Special K(T)

sports, smarts, arts… and other random thoughts

4 Cool Things from the Internet — September 19, 2016

4 Cool Things from the Internet

1. Even if you don’t engage in online political rants, Facebooks assigns you to a political party.

The New York Times gives you instructions to check out whether Facebook labels you a liberal, moderate, or conservative. I found out that Facebook also knows that I “recently moved” and am in a “long distance relationship.” Scary.

2. The only reason I would want to go back to high school…

Painting your assigned parking space! Super cool!

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3. Actually forget high school, second grade would be great too

The American Girl Dolls ranked by betchiness… nuff said. Except I had a MyTwinn. Or if you like Disney Channel better, I present Disney Channel Shows Ranked by Betchiness.

4. I want to be Grace VanderWaal.

This twelve year old is cooler than you. Vintage/hipster style + candy bracelet + raspy voice + ukulele = utter awesomeness. Please just google her so you can listen to all her songs. Also provided are links to her Twitter and Facebook page for further stalking. You will not be disappointed.

 

Work and Work Clothes Update — September 18, 2016

Work and Work Clothes Update

It has already been one month since I have started my job as a consultant! I know this because I got an email telling me that it has been one month since I started work and that I should take a survey to let HR know how my first month went.

Had I not received the email, I would not have known. With long days, getting up early, and traveling, this month has been a blur. I have finally finished up training and have begun to start some real assignments, which is nice. Also, I am looking forward to staying home this weekend, and establishing a more permanent routine (*fingers crossed*).

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5 Things I Learned My First 2 Weeks in NYC — September 1, 2016

5 Things I Learned My First 2 Weeks in NYC

1. Your workout options are limited.

If you live in an apartment without a gym (aka ME… and I’m pretty sure most people), it is either free or super super expensive to workout. Expensive options include gym memberships or Class Pass which typically run around $100 a month. Free options primarily consist of running… in Central Park, up apartment staircases, or weaving your way through traffic on the sidewalk. All three types I did last week.

One cool thing the city does have, is that free fitness classes are available, as long as you are flexible with your time and location. A lot of workout stores (Nike, Lululemon, etc.) host free run clubs one night a week. This past Wednesday I tried out the Lululemon 66th and 3rd run club. It was awesome! We did six 800 meters in Central Park.

The nice thing about the Lululemon run club is that they let you leave your stuff in their store while you run, and you can use their dressing rooms to change if you are coming from work. Talk about clutch! But since I live in Midtown (a non-residential area around 34th street), I had to walk/ride the subway 30 blocks to the store.

2. Live in a residential area.

Residential areas are nicer, cleaner, safer, and hence more expensive. But I honestly think it is worth it. Midtown is a bit sketch. There are more people (unfortunately including more homeless people), more stores, more loudness. Residential areas like Chelsea, the Meatpacking District, and obviously Upper East and Upper West side just have so much more charm. I enjoy walking around those areas.

3. Catch onto the neighborhood lingo.

Directions are very simple here. If you are going to Lululemon on 66th and 3rd Avenue and are starting from work at 50th and 5th, you go north 16 blocks and right 2 blocks. Genius. Genius, I tell you! What is not so easy is when someone tells you they live in Union Square, or Lincoln Square, or Hell’s Kitchen.

The key is to know where Central Park is located. And hint: It’s pretty centrally located (see map below).

West of Central Park is the Upper West Side. East of Central Park is the Upper East Side. You don’t want to go North of Central Park, because Harlem is sketch. And then directly South of Central Park is Times Square (Midtown). Continuing south grows increasingly trendy/hipster/chic in areas like Chelsea, Greenwich Village, and Soho, until…. BAM you turn all business professional in the Financial District. And if you keep going more south then that, you end up in the Hudson River. 💁🏼 f73c19cfb3981dac4b2013345f4e0452

4. Navigating the subways are a breeze… once you figure out how to work the Metrocard machines.

Subways are simple. To find a station, use Google Maps. If you put in where you currently are and where you want to go, Google tells you what train to take and where to find the closest station. Once inside the station, you pick if you are going “uptown” (aka North like I am at 34th street and want to go to 50th street) or “downtown” (aka South like starting at 66th street and heading towards 20th street).

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Street Knowledge:  Streets run horizontal. So if you walk 34th street you are moving from the left side of the map to the right side of the map. Higher numbers are north/uptown. Lower numbers are south/downtown.

