- each embraces New York with the intense excitement of first love, with the fresh yes of an adventurer -

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hello 26.

Twenty-six. It doesn't quite sound as nice as 25, does it? I liked 25. Twenty-five was a good age, a good year. Filled with good things. 26 sure has a lot to live up to. And I'd say we're off to a good start, me and 26!

Last Friday Mom & Daddy sent me a lil early surprise package to work. And oh, did Mom have jokes. Here's what my birthday surprise package included --

A printed picture of Ray Ban Aviators. "Good for one trip to Sunglass Hut" she says. I've somehow talked them into buying me expensive sunglasses for my birthday. I'm not sure yet if it's going to be another sunglasses disaster or a massive sunglasses success. We all know how hard I am on sunglasses...Maybe twenty-six = better luck with keeping sunglasses in one piece / scratch-free / in my purse? Hah.

I also told Mom I wanted a super-pricey-but-ohsolovely Michele watch. Even though I knew it was much too expensive and she wouldn't buy me one. But a girl can dream right? Anyway, here's what I got --

"Mini Michele!" she writes. Oh Mom. You and your jokes. :) It's cute though, right? I can totally rock the watch ring.

If I haven't written it enough on this blog, I have amazing friends. Really really fantastically amazing friends.

Friends like new roommate Katie. Who was out of town for my bday, so left me these gorgeous roses as a surprise on Friday.

And friends like these pretty girls. Who joined me to celebrate on my actual birthday in the best way I know how! Boozy brunch. New York style.

I love brunching in New York. I love trying new brunchy spots in new neighborhoods that I don't usually visit. I especially love when drinks are all included in the brunchy pre-fixe.

This particular birthday Sunday, we did brunch in the Lower East Side at Essex. Oh my. It was delish. And...it was real hot. So don't judge us by our 95 degree + 100% humidity shininess. This is the epitome of New York summertime grossness. Like I said, good friends. Ones that brave the subway and un-airconditioned restaurants in unprecedented heat for your birthday celebrations.

New roommates Lindsay Ann and Hannah pointed out that Lower East Side staple, Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery, was right across the street from Essex. Totally necessary for post-brunch birthday treats!

And then on Monday, I walked into an office that looked like this...

Since Bethany was still in Texas for my weekend birthday brunchy celebration, she decided that decorating my office the day after was completely necessary. And birthdays just aren't birthdays without decorations.

I had lots. Pink streamers + confetti + cupcake balloon + prezel m&ms + this sign (written in scented markers of course) & magnet to announce the big day on my office door...."Life's too short to not live as a Texan...In NYC!" Italics = Bethany's additions. Fitting.

I don't know about you, but I <3 it. <3 it a lot.

And then, to top it all off, I received this cutie cutie gift in the mail from BFF Kayla in Texas.

It's an 'L' mouse pad! For my desk at work! I loveeeeeee it! A lot!!!!!! Thanks K, love you!

Cheers to 26! And everything new that it brings!

Friday, June 18, 2010


my parents have officially demanded that i return to texas to visit.

and i really mean demanded. the conversation went something like this...

"uncle johnny and your cousins are coming to visit in july. so you can come on july 17th. i looked at plane tickets, it will cost you $300. ok?"

...and then mom put a plane ticket on hold from saturday to saturday and sent it to my email. for me to book. and buy. you'd think that since it was a mandate, they'd buy it for me, right? negative.

clearly she knows that i'm the queen of procrastination, i am her daughter after all, and i'm more likely to purchase a ticket if she finds it for me. hah!

i have no excuse for the amount of time that's passed since i've been to visit. it's not that i don't want to go see everyone in tejas. because i do! i miss them lots! i'm just...and this sounds kinda bad...but i'm just a lil busy, i have stuff all summer. stuff i don't wish to miss.

