Sunday, March 13, 2011

Carlo's Bakery

Staying with my friend in Hoboken has its' benefits, like getting to watch a filming of TLCs show The Cake Boss at Carlo's Bakery!  Photos are below, enjoy :)

The street sign:


I caught Buddy's eye and asked, "May I?" and he smiled for me :)

I'm here!

The TLC bubble.  This was all for a winter commercial for next year!

The bakery is crazy busy, with lines forming all the way down the street before they're even open.  As you make your way inside, you take a number and then try to get around to see what they have.  The selection is insane and I realized I would need to come back a few times to try all the things that looked good!  Their chocolate cannolis are to die for and their red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting are quite possibly the best dessert I've ever had!

Monday, March 7, 2011

A day in the life of ME!

Since most of my friends and family are native Californians and many have not ventured past the Mississippi, I thought I'd share what life on the east coast is like :)

I wake up in the morning and layer the clothing.  The weather is getting better, but it can still drop down at night and since I never know what the evening will hold, one must be prepared.  I brush my teeth, grab some instant starbucks via and head out.  I walk out of the condo and turn left then walk for two blocks.  I turn left again, walk three blocks and turn right.  At the next intersection, I veer left and head underground into the PATH station.  The PATH is a very small-scale subway line operated by NJ Transit.  It connects Hoboken and Newark with Manhattan.  Unfortunately it is not part of the metro system so it costs extra, but it is cleaner so that's something.

My friend let me have his rechargable card, so I hold it against the sensor and the gate opens.  I walk through it, veer left and usually fly down the stairs to catch the train.  I get on and hope to get a seat as standing on a moving train is not as much fun as it sounds.  After a few stops, I get off and climb two flights of stairs back to street level.  I make a right, go back down a flight of stairs and head into the subway.  I swipe my unlimited monthly metrocard and walk forward until I go down a flight of stairs to the L train.  This is a crosstown train that connects East and West Manhattan.  I take it just one stop and then hurry out to climb another three flights of stairs and turn a corner.  I head down another flight of stairs and find myself waiting behind 4 people deep crowds for the 4 or 5 express train uptown.  When that comes, everyone crowds like Christmas shoppers trying to get in the train.  When inevitably one must admit defeat, those of us left standing in the station have to scowl at those who made it on.  I promise, you just have to.

Once you manage to squeeze onto one, you are squished between smelly guy and bitchy girl.  Smelly guy is usually pressed up against your back pretending he has no choice and bitchy girl looks at you annoyed that other people are taking up space on her planet.  As the train arrives into Grand Central, everyone shifts to be prepared to launch off the train as if it were on fire.  What's awesome is that even though just about everyone gets off at that stop, each person acts like they are the only ones, so they try to move past you before the doors even open.  It's precious.  Once peeled away from the crowd, I opt for the elevator, which surprisingly few people take thanks to the smell of urine inside.  I always won the holding of breath game in swim class...I knew that would pay off one day.  The nice part is that as I escape the elevator, I am deposited right next to the exit I need from the station.  I make my way through the turn-style and maneuver my way through the crowd to the escalator.

Once up, I walk from one side of Grand Central to the other, up another escalator, through two sets of turny doors, across a street, under a passageway, across another street, through another set of turny doors into my building on Park Avenue and then I get to swipe my "I work here" pass for the turn-style into my elevator hall.  I pass the smell of coffee from the little shop and make my way to the back row of elevators labeled 21-26.  I press the button and usually don't wait more than a second before hearing a beep.  After my quick ride up, usually alone, I smile at our cool receptionist and say goodmorning to him before swiping yet another "I work here" pass to get into our offices.  I am generally early, so I walk the long way around the cubicles to avoid morning meetings and finally get to shed my coat and purse at my desk.

After checking my personal email and making sure I'm ready for the day with water, etc, I get started on my reports.  I first input the numbers from the white board that show the activity from the day before for our permanent recruiters.  These are people who find other people permanent jobs with companies who have hired us to do so.  This is where we make real money because it's a one lump sum for finding them a person.  Once I've done that, I get up, erase the numbers, add them to the totals for that week and write the new weekly totals on the weekly side.  I sit back down, run a set of reports on our system, print a paper, highlight stuff, input more data into spreadsheets, send each report to the respective parties and double check that I've done it all before taking a breath.