Avenue Awareness: Avenues run vertical. Taking a trip down 5th Avenue means walking from the top of the map to the bottom of the map. Higher numbers are on the west and lower numbers are on the east.

The red X on the NW corner of the box would be 70th Street and 7th Avenue. Mind=Blown.

Side Story on Subways: So I went to refill my Metrocard, which is how you pay for subways, and I insert my Metrocard into the machine and then I select how much I want to add to my Metrocard and then I swipe my credit card to pay. I complete the process, but then I don’t get my Metrocard back! The machine ATE MY METROCARD. I was absolutely perturbed.

So I storm over to the guy in his little subway booth and (politely) explain how the machine ate my card and I want a refund. Well he gives me a free ride to get home, and an envelope to request a refund and tells me to write down the machine number to complain. I returned to the machine, wrote down the number, and then started to buy a new Metrocard at the machine next to it, because I still had to work the rest of the week. I go through the entire process again and then pull out my wallet to pay, and MY METROCARD IS RIGHT NEXT TO MY CREDIT CARD IN MY WALLET.

Summary: Katie is not cut out for city living, and desperately needs to return to the suburbs. Anyways, on to more fun facts about NYC…

4. There are like NO grocery stores!

Residential areas do have a few grocery stores. But unless you can afford to pay for organic food or Trader Joes, you are left to eating out for every meal! I have heard you can order groceries online, which allows you to bypass 1) finding a grocery store and 2) carrying all your groceries from said grocery store to your apartment. Sounds like a ok option.

5. NYC is not actually as bad as a grass-loving, introverted, slightly-germaphobic person might think.

After you learn how to keep track of your Metrocard, figure out what areas of town are safe (and more importantly which ones are not), you might find yourself saying…

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Well, I mean obviously Boston is better… and Philadelphia… and Mishawaka… and Waco, TX is home of Chip and Johanna Gaines from HGTV’s Fixer Upper so I would rank that place above New York…

I really am trying. I promise.

Webster Apartments — August 27, 2016

Webster Apartments

When you work in NYC, you need some place to live. But because I am a consultant and could potentially be traveling four days of the week, I wasn’t going to be paying New York City rent until I was positive that I couldn’t commute from home. So I booked myself 4 weeks at the Webster Apartments until I figured it out.

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The Webster Apartments is a women’s dorm located in the heart of Manhattan. The Webster houses students, interns, or business professionals within a certain salary range for up to 5 years, though most people here are foreign students/interns.

What you pay: Your rent is based on a sliding scale of what you make; hence no income = lowest cost.

What you get: It’s a dorm. Think a room with a sink. Shared bathrooms. Two meals a day. Solid wifi. 24/7 security. And a banging roof deck with an incredible view (see above)!

What you don’t get: Air conditioning (the first 2 days I almost died). Men are ONLY allowed on the first floor of the building, not in rooms. Location is loud, non-residential but you are a few blocks away from Time Square. A gym- there is no work out room. Water pressure- if you live on the 13th floor like I do, you will need to take the elevator to a lower floor to wash your hair.

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My opinion: For what you pay, this is an incredible deal. Rooms are clean and the building is safe. The roof deck makes the city a little more bearable for a suburban person :) My real issue is that I am not a city person. I like to run outside and see grass. I like to drive my car to Target or a supermarket (there are literally zero supermarkets near me).

The food is edible but really strict. You can have as much oatmeal/cereal/salad as you want, but everything else is served to you based on their portions. You get one piece of meat. You can chose between dessert or a piece of fruit. You cannot take anything out of the dinning hall (at least that they see😉 ).

Also I don’t know if flushing toilets is something unique in the US, but this sign is in every stall.

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And still no one seems to read those signs. I will spare you a picture.

 

“Business Casual” Work Clothes —

“Business Casual” Work Clothes

I finally have started my job as a consultant in NYC… YAY work! The first two weeks consisted of training. We got to travel to a couple different locations for office and national training, and learned that life on the road is awesome (company paid for dinners and hotel rooms!!) but tiring (delayed flights, packing, repacking… ugh).

Moving onto clothes: The dress code for my office is business casual, which really is no help at all for a girl. It turns out that business casual ranges from a women’s suit to maroon leggings and a long white blouse.

