dinner, Bible study or events. I talk on the phone to friends from home a lot in the evenings too. A few times we’ve all been back to the apartment by 8 or so and watched a little TV and talked. We usually try to get in the bed by 11:30 or 12:30. Since my bed is off of the living room, I kind of have to wait until everyone heads to their bed. Usually not a problem because I am such a night owl, but with all the walking and excitement of New York, I’m usually ready for bed sooner rather than later!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Unlikely Angels

People surprise me all the time.
I had only been here two weeks - had still not really figured out the subway - and was coming home kind of late after going out with Lauren. It was a subway line I didn't normally take (i.e. any line other than the 6!), so I wasn't sure which one to get on, much less which way to go! I was standing on the platform trying to figure out what to do without looking like I was trying to figure out what to do. I glanced around for someone who looked "nice" to ask which way I should go. My first pick was a woman who couldn't speak English...okay, what now - everyone else looks creepy! I made eye contact with a girl with dyed black hair, black fingernails, black clothes and a blank, sullen face - I thought to myself I definitely didn't want to talk to her - she looks scary! Her expression changed and she explained very nicely exactly how I should get where I wanted to go. I thanked her and we continued to stand together waiting for the train. When it arrived, she looked at me and motioned that this is the one we should get on. We sat across from each other, and I kept wanting to strike up a conversation but kept hesitating. When my stop came, she nodded that I should get off. I told her I appreciated her help so much. What I wanted to tell her was what an angel she had been to me on so many levels - showing me the way home, travelling with me so I wasn't alone on the subway late at night, and teaching me not to judge people so quickly by the way they look.

Another blessed meeting happened when my cell phone stopped working (remember when I got caught in Central Park in the rain...well, don't call people to tell them you're caught in the rain WHILE you're caught in the rain!) Anyway, as has happened so many times since I've been here, God provided. My speaker stopped working - no one could hear me on my phone, but I could hear them. What to do?!?! It was almost 6 pm on Saturday night! As I started to freak out, I looked up from my phone and saw I was standing directly in front of a Verizon Wireless until 10 pm!! Hahaha! Amazing. I went inside and met the sweetest girl at customer service. I had to get a brand new phone, which meant I would lose all my texts and any unsaved pictures (I had a bunch of sweet texts from leaving Birmingham and arriving in New York that I didn't want to lose, and I really thought I was going to cry if my pictures were erased!) She had me forward the texts to her phone and then she sent them back to me, and then she waited for like 20 minutes while I saved all the pictures to a disk! We talked the whole time this was going on, and just while I was thinking how happy I was that I'd had to come in there because I'd gotten to meet her, she said she was so happy I was there - that I was the nicest person she'd helped all day, and she had just needed to laugh and talk with someone.

You never know when you're going to find an angel...or when you're going to be an angel to someone else!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

"Entirely of Possibility"

I spent some time today in Central Park, and had to get really friendly with some benches under a tree since I got caught out there without an umbrella (you were right Julie, I should always keep an umbrella in my bag!) My time on the benches got me noticing the inscriptions on the plaques that are on just about every bench in all parts of the city. Most benches are dedicated to loved ones with sweet thoughts of 'all the benches we've shared together' or 'you made every park more beautiful'. Those always make me smile, so I like to sit on the bench for at least a few minutes to think of what the people must have been like and kind of share the experience that they so enjoyed. But my favorite inscription was different from all the rest - all it said was Entirely of Possibility. "Huh," I thought as I sat down on the bench to think about it for a bit.

I know what I think it means; I'll keep it to myself so your thoughts on it can be entirely to possibility...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Perfectly understandable in Alabama

Today at work we got more desk supplies, and Amy plopped a package of two white out tape dispensers on my desk. Two ORANGE and BLUE dispensers! You would have thought she threw a grenade on my desk the way I jumped and grabbed them and threw them back to her! We all got a good laugh, and I got to explain just how things work in Alabama, and that they were all just going to have to get used to it! Crimson and white for me, please! :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Work "Errands"

My afternoon work assignment just made me laugh at how ridiculously surreal it was! I was to drop off some information at Saks 5th Avenue on my way home. Now, as if just the thought of being able to make a stop at THE Saks 5th Avenue on my way home from work wasn't enough to make me wonder what kind of dream I'm living in, I couldn't help but be amazed by the sights I passed from my office to Saks...

