Friday, May 11, 2007

Living Vicariously

We’ve all wished we could just drop everything we’re doing and just leave. Forget about work. Forget about drama with friends or boyfriends. Forget about the life we’ve created for ourselves and for a small moment pretend we are someone else.

These notions probably run through my head, on a serious level, about twice a year. Of course, I can’t afford to just drop everything and leave. Actually, I probably could leave if I wanted, but then I’d be casting aside everything my type-A personality has worked for over the last few years. Simply casting aside is something a person like myself needs to warm to.

Since I need time to mentally prep myself for such a glorious adventure, I’ve been camping out with my antidote – the travel journal section at Barnes & Noble.

I discovered this book section a few years back and I’d probably say about half of the books I read come from these hallowed shelves. Most of these books follow the theme of “working girl gets sick of daily grind and goes on worldwide adventure.” Not to mention that it seems odd that a majority of these authors find exotic lovers along the way that “change their world.” Damn it. I want someone to change my world!

Anyway, I’m working my way through yet another fantastic pick, this one courtesy of the one and only Downtown: Without Reservations by Alice Steinbach is about a notoriously independent reporter who took a leave of absence from work to travel to Paris, London, Italy and a few places in between. It’s fabulous.

A few more of my favorites:

Read and be figuratively taken away…

Friday, April 27, 2007

People...Antlers are NOT a New Trend

Every now and then I have to snicker at New York’s attempt to make the mundane trendy. Mundane for me translates into the daily goings-on of your average West-central Wisconsin native. It’s what I grew up with and knew all my life until I hauled tail to the big bad city. So when I see things like camo turn up on the runways of Fashion Week I just have to sound off…and yesterday’s NYT Style section is just more fuel for the fire.

Apparently antlers are now considered "in."

Yes. Antlers.

To me the word “antlers” reminds me of my driveway after the big Thanksgiving day hunt. It makes me think of my family’s basement, which doubles as a “showroom” for my dad’s taxidermy masterpieces. Antlers, as crazy as it sounds, makes me think of home - home being small town Wisco.

Well, apparently notions of home are turning up in the West Village as a trendy gastropub adorned with antler chandeliers or in a Soho boutique with walls adorned with large shoulder mounts.

I mean, come on! With one click of the mouse, my association with antlers has now been turned upside down no thanks to a select number of “trendy city folk.”

Making a “trend” out of a décor tactic that has been employed since the beginning of time is a New York cliché that only non-natives would understand.

Monday, April 23, 2007

After a break up, hairapy!

I had to do it. It was a hard decision and I feel horribly guilty, but it was a necessary change that was needed in my life…I broke up with my hairstylist and went back to my ex.

D was fabulous for a short time. She had the skills of cut and color. She told great stories about her rock star husband and their strangely-suburban lifestyle in “The Jerz.” She was the purveyor of my dark locks and assisted in the pursuit of the ideal shade of brown.

Despite the long term relationship, I just had to go back. Not only did I go back to the ex-stylist - I went back to blonde.

After about four months of trying brunette on for size, I decided it wasn’t for me. It was a true experiment; however I somehow feel that I lost a piece of myself in the process. The ex (who was always a skilled master in the art of highlighting) helped me find myself again through a lengthy brush and foil hairapy session

I know this is the second beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Elle's First Day

The other day I was reminiscing my first day in New York City with an old friend of mine. It’s been awhile since I had thought about that day and realized that it was a completely ridiculous experience - and likely on par with everyone else’s cliché “moving to New York” experiences…

Prior to moving, about six years back, I was all proud of myself because I had already found a job and an apartment. I thought, “gee, all I have to do is get there.” Little did I know that it would be such a “shit show.” (Thank you Snob for such a fabulous phrase)

I had packed 2-3 large suitcases and 2 carry ons with everything I could pack in. I got off the plane at LaGuardia with written instructions on “how not to be screwed by the cab driver who will clearly guess my naiveté via copious amounts of baggage.”

As we drove through the Midtown tunnel, I was still smug about how smoothly things were going until the cab dropped me off on the corner of Mott and where-the-hell-am-I, smack in the middle of Chinatown. My said friend was in town visiting her boyfriend and she was to meet me on the specified corner, as I was going to stay with the happy couple until my sublet opened up on June 1st.

After 20 minutes on the corner my friend finally showed up. I was sweating like a pig in the sweltering heat, had been cat-called at by about four pseudo-homeless men, and had been freaking out at the thought of my bags being stolen by a mad mob of angry New Yorkers. At her arrival, I could finally relax…or so I thought.

My friend and I dragged my bags over to her boyfriend’s apartment, getting a kick ass work out in the process. It's about here where my cozy idea of a “hip, downtown, New York apartment” was blown out of the water. We climbed up to the third floor where her boyfriend lived with (wait for it) seven or eight other random people. I was curious as to how this could possibly work out. We stepped in and finally realized the apartment was one where each person got a small, dorm-sized room (with accompanying padlock). The bathroom, living area and kitchen were all shared spaces.

It was then that the boyfriend explained that the apartment used to be none other than a fully operational brothel just two short years back. Hence the individual rooms and small living space.