The most worn item by the other girls you ask?? Bandaids. For real, you can tell if a girl is a new hire by looking at her feet. All the new shoes.

See below for my first two weeks of outfits. As you can see, my clothes stick to my typical five colors: black, white, grey, tan, and navy blue.🙂

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Another clothing consideration is travel and transportation. I take the subway to work and have to walk about 5 minutes to get to the subway and 5 minutes to get from the subway to work. In the heat of the city, I am sweating in long sleeves. And then packing work clothes in a suitcase is such a pain. It is quite time consuming to try on each outfit before you leave. I am planning on buying a few more dresses because all you need to pack is the dress!

Artsy and Stylish: Other People are Cool — August 4, 2016

Artsy and Stylish: Other People are Cool

I was perusing Pinterest for work outfit ideas, as I begin my real life job as a consultant next week eeeeeek!!!! and stumbled upon two awesome people with two awesome blogs.

Stylish Petite

This lady’s work outfits exude class.  I, too, desire to be an entrepreneur whose success can fund a stylish closet and a career as a full-time blogger.

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Speaking of clothing, if you want to read a great article on why men’s cargo shorts are the worst thing ever, click here!

Drawn the Road Again

Then as I stumbled upon this awesome artist, who doesn’t relate to work clothes in the least. She does these sweet watercolor sketches of her travels across the US and abroad. #lifegoals

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The fluffiest pancakes of all time… — July 19, 2016
Mid-Summer Culture Update — July 16, 2016

Mid-Summer Culture Update

I’m balancing pop-culture via in theater movies with books from the Barnes and Nobles classics list. The new and the old. Anyways here is my rating system:

👍🏻 = I like.

👎 🏻= I don’t like🏻🏻.

👊🏻 = Neutral/ no opinion.

Books- The Classics

Sense and Sensibility 👎🏻👎🏻

Ugh. My first book of the summer. Absolutely horrendous. All they do is whine, and NOTHING ACTUALLY HAPPENS. Seriously, you could recount the entire book in paragraph. Two sisters, Elinor and Marrianne, have boy problems. Elinor = sense (aka. she hides her feelings). Marrianne = sensibility (aka. drama queen). They each date people who turn out to be engaged to someone else. GASP! They move houses…drama…they take a trip to London…more drama. Then Elinor ends up with her guy. Marrianne does not. The end.

The Secret Garden 👍🏻

To recover from the tragedy of Sense and Sensibility, I choose an easy read next. Quick story, kept me entertained, and I could knock it out in and day and a half. I approve.

Crime and Punishment 👎🏻👎🏻

I had read this along with Sense and Sensibility in AP English my senior year of high school. I hoped it would get better when I could just read for enjoyment, but there is really nothing enjoyable about the mental state of a man who believes its ok to commit murder. *Smiles ironically* (I still have no clue what this means). Really, no complaints about the writing, I just don’t care for the topic. And the 600 page length is not too pleasing either.

 

Movies- Showing in a Theater I Worked

Now when I say I have “seen” these movies, what I really mean is I worked this movies. Think when you flip channels and you see the same parts of an episode a zillion times but you’ve never seen the whole thing. On the other hand, movies that I have worked multiple times, I usually end up seeing most of the movie. I have seen the ending of every movie, because you wait inside the theater for people to get out.

The Nice Guys 👍🏻👍🏻

This was the first movie I ever worked. It’s pretty funny and kept me entertained. I approve.

Alice Through the Looking Glass 👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻

Really not my favorite. Watched this one a few times.

X-Men: Apocalypse (partially) 👊🏻

I know the gist of this one (aka I’ve seen the ending about 3 times), but really I’m not a fantasy person so I didn’t watch too closely.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows 👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻

Absolutely terrible. I have watched this one upwards of 7 times. “Normal? What fun is that? *Music ends climactically* Turtle Power!!This. This is embedded into my head.

Now You See Me 2 (partially) 👊🏻

Only watched this one a few times. I am interested, but tried not to watch since I haven’t see the first one.

The Conjuring 2 👊🏻

I don’t do scary movies. I understand what happens but I closed my ears.

WarCraft 👊🏻

Again fantasy and I don’t do video games so 1) I watched but had no idea what was happening and 2) didn’t really care to give much effort to figure it out.

