Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dalla biblioteca di Nina...

As you know, all I've wanted in my dream home is a library with tall shelves, sliding ladder, and a card catalog. To add to my dream library, I just found this cute stamp from Papyrus ($40) to label the inside of my books. Oh it's going to be the most wonderful library!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


After a year of not having a place that really felt like home (7 months of subletting, 1 month in unfurnished apt, and 3 months of travelling) I finally found an apartment! I was hoping to find something in Brooklyn but when I saw the closet space (3!) in this Astoria apartment, and it's only a 10 minute walk from Wifey, I knew I had to have it.

I can't wait to move in (1 week!) and unpack my clothes and books. Finally, we will have a home again!

Friday, August 21, 2009


Pocket Bunwin who cooks yummy Thai food and likes to dance around in her underwear, seeking a place (with large closet) to unpack my bags.

Still homeless. Crossing my fingers that I will find something this weekend. Wish me luck!

Crazies on Craigslist

I seriously spend my days stalking apartment listings on Craigslist. I refresh every few minutes so that I can respond to these listings the moment they're up.

Last night I was just chuckling to myself at all the weirdo's out there who are searching for roommates. Born again Christians searching for someone to Be Blessed with, Sober Roommates Only (obvi not me!), and Normal Guy seeking blue collar straight male, Cheap Rent for nooky on the side. (It wasn't even that cheap! $899!)

Amongst the crazies though (yes, I associate sober living with crazy) was this hilarious and specific posting below. I loved the title and the rest of the post had me laughing out loud.

Seeking third roommate, for time of their lives
Date: 2009-08-20, 9:32PM
High-powered publishing executive and curator of a well-known Chelsea art gallery are looking for an intelligent, fun-loving, witty, slightly bedraggled heathen, with panache! You must be in your early 23's.
-David Lynch
-Kings of Convenience
-Pinot Noir
-Air Conditioning
-Treasure Trolls
-Chairs of all shapes and sizes (Eames, Corbusier, van der Rohe, Starcke, Neutra, Arad, Saarinen, & Co.......)
-Michael Showalter
-Jennifer Aniston
-Murray Hill
-The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
YOU: are looking to live in the heart of New York's creative capital, with some of New York's most creative capitalists.
WE: are looking for a John Ritter to complete our Joyce DeWitt and Suzanne Sommers (you must refer to our super at all times as "Mr. Roper").
Here are the deets: beautiful three-bedroom loft, featuring sea-foam green, cacti and aloe, monochromatic white trinkets, a semi-functional library, AC, free laundry and wifi, an assortment of overpriced health foods, abundant views of Manhattan from a finished, bedecked rooftop, and two, lovable biscuits looking to be buttered. The room is open for September 1st, and the lease runs for a full year. We would love to befriend you, feed you, and then cook you in our state-of-the-art oven! How about a meet'n'greet sometime soon?
Actual testimonials:
"I lived here for an entire fucking year and I'm still alive."
-Lily (our old roommate)
"They didn't hit me, I swear! The door knob hit me in the eye!"
-Lily (our old roommate)
"Two biscuits is right, so long as they come from the Cracker Barrel."
-Lily (our old roommate)

Darn. I like Owls. : (

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Summer Reading

I spent the past 3 months in Thailand which meant plenty of time spent reading in a hammock. It also meant that reading material was a tad limited (and a bit all over the place) since I didn't have much money and mostly obtained books by swapping. Here's what I've read so far this summer.

French Milk by Lucy Knisley
J'adore, French Milk! Beautifully illustrated, I loved the facial expressions that Knisley drew. I admired her relationship with her mother and empathized with her anxiety of an uncertain future. Of course, I loved viewing Paris through Knisley's passionate perspective. (ps. I cannot wait to go to Paris!)

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
I just love graphic memoirs and read this one in two hours. I got to peak into the heartbreaking story of a childhood in Tehran and picked up a few historical facts along the way. Intriguing and, again, beautifully illustrated.

Marley and Me by John Grogan
I picked up the book because I was curious what the hype was all about. I watched the movie and enjoyed it mainly because I have a strange attraction to Owen Wilson's crooked nose and nasally voice, and the puppy was just so damn cute. I am not sure how this book was a bestseller for so long. Sure, Grogan's love for his dog was endearing. Reading anecdotes of your dog's life is just about as enjoyable as when your mommy friend calls you to tell you all the things little Johnny is doing. Read: not enjoyable unless you are the owner of said animal or said child.

