Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sample Sale Mayhem

Finished out my second week! It's hard to believe I have been here for two weeks - it seems like it has been so much longer. I feel like I'm finally figuring out the subway system and learning my way around. The good thing about NYC is that it's on a grid system with numbered streets and avenues, which makes it a lot easier to figure out where you're going.

This week was full of sample sales! Well, only two, but that's enough in one week for me. There's a sample sale warehouse right near by work, which could be a good thing or a bad thing :) Every week they house a different sample sale. This past week was J. Crew, this coming week is Rachel Zoe.

The J. Crew sample sale started on Tuesday, and the other two interns and I decided to check it out during our lunch break that day. Big mistake. The line was wrapped all the way around the building. Clearly we weren't going to be able to shop during our lunch break. The sale went until Saturday, so I went back on Thursday during my lunch break. After realizing there was no line, I decided to go in and check it out.

It was complete chaos.

Racks and racks of clothes positioned super close together. Lots of people. No organization. You have to be willing to dig through everything if you're going to go to a sample sale. You also have to have a lot of time, which I didn't.

Oh, and you can forget about dressing rooms. They had a narrow hallway setup with mirrors and racks where everyone just throws off their clothes and tries everything on. It was all girls trying stuff on, so it actually wasn't too bad.

I'm sure if I had stayed long enough I would have found something I liked, but I didn't have the time or patience to dig that day. The prices were pretty good, but some stuff was still pretty high (cheapest pair of shoes I saw was $60 and they were little sandals). I did try on a pair of leopard pants and a leopard skirt (had to) that were both priced at $25, but they didn't fit me quite right. Like I said, you really have to have the time to dig and brave "the dressing room," which of course has a decent sized line of it's own.

However, the J. Crew sample sale was great preparation to the sample sale I went to today - the Pronovias bridal sample sale! That's my exciting news from last week. I realize you may not be quite as excited about this as me, but I had to create a small bit of anticipation for the 5 people that read my blog :)

When I got engaged, everyone kept telling me that I have to go dress shopping in NY. Of course I smiled and agreed, but in the back of my mind I was thinking "do you think I have $10,000 to go blow on a dress?" I would be one of those people at Kleinfeld that gives their budget and the consultants respond by saying, "well, we will definitely be limited about the dresses we choose with that budget."

Thus began the search for bridal sample sales.

I found out about the Pronovias sample sale last week and called to make an appointment. I love their dresses and wanted to at least see what it was about. Since I had to set up an appointment, I knew it wouldn't be like Kleinfeld's sample sale where people line up outside for hours waiting to get in. Thank goodness I didn't have to do that. I asked my friend Sari to come with me and we headed out this morning. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect.

We got there and they had all the dresses organized by price. We started digging and took a few back to  "the dressing room." It was a little better than the J. Crew hallway, but it was still just a smaller room set up with mirrors and racks. I went to David's Bridal up here on Friday night to make sure the style I had always wanted looked okay on me. That made it much easier when pulling dresses today because I only tried on that particular style. They didn't have quite as many dresses as I thought they would today, and I only ended up trying on 2. I loved the front of the first one, but hated the back of it. I loved the second one, but ultimately, I wasn't ready to commit quite yet. I feel like I need to have other dresses to compare it to, and I didn't want to buy it just because it was a great deal. It also was a few sizes to big and was going to need a decent amount of alterations.

One of my consultants that helped me today was Elise from "Say Yes to the Dress." I knew I recognized her when I saw her, and after doing a little research online, I found out she used to be the Director of Sales at Kleinfeld. She doesn't work there anymore obviously since she works at Pronovias, but it was really cool to have her help :)

I'm doing more research to find out about other bridal sample sales or stores up here. Maybe I will be able to find a dress in my budget :) If not, I have plenty of time to find a dress when I get back to SC.

Ok, enough about sample sales and wedding dresses. I also headed to the 9/11 memorial yesterday. Here are a few pictures I snapped.

