A little late to the game this week with my third post in this series, but I promise it’s for a good reason! I’ve been spending my weekends/Sunday evenings writing these posts as a way to reflect on the week that passed and start the new week off on the right foot. But this Sunday, I spent the day hanging out with my boyfriend before he went off to work, and then when I got home, I spent the evening meal prepping, scrubbing my entire apartment because it was in desperate need of some TLC, and then catching up with my dad on the phone for over an hour. It was really the perfect way to close out what ended up being a great weekend!
That being said, I did reflect on my week and wanted to share my New York Niceties before the weeks slips away…and this week, I found that I have a lot to be grateful for!
#1: A Co-Worker Gave Me a Valentine for Charlie
I don’t really talk about my corporate job much, but if you know me personally, you know that last year was a STRUGGLE. I had issues with some coworkers that honestly made going into the office a nightmare sometimes. The “Sunday Scaries” were SO real, and I actually started interviewing at some other places only 3 months in. Fast forward to almost a year later, and things have improved quite a bit. While my job is far from being a “dream job,” it is a good job, and I’m so grateful to have a job that allows me to afford to live in NYC. Things have even gotten better with the “Mean Girls,” and the Sunday Scaries – while still there – aren’t as bad as they used to be. To prove the point, last week one of my coworkers – one of the two with whom I struggled the most – gave me a Valentine’s Day bow tie for Charlie! Totally random and out of the blue – a true sign that things are SO. MUCH. BETTER. than they used to be.
#2: Charlie Came to Me for Help
Okay so this one is kind of weird but as a rescue dog, Charlie can sometimes have behavioral issues! He can be treat/food aggressive (especially when it comes to chicken bones he finds outside) and after a few scary experiences, I’ve adopted the mentality that my finger/hand/avoiding a hospital visit is worth more than getting whatever it is that shouldn’t be there out of his mouth (seriously, when I first got him he lunged after a cilantro leaf that I dropped on the floor – a CILANTRO LEAF). Anyways, the other day he got something in his mouth that he took out of the dust I was sweeping into a pile on the floor (*sigh*) and I saw that he was having a hard time with it – whatever it was had gotten stuck in his mouth and he kept chewing and chewing and licking and licking, like he just didn’t know what to do with it. He eventually come up to me, stood on my legs, put his face right up next to mine and just plopped down and stared at me while still attempting to chew. After 30 seconds of this, in which he followed me to the kitchen as I tried to give him some water (which he refused) and back to the bed, it dawned on me. Is he–is he trying to ask for my HELP? In pulling this thing out of his mouth? Because he keeps trying to mash his body on to mine all the while staring me down…while chewing. Nervously, I used my hand to pull back his lip and pulled out the item he was chewing on. I never would’ve been able to do something like normally, but this time, there was no growling, no aggression – he just seemed really happy I helped him out and came up to me for cuddles, wagging his tail, afterwards. It melted my heart to see that he finally trusts me. (I still wouldn’t try this with a chicken bone, though!)
#3: New Friends at “The Theatre”
On Saturday, Kyle and I went to see a one-woman comedy show called “Confessions of a Massage Parlor Madame” (review to come on Music & Mojitos) in the East Village. Besides the fact that it was a really impacting show, I was just blown away by how friendly everyone was! People would just randomly come up and introduce themselves, say hello, and genuinely want to connect – both audience members and those running the show. It was one of those unique moments where strangers were brought together by one shared moment where we were all just truly engaged in the moment and what was going on. I can’t wait to write up the review – I’ll link back to it here when it’s complete!
#4: A Blissfully Quiet Coffee Shop
As I mentioned, Kyle and I spent the day hanging out together on Sunday before he went off to work. We went to the movies, and then had a couple of hours to kill before he had to head into the office. We were walking around for a bit, trying to find a coffee shop to hang out in for a bit, but we were in the Times Square area – not exactly ideal for finding a quiet place to sit down in. After about 30 minutes of walking around hoping we’d run into something, I suddenly remembered a nearby gem of a place I had visited over a year ago – St. Kilda on 44th between 8th and 9th – and was ecstatic! I am almost hesitant to mention it because it’s so rare to find a good coffee shop with actual seating! You want to safeguard those places from laptop offices and Instagram gangs so you can actually return to it with some reliability…but I won’t tell anyone else if you won’t 😉 St. Kilda’s is low key, minimalist, understated, and SMALL. It’s also tucked away in a subterranean room with nothing but a simply designed steaming coffee mug over the entryway denoting its existence as a, quiet, warm, coffee shop serving up a decent cuppa joe. I’ve also found a seat both times that I went, and it never felt overly rushed or chaotic. If you know anything about NYC coffee shop culture, you know the above is an all-too-rare luxury. I’d definitely recommend it as a spot if you’re in the area and looking for a coffee spot to catch up with a friend or read a good book!
#5: Luxury Spa Experience…for Free!
For my birthday last year, my bosses bought me a gift certificate to The Red Door Salon and Spa which I FINALLY used over the weekend, and OMG it was amazing! I got a 50 minute massage and it was the complete package – luxury facilities, aromatherapy, infused teas and water, comfy robe and slippers…I was pampered AF. I would (rarely) pay for something like that myself, but when it’s a gift, it’s a little easier to enjoy. It was just the perfect way to end a stressful week and start the weekend on the right foot.
#6: Sharing a Moment with My Waiter on my Solo Lunch
After my spa treatment, I decided to treat myself to a solo lunch before meeting up with Kyle later in the day to go to the comedy show/play. I know it’s silly, but eating in restaurants alone has always been so intimidating for me. I remember when I was younger (even now, still!) I would think about my dad eating out alone on business trips and for some reason, that image would make me SO SAD. But I decided that I am an independent woman, boyfriend or not, and I was not going to use him as my crutch or my excuse to do (or not do) the things that I want. So I marched myself over to Caracas in the East Village for some delicious arepas – you may remember this as my favorite arepa place in the Rockaways. When the host/server/possible owner asked me “table for one?” I felt a momentary stomach flip as I looked in the cramped space at tables full of couples and friends before taking the seat he offered to me. While that was a sort of empowering moment for me in itself (my past explore-the-world-by-herself-Lauren is shaking her damn head because she used to do stuff like that all the time), there were a couple of other moments that made me feel grateful and connected. The first being that my favorite arepa, La Pelua (shredded beef and cheese) were not on the menu but he made it for me anyway, and the second being the huge sigh of relief we both shared when an obnoxious and loud party of three (with one girl screaming at the top of her lungs about how she received two, $3,000 paychecks per month) paid their bill and GTFO. “You can feel the difference!” he said, looking at me, and I nodded enthusiastically right back at him, no other words needed.
This list was a little bit of a hodgepodge/stew of different moments I collected throughout the week that made me smile, feel grateful, feel connected to my fellow humans (and pooch!) and overall feel happy to be in NYC.