Central Intelligence 👍🏻👍🏻

I liked this one. The storyline is pretty typical, but it made me laugh and has a great end scene compilation.

Finding Dory 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

Adorable. This is a must see! I love Gerald and Becky and Destiny and all the new characters. The only thing that is sad is since I know Ellen plays Dory, I picture her face when Dory speaks. Also Jay from Modern Family plays Hank the Septopus, and Phil plays Bailey the big headed whale.

Independence Day Resurgence 👊🏻

Meh. Not my fav. I haven’t seen much of the beginning of this one at all.

The Shallows 👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻

TERRIBLE. I had to watch this 3 times in a row. And I watched the entire movie. Please save yourself and do not watch this movie.

The Legend of Tarzan (partially) 👊🏻

It’s a more historical account of Tarzan. I didn’t have strong feelings either way.

The BFG 👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻

Bad. Bad. Bad. Boring and the little girl is whiny and it’s just weird.

The Secret Life of Pets 👎🏻

All the good parts are in the preview promo video. It’s a very predictable storyline. Good idea, but poorly executed.

Plus, exciting news!! I only have one week left of my serving-movie job. Real person job, here I come!!

Philly ‘Round the Fourth 2.0 — July 15, 2016

Philly ‘Round the Fourth 2.0

Z came to visit! YAY! On Friday night, we ate a late dinner at a restaurant which has fancy outdoor seating. The table and chairs swing back and forth in this huge glider-rocking-chair-like contraption. I have been eyeing them up every day as I drive to work. It was interesting. I think they would be better in daylight, as at there was not much lighting at night.

Saturday was filled with outdoor activities: biking, wiffleball, and tennis (including watching Serena win not once but twice at Wimbledon). Then on Sunday Z, Chris, and I visiting Philly for the afternoon. See the map below for our itinerary.

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I really wanted to check out the summer activities around Penn’s Landing, so we stopped there first. The Blue Cross RiverRink hosts Summerfest featuring an outdoor roller rink, mini-golf, and lots of fun oversized board games (Aaron and I visited Blue Cross WinterFest two years ago). Since we had arrived around 1pm not much was happening at SummerFest, so we continued our way down Penn’s Landing.

Next stop: Spruce Harbor Park, which is this cute park filled with food trucks, brightly colored adirondack chairs, hammocks for napping, and strings of lights dangling from the trees. Z got some tacos, but I can’t pass up cheesesteaks in Philly so Chris and I waited until we walked past Sonny’s Famous Steaks on our way to the historical region for lunch. The wait was longer than desired, but you can’t beat a great cheesesteak.

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The Big Chair at Blue Cross SummerFest.
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Chillin’ at Spruce Harbor Park
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Cheesesteaks from Sonny’s…nom nom nom

After everyone had eaten, we headed over to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Contrary to common belief, the Liberty Bell was not cracked from ringing the bell. There was actually just a scratch that was affecting the tone of the bell, and in an attempt to fix it… the scratch enlarged to a huge crack. Great job guys, great job.

At Independence Hall, we got an insider tip from a security guard to enter through the museum and skip the security line. After a brief chat with Ursula about the rise of Indian nations in the colonial era, we joined the group 3:15pm tour of Independence Hall as no-ticket standby visitors. It was perfect timing.

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dawwww, cousins
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Squad selfie at the Liberty Bell

After walking back to Penn’s Landing, we took a quick stop a street festival sponsored by McDonalds celebrating the Latin Grammys. I understood zero words that were being said. Luckily I had my handy dandy Spanish translator, Z, with me! Then we set off looking for the LOVE statue, which apparently had moved to a temporary location across the street.

While the LOVE statue was not too difficult to find, parking was a bit of an issue. I am not the most decisive city driver especially when it comes finding a parking spot on the street. So everyone got a nice tour of the shopping district in the neighborhood of Rittenhouse Square, as I circled the blocks. Eventually I found a parking spot that I could easily pull into 🙌 🙌 🙌.

Following our LOVE statue visit we decided to walk around the shops I accidentally discovered during our little parking adventure. Then we ended the evening with gelato. We stumbed upon Gran Caffe L’Aquila, which apparently wins tons of awards for their gelato!!! It was delish. I had chocolate, Z got the pistacho, and Chris tried the cannoli flavor. All were wonderful.

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we❤ Philly (and gelato)
3 Things That Made Me Giggle — July 5, 2016