Saturday, July 27, 2013

This Week at the Valero Residence...

In the second week of unemployment I was determined to reach out and apply to a number of positions posting on LinkedIn. I also started hunting for a part-time job in the area to do in the meantime. Its amazing what someone can achieve if he/she puts in the effort. And thats what is necessary to get the results one wants at least in my case. Hoping to hear back from some of the organizations in the coming week, remember to follow up!

In addition to my professional accomplishments I was introduced to this volunteer website called I will definitely apply and reach out to some of these organizations looking for people who are as people friendly, passionate and determined like myself. But the reality is they need people to help for free.

Started a Yelp account and made a few reviews on places in North Carolina close to school and a bunch for places in NY/NJ area. More recently I raved about the Brownstone Pancake Diner in downtown Jersey City. Surprisingly they have a great bar menu ontop of the pancakes-food thats equally impressive.

Havana and Sour Apple Martinis

Tuesday night we ventured out to Liberty State Park to see free music thanks to our city councilman of cultural affairs. Soulfinger consisted of 6-7 member band of 40-50 somethings groovin' to songs and rhythm of the 70s disco and today's pop. They really made the crowd energized and really had some fun. The restaurant's scenery was so professional and thoughtful - especially the life-sized chess set and pieces for kids to play with out in the garden area. It was so beautiful outside, not too humid or threat of rain clouds. We had front seats to see the change from the afternoon sun to the pastel hues of dusk to the midnight dark star studded background behind the New York downtown skyline. 

The next night I went to another music venue down the street on Palisades Avenue for an open mic. The Trolley Car Bar & Grill is this small dive bar with a outside patio, boxing bags, dim lighting and friendly people. It was an okay joint for an open mic with the exception of the organizer starting nearly 1 1/2hrs after the time on the email sent earlier that day. But that's music for you, unless you go to a Coldplay concert. Them Brits start on-time!

Friday instead of making a holesome nutritious breakfast I settled for this new flavor Pop Tart. Its a great combination - chocolate and peanut butter - especially since the two are favorites of mine but who'd ever think it would be a Pop Tart flavor?!?! I remember when my Mom was asked by her former superior about the Doritos flavored taco for Taco Bell and that sounded pretty weird but apparently attracted enough support from regular customers to make it become a reality.

Later that afternoon I was supposed to head out to Brooklyn to see a free show - Trampled By Turtles among other bluegrass bands - at the Prospect Park Bandshell in honor of their Summer Concert series. But my stupid idea to wear high wedges I came back around the corner and gave up. Instead we went on the light rail to get a drink at the Cityside Bistro. I did not realize until we came through the door that I had been there last summer for one of the Downtown Jersey City meetups. White and red sangeria was hard to pass up and glad we had our share - 2 rounds. 

Two hours later we came home, ordered Chinese from Good Year on Central Ave and ate a late night dinner before hitting the pillow. Pu Pu Platter - now I hope that means something more in Chinese but its a hilarious name in English. But a well worth buy for a small appetite: 

Lil bit of everything!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Chilling By the Wayside

Not unemployed I've tried to enjoy coming back home. Jersey City has been through a lot of changes as so many people I've known throughout my life. What a fascination phenomena to see a place grow and experience so many new cultural shifts over a short amount of time. I appreciate my hometown for all its endured and for all its potential. In the last few years I've embraced the newness of the downtown scene. Meetup has been the go-to resource center to connect with people who live/work here. I joined this Downtown Jersey City Social Group on Meetup last summer and met someone there who in one night showed me the 'lay of the land'. Being some years older than me and having lived in the downtown area awhile she had a unique insight to the dos and don'ts of the urban nightlife among other  interesting neighborhood activities.

After moving all my belongings from my 3rd floor, tiny, crumbling and uncomfortably annoying apartment in New Brunswick on Friday I needed a little getaway. So off to Zeppelin Hall - Biergarden for Currywurst (memories of HJ Study Abroad in 2011), spaetzle and good beer! Dennis, Mom's boo, came with us in the hopes to hear some good live music. To our dismay the live music was cancelled but the food was good and I did have the chance to watch the Yankees-Red Sox game...well maybe that wasn't as good since they played disgracefully. Between appetetizers, beer and our meal I was stuffed!

Waking up the next morning was tough which explains why I took a three hour nap later that afternoon. Sleep deprivation is a serious problem gone astray. Need to be better about that. I was happy to finally use our fully functional renovated upstairs bathroom. The shower has a huge rain shower head that feels oh-so-heavenly! So what do you think? Trust me, this is so SO amazing especially at the price we did it for. Imagine the before with loud wallpaper, a pink porcelain tub with a toilet and sink to match with horrible lighting. Now you can see the benefits and pleasure of making the bathroom your own:


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Finally some lasting SUNSHINE!

