Jan. 31, 2006

Five months in New York, and for the third time ...


I know, it's crazy how many times one must move in New York to get settled. I pray this is the last time for a while. At least six months! It's so hard to get settled when your life is get-up-and-go. I feel like the Park Slope Gypsy.

The good news? Money's rolling in for the freelance stuff. I make enough to pay rent, buy groceries, pay down Christmas credit card bills, pay my student loans and buy Clairol hair dye at Target. Or, as my pa lovingly puts it, "enough for two tomatos" in my fridge.

But unlike close friends of mine with their own apartments in Manhattan, I can't even BEGIN to think about saving! I'm barely staying afloat. Dinner is a once-a-week luxury (a splurge if it's more than $20), and all I think about is how to get more contracts.

So is it worth it?

I'm going to say 80% YES.

I love that I'm not stuck at my job all day, surfing the Internet daydreaming about another job. I love that I'm not worried about getting fired, getting an annual review, etc. I love that I can go for a jog at 2 p.m., and start my day at 7 a.m. (I'm most productive in the morning), take a break between 4 and 6ish and then go at it in the evening (another productive time).

I love that I wake up IN MY PAJAMAS, knowing that I have a purpose: to do work. And that I have a master's degree.

THAT SAID, I would be lying if I didn't say it's stressful. I MUST, and simply MUST produce. I always have to chase the carrot, looking for the next assignment. This often means Saturdays spent WORKING, Sunday nights spent WORKING, and lots of temp assignments.

But I'm starting to finally get it. New York has the largest freelance contingent -- actors, writers, musicians and teachers. It's cool waking up knowing that I have a guitar lesson to teach or a music preview to write for the Village Voice. It's even cooler to know that I'm temping for one week at a fashion house. It's three times as cool to go to the Co-Op on a Wednesday, at 8:15 a.m., and work the cash register ... with other freelancers! ;)

I love you, New York. Don't lose faith in me!

Jan. 27, 2006

Lately, I've become a bit obsessed with FREE.

Yesterday, I got a free haircut at Bumble and Bumble, as part of their modeling project (hair models for grad-level cutting classes), and once, someone left a bookshelf on their front porch. I picked it up, and now I store all my photo albums on it.

There is such an abundance of goods here that markdowns are commonplace. And despite $1,000-a-month rent and places like the Lower East Side's Stanton Social that charge $14 per martini, I'm learning it's actually quite easy to get free stuff, and to live for less in New York.

New York magazine addresses this topic in full, beautiful detail in its latest issue, which I read (for free) at Bumble and Bumble while waiting for my free haircut. But I also discovered this Free New York Stuff Web site, with listings for free and marked-down events throughout the city. Yes, you CAN have fun on less than $10 per weekend night. I'm determined to make it happen. That's right -- aside from necessities, I'm going to see how low I can go -- $25 per weekend and only one meal out per week. That's right, friends -- no more expensive brunches save the occasional splurge.

I am armed with knowledge and inspired.

Thoughts? Send them here.

Jan. 26, 2006

Holy shit.

Hamas won the Palestinian elections -- the militants will take power. Suicide bombers will abound and Israel is in danger. I'm so shocked and disturbed about this win. Read it here and weep.

At home, things aren't much better: Ford is laying off 25% of its workforce; factories are closing and we're outsourcing more stuff to China. Gas prices are absurd. In New York, rent prices are absurd. Samuel Alito's about to be confirmed (and I'll admit, I haven't really come up to speed enough to know how alarmed I should be, although abortion rights won't go away completely if he becomes a S.C. justice; it'll become a state issue).

Seriously, though, the world is a dangerous and expensive place. So I guess we should all watch our wallets and our backs and our health and each other. Or we should just say f*ck it, and stop being so imprisoned by our fear. I just don't know. It's a balancing act, certainly. Okay, back to work.

Yes, I work in my pajamas, but I do work. I get up at 6:30 a.m. every morning like every other freelancer with insane bills. ;)

Thoughts? Send them here.

Jan. 23, 2006

It's the little things I love about New York:

the dog mornings in Prospect Park, where hounds and owners congregate to socialize, the variety of Friday Night options, the fact that I haven't been to so many interesting parts of the city even as I approach a six-month residency.

And the fact that everyone's a temp. I'm thinking of starting a band called The Temps. I'd play bass, of course, and we'd all be temps.