Second Chance by Jane Green
I haven't read a chick lit in a while and found Second Chance thoroughly enjoyable. While predictable, it served its purpose as an easy, fun read. It’s a story about a group of friends reunited after a friend’s death. This story reminds the reader how your life really can change in a split second which forces you to take a closer look at your life and reevaluate the choices that you’ve made.

To Have and To Hold by Jane Green
As you can see I went on a little Jane Green binge. I figured I enjoyed the first one and my friend had a collection on her bookshelf. I didn't enjoy this one at all. It was, again, predictable but this seems to be Green's style. I found the main character, Alice, pathetic and unrealistic. I wanted to reach through the pages and wring her neck.

The Beach House by Jane Green
Third time's the charm? Much better than To Have and To Hold but not as good as Second Chance. Fun, easy read.

The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfield
Despite the title, this is not another chick lit. From the author of Prep and American Wife, a novel of the female version of Holden Caulfield, disappointed by all of the men in her life and the world in general. The synopsis of this book asks; At what point can you no longer blame your adult failures on your messed-up childhood? Is settling for someone who’s not your soul mate an act of maturity or an admission of defeat? And if you move to another state for a guy who might not love you back, are you being plucky–or just pathetic? Life doesn't seem to get any easier as you grow older. I highly recommend this one!

Backpack by Emily Barr
This one is by far the worst book I've read this summer and I'm going to go as far as to say ever. How was this ever published? I thought this book would be fitting since it's about an English girl backpacking through Asia. The narrator, Tansy, is so bratty, bitchy, and ignorant that I wanted to throw out the book after the first few pages but my friend told me it gets (slightly) better. (And I didn't have another book at the moment). The climax, atrociously placed at the last 20 pages of the book almost seemed like an afterthought, as if Barr said to herself, "Wow this novel is turning out to be quite boring and pointless. Why don't I throw in this random ridiculous, and unfitting plot to jazz it up." I thought to myself, "There is no way she's going to go there with this story," and then she did. The ending made me want to hurt the author in the most violent way.

Why He Didn't Call You Back by Rachel Greenwald
I picked up this book because I wanted to see what my competition was in the dating advice book category. Greenwald breaks it down into 10 different types of girls and explains why the guy didn't call you back from the things you said or the actions you made. I've never been a "Rules" girl. I do what I want, I say what I want, I'll call when I want. I always claimed I would never change myself for a man. "Take it or leave it," I would say, "You need to love me for who I am." Greenwald explains that when you are on a first date, your date is taking in all the details, everything you say, and is deciding whether or not you are someone they would want to see again. The more time someone spends with you, the more they would get to know the real you. Hence, your main goal, which is to get more dates with this person. Greenwald encourages you to be true to yourself and not change who you are. But she tells you how to change a few small things you may be doing or saying that is breaking the deal.
I quickly read through the first few chapters. "Blah, blah, blah," I thought, "this is so extreme. Who acts like this? This doesn't pertain to me at all." Then, I got to Reason #6, The Flasher. Rut row. This was me to a tee! Greenwald describes, "The Flasher divulges negative personal information about herself on a first date, often without realizing it. This is typically labeled, 'baggage,' and it lands with a thud on the 'con' side of the inevitable pro/con list he is tallying for you in his head in real time." Eeeeeyikes! Ladies, this is a must read! Not to be followed like a bible, but these small change do make a difference. Now, if only I can find a date to test out my new dating tips on!

What have you read this summer?

*i wish...

I am cranky today. It is another gorgeous, sunny day and I've been inside working and searching for an apartment. I'm worried about finding a place that's affordable. I'm quite broke at the moment and I used to put my whole paycheck towards rent, leaving no room for a life.

These photos from You are my fave made me happy again. All I want is a library in my home. I can't wait to find a place so that I can unpack my 20,000 books that have been suffocating in storage.
*oh i hope it's soon!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Go After Him

I had a friend whom I hadn't seen in 5 years visit me this past week. We met years ago in Thailand and spent 4 months traveling around together to the islands, Malaysia, and Singapore. From the moment I saw him, I was attracted to him, and the more time I spent with him the more I fell. He had a girlfriend. He wanted to remain faithful to her. I loved him more for this. How ironic.

I didn't have any expectations for his visit. It was 5 years ago and I've moved on since then. I went to pick him up at JFK, filled with excitement, searching the crowds wondering if I would recognize him. I spotted his blonde hair and caramel tan and my heart literally stopped. He actually got more gorgeous with time. I couldn't stop staring at him, the five added years have been good to him.