oh she doesn't care though. she's forcing me to miss 2 bachelorette parties. she says, "you can't always do everything, lauren." but i haaaaate missssssing things. i don't like to miss out! especially on beachy weekend bachelorette parties.

but since she did put the ticket on hold, i bought it.

ok ok, not right away. actually, if i'm being honest, i forgot to buy it. and the cost doubled over the weekend. then i just felt bad. lucky for me, mom is in the habit of checking flights to and from nyc regularly. this week she found a lower cost and promptly emailed it to me. so much for her and daddy buying it for me, huh?

since my presence has been demanded, to texas i shall go. in 4 short weeks.

and even though i'm going to miss lindsay's beachy bachelorette party, and it will be 100 degrees the entire time i'm there, i'm real excited to head back south for awhile.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Deleted Scenes Part 4

Avenue of the America's, the coffee cart across the street from my office...while purchasing summertime morning standard, iced coffee...

Coffee Cart Guy: Good morning! You're new. Are you across the street?
LJ: Yes yes, I am new! Just moved into that building this week.
Coffee Cart Guy: Good good. Come by everyday. Even if you don't have any cash. Just come by and I'll give you coffee. Whatever you want.
LJ: Oh really? That's awfully nice of you. I'm sure you'll be seeing much more of me!
Coffee Cart Guy: Good good. See you tomorrow then.

The following morning...same coffee cart, same coffee cart guy...

LJ: $2.75?? For coffee and a banana??
Coffee Cart Guy: No? Too much? How much do you want to pay?
LJ: Ummm...let's see how much I have...
Coffee Cart Guy: $2.50?
LJ: Here's $2.25.
Coffee Cart Guy: Ok, ok. $2.25. You have a nice weekend, ok? See you next week.

Here in New York, we tell our coffee guys how much we'll pay for our coffee. And they know they'll see us next week.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I guess this is when it gets real.

4 years.

I have officially lived in New York for 4 years today.


People frequently ask "And how long have you lived in the city?" I typically respond with "Oh, about 3 years now I guess." Like it's nothing. Like 3 years is no big deal. But it's 4 years I've been here, not 3. And I'm a New Yorker now after all, time passes so quickly that it has no meaning.

But still. How could 4 years have possibly passed me by already?

I have now lived in New York for as long as I lived in Austin.


I have now lived in New York for as long as I was in college. I have now lived in New York for as long as I was in High School.

Huh. How 'bout that?

4 years.

When I think about it, my life has run in 4 year increments for the past 12 years. 4 years in High School. Followed by 4 years at college in Austin. And now, 4 years of big girl life in New York.

Each 4 year period has had it's happinesses and it's struggles. Each period was incredibly memorable, incredibly influential, and mostly incredibly responsible for shaping me into this woman I am today.

I loved High School, but I was a lil naive. And I loved College, but was so desperately looking towards the future, I regret having taken it, and the glorious lack of responsibility, for granted. And I love New York, but we still fight.

I guess my, "I'm moving to New York!" "I can do anything for a year!" phase is officially over. Because somehow, after these 4 years, New York is my home. My friends are here. My job is here. My church is here. My life is here.

Like I said, sometimes me and New York fight. It's true, no one can deny that NY is a tough place to live. It's not for everyone. Sometimes, especially in the midst of a fight, I wonder if it's even right for me.

But then I remember how much fun life is here, the convenience of walking everywhere, how I live at what feels like the center of the universe. And then I wonder why I'd ever leave at all.

Regardless of the fights and the number of times I decide I've had it and "I'm done here," the city always finds a way to make up with me. Usually with something fabulous. Like gorgeous weather. Or surprisingly delightful weekends. I guess our relationship is getting serious. Because here I am. More settled than ever in this New York life of mine.

4 years. Gone. 4 incredible years of NYC. 4 years of struggles, 4 years of independence, 4 years of hope, 4 years of possibilities. 4 unforgettable years of growing up. 4 years of my life in a place I never thought I'd call home.