The South reflection pool

Names listed on the walls of the reflection pool of those who died. 

I'm also going to check out Hillsong NYC tonight! I'm excited to see what it's like. After that, it's time to get out of weekend mode and transition into the work week. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

First week. Check.

I've officially been in NYC for one week. After wrapping up the first week of my internship, I decided to do a little exploring this weekend. 

On Friday night, Ines, a girl at the Webster who also moved in last week, and I headed over to Union Square to walk around. I have a friend from high school who just moved up to NY and she was in the area, so we met up with her as well. The three of us window shopped and went in and out of the stores. I finally figured out where a Whole Foods was and went in just to see how big it was. Because it's more than one floor, they have little escalators for your shopping carts. It's funny how after being in NYC for a week, I suddenly label any store that is only one floor as "small." I'm going to be in for a rude awakening when I come back to South Carolina.

On Saturday morning, I got up and went for a run along the High Line. The High Line is a (mini) park built along a set of old railroad tracks. It's above street level, and provides a nice strip to run along while being surrounded by a beautiful green oasis of grass and trees.

Part of the High Line

Around lunchtime, Sari, Ines and I all headed to the Times Square area. I mentioned Ines earlier, but Sari is another girl who moved in last week as well. The three of us have been eating and hanging out together. It's nice to meet people who are also new to NYC and want to do touristy things like me. We walked to Times Square in search of 99 cent slices of pizza. After a little help from Google, we finally found some. You may be skeptical about buying a 99 cent slice of pizza, but it actually was really good! Here's a few pictures from our adventure....

Not too shabby

We also saw the infamous Naked Cowboy while in Times Square.

So many M&M's

While we were in Times Square, we decided to stop in a few of the theatre box offices and find out what their student ticket/rush policies were. The first one we stopped in was Mary Poppins, and they happened to have some student tickets available for the show on Saturday night for $32. After thinking about it for approximately .018 seconds, we decided to buy them. How could we have passed them up?

After walking around Times Square for a little longer, we decided to go find a little treat.  I've always thought Times Square was so glamorous in the past, and it is to an extent, but it is SO crowded. Everyone moves so slow and there are so many people. I think I've gotten a little to used to the fast pace of NYC. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a very fast walker, so I fit right in up here. 

After consulting Google maps again, we found a Crumbs Bake Shop and stopped in to get a cupcake. So many flavors. I finally decided to order the Apple Cobbler cupcake.

Oh my goodness.

It was incredible, and I don't say that about many cupcakes. I consider myself to be a little bit of a cupcake snob since I like to make them a lot, and I haven't tried many incredible cupcakes from bakeries. I'm not saying I'm this world-class baker - I'm not - but I expect cupcakes to be moist when I buy them.

This cupcake was so good. The cake part was extremely moist, and it had a delicious apple pie filling inside. It was topped off with cream cheese icing covered in crumb topping. Delicious. 

After I ordered my cupcake, I noticed they had the calorie count listed by each flavor. Really, Crumbs? If I'm splurging on a delicious cupcake, I don't really want to know how many calories are in it. There were a lot. But that's besides the point :)

We headed back to the Webster for a bit and then started walking back to Times Square to see Mary Poppins. It was so great. Loved every second. 

Beautiful view from the Webster's rooftop garden

On Sunday, I woke up and ran the High Line again. After eating lunch, I walked a few streets over to a flea market. It was a little different than the Pickens Flea Market. Mostly upscale antiques and expensive vintage clothes. However, I thoroughly enjoyed looking through all the vintage clothes and wishing I was an adult in the 1950's so I could wear the clothes from that era. 

Tonight I wrapped up my weekend by visiting Redeemer Presbyterian Church. It's a pretty decent sized church up here that I've heard great things about. It was a little different from NewSpring, but I still really enjoyed the service. 

I'd say it was a successful first weekend in NY. I'm even more excited about next weekend because I've got something really exciting planned! Guess you'll have to read my post next week to find out what it is...