As far as Soho goes, it's a love-semilove relationship: I love the narrow, cobblestone streets. I love the nearness to Little Italy. I love the designer fashions inside the glass windows, the free Sabone soap samples and the experience of walking around, browsing jewelry stands. What I hate is the restaurants. Except for Jane, a wonderful eattery near Soho, where Karina took me a few months back, the food is so overpriced and overrated. Take Kittichai. Me and a bunch of Medill girlies hit the Thai-ish trendy hotspot for Brunch yesterday. The ambiance left no complaints -- me, Doro, Cath, Bianca, Kendra and Leslie ooohed and aahed at the floating orchids, the stone bathrooms, the fresh fruit martini garnishes. Our food, however, was another story.

I felt like I was getting room service with a bagel-and-lox combo costing $14! I got an omelet with veggies, and toast. Nothing special, but it still cost $11. Granted, the potatos and fruit bowls rocked. So did the maple sausage. But $4 coffee!!??? Come on!

Anyway ... Matt's amazing band Official will be playing Don Hill's this Friday. Come out and check them out. They got a new drummer. And of course, I'll be there. ;)

Jan. 17, 2006

Grandma's Mini ROCKED, thanks for asking!

All of my amazing friends -- Doro, Kendra, Karina, Emily, Jake and 30 others -- showed up. It was blissful to play electric guitar for the first time in, like, six months. The Delancey is an amazing club, too.

My new obsession this morning: Wikipedia. I'm sitting here, in front of my computer, reviewing the new Rachael Sage album, The Blistering Sun, for Venus, and there's this song I'm trying to describe. It sounds like a song deserving of the word "cabaret." Not exactly sure whether "cabaret" describes nightclub lounge, jazz or performance, I decided I need to find this word's origins. So I hit Wikipedia. Ah, Cabaret. I have learned so much!

As for the album, you'll have to read the next Spring issue of Venus to find out. ;)

Jan. 13, 2006


This is the most exciting city in the world, totally my speed!

My band Grandma's Mini is playing tonight at the Delancey with the beautiful boys of Snuggle and Square Johns. All my friends are coming. It's gonna rock!

So today, I'm on my last day of temping for the fashionistas. I've learned a lot -- most importantly, what's going to be in style next fall (hint: those formal-looking capris with pin stripes are still hot, as are plush purple and olive green things). Crinkled is making a reappearance.

I get to read Women's Wear Daily every morning (Chanel's new lipstick line is aiming to be all luxurious, with gold packaging to evoke memories of Ms. Chanel, the luxurious). Almay makes some great reds, too, though.

At my post (the front desk), I get to answer phones and transfer phone calls. Earlier in the week, I got to cut out colorful designs of shirts/blouses. I get to call messengers and sign for packages. After reading The Devil Wears Prada, this is a piece of cake.

Freelancing is going well, too. I'm making enough (finally!) to live here, until I get full-time job at a magazine. And not to jynx anything, but I met this amazing girl and I'm moving in with her, her poodle and her maltese. Yes, there are still some things I need to work on -- and things I'm avoiding. I hope they work themselves out soon. ;)

Jan. 11, 2006

Imagine that! The place where I'm temping this week has a block on YAHOO e-mail but I can still blog via tripod! Woohoo! Hooray!

I better hurry up, because my supervisor's about to get here! Quick scoop: I am a receptionist for a famous designer, known for her working-woman clothes. They are very simple and quite lovely, actually, and everyone here is quite personable. Unfortunately, I can't give any more clues than that because there's this trend where bloggers are being fired or blacklisted. It's unfortunate, but I cannot ever again reveal the identity of my employers. Unless, of course, I'm employed by the Village Voice.

Speaking of which, my band Grandma's Mini is playing The Delancey this Friday, Jan. 13th. That's right! Ann & the boys are hiking up I-95 for a night of freaky fridayness. Check out what the Village Voice has to say. And hooray for free press! We've had two clips in like, two weeks, from major media.

Okay, gotta go. Will write more later. Over and out

Jan. 6, 2006

Happy New Year!

It is a new year, I am a new person. (okay, maybe not a new person, but at least I'll be doing new things). My resolutions? To gain weight and spend money frivolously.

And use spell check for words like frivolous.

To only do the work I love, love the people I work with, live honestly and make ammends for past mistakes. And of course, to get to know myself a bit better, as a full-grown adult.

This entry lacks spice and is totally cheesy, so I'll add another helping of cheddar: I think I might have found, finally, a STABLE LIVING SITUATION! Woohoo! I met this amazing woman, with the cutest dogs (yes, dogs!) and I love them and I love her. To pieces. I can't wait to sign my lease. She's a journalist, too, from Texas, with amazing furniture. We clicked off the bat.

It's getting time for my daily workout at the gym, so I'm outta here. Will continue later this week. If you are in New York, go see my band Grandma's Mini at the Delancey this Friday. (pretty please!) XXOOO, Marisa.