Monday, February 18, 2013

Vaginas, Applying for Jobs, Tackles, Snow, Music, and oh so much more

Pew! What a week its been. I am starting to understand perfectly what my advisor meant last semester when he said "you think fall semester is breezing by just wait until spring. It'll be gone in before you know it." Its true and I've only been back to school for a little over two weeks. I don't have a full schedule and yet I feel so busy and chaotic...there are no brakes from here on in. Time to be in the passenger seat has come and gone. All systems go!

Another element that made this particular week so ridiculously hectic was dress rehearsals for the Vagina Monologues. Each year since my freshman year at Elon Performing Arts majors have taken it upon themselves to direct and produce V-Monologues. The great part of the whole process is that this is one of the few shows at Elon that is fairly open to non-majors and often has more "actors" that are non-majors perform a monologue. Although I didn't get a monologue I was offered the role as Narrator 1. I was pretty sure that the narrators wouldn't be so important but I was SO wrong. Lyndsay Burch, the director, wanted to do things differently, more theatrical. With that she wanted the narrators on-stage the whole performance in front of these three square pieces of wood draped in red & pink cloth. 

As it turns out the narration was the hardest part of the show. Not only were we on-stage the whole hour+ running time of the show but we had dialogue among each other that was very fast-paced, required super energy and risk AND we had to remember intros for the monologues - all different lengths, styles, occurring at different times throughout the show. All in all the two performances on Valentines Day were the best and it was really great working with such a strong group of women. Be sure to check out Eve Ensler's (the author of the show) amazing charity to empower women and raise awareness to the injustices against women called 1 Billion Rising (link HERE). 

The Vagina Monologues cast and crew 2013

Oh and so I also applied for a job this week too. I was so worried about writing a cover letter and fixing my resume while trying to keep myself engaged, alert and energized for classes and the rehearsals. Meeting with Pam in the Career Center was helpful to ease my anxiety but the whole week I felt like I was scrambling. I applied for the Development Coordinator position at the League of Women Voters in D.C. Its a job I would LOVE to have and an organization I truly admire so fingers crossed. 

In addition to the craziness going on during the week EWR (Elon Women's Rugby) had a very early rise to head out for our game in Charlotte. Of course Saturday the day of our game and day of traveling almost the entire state of NC had an advisory report for snow. I will admit that the entire time we were outside at the pitch in Charlotte it was pretty chilly, however, I would never mind being cold over being hot. We played a really great game against a pretty intimidating team - big girls. It was a historical game too being that our scrum captain, Jamie, made a tri (goal) and one of our backline players subbed as a scrum prop and did a phenomenal job - YAY Smurf! Afterwards one of our teammates, Steph and her parents organized a lunch on them for the entire team. We went to a really nice sports-bar type restaurant. The food was amazing as you can see below!

Tipsy and Smurf warming their butts by the fire

The other end of the table 
 From left to right: Backline players Natie, Sam, Koala, and BGraham

 Natie's awesome Cobb salad and mac & cheese side
My delicious BB's Cheddar, Bacon Burger with sweet potato fries and this REALLY
interesting and sweet marshmallow dipping sauce :)

I drove the EWR van back to campus only to find it was pretty snowy at Elon moreso than the whole time we were in Charlotte. After dropping the girls off at the parking lot by the practice field Tipsy and I snapped a few photos of campus in the snow. 

As if my day hadn't been long enough, I had another engagement to go to later in the evening. Instead of working on some things for Monday classes I decided to take a nap for 1 1/2hrs before my friend and I trekked out into the snow to Raleigh to see The Dirty Heads. It was extremely difficult to get out of bed but worth going to the show. The Lincoln Theater is a great venue that I only wish I knew about years before now. I realize how out-of-the-loop I am when it comes to venues in NC which makes me want to investigate more before I graduate. On another blog dedicated to music reviews/show reviews I go into detail about the show, the acts, the atmosphere, and suggested material. Check it out: Cat's Muse

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Great Food & Fun over "Fake" Break

"Fake" Break comes but once a year and this year is the last one for me. The positive is that my last "fake" break is by-far the longest I've had since I've attended Elon. For starters: Restaurant week practically everywhere: Philadelphia, New York City, Jersey City :) Went to The Merchant near Grove Street in downtown Jersey City. My mom and I decided to share each others 3 course dinner so we could try more dishes at a very reasonable price ($25 for the entire meal except the drinks -- but the all-night Happy Hour helped in that department too). Dirty martini made with vodka NOT gin - ICK!
Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Dip with Homemade Pita Chips

 Apple and Fried Goat Cheese Salad

Sun-Dried Bow Tie Pasta in Cream Sauce

 Salmon with Vegetable Risotto 

 Classic Apple Pie with a scoop of Vanilla ice cream

 Chocolate Mouse cake with raspberry syrup

I decided to sleep in - which I had gotten used to this past summer - almost everyday during "fake" break. It was so nice to have no plans - except on Thursday when I felt ill and decided to cancel my appointments in the city. However, I was a bit ddisappointed at the lack of music choices at my usual places (i.e. Bowery & its incorporates, Webster Hall, Irving, etc). At the same time I didn't look at venues I've wanted to go to (for example, the Brooklyn Bowl) for awhile OR simply check regional media sources like The Village Voice for alternative shows/art/concerts. No that would've been too easy.
Instead I looked on Craiglist for tickets to the sold out Lumineers performance at Terminal 5 on Sat. Feb. 2nd. I thought - at the time - how luck I was to find people on Craiglist offering to exchange or sell their tickets. I was also pissed off because they are taking tickets away from people who really want to go to the show only to resell and make a lot more money (or scam you as I soon learned). 