We spent our days walking around the city, me, vowing not to be that lovesick girl from 5 years ago. At night, we were staying with a friend, sharing a bed, and keeping things platonic was a bit of a challenge. I would look over at his tanned back in the morning, after sleeping as far on the opposite side of the bed as possible without falling off, and have a strong urge to take a picture ala the opening scene in In Her Shoes. I resisted both the urge to take a photo of his back and the urge to kiss it.

On my second night I decided I was going to tell him what I was feeling, hoped the 5 cocktails would give me more courage. Instead, it caused me to fall into a drunken slumber the moment my head hit the pillow. Fail.

We did eventually share a drunken kiss, after much plotting on my part, the unattainable finally attained. It was lovely, but much to my disappointment and relief, it was weird. Weird because I had spent 4 months longing for him. Weird because I had held him on this unreachable pedestal for the past five years. I was still incredibly attracted to him. I still love the person that he is. But I realized, 5 years later, that we didn't have much in common and it was merely a physical attraction. Just like that the pedestal was kicked out from under him.

I saw this little post on Le Love today and thought, how true, how fitting.

The worst that could happen? He turns you down. The best that could happen? He feels the same way. The alternate best that could happen? You realize you never loved him and are able to move on.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Adventures in NYC apartment hunting

I got back to NYC last Tuesday and lined up a few appointments to view apartments on Friday. Friday turned out to be a really gorgeous day so I cancelled my appointments. Sun tan or a place to live? You can see I've got my priorities straight.

Saturday was an equally gorgeous day and I had to resist the temptation of rooftop tanning with my girlfriend, M. It's only so long before a tanned couch surfer starts to stink on ice! From the pictures I saw I already knew I wanted this apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn (my second appointment) but for $550 a month I knew I had to at least go to my first appointment in Bushwick. I walked 2 blocks from the subway and knew I couldn't live in this neighborhood. I wanted to just turn around and leave but I felt bad for wasting the woman's time and since I was only 4 blocks away I felt obligated to at least show up. She told me the buzzer was broken and gave me her number to call when I reached the apartment. I called, got her voicemail, hung up and got the hell out of there. The woman never even called me back.

That was the first apartment I was seeing and I was already having flashbacks from 3 years ago when I was apartment hunting in Brooklyn. I called one woman and she told me to be careful when I said I would be coming after 6pm. I went to another apartment that smelled and there was a body outline in the bedroom. Another place was an hour outside of Manhattan and I would be sharing the place with 2 gay strippers. I had nothing against their chosen lifestyle and career, the dealbreaker was that my closet would be on a different floor and the place smelled like wet basement. I went to another place where the bedrooms were separated my makeshift dividers. On my way out there were beer bottles and clothes strewn all down the steps as if someone just threw out their cheating boyfriend. "And stay out!"

I was starting to feel hopeless until I missed my stop and got off at Prospect Park. I had to walk a few blocks back to the next apartment I was viewing and fell in love in the neighborhood. People were riding their bikes around, having coffee at a sidewalk cafe, and window shopping on the streets. I started picking up my pace, so excited to see what the apartment would look like. I had a feeling I would love it and as soon as I stepped inside, I did. I fell in love with everything about it.

I would love to say that was the end of my search and I move in at the first of the month but, alas, apartment hunting in NYC is never that easy. You search listings on Craigslist, wait for them to write you back, rush to see the apartment immediately as to not miss out, and 9 times out of 10 the apartment is scary accompanied by equally freaky possible roommates. They are holding the room for a good friend and if she doesn't take it then it's mine. I'm still crossing my fingers but in the meantime I am still stalking craigslists postings.

If anyone knows of a (non-scary) place in Park Slope/Prospect Park/B-burg please send info my way! Thanks!

Friday, August 7, 2009

It's the little things...

I went to FedEx Kinkos today and there was only one woman in front of me in line but she was taking extremely long because she was designing her daughter's wedding invitation and was confused with the concept of fitting everything within the paper dimensions. I stood there for what felt like ages, burning a hole in the back of her head with my squint. I wasn't in any particular rush but the fact that I had to wait to buy just one page of resume paper, just one, was a serious strain on my patience. "Tap, tap, tap," said my impatient left foot as I inched closer and closer to her until I could see my breath parting her hair.

