That Time I Met Tyra Banks and Ate Her Ice Cream

February 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

Tyra gif

This story is a series of coincidences.

It started on a hot weekday last June, a perfect day for Korean cold noodles (naengmyun). I had made dinner plans to meet Rachel at Han Joo in East Village, so I made my way there after work.

While waiting to cross the street at the corner of St. Mark’s Pl. and 3rd Ave., I heard a loud voice behind me talking about Nutella. He sounded very self-assured, as if lecturing on the wonders of hazelnut chocolate spread. Curious, I turned around and realized that the loudmouth behind me was my friend Drew.

What are the chances? It gets better. Drew was with two friends, Brandon and Travis, who were visiting from Florida, and they were also on their way to dinner. So I invited them to eat with me and Rachel (she arrived a bit later). The five of us had such a good time over noodles and BBQ that afterward, we decided to head across the street for dessert at Spot.

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A Fresh Start In Sunnyside

July 22, 2013 § 3 Comments

I’ve finally settled in to my new apartment in Sunnyside, Queens, and I must say it has been very enjoyable so far. The apartment is beautiful (photos below!), the neighborhood is charming, and my daily commute to Times Square takes literally the same amount of time as when I lived in East Village.

It’s almost that easy.

Here are just some of the benefits:

-There’s a trash chute on every floor, which means I never have to drag my garbage downstairs!!! THIS IS A BIG DEAL.
-Because I live in an elevator building, packages actually get delivered to my door instead of me having to make time for the post office’s inconvenient hours and long waits.
-I live much closer to the train station than I used to — 6 minutes walking instead of 15. The distance seemed reasonable when I lived in East Village, but when I went to pick up my deposit last week, it felt like forever.
-My new apartment building has a lobby. An air-conditioned lobby with couches and a coffee table. Before, I’d be forced to squeeze past delivery bikes or strollers just to get up the stairs. (One time, someone inadvertently wedged their bike between the door and the stairs and I literally could not get inside. That’s how tiny the space was.)
-I never, ever have to worry about being kept awake by noisy garbage trucks or barhoppers. Or my roommate’s crying kid.
-My room has a built-in AC/heating unit! I won’t have to mooch off the living room AC anymore! For some reason, though, my machine is in Celsius and I don’t know how to change it.
-I used to have to pay almost $100 a month in utilities and cable (WTF!). Now it’s half as much — and our Internet doesn’t get disconnected every 10 minutes.

I have only a few minor gripes:

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Why I’m Leaving Manhattan And Moving To Queens

June 18, 2013 § 5 Comments

In two weeks, I will be moving out of my East Village apartment all the way to Sunnyside, Queens. Some might wonder why I’d leave such an amazing neighborhood for some bufu land that even many New Yorkers have never heard of, but you’ll understand by the end of this post.


As you might recall from my move-in post, for the past nine months, I’ve been living in a two-bedroom with my roommate Catherine and her daughter C, who just turned 4. People give me weird looks when I tell them I live with a toddler, and I guess it’s for good reason. Who would want to live with someone else’s kid? And perhaps those people are correct. But more on that later.

My main reason for moving out was economical. Rent cost me $1180 per month, which is reasonable for the location, but with the additional $40-ish for utilities and astronomical $60 for cable/Internet (she subscribes to HBO/DVR/etc.), I paid almost $1300 every month. Of course, when I say “I paid,” I mean “my parents paid,” which makes me feel awful for being such a leech. In contrast, my new apartment in Queens is around $900 a month. That’s a $400 difference!! What the what!

That in itself is compelling enough, but there’s more!

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Hurricane Hygiene

November 3, 2012 § 2 Comments


Damn, you knew you should’ve taken a shower this afternoon before the power went out. You were too busy reading hurricane updates to actually prepare for the hurricane. Before going to bed (much earlier today than usual), you wash your feet by flashlight because you still have some dignity. Being in the bathroom in the dark is scary. Bloody Mary bloody Mary…


You don’t bother to apply makeup because you know for sure you’re not going outside today. Also, hair is up in a bun because you were supposed to wash it yesterday and now it’s been three days and it’s getting kind of icky. If you’re lucky enough to still have running water, you can at leaset wash your hands and face. Otherwise, there’s always hand sanitizer! There’s no point in washing any other part of your body because you’ve been completely sedentary the whole day.


What? That’s not dandruff…it’s…kindling…for the fire you’re building in the middle of the living room to keep warm! Rub some coconut oil on your head; it’ll help.

Today you put on some makeup because you’re heading to a friend’s place uptown. If you’re one of those people who won’t go out in public without a little eyeliner or mascara, you’d better hope you’re applying something semi-permanent because you, in your rushed naiveté, assume that you’ll be back home by nightfall and thus neglect to pack anything. Even a toothbrush.

Now would be a really nice time to own some comfy sweatpants, but you only have jeans because this is New York, where your closet (if you have one) doesn’t have enough room to store extraneous clothing items. Sigh.

After hiking five miles to your friend’s apartment (still faster than a bus!) without breaking a sweat (because it’s cold outside), you are rewarded with a shower. Now you really wish you had brought a change of clothes or toiletries, but you bum a toothbrush, towel and some gym shorts off your friend. You don’t bother washing your hair (still wound tightly in a bun) because it’s long and plentiful and you’re just too tired to deal with it. Without your Clarisonic brush and the daily 5-product regimen you use on your face, your skin also gets dryyy. But considering how oily your face usually is, perhaps it’s an improvement.

You sleep in the shirt you’ve been wearing all day. Don’t worry; it’s okay to do that if you didn’t sweat. No shame.


Your friend kindly lends you a shirt, and you don your pants, socks and hoodie from yesterday and journey to another friend’s casa. By now, your hair (still in a bun) is a certified mess. When hair is in need of washing, some people’s scalps are oily enough to start a grease fire, while others’ are dry enough to start a forest fire. You finally let down your hair and give it a thorough washing. How did people deal before showers were invented?

None of your friends had floss. Who needs floss anyway? You’ve never heard of anyone actually getting gingivitis. You use your old t-shirt to wrap your wet hair and wear your friend’s shirt, the one you’ve been wearing all day, to sleep. You realize that you haven’t shaved your legs in two weeks (it is fall, after all) and hope the extra fuzz will keep your legs warmer. In any case, it’s November now, so you have a valid excuse not to shave all month.


You don’t bother changing after waking up — your friend’s clothes are actually pretty comfortable, and besides, you’re just spending the day bumming around her apartment while she’s at work. Amazingly, your eye makeup has managed to stay on, which means you haven’t rubbed your eyes for 60 hours. What self-control!

After hearing that electricity is back in your apartment, you gleefully return home to find your kitchen only faintly smelling of the rotting garbage and perishable food you left behind. Forget taking a shower; the water is still blisteringly cold. The thing you’re most excited about doing? Changing out of the underwear you’ve been wearing for the past three days.

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