From there the day gets different:  There are applications I can process, reports I'm still working on inputting macros into, projects I have taken on from our recruiters, filing (which I hate) and responses to any email requests any of my superiors might have for me.  I have several bosses:  one is the other admin who trained me, she is in charge of our little pod; then there is the lead admin who is in charge of all the admins on our floor; then there is the creative team Director who is in charge of the recruiters; and finally the manager who is above our entire division.  I love them all believe it or not.  The girl is chill and a better trainer than she realizes; the lead admin is funny and tries to keep my busy when I'm bored; the Director is happy and encouraging of his team, which is very un-sales director of him; and the Manager is young and really sweet.  Our division just got specialized as a branch of Robert Half International and is under the umbrella of Robert Half Technology (Robert Half also has AccounTemps, Robert Half Legal, OfficeTeam, Management Resources and Financial Services).  The Creative Group, which is what I am supporting, is a little cluster within Robert Half Technology.  Everything at my job is acronyms, so it's RHI, RHT, RHL, OT, MR, RHFS and TCG.  It's a little overwhelming at first, let me tell ya!

Today I had my first hour of helping out on the phones because one of our guys took a day off.  I ended up loving it!  We have this kookie phone system that is on the computer, so you get to double click on people to answer or put them on hold, drag their names to the people you want to transfer to, etc.  It's way up my alley.  I love gadgets.  The hour flew by and I look forward to getting to kill some time doing that whenever they need help.

For lunch, I usually head to Lexington Avenue and get soup or salad or a sandwich.  There are a million things around, and if you turn right you get to look up at the Chrysler Building as you walk.  It doesn't suck.  I usually try to walk a bit, then take my lunch up to my desk and check my email again or map out where I'm headed after work.

At 5, my counterpart goes home, then at 5:30 the other two admins on my team go home and I am left to wrap things up till 6 (my choice...NIGHT person!!).  It's a pretty fun half hour of catching up with my team, making sure things are ready for the next day and organizing my desk or to-do list.

From there each evening is different.  If I'm headed out, I can go in any direction to get to the various subways or buses, and usually I try to walk wherever I'm going if it's somewhere midtown.  The subway is free since I have the unlimited pass, but I love walking in this city so much I do it every chance I get.

Going home is the same as getting there, only slightly less crowded.  The cold sets in as I'm on the train, so coming up from the tunnel is usually a little jarring.  The air can whip around pretty hard and the exchange of temperatures is sometimes painful.  As I make my way up the two flights of stairs into my friends condo, I smile at the thought of the shower I'm about to take and getting into my PJs before eating dinner.

While sometimes the trains can piss me off, and the people can smell, I honestly wouldn't trade a single moment of this to be anywhere else.  I'm home.  I look forward to getting my apartment with friends, settling in and growing roots; but all of that is icing on the cake.  I'm in NYC, I made it, it's all I ever ever wanted and more than I dreamed possible.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Loving my life

Living and working in NYC is amazing.  I see the Empire State Building (aka: my building) every day, I laugh at the weird people I see on the subway and I am making my way through the restaurants and coffee shops.  The job I finally started for real is perfect.  I assist the recruiters for the creative department and essentially get to play with excel all day.  I also interviewed with Starbucks and hope to get a part-time second job with them.  To be honest it's just for the coffee, but the extra pay won't hurt either.

In terms of living, until yesterday, I was staying in Brooklyn which meant a trek to work and back every day.  It was great though getting to stay with cousins I hadn't seen in years.  I feel like I got to know them better, which makes New York feel even more like home.  For the next week or so, I am with a friend in Hoboken until my apartment is approved with friends in Hamilton Heights.  It's so strange still that I'm really here.  New York has been a dream for so long that to be here and feel so calm and present is surreal.  I've gotten to see more friends and distant family than I thought possible and more are to come.  I can't wait to see what God has in store for me from here on out!