First the Flatiron Building...then a short subway ride (if I'd walked, I would have gone by the Empire State Building). Got off the subway in Times Square, but I forgot to take a picture! :)

Next comes Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, and final destination of Saks Fifth Avenue!
I was laughing all the way to Saks, thinking how dropping something off for work in Birmingham usually meant a drive down 280, 459 or through Mountain Brook or Homewood. Having these New York landmarks as my daily scenery is something I dreamed about for so long. I love it!!!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Big Apple Barbecue

What an appropriate welcome to the City for a Southern girl! The first full weekend I was here, Big Apple Barbecue was held in Madison Square Park. Barbecue pitmasters from restaurants across the country set up for two days of feeding hungry New Yorkers! The lines were unbelievably long, so I focused on the best of the best - Big Bob Gibson's from Decatur, AL. It didn't disappoint, and I was happy for a taste of home mixed in with that wonderful white sauce! Great music and lots to see. I got to enjoy the afternoon with several fellow Alabamians - a great group of friends who've been in the city for two or so years. We had a great time, and it was so nice to laugh and share similar experiences from the South!
Thanks! I'm glad to be here! :)

A shot of some of the crowd enjoying the festival.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Week One NYC!

It's been a great week! I'm so, so thankful I'm here!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Thoughts so far

1. Try to pick easy outfits that are still cute for doing something after work (can’t carry an extra outfit to change in the work bathroom like I used to in Birmingham!)
2. Shoes – I’ve always hated flats, but everyone wears them here, and they’re starting to grow on me!
3. Love how the sun glints off the buildings in the morning, especially the Chrysler Building.
4. Who would have ever thought I'd be waking up in the 5 a.m. hour “just because” and excited to get up? No way!
5. So many things to see and do – just on the walk to work I feel like I’ve passed the entire world!
6. Time goes really fast. It’s already late in the evening before you know it. A New York minute, I guess!
7. Roommates have been so nice. Jane turned down my bed again last night – and left a chocolate on my pillow! How cute is that?!
8. So thankful for so many calls and love from home. It means so much to know people are praying for me and interested in what’s going on.
9. Still can’t believe the view from my bed – it’s totally my New York dream!
10. So amazed that I’m here. God put me in new surroundings just when I needed it.
11. I’ve not looked at my map at all! And not done one touristy thing yet!
12. Every time I look up at a tall building – tilting my head to the point my chin is all the way in the air – I think of my Mom. She always used to talk about her first trip to New York, and how she - as country girl from Tennessee - was amazed by looking up at the skyscrapers that just kept "going and going"!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Alabama in New York

Decided to walk to work again this morning. Mary Jane was running late, so I went solo. Big mistake – it took forever and I didn’t go a fun route. I did get to say hi to a window washer, and I saw the same homeless man two days in a row. I called Mom at 8:30 so we could talk while I walked and she drove to work. She loved when I asked what she was doing and she said, "Driving on 280", and when she asked what I was doing I said, "Walking down Park Avenue!" I said it feels so natural to say that and be here and be doing this. It is amazing, and I’ve only been here four days! Julie sent me a sweet email about how she watches the Today Show to see what it’s like in NYC.

Gray Shipley gets the prize for being my first visitor from home! He was here on business, and we went to lunch with three of his friends who work at the Empire State Building – all graduates of Alabama too! We met at the fountain in Madison Square Park (which is quickly becoming one of my favorite places). All very nice guys and I had a great time getting to know them. I love that there are so many Alabama people in New York.

Leaving the restaurant, I thought I was headed in the right direction back to the office. I stopped to second guess myself, and before I could even begin to figure it out on my own, two people stopped and asked if I needed help with directions! I’ve been constantly amazed at how helpful people are here.

Went to the East Village for dinner tonight with Cameron, Mary Jane and Lauren. We walked through Union Square Park. It looked like a premiere was going on just off the park – cameras set up and VIPs posing for pictures. Again, I’m trying to not act like a complete tourist, so I just kept right on walking! A farmers’ market is held in Union Square on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays – fruits, vegetables, crafts, guys playing hacky sack with crazy moves, etc! It was fun to see all that was going on. As we got into the East Village area, the scenery, buildings and people changed so much. Each area of New York is so totally different – it’s amazing! I scuffed the front of my new peep toe heels – tragic!

Dinner, wine, laughter and $45 later, we were back home and ready for bed! I'm finding days are long here, and nights out are expensive!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


Everything about Day 2 was how I had hoped New York would be! Cameron, Mary Jane and I were all getting ready for work at the same time. I had prayed we would be friends…and I few minutes later Mary Jane came over and asked if I would curl her hair sometime because she likes how mine looks. I thought it was so sweet! She works on 18th Street and I work on 22nd Street, so we walked to work together. It took about 35 minutes, but it was so awesome to see all the activity. We got to talk really for the first time since I'd been here, so I was glad to get to know her a little better. We left the apartment just before 8:30 and I got to work right at 9 am. We walked some on 1st, 3rd, Lexington and then through Madison Square Park. We were getting HOT and everyone at the office was impressed that I’d walked 2 miles! It was a good workout!

