This week’s obsessions are brought to you live from New York, where I was feeling super nostalgic and reminiscent until a torrential downpour today made me want to set everything ablaze and scream endlessly.
Before I fall asleep for the third night in a row with my phone in my hand, my hair flailing about, and my feet hurting so good, I have these life-changing gifs and thoughts to share:
This week marks NINE years of Wittyburg.com. Yes, this stock gif has 10 candles but a girl can dream, can’t she?
The hotel I’m in this week is called StayPineapple, and they take their theme seriously. The towels, tiled floors, cabinets, water, mugs — you name it, and it’s got a pineapple on it. Such commitment! Such joie d’vivre!
As exhausting and infuriating this city that never sleeps can be, I will always be grateful for the chance to revisit and reminisce on my few short years living here. There’s a certain special type of person who can live here and love it — and to those folks, I salute you!
I intended to cover some other very exciting things this week, but then I noticed a recurring theme and couldn’t stop myself. You guys know I love a good theme, yeah? Let’s see if you can figure it out, but first, lemme light a candle:
- Van Diemens: RIP, you awful bar. I spent so many nights (and days) in NYC at this bar, first because they played my college team’s football games, but then because we got to know the staff so well they just gave us great deals all the time. I recently learned it’s since closed and my poor soul aches thinking of all the times we could have had if it hadn’t closed its doors.
- Paradise Park: Even more recently (as in last night), I learned this Nashville treasure shuttered last summer. You want a bucket of Bud Lights and live music and the best people-watching that side of the Mississippi? Well, good luck finding it anywhere else on the bar-lined Broadway. In all seriousness, though, Paradise Park will forever remain my fave Nashville spot and I’m in full mourning.
- Ghost from GoT: Has a CGI character ever inspired such reaction, such fan-demonium, such chatter? Probably, but this one’s top of mind and so he’s featured here today. The budget for Game of Thrones is utterly wild, so to know our dear Ghost gets any screen time anymore is kind of a major blessing… but it’s still not enough for us fans. All Ghost, all the time? I smell a sequel.
- “The Ghost of You” – My Chemical Romance: Oh yeah, we’re throwing it back and it’s not even Thursday yet. As you’ve likely guessed by now, this week has dug up a lot of ancient memories for me, so it’s only natural I tip my metaphorical hat to the guyliner-wearing screamers I loved. Never one to love a mosh pit, I can still appreciate how this song gives me all the feels all these years later.
It’s been an emotional week for my home state, particularly for the city of Orlando. I woke up Sunday to my family and friends there marked as “Safe” on Facebook, but there are more than 50 families who weren’t as fortunate. I’m still collecting my thoughts into coherent sentences for a separate post, but until then, here are some things to help us smile through the pain:
- Hallee’s Birthday: Hallee Sorenson is a vibrant young woman, who happens to be autistic and celebrated her 18th birthday alone last year after invited guests failed to show. Her cousin Becky has now invited all of Facebook to send Hallee birthday wishes via mail. If you can take a few minutes to brighten this young lady’s day, cards can be mailed to:
34 Wellesley Way
Bangor, ME 04401
- Magz Retires: The mother of all teachers — my mother — retired last week after 32 years of teaching foreign languages and life lessons. She spent 22 years at the same high school and has inspired countless students throughout her tenure. True to form, she’s still working hard this week and grading AP tests in Cincinnati. There’s a large margarita on the rocks (no salt) with her name on it when I see her next month.
- T-Rex Competes on “America Ninja Warrior”: The T-Rex costume has provided plenty of laughs in various viral videos, but this one might just take the cake. I don’t think I could complete any of these obstacles in regular clothes, let alone an inflatable costume. Spoiler alert: T-Rex’s tiny arms may be his downfall.
- NYC Gay Men’s Chorus on “GMA”: Driving out the darkness with a message of positivity, my friend Marc and the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus shone brightly on Monday’s broadcast of “Good Morning America.” Their message of pride and joy to comfort the grieving Orlando and LGTBQ communities is truly mesmerizing.
On a final note, as Father’s Day approaches: If you’re fortunate enough to have a relationship with your dad, please call or spend time with him — anything you can — on Sunday. A close friend of mine just lost her father to cancer, 50+ children in Orlando won’t be celebrating and there are things so much bigger in this world than our stubborn differences and disputes.
I flew about 3,000 miles since last week’s post and boy, are my arms tired. [Insert bad-joke rimshot noise here.] I’ll spare you any more corny jokes and get right to it:
- NYC: It’s a great time of year to be back in one of the most electrifying cities on Earth. The air and leaves are crisp, the people are crazy as ever, the Mets are hanging in there, and I feel very #blessed to spend a week in the city.
- Macy’s Herald Square: A big change with this visit is that my NYC team recently moved down the street to work in offices at Herald Square. It’s completely insane walking these hallowed halls and being right in the action — but I so appreciate the chance to “be a part of it.” 😉
- Halloween: Um, duh. This year, I have a friend’s wedding to attend and will then continue the celebration at my friends’ party. The costume isn’t as surprising as you might expect, but it’s still sure to be a winner. La la la la la.
- “Hello” – Adele: OK, so everyone and their mother — litchrlly — is obsessed with this new release from the queen of soulful singing. If this is what three years of anticipation brings us, I’d have to say it’s worth the wait. And the video? Damn, girl.
So I’m back in NYC this week — for work, but more importantly — to celebrate my work wifey’s wedding! It could be the copious coffee, this electrifying city or a combination of both, but here’s what I’m feeling:
- Earth Day: I know y’all were thinking green on 4/20 but how about you go a step further and do something good for the environment today? Then, reward yourself with this adorable quiz from Google to determine your spirit animal.