Finally, Mother of the Bride was finished, without purchasing the invitations, mind you. I asked the guy for one Natural White piece of resume paper and he gave it to me for free on one condition he said, "Get the job."

It's only 12 cents to Kinkos but his kindness made my day.

Hope you guys have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Thailand, I bid adieu

I had a really hectic last few days in Thailand. I was scrambling around trying to make doctor’s visits, buy gifts, and meet up with friends, all while eating everything in sight.

My friends threw me a going away party on my last night. We had drinks and hors d'oeuvres by the pool and then went out to the bars after wards.

I had a great time but every so often I would look around and get hit with a wave of sadness. How could I leave all of this?

After drinking beer, wine, whiskey, and gin all night, I woke up extremely ill the next morning. I had to wake up early to pick up my suitcase from my auntie’s house. All the food I ate the night before came up the moment I reached her door. 4 times. I lugged my stuff back to D’s only to find that the gate was locked and I had no phone because I returned the borrowed sim card to my auntie. I sat outside on D’s porch for an hour, sitting in the sun, feeling like death. As soon as I got into the house I crawled back into bed. I developed a high fever and was sweating and shivering. I still had errands to run, gifts to buy, but I couldn’t get out of bed. I was supposed to meet D’s mom for a farewell sushi dinner but couldn’t stomach the idea of raw fish mixed with last night’s remnants. I had things scattered all around the room and had no idea how I was going to fit them into 2 suitcases, weighing under 23 kg each. From the look on D’s face, he had no idea how I was going to do it either.

I made it to the airport, an hour before my flight, only to find out what I had feared. My two bags and my carry-on was 5 kg over in total. I vow to pack lighter next time I travel.

Seven hours later I arrived at Qatar, exhausted and still nauseous. I had a 9 hour layover. I debated getting a hotel room but knew I didn’t have enough money. I slept on my 90 ton bag, my entire body aching from the angle I was laying, and shaking from the freezing cold AC. After six hours I honestly thought I was going to die in Qatar.

Somehow the ninth hour arrived and I queued up for check-in. The lady took a look at my passport, looked at me, and told me to step aside and wait. I thought, “What now?” It couldn’t get any worse. A few minutes later the lady told me she had upgraded me to Business class due to overbooking and my long layover. She must have taken one look at me a decided there was no way I was going to survive 13 hours in coach. I was so happy I almost cried. I skipped all the way through the gate. My luck has finally turned for once.

I had the best flight home filled with champagne, wine, cheese, and a comfy seat that could be adjusted in 180 ways.

I’ve been feeling a mixture of comfort and depression now that I’m home. I miss my friends. I miss the food. I miss the beaches. I miss the dollar to baht exchange rate.

It’s been such a journey and I’ve reached some clarity along the way.
1) I am so lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful friends.
2) I am no longer settling for sub par boys.
3) I need to fly business class all the time.
4) I need to get back into gear, stop f-in around, and make that money so that I can afford to fly business.

Thai observations

I’ve spent the past 3 months in Thailand and the following is a list of the little things I’ve noticed.

Straws. Buy any sort of beverage and it’ll come with a straw; beer, soda, bottled water, wine, wine coolers, and buckets. Try as you may to deny one but it’ll be in your drink before you can say, “No thanks.”

Unlike in Italy, Ice is taken very seriously in Thailand. At restaurants, waiters will continuously fill your glass to the top with ice. This does not hold same at bars. Bars will charge you extra for ice.

Toilet paper is a luxury. Rarely is toilet paper available at public toilets. If it’s available they usually charge extra for toilet paper. Otherwise, you bring your own.

Toilets are also a luxury. You will still find merely a hole in the ground at most places. If it’s a proper Western toilet, you usually have to pay.

If ants are found in your food you usually send it back to the kitchen. In Thailand, where ants often appear in your food and beverage, you just pick them out.

Microphones and bullhorns. They love it. Everything just sounds better to them when spoken in a mic. Even when it’s just a room filled with 5 people.

. All doormen, guards, valet, and policemen readily wear one at the tip of their lips. They blow on these whistles all the time, for seemingly no reason. Stop. Go. Faster. Slower. All directions are commanded with the same amount of whistle blows.

Employing people for unnecessary jobs. There’s the guard at the BTS sky train who blows his whistle the moment the train arrives. But the train has already arrived so why alert us with the whistle? The guard who salutes and opens the door for you at the mall. Again, unnecessary. The extra 10 guys working around 7-eleven who only seemed to dust candy bars and cigarettes.