Lauren and I share a workspace, and I had also prayed that morning that we’d be friends…and she turned to me a little after 12 and said she was starving and did I want to go get lunch. I was starving too, of course! So we got our cute bags and cute sunglasses and walked to New York Burger Co. We walked through Madison Square Park to get there, and there was a camera crew and actors filming something (I tried to not completely gawk at it!) We sat in the restaurant at the open air bar that looks onto the street. We had a good time getting to know each other and people watching. I kept thinking this is exactly how I had pictured lunch in New York!

Everyone at my office LOOKS so much different from me – most everyone is Asian or “New York”…Lauren and I are the different ones. I found it to be such an opportunity to get to know people who are different from me, rather than feeling like I wouldn’t have anything in common with them. I had a great conversation with Wenyang “Wen” who is from Taiwan. He is so funny and nice, and he was so grateful that I was interested in hearing about where he was from and who he is.

I took a long walk home as I was stopping to window shop and look at the buildings, talking on the phone – happy birthday Melissa and Ben! – and just still trying to take it all in and realize I’m here!

I got to the apartment in time for a cookout Jane was having with Arthur and Janet from the building and her friend Barry and his son and friend. I got to talk to Janet for awhile and learn about her coming here from Iran and her two children. Her kids went to the United Nations school – UN just a few blocks from the apartment. She said this is the best place to be to learn about other people. Barry’s son and friend are my age and graduated from Brown – the next President and Attorney General of the United States, as Barry likes to call them. They were both very nice and interested to hear about what I think of the city. We had different views on everything from religion and abortion to football and hotdogs!! I prayed for faithfulness and strength and God helped me stand up and express my views and not let them intimidate me into being quiet and just go along with what they were saying. I’ll have to sell tickets to the next debate of Southern belle vs. Yankee Browns!

Monday, June 4, 2007

A New Day

First "real" day as a New Yorker, I woke up to a cloudy, rainy, humid day in the NYC. So cloudy I couldn’t see the top of Empire State Building. I was anxious but excited – up at 5:45 am and out the door at 7 am! Yes, I'm a nerd and took a picture of my first day! (Everyone else was just getting up when I left!)

I called Mom and Dad as I ran across a street – they’d been worried I would oversleep! I was totally feeling like Mary Tyler Moore! Only thing was – where were all the people?? I had expected the sidewalks to be full. (Little did I know, it doesn’t get going around here until 8 am!) It was sprinkling and my hair was frizzing! Thankfully Julie had gone umbrella shopping with me in Birmingham. “You need to have a little umbrella you can always carry around with you in case it rains.” Julie’s always right.

I was at the front door of the office by 7:30, and the doors were locked! And it was raining! My hair was getting bigger and nastier by the second. I was scared to walk too far to look for a Starbucks or just somewhere to go inside, so I hung out down the street under the awning of a building. I must have looked so pathetic! Finally at 8 am, with the doors still locked, I called my boss who was already inside and let me in. We don’t have to be at work until 9!! Who knew?! Early bird gets the pick of the desks, though!

An answer to prayer – when the other two new people got there (Shane from New York and Lauren from Chicago) – I was immediately thankful. They just LOOKED nice! We got settled in and got to know each other, met with HR, and then met everyone who works there…all while sporting my big, scary frizzy hair!! I will get over it – someday!

I had a great first day, and mostly was overwhelmed by the sweet phone calls, text messages and emails from everyone in Birmingham. It means so much to me!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Notes from Home

I got settled in last night – got a tour of my “area” in the apartment, put most of my clothes in my closet, and joined Jane and some of her friends at a restaurant a few blocks away. While emptying my suitcases, I found LOTS of sweet notes from my family. We have always hidden notes in each others suitcases when one of us is going on a significant trip. I decided to just read a few last night and the rest over the next few days. Mummert Pet Society?! Classic! I’m sure Libby was behind that one!

Jane was sweet to invite me along on her errands today. We walked her dog Roxy, went to Bed, Bath and Beyond, shopped at Bloomingdales and H&M. I was feeling kind of robotic all day – am I really here?