- Via: For all you lovelies who are tired of Uber surges in NYC, check out Via — you can go anywhere between 14th and 110th Street, Monday to Friday, 630 a.m. to 930 p.m. for a fraction of the price! Use my friend’s promo code justine4w6 for a $10 credit 🙂
- Obao: It’s no secret that New York has some of the most delicious food in the country, but I experienced Obao last night and was just blown away. From phenomenal pho to incredible desserts and impeccable service, it’s no wonder this place is so popular.
- “Up” – Olly Murs f. Demi Lovato: A co-worker got me hooked on this song, which is just brimming with positivity. I never considered myself a Demi Lovato fan, but the little lady has quite the pipes to support Olly’s smooth singing.
Welp, I know how Jeter must feel … this farewell tour has been exhausting.
But I’m so thankful for my supportive family and friends who’ve put up with me these last few weeks — I promise, the dragon lady will be extinct once I’m settled in San Fran!
Till then, let’s celebrate these four final New York obsessions:
- MTA: Oh, how I love to hate you. But when it’s all said and done, I am honestly amazed that 9.5 million people are transported via the subway, buses, LIRR, and Metro-North. Keep on keepin on’, Old Faithful.
- Times Square: See above re: love to hate. My NY experience would be nothing without the absolutely insane environment I face every workday. It’s magical to tourists for a reason, and I hope to enjoy visiting it in the future.
- Allison Turns 1!: OK, so she doesn’t live in New York, but she was born a Yankees fan so that totally counts. My favorite niece has brought nothing but joy and wonder to our family, and I can’t wait to celebrate many more years of her being adorable.
- DE-REK JE-TER: I searched the archives and have not specifically called out The Captain as an obsession. So there. His final home game is tomorrow, and his last at-bat will be in Boston Sunday. Regardless of wins and losses, I have nothing but love for my first-ever celebrity crush. Enjoy retirement, Jetes. You know where to find me.
So, um. I move to San Fran in TEN DAYS. To say I’m ready would be a flat-out lie, so let’s just keep on procrastinating with these four finds:
- FALL.: That’s right, white girls can officially rejoice in a few days because the weather is changing and Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back! I’m personally just excited to sweat a little bit less … call me crazy.
- New York Fashion Week: With the emergence of fall also comes NYFW — a shining, glittering beacon for all the aspiring Miranda Priestlys of the world. I’m not super in-tune with the trends, but this color palette has me admittedly giddy.
- Van Diemens: I can’t believe I’ve never publicly obsessed over this bar … it’s been a steadfast go-to for a solid year! My alumni group hosts events here, and it’s also where my going-away party will be Saturday night 😥
- “Here I Go Again” – Audra Mae: I heard a snippet of this cover during a Bravo promo, and I am totally hooked. It’s raw and real, and I can’t get her voice outta my head.
I know I say it a lot, but I am truly exhausted today.
Why, you ask?
Well, I spent the last few days in San Fran looking at apartments and working from my new office, and then returned to New York on a red-eye this morning. No less than three cups of coffee later, and I’m finally certain that it is, in fact, Wednesday.
- Oren’s Daily Roast: I wouldn’t have survived today without my favorite downstairs baristas at Oren’s. If you want frou frou, go to Starbucks. If you want exciting flavor combos and coffee that tastes like coffee, check out this NYC staple.
- Out The Door: Back in California, some friends gave me a crash course on the SF food scene via OTD. Everything we tried was delicious, particularly the crispy salt & pepper squid salad. Yum!
- MUNI: It’s weird to be obsessed with public transportation — and its bus component, no less —but as someone who loathes the buses in NYC, I applaud SF’s city planners for thinking this one through. MUNI is easy to navigate and well-maintained … we’ll see if I’m still singing the same tune come October.
- “Leave the Night On” – Sam Hunt: I can’t put my finger on what it is that makes me gaga for this song, but I’m hooked. It doesn’t hurt that Hunt is foxy and he mentions Cali!
I feel like all I can ever say lately is, “I’m tired.” Between crazy projects at work and crazy fun social events, I’m just run down and in need of Wittyburg time. Until I (ever?) learn how to relax, here’s what’s kept me smiling:
- lovejpep: My dear friend Justine’s birthday is tomorrow, so what better way to celebrate than catch up with her blog? It’s inspiring, thought-provoking and incredibly charming. Happy birthday, boobear!
- My High School Reunion: It’s still more than a year away, but some of my classmates are so eager, we’ve got a full-fledged #reuniongate on our hands. Their public passion about gay bars, family events and crepe paper is entertaining, if nothing else.
- East End Bar & Grill: This neighborhood spot is a new fave of mine for two very important reasons: They hosted my alumna group for a Mass Comm grad happy hour AND they have a buffalo sampler that will change your life. Priorities, people.
- “Bang Bang” – Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj: Spotify delivers once again — this time, with a trio of badass voices. It debuted yesterday and is already climbing the charts. Just try to get through it without dancing like a maniac.
I’m officially able to announce the big move I mentioned so cryptically Wednesday: I’ve accepted a relocation offer with my company and will be moving to San Francisco!
I have nothing but love for New York — well, except for MTA and rats and smells and why am I always sweating?! — but have dreamt of living in the Bay area for some time.
Fortunately, my West Coast team is pumped to have me there in person, and I won’t spend nearly as much of my workday on the phone or chasing email threads. I’m super thrilled for the opportunity and couldn’t be more grateful for my supportive senior leadership and company.
So, until the actual move happens (sometime in late September), I’ve got an NYC Bucket List started and about a million things to coordinate. Wish me luck as yet another huge adventure begins. Eek!