All things VIP. There never seems to be any identifiable difference between what’s labeled VIP and what’s not but Thai people always willingly pay more for something that’s labeled VIP.

Wrapping things in plastic bags and rubber bands. You can find any sauce or beverage wrapped in a tiny plastic bag filled with air and wrapped a hundred times around with a rubber band.

Fire games. Light any childhood game on fire and it becomes the fun bar game that replaces darts and pool. Jumprope? Light it on fire! Limbo? Light the stick on fire! Twister? Left foot fire circle!

Rules are merely suggestions in Thailand. Signs are sometimes posted in situations where you can hurt yourself. No one would stop you. They just suggest you didn’t.

I’ve been a bit depressed about having to leave Thailand and get back to reality. I’ve always loved New York City and have never seen myself leaving. But right now I can’t imagine returning. As I pack my bags I think about the following things that I have missed about NYC:

Brunch. Bloody mary’s, mimosas, and eggs nova at Elmo. Mmmm.
A proper dirty martini.
Not sweating through my clothes the moment I walk out the door.
Not having to wear mozzie spray every time I’m out.
My black leggings and leather jacket.
People who don’t stroll.
(Of course my lovely friends, but that’s a given).

Ok, I guess this list wouldn’t be found printed on the back of an I LOVE NY t-shirt. Maybe I’ll be more convincing once I return.

Goodbye, settling

When I first left for my trip 3 months ago I couldn't stop thinking about TA. We said goodbye before I left and decided to cut things off for good. I knew it was the best thing for both of us.

I wanted to email him many times but discarded the draft each time. What would I have said? We barely had anything more than a physical relationship. Would I tell him stories from my trip? Would I tell him I missed him? I knew I couldn’t do that. I would just be opening a door I just closed.

Last month I was laying on the beach on the Gulf of Thailand, sunbathing. I propped myself up on my elbows and looked around. The island was surrounded by beautiful green mountains. The sand was white, fine, and soft. A breeze blew through every so often, giving me a few seconds of relief from the heat. I was laying there with nothing on but my bathing suit bottoms, tan and glistening with sweat. I smiled to myself and thought, “Fucking hell, I am so damn happy right now.” As I laid there watching sexy, fit, and tan European men walk past me I thought, “I am completely over TA.” I was no longer holding back the desire to email him. I no longer missed him. It was such a Jordan Catalano moment. Remember in My So Called Life when Angela Chase woke up one morning, realized she was completely over Jordan, blasted Blister in the Sun and danced around her room in her underwear? I would have gotten up to dance at that moment except I was topless.

Two weeks after that moment, I got an email from TA. The first line read: Hey! It’s great to hear from you! I thought, “What the…,” scrolled down and saw that he was replying to an email I had sent just a few days ago. I know I wasn’t drunk because the email was perfectly legible and because I knew from the date sent that I didn’t go out that night. Yet still, I had no recollection of ever typing out that email. I must have written it right before I fell asleep (I tend to not remember anything from about 30 minutes before I fall asleep). The message was short and sweet. I was just saying hi. I didn’t say, “I miss you.” Regardless of what kind of shenanigan my subconscious was trying to pull, I don’t miss him.

I met someone on this trip. I’m not saying that it takes a new person to forget the old. But it took spending a little time with this person to realize that I was settling before. I got more from a few days with this person that I did in a year with TA. I had never asked TA for more. He made it clear from the beginning he couldn’t give me more. I didn’t think I wanted it. I thought that if I didn’t want more, then I was content with taking what I got.

I had totally forgotten about this little feeling called Smitten. I had confused butterflies with smitten. I don’t know if there’s a technical difference. I mean, butterflies is technically not an actual emotion. I think you feel butterflies when you like someone, but you feel smitten when they like you back and treat you accordingly. I had forgotten how it felt to smile from ear to ear while looking at someone. I had forgotten how it felt to blush, smile sheepishly, and look away when he caught you grinning like the Cheshire cat at him.

I was selling myself short before. I was settling without the person who takes your hand while you’re crossing the street, the person who picks you up and carries you over puddles. The person who stays up late talking to you and tries to change their flight to spend a few extra hours with you. The person who says, “I don’t care what we do, I just want to spend time with you.”

I had to go into this knowing it could just be a fling. I mean, don’t holiday romances always fade…long before your tan? I told myself it’s ok if that’s just what it is. It helped me realize at least, that I don’t want to settle for less anymore.