We went to a Sopranos party at "Arthur’s" apartment on the 40th floor. The guest list was a funny ensemble of New York personalities – in addition to us four Alabama girls from 33P, there was Arthur, a 60’s ish born and bred New Yorker who finds time to be a lawyer between his 8 hour days as a sunbather. Cameron and I joked wondering if his teeth really are that white or is he just that tan?!” He is a very funny and very sweet man. Janet, a beautiful woman from Iran, has lived in New York for over 20 years and has such style and grace – a very interesting person! Susanna, a jewelry designer, was a classic foreign artist – very scattered in her talking and passionate about what she creates. She brought her expensive jewelry for us to see, and we all played dress up. She’s been published in lots of magazines – very cool to look at all the clippings, and it was a wonderful alternative to having to watch Sopranos for me! Arthur had some very good food for us - lots of Chinese and fabulous pizza from “Best Pizza on 1st”. Yum!

So much going on today that I didn't really have time to get nervous about first day of work tomorrow!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Dream in My Heart...Pit in My Stomach

Today is the day! I can’t believe I’m moving to New York! It is so like Crimsonette tryout day (but then, I can relate anything to Crimsonette experiences!) The weeks leading up are all-consuming with nerves and preparation, then the day of I’m just in performance mode. You just do it. Today I woke up, felt sick before I opened my eyes, and then I just got out of bed and starting getting ready and packing the last things. And just like Crimsonette tryout day, Mama and Daddy always make me feel nervous because I can tell they’re nervous eventhough they are trying to act like they're not, you know. As my Dad always says – “Never let ‘em see you sweat.” So, I hid in my bedroom so I could cry a little while I wrote each of them a note they would find after I left!

I’d been dreading the whole goodbye in the airport scene. Oh gosh, just can’t even think about it. The ride to the airport was pretty quiet, and every time I started to say something, tears welled up and my throat tightened. I let one little tear fall, and then the sad slipped away to excitement.

So, checking bags curbside – I’m not even far enough into the trip to be INSIDE the airport – I get freaked out. “LaGuardia?” says the attendant. “Don’t be afraid of the extra security there today.” “Oh, I’ve been there lots before, I know it’s more than Birmingham.” He gives me a blank stare and so matter of factly says, “There was a terrorist threat at JFK today. They were going to blow up all the planes.” Now he gets a blank stare from me. “You’re kidding. Don’t even tell me anymore. I’m moving to New York today, and you’re not going to scare me!” Seriously? Seriously! Then I saw a girl in the airport wearing an “I love NY” t-shirt…God's telling me it's going to be okay!

Julie's HOURS of meticulous work packing my suitcases paid off - the biggest one weighed in just under 50 pounds!! Yeah! Thanks MBB!

We hung out in the waiting area for a while and enjoyed our matching green shirts and red bags. We are too cute! And sweet Ansley called to tell me there was a bomb at JFK, and it's all over the news. Thanks friend - I always know you will tell me what I need to know when no one else can... :) (That's Ansley I'm on the phone with!)

When I couldn’t linger any longer, the goodbyes started. And so did our tears. Hugged Mama first, “I’m so excited for you. It’s going to be okay.” Then Daddy, “You have to do this…Remember what you’ve been taught…Know we love you…Do your best…We are proud of you.” And then Julie and Elizabeth…sweet tears from sweet sisters.

They stood in a little clump (just how I’d pictured they would look), and I did our classic family goodbye of “walk, turn, wave...walk, turn, wave...walk, turn, wave” until I just kept walking and didn’t look back. I kept hearing a quote I love, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you’ve imagined.”

I had to wait on the plane for a bit before take off. It gave me a chance to see Birmingham – see the skyline, pink mimosa trees, Queen Anne’s lace in the grass by the runway – I’ve flown out of there many times but never noticed how pretty it is!

Then God showed he was there with me. An “off duty” pilot came and sat in the row in front of me. It just calmed my nerves knowing he was there if something went wrong. Then a man moved into the aisle seat on what had been my empty row. He sat a Bible on the seat in between us! He opened it to Job 4, so I got my Bible out and read it. I liked what it said and smiled knowing I was being taken care of.

And then suddenly, we were off! It was a really long and really fast taxi for take off. It felt similar to my journey to get to New York – wanted it over a long time, and then it took off really fast! Gave a little wave out the window because I knew my family was standing in the airport windows watching the plane take off. :)

During the layover in Atlanta, I read the book Ansley gave me as a going away present. She always gives the perfect gifts. I knew this one would make me cry, and it did. A book called “She…” You can read it in like 5 minutes, but each page is filled with such awesome words – it overwhelmed me. Thank you, Ansley – I love it!

I slept on the flight to New York, and then woke up with a HUGE pit in my stomach. Oh no, what am I doing?! I'm here - what now?! Then I saw the “Welcome to New York” sign at the airport. It’s anything I want it to be. Here we go!

Message at baggage claim summed it up, so I had to take a picture:

Later I heard from Mama that when they were leaving the airport in Birmingham she saw a little girl wearing a t-shirt that said: “Dreams come true”

Why, yes, they do!