I know, that's a little mean :)

Time to get back to the grind. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I Love NY

At least for now. I don't know that I could live here long-term, but it's been fun so far! I got here on Sunday, and these past few days have been such a whirlwind. My mom, her friend Jill, and Jill's daughter Lansing (also one of my friends) came up with me on Sunday and left this morning. Lansing interned at Ralph Lauren three summers ago, so it was great to have someone who knew how to get around NYC. We flew in to LaGuardia and somehow fit all our luggage into a cab. I managed to squeeze all my stuff for the next three months into 3 suitcases. 

Maybe three suitcases is a little much, but let's be real, it has to last me three months. Here's a picture of all our luggage put together. 

We dropped everything off at their hotel and headed to grab a bite to eat. After that, we took all my stuff to the Webster, which is where I'll be living for the month of June. After June, I'm subleasing from a friend of a friend in Brooklyn. 

Everyone helped me get settled in and then we went on a tour of the Webster. It has a beautiful rooftop garden with this stunning view...
I'll tell you more about the Webster in another post.

After that, I wanted to figure out where I would be working,  so we practiced getting on the right subway so I would know where to go the next morning. The subway actually isn't as hard as I thought it would be, especially when I have Google maps and Hopstop on my phone. The PR agency I'm interning for is only about a mile from where I live, but there isn't a great way to get there on the subway. I can either walk the whole mile to work, or I can walk half a mile to the subway station and ride the train in. 

I miraculously made it to work on Monday without getting all mixed up - thank you Lord! I headed up to my office and learned more about what I will be doing this summer. The company I work for is actually split up between three floors in the building because they've experienced a good bit of growth. I really like all the people I work with and think I'm going to learn a ton. It's definitely not a company where they make the interns get coffee and run errands - we got thrown in the first day and are getting to work on a lot of different projects. 

After work I met up with Mom, Jill and Lansing and we headed to the West Village to eat. During dinner, we looked across the street and saw Cuba Gooding Jr. Of course we had to get up and ask him if we could get a picture. Not gonna lie, he was a little bit creepy. 
Me, Lansing, Cuba, and Lansing's friend Carolyn

After our first celebrity spotting, we walked around the West Village for a while. I got my first cupcake in the city from Magnolia Bakery. There are so many cute little bakeries up here. 

Monday felt so glamourous. My first day working in NYC. The West Village. Celebrity spotting. Cupcakes.....

Then Tuesday happened. 

On Tuesday, I learned that living in the city is not so fun when it rains. 

Because I was already bringing so much stuff, I didn't bring any rainboots because they are so bulky and heavy (every pound counts!). It's not very fun walking to the subway station with just a little umbrella. My feet were so gross. Enough said. 

But Tuesday was still a fun day. I met up with everyone after work and we ate at the Chelsea Market. Thankfully, all the shops in the Chelsea Market are indoor, so it was a great place to go. 

Inside the Chelsea Market

We headed up to Dylan's Candy Bar after dinner, which is owned by Dylan Lauren, Ralph Lauren's daughter.

 Oh my goodness. The place consists of three floors of candy. How could anyone not love that? 
Mom, Jill, and Lansing left this morning, so we said our goodbyes in the rain last night after the candy bar. Now I'm officially on my own in NYC. Little bit scary, but I'm really excited about what this summer holds!
Snapped this pic on my walk home tonight. Beautiful Empire State Building all lit up. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Engagement Story!

My best friend completely surprised me last night and asked me to marry him! I feel like I've told this story 52 times in the past 12 hours(and loved every second of it), but I figured I would blog about it too. Here's how it all started....

On Wednesday, Andrew got back from Raleigh. He swung by my house in Greenville on the way home and ate dinner with my family. I was planning to come to Clemson on Thursday for my last Dgroup (Bible study) before I head to NYC, so we decided to get lunch on Thursday and hang out in Clemson before Dgroup.