This past weekend was spent close to the workplace and summer apartment in Edison, NJ in Tom's backyard in the pool and sitting out on the patio. Who knew saving money could turn out to be such a sweet deal! After hearing about possible issues with my feet (on-going) from the foot doctor in Somerset, NJ on Friday I needed to stay away from all other complications.

The pool felt really nice and cooled me down after weeks upon weeks of mugginess and ungodly heat. Although the offer to drink beer out in the sun by the pool was appealing I knew better. So hydration is key therefore I reverted to H2O! And let me say although I was so relieved to be away from the apartment in New Brunswick (less than desired...EVER) sleeping on the couch is not comfortable. It was a chushy couch at first but for a on-the-stomach sleeper who often gets annoyed when hot while asleep. 

Saturday we did put up a line of CDs in front of all the vegetables growing in Tom's backyard. Why CDs? A stupid groundhog has been eating up the vegetables and potential vegetables. BBQ and more pool time ended a perfectly pleasant day. Sunday was almost a repeat of Saturday with the exception of any work and Mom coming to hang out. Went to CVS to get ice cream and Watermelon Twizzlers (craving you cannot do without for too long) was a nice touch to end the weekend. 

Praying Mantis on the pool ladder

The veggies now protected from the greedy groundhog

Fun in the City

Went into New York City a few weeks ago for free admission to the Guggenhiem Museum. The perks of being a Bank of America customer. I think I might have a problem with caffine specifically coffee. Its been a habit that has progressively gotten worse throughout college. I know this because after withdrawal if I pass a shop or cafe selling coffee I have an urge to purchase and chug. Example while in the city we stopped into a bakery around the corner from the museum. Ooo that coffee was smooth and looked great next to the Elephant ear cookie I bought.

While at the museum - which was packed - we waited to see the newest exhibit by James Terrell. Unfortunately I was impatient and did not see the need to stay in a dark room with dim lighting to wait for something (if anything) were to happen. Interesting idea though. Check it out for yourself: Guggenheim Museum

Also during my visit to Jersey City for the weekend I cut my hair and had a great surprise bite at Zinburger. Mom wanted to introduce me to their delicious and outrageously flavored milkshakes. It was a food-filled weekend! Monday morning before driving to New Brunswick for work we went to a local diner in Jersey City and had pancakes :)

 Don't forget the sweet potato fries :)
 Salted Caramel and Creme Bruele milkshakes

Monday, July 8, 2013

Rally in Trenton & Fun with Co-workers

Into my forth week at the Fund and I've learned so much about this job, my position and how the office runs. My second week some of the canvassers - Tim, Eddie and I - drove down to Trenton to meet Doug, Regional Director for Environment New Jersey. We were among many other NJ citizens and groups rallying against fracking. For those that don't know, fracking or hydraulic fracking is a method of drilling into the rock below the ground that is often mixed with groundwater. The mixture is injected at high pressure into a well along which fluids such as gas, petroleum and groundwater. In other words this method of retrieving resources from the ground is poisoning our water.

It was so inspirational to see all these people together; verbally and physically making their presence and feelings known to those in Trenton.

 Co-workers Tim and Eddie with Regional Director Doug

 League of Women Voters support the Ban Fracking Amendment
 Legislators came out to voice their support 
First-hand testimony of the bad effects and aftermath of well water 
for local Pennsylvania native 

A week later I was in the office on a Saturday to make up my day off with ole friend Keith. We went to the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank the evening before to see David Byrne and St. Vincent perform (Check out my music blog HERE for more info). It was such a great (high energy) and fun show! Three encores!!!! I really loved the brass used on their most recent album. Everyone on and off stage seemed to be having a good time.

Saturday canvassing early in the morning isn't that great. But this particular Saturday in Middletown not only was there no chance or sign of rain but I also made $420! I achieved what the office recognizes as a "spicy night" - $350+ and 10+ petitions signed. I felt really good along the drive to Princeton to drove off the Zipcar I used the evening before with Keith (to go to southern Jersey) and waiting for the extremely delayed train to Secaucus was irritating. I eventually made it to the station where Mom picked me up and we spend the next few days lounging around not doing much of anything. We did, however, go and check out "Great Expectations" from the Main library downtown. Having never read many of the classics or Charles Dickens I thought it would be appropriate to do so now. 
Playing around in the office on a Saturday. One of our directors 
has a panda-shaped cookie for a head. 

Stay tuned for updates on July 4th in the office and other craziness.