Making Rent in NYC

It is possible to enjoy the benefits of a new city and save money at the same time. Watch how I make it happen.
All this for about $15!  I went to Food Gallery 32 for some cheap and adventurous bites.  The snack bowl on the left was a great value for only $4, if you are comfortable not knowing exactly what it is that you are eating. My personal favorite was the seafood and scallion pancake. It was the most expensive, at $7, but was loaded with yummy octopus.

All this for about $15! I went to Food Gallery 32 for some cheap and adventurous bites. The snack bowl on the left was a great value for only $4, if you are comfortable not knowing exactly what it is that you are eating. My personal favorite was the seafood and scallion pancake. It was the most expensive, at $7, but was loaded with yummy octopus.

Great For a Date: Burp Castle, Yes, Burp Castle

Shhhhh! Can you shush someone enough that writing about it later requires using an exclamation point? If you have ever been to Burp Castle, on East 7th St between 2nd and 3rd Aves, then your answer is likely yes. The unassuming facade gives very little away to the beauty of what awaits you inside. The dark small bar modestly displays the current tap beers on a chalk board. Selections range from a familiar pilsner to unique “banana bread” beer. Of course, there is a chocolate stout. Of course, there is a Belgian white. But it is not necessarily the beer selection that brings you here. It is also likely not the murals covering the walls; depicting monks serving, saving, and savoring beers that lead to all the word of mouth recommendations. It is the shushing. Nestled at the corner of the bar, my date and I take a good look at the current rotation of beers. I told him about the place, and about the shushing. We were slightly disappointed that it was a little loud when we arrived, but that soon changed. The majority of the bar patrons actively participated in the communal shush, often, if necessary. This particular night, there was an exceptionally well projected voice that required regular shushing. As a whole, I know this may sound like an uptight spot, but I promise you, it is not. I tend to speak loudly myself, and I enjoy the challenge of keeping my volume level in check. I understand though that this could be a major problem for some. The novelty of the concept makes it a great place to take someone that enjoys quality beers, and prefers whispering over shouting. My date appreciated both, and added that whispering to each other can be sexy.  I agree ;)

Kitchen Whim

I make some variation of black beans and sweet potato on a weekly basis. Today I decided to make chili style black beans and sweet potato chips. I didn’t measure so these are estimated amounts.

Black beans:

1 can black beans

1/2 cup frozen corn

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 white onion

1 or 2 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp cayenne

1/2 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp cumin

Sauté onion in oil, add garlic, spices, stir. Add beans, don’t drain them. Stir together, add corn, cover. Simmer for ten minutes.

Sweet potato chips:

1 medium sweet potato

1 inch of soybean oil in frying pan Slice skinned sweet potato into chips and fry small batches in medium high oil till edges start to curl. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.

Say OK to Free Online Dating

My boyfriend of five years broke up with me in August, exactly one year after we moved to New York City together.  Don’t worry though, this isn’t a downer post.  ”The relationship had run its course,” he explained over our shared tears.  I didn’t believe him at first; I thought there was plenty of road ahead for us to travel together.  The truth however, was that he was right.  All of my close friends around me that were heading to Marriagetown and Familyville were on that path all along, and we, apparently, were not.  

So what is a newly single, new New Yorker to do?  I had a couple of girlfriends suggest I get out there and date, meet new guys, learn new parts of the city, and just enjoy the new independence.  Sure, I would love to meet new guys, but how?  I am not usually approached by guys at bars, and I wasn’t about to walk up to strangers, either. Online dating seemed like the obvious solution.  OkCupid seemed to be the popular choice.  

I started my profile with a couple of recent photos and I answered some compatibility questions.  I got messges from potential dates almost immediately.   In a month’s time, I went out with eight different guys.  Sure, there were duds and studs, but most importantly, I had fun.  The best part though, OkCupid is free!

Wall graphics from allposters.com and bear sculpture from high school sculpture project.

Wall graphics from allposters.com and bear sculpture from high school sculpture project.

For the Anti-E-Readers: Cheap Reads

Despite the growing popularity and decreasing prices on e-readers, I can’t yet find it in my heart to give up on paperbacks.  I consume them with a great appetite, especially recently.  I have thirty minutes on the train in the morning and thirty minutes back at night.  A great book makes this time fly.  Sometimes, I am so absorbed in the book of the moment that I miss my stop.  Oops!

To satisfy my need for fresh reading, I frequent bookstores like The Strand, where within the 18 miles of books I can find great deals on used books, and incredible values on new paperbacks, too.  The staff is also very friendly and helpful.  If you don’t like wandering through the aisles in a leisurely pace, feel free to ask for help.  I can spend a great deal of time in this store; I love it more than a candy store, really.  And I am not the only one, as it is not unusual to have a celebrity sighting here, in the best big bookstore in the best big city.  

Since I love books, and I love buying books, too, the public library concept has eluded me.  I also dislike clutter, so I usually only hold onto my favorites, or the copies that are in too delicate condition to be resold.  My books that I do resell, I submit them to PaperBackSwap.com.  This allows me to list all the paperbacks I have available for a swap.  If someone is looking for a book that I have, the system tells me, and I send the book via media mail.  By sending a book, I get a credit for one free paperback from someone else.  The sender always pays shipping, so hopefully you find books that you like, and people like your books, too.  It is cheap, easy, and a great way to manage your at home library.  

Making Rent, On My Own

Life changes, sometimes suddenly.  The boyfriend I moved to NYC with is moving out, and I’m moving on.  This isn’t a pity post.  It is my acknowledgement of my need to make sure, even more than before, that I don’t overspend, and make rent.  

I like my apartment for several reasons.  Really, it is a great one person place, with enough room for my two cats also.  The rent is low enough that I can afford to keep living here by myself.  That was always a rule of mine when looking for an apartment.  I could go move into a bigger place, and find a roommate, but I think living by myself will be a good thing.  It has been awhile.  

I am looking forward to redecorating and reorganizing.  The extra closet space will be awesome, to say the least.  I am going to have regular posts about cheap, fun decorating ideas.  Maybe I will blog about some cheap, fun date ideas, too.

A Few Fab New Things

I am in love, again.  I was recently turned on to fab.com by one of my very design savvy friends.  It is kinda light Gilt, in that there is a window of availability of items sold.  It makes the deals that much hotter.  These goods are really good great!  I already found a great gift for my tech nerd Dad, and a promising messenger bag for myself.  

Another awesome thing about fab, they reward you for referring others to sign up.  And you will want to sign up.  This stuff is up to 70% off, and it goes quick.  Think: exclusive sales, and you are in the know.  Click on the link here and you won’t be sorry.

matchbookmag:

“Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.” – Zelda Fitzgerald

matchbookmag:

“Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.”
– Zelda Fitzgerald

My favorite “of the moment” summer accessory.  These Ralph Lauren Aviators were a steal for only $25 at Filene’s Basement.

My favorite “of the moment” summer accessory. These Ralph Lauren Aviators were a steal for only $25 at Filene’s Basement.