I encouraged Keith to come up from Philly to visit mom and I and finally stay over our house in Jersey City. We decided to go see the show together...We took the 123 bus into the Port Authority then walked up 8th Ave towards Terminal 5 area. Upon my suggestion to grab a quick bite we ducked into this traditional bar called The Social. We shared two dishes over beer and my lemon drop cocktail (not the shot) while listening to techno/new age music and chatting about life. 

 Chicken Fingers and Baked Mac n Cheese

Snapshot as we walk towards Terminal 5 and it was snowing!!!

I was in a terrific mood considering it was snowing, I was with a good friend and we were about to see a pretty awesome (hot item) band! Unfortunately my mood was quickly defused once we were turned away for fake tickets. I felt so stupid but we did see quite a few people walk out the doors of the ticket lobby muttering similar disappointment. Two girls outside mentioned paying a total of $200 for a pair of tickets and were turned away...OUCH. I definitely was not going above the $100 I spent for our pair considering the original price for the tickets was $30 a pop. 

Despite the upsetting news it was snowing and we had the whole night to take the city by storm, literally. And we did. Hopping on the subway heading downtown to try Bubby's for their late night breakfast menu since Keith expressed an interest in that particular cuisine. After feeling pretty proud that I found the place (in Tribecca - name streets makes it a little difficult) it was yet again another FAILURE. The waiter told us the "breakfast late night menu is not available (or ready to serve) until 12am midnight." Well that sucked but all the better. So out into the fluffy whiteness heading north to 14 St. We walked and walked and walked. FYI don't where Timberland boots if a) they are not weather proof, and b) walking long distances. Of course I did not know it was expected to snow (which is why I was so happy) but the walking bit I could have prevented especially after we ate our late dinner at Coppelia.

Cross bridge over the exit of the Lincoln tunnel into Canal St/Chinatown/Tribecca area

The upside to the extraneous walk up to 14 St was walking through Greenwich Village and once we arrived at the eclectic Peruvian/Cuban/Mexican fusion diner I ate to my heart's content. The menu was very random and made it hard to choose a dish but I was thoroughly pleased with my choice (see pic below) and the coffee WOW was too die!

Menu at Coppelia

Sweet tooth - challah french toast with fresh fruit, caramel and syrup

After our bellies were full we continued to walk around the city. Keith, having not so many experiences in the city like me, was open to seeing/doing whatever. So we went to Union Square. Fond memories of all the seasons in that area so I thought it was worth a shot.

Its as if I should expect anywhere and everywhere I choose to go I will find someone I know particularly someone I know from Montclair. "Catherine Valero?!?!?!" (with excitement, bewilderment and shock). Frasier and Rebecca, colleagues both Keith and I had gone to school with, were with a few people coming out of an apartment near Union Square on 14th St heading east. All I got to say about that is...strange but now I will forever expect that type of scenario to happen. The world is so big yet so small.
 I loved the glass torch-like awnings on this building we past going west
from Park 
 Empire State at night in the snow on 5th heading uptown
 Frozen water fountain in Bryant Park 
 Erie Rockefeller Center. No one skating and no one in sight

Following day Keith, mom and I went back into the city to investigate art at the Met and see Grand Central considering it was the centennial and I had never been inside (except via subway). We ate an early lunch at Junior's (not my fave but I had a delicious grilled cheese & bacon on challah bread) and afterwards got back on the subway to 86th street to visit the Guggenheim (didn't go inside since Keith would've missed out due to the ramps were closed for construction purposes). We walked down a few blocks to the Met and spent the next 3+ hours there. It's HUGE! Of course not as big as some art museums I've been to in the world (i.e. the louvre in Paris) but for America its pretty awesome.
 100 detail on the windows in honor of the centennial

 Starring at the unique structure of the Guggenheim before we walked 
a few blocks south on 5th to the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Interestingly AWESOME drums of ancient Indonesia I think?

We departed from Keith in Port Authority and headed home. I was really feeling the pain in my feet from all the walking I had done in the last 24hrs so instead of going to the Irish pub for another restaurant week deal and to watch the Superbowl we stayed home. There were major benefits in staying home: comfy clothes, free meal thanks to my mom's bf Dennis who paid for dinner, check out Superbowl stuff on our own tv while online and I could go upstairs to my bed at anytime. 

Leaving my mom is always sad especially since we have a really great relationship: we're mother-daughter and best friends. But all good things must come to an end right? At least we had the entire day on Monday to spend more time together since she called out of work. I am exceptionally grateful to have her in my life and I know I'm eternally blessed.