Cheers to whatever the next 4 years may bring!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New Things

New office location. Tribeca? Or SoHo? Still undecided.

Regardless, not only did I move apartments on Memorial Day weekend, but I also moved office buildings. My company is now located downtown. Waaaaaay downtown. Where people walk slowly and streets are semi-deserted at 9am. It's like a whole different world.

And the best part? This is my office. Yes, that's right. My very own office. With my very own door. That I can shut when I please.
And look how happy my plant is to have natural sunlight again!

And this is the view from my office window.

And this is the office directly next to mine.

Bethany! Weeeeee!

We apologized in advance to our other neighbors for the inevitable:
country music, giggles, squeals, yelling through our walls, etc.

We anticipate complaints. We don't really care though.

As new roomie Lindsay Ann put it -- "I can't imagine the two of you actually doing professional work at work."

Oh but we do! And we are quite good. Which is why we have fab offices. Next to each other. Naturally!

Monday, June 7, 2010

These Girls

These girls were my roommates.
And my friends. And my sanity. And my refuge. And my confidants.

These girls were so much more to me than just roommates. --

We shared clothes. We shared bags. We shared jewelry. We shared birthdays. We shared stories. We shared secrets. We shared recipes (healthy ones!). We shared make-up. We shared heartbreaks. We shared TV shows and movie nights. We shared motivations. We shared inside jokes. We shared cabs. Always. We shared a small bathroom. We shared opinions. We shared football games. We shared the karaoke microphone. We shared struggles. We shared beds...because sometimes it's necessary. We shared a million different memories. We shared our lives.

And now that we don't all live together, many of the things that we share are the same, but it's the way we share them that's changed.

Julia is getting married this fall. She's got a new mid-town roommate in the form of her fantastic fiance, Seaver.

Caroline found herself a big girl one-bedroom UES apartment. It's all hers. And there are so many window sills for Standford the cat to enjoy.

These girls are no longer the ones I catch up with at the end of a long day as we're eating dinner. They are not the ones who give their opinions on my outfits before heading out. They are no longer the girls I spend loungy lazy weekends at home with. They are not the ones that dance around the apartment with me as we're getting ready on Saturday nights.

Without these things that we've shared for so long, I admittedly feel slightly lost. Uncomfortably unconnected from them. It's the end of an era. A good era. An era when we all learned so much about ourselves, about each other, about being big kids...even when we didn't want to be.

These girls are more to me than just roommates. These girls are now 2 of my very best friends.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Ode to the Upper East Side

Dearest Upper East Side,

You have been my home for the past 4 years. The sounds of 2nd and 3rd avenues have lulled me to sleep every night. Wasabi Lobby and Poke and Cilantro and Ship of Fools and Sotto Cinque and Uptown and Beyoglu, whatever will I do without you? You have been my UES go-to places for 4 incredible years. And oh, 86th street 4,5,6 express subway stop. We have had quite the love / hate relationship...mostly love, peppered with hate whenever the trains just. aren't. running.

As I leave you now, and head across town to new and unfamiliar UWS territory, I can't help but feel slightly sad. Like I'm somehow abandoning you. Remember when Jamie lived right around the corner for 2 years? Remember when Seaver proposed to Julia right there on our old 83rd street stoop? Remember how many nights we spent at Mad River? And late night pizza stops at Fat Sal's? Remember all the movies I've seen / sneaked into at Orpheum 7 theater? Remember the 2-story 82nd street Starbucks where our very first Bible study met and turned into a NYC family? Remember how you somehow had a way of making my New York feel so very small? Just because all my friends lived so close?

You were good to me UES. Yes, you were one of the very first places in NYC where I felt comfortable. So please remember, as I leave you now with all these memories of my first 4 years in this amazing city, that you, UES, were one of my first New York loves. And let me tell you something. That's nothing to take lightly. First loves are always the hardest to get over.

Gratefully Yours,