Inner Monologue: “OH. MY. GAWD.”

Fast-forwarding to my so-called relaxation time, I was the lucky lucky gal that got to sleep on the carpeted brothel bedroom floor, right next to my friend and her man who were sharing a twin bed. Talk about close quarters.

In the morning, I immediately called my new roommate and volunteered to help her “clean the apartment” (i.e., move out of brothel and into my own space). Four subway rides to-and-from my apartment in Hell’s Kitchen and two ass-kicking luggage workouts later, I was finally all packed in. I immediately showered off all remnants that could have potentially amassed from the nasty-ass brothel carpeting I was forced to cozy up to. It was smooth sailing from there on out.

I’m sure there are far worse stories out there on nightmarish apartments and moving to the city, but considering I was a little, 22-year-old, fresh-faced midwesterner I was shocked right out of my britches.

Rest assured it was all worth it in the end. After all, I know now that New York wouldn’t be New York without a bit of strangeness here and there.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

UPDATE! Elle @ The Final Four

I won! there technically were split results. On the client/company pool showdown, I totally kicked everyone's asses since my brilliance correctly predicted Florida as the NCAA winners. I pulled ahead of the pack with the win and stole first place. I'm currently awaiting news of my prize.

In the internal company pool, I got second place by FOUR MEASLY POINTS! And I lost by four points to a guy who thought Gerogetown was going to win. Um, hello?!? Clearly, I'm still naive in the ways of scoring sports pools, however I don't get how I could have lost. I guess it's kinda like the 2000 election. A sham I say, a sham!

Regardless of the split results, shoes were purchased.

Two pairs!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Elle @ The Final Four

I am completely rocking my company NCAA brackets right now. I may be a heal-wearing, wine-drinking gal from the city, but man-o-man are my Big Ten sports skills coming in handy now.

In my office, there are a few token males (i.e., not gay, but not datable). It’s about this time of year that they all start foaming at the mouth at the thought of “making their picks.” I usually ignore them and go on my merry way, however this year I was invited to participate in two pools: one for my company and one against my clients.

I’m kicking everyone’s asses.

You see, little old Elle was smart. Although I would have loved to see Wisconsin go all the way, I knew it was a shot in the dark. I put aside all loyalties and went with shear probability, putting Georgetown, UCLA, Florida and Texas in the Final Four. I say Florida wins. I’d say my odds are pretty damn good.

(NOTE: Feel free to insert comments here confirming my prediction)

I won’t deny that I do have a bit of a competitive streak in me, but usually not enough to drive me into a bar on the upper east side to watch a college basketball game. This year, I may have to rethink this notion, as there is something quite pleasing about knowing you have “out picked” all the boys in the room. I’ll have bragging rights for an entire year!

Now all I need to do is find out if there is a prize for winning. If there is, I hope its cash…perhaps then I can go buy that pair of sweet Italian leather peep toes I’ve been eyeing in my favorite downtown shop.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Jazzy Monday

As a child I can remember loving the Charlie Brown TV specials, perhaps not so much for the animation, but for the jazzy piano tunes played so eloquently on screen by the one and only Schroeder. As I grew up I never had the dexterity to be a talented musician (save a handful of years of violin playing in the middle school orchestra), but I surely can say that I grew a love for all kinds of music.

As a teenager, I must sadly admit to being fanatical about teeny bopper tunes of Tiffany, Debbie Gibson and NKOTB. In high school, although I never wore flannel, I grew to enjoy grunge music and even a smidge of rap & R&B – I still love old school Mary J. In college, I relived my parents’ experience and fell in love with classic rock. Perhaps it was seeing Jimmy Page play the guitar from the 11th row, but all I know is this genre still dominates my iPod.

Lately, my new obsession takes me straight back to my childhood love of Schroeder’s piano and the Vince Guaraldi Trio. I’m just loving Jazz right now. All kinds of jazz…modern, acid, Brazilian! In an effort to do something different and indulge in my musical cravings, I coaxed a friend to come with me to check out Jazz at Lincoln Center.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve been trying to do different things with my time. Not that I don’t love tapas and wine with girlfriends, but sometimes that gets old and I thought a night of jazz would be the perfect prescription to shake things up a bit.

Not knowing what to expect, my friend and I arrived at Dizzy’s Club on the 5th floor of the Time Warner Center and were greeted by large windows overlooking Columbus Circle and the Southwest corner of Central Park. All we could see were the twinkling lights of the city serving as a perfect backdrop for a jazz quartet.

We got settled, ordered a bottle of red and a few snacks and spent the next 90 minutes listening to the spring-themed set of soft, toe-tapping Madeline D’Ambrosio and her musical trio. As we listened to the songs, one by one, I caught myself smiling several times. I mean, how can you not with such whimsical music in such a setting?!

My friend and I were definitely the youngest in the room – by about a decade, but we didn’t care. We joked about how we should be wearing all black, berets and smoking incessantly, but of course, we were in New York – no smoking inside.

As the set ended, we finished our bottle of Cab and decided that the night was a perfect New York Monday. Jazz, a bottle of red, a view of the city…can it get any better?