I got to Clemson around lunch and Andrew wouldn't tell me where we were going to eat. I didn't think anything of this because he likes to surprise me on dates sometimes. He took me to 1826, which is a cute little plantation style restaurant in Pendleton that I've wanted to try for the past four years but never had.

After lunch, we decided to walk around the Botanical Gardens in Clemson. I still didn't think anything of this because we had just kind of decided to walk around after lunch. After that, we went and got a drink at a new coffeehouse in Clemson that I've been wanting to try.

I headed off to Dgroup around 5:15. Originally, I was supposed to get dinner after Dgroup with my friend Carla, but Andrew called her and told her to cancel. After those plans got canceled, Andrew's mom told me she was making pork chops and invited me to eat dinner with them. I told her yes and not to wait on me if they got hungry; they could just save me a plate. After Dgroup, I called Andrew and headed back to his house. He said he was at the store (he wasn't- he was actually giving the roses and journal to Emily and Caroline) and would be there in a second. When he got there, he told me that his parents only had two pork chops and had already eaten. He asked me if I just wanted to pick up Subway and go eat at the dikes. For those of you who aren't familiar with Clemson, the dikes are natural dams by the lake. We go to the dikes often and walk and have taken picnics there multiple times, so I still didn't suspect anything. The dikes are also special to us because we went there on one of our very first dates and it's also where Andrew kissed me for the first time a few months later. 

We went down to the water and ate our subs. I was writing in the sand down there and wrote A+L=heart (with a heart drawing of course). Until yesterday, Andrew had never told me he loved me. After I drew the heart, he asked if the heart meant love and then asked me if I loved him. Of course I wasn't going to be the first to admit that I loved him, so I replied and just said "Andrew!" He then told me that he loved me, and of course I  told him I loved him back. He keeps saying that I had a huge smile on my face after he told me that. I asked him why he waited such a LONG time to tell me that, and he told me he wanted to make sure he never was going to love anyone else like he loves me. We hadn't really talked about it, but I always suspected that he was going to tell me when he proposed. Him telling me that should have a been a huge hint, but in the back of my mind I was thinking "oh, I guess he isn't waiting until then and wanted to tell me before I left for NY." 

After all this happened, he said he wanted to go walk along the dikes.  Of course, I put up a fight because I told him I liked sitting down by the water and had just walked through a bunch of brush to get down there. I was wearing little flip flops and didn't want to plunder through all the brush again. Obviously, he eventually convinced me to go walk.

While we were walking, he mentioned that Emily (my best friend) had called him earlier. She was trying to fill out an application for Boosterthon (Andrew's employer) and needed help finding it online. I told him it was fine to call her back real quick. Little did I know, they were actually talking in code the whole time. Emily and Caroline (my sister) had set up roses and a journal along the path, and Andrew couldn't find it. I didn't think anything of him talking to her. He was actually calling her because he couldn't find the roses and journal. 

Andrew kept wanting to walk farther and farther. Normally, I'm the one who wants to walk a lot, but he was pushing for it last night. I put up a fight again. I told him I didn't know we were going to be walking 5 miles (slight exaggeration) and I didn't have the right shoes on. Once again, he convinced me to keep going. 
Here we are walking 5 miles.

We finally came across the roses and journal. I have no idea how we missed it the first time we passed them because they were extremely obvious. When I saw them, I was completely surprised and said "Oh, are those for me?" 

Dumb question.

Andrew then started saying all this sweet stuff (that neither of us can remember), and got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I was shocked. We had talked about getting married, but I thought he would wait until after I got back from NYC to propose. Of course I said yes!

Getting a good look at the ring for the first time

We sat down and he told me he had been keeping a journal for me throughout this whole engagement process so I could read about how it happened. I read part of the journal and I asked him a hundred questions about how he pulled everything off. Here we are talking about it...

Around this time, I heard a "click" behind me and looked to see someone duck behind the hill. I didn't know who it was, but I told them they could come out. Emily and Caroline came out and they had been hiding in the bushes taking pictures of the whole thing. 

First real picture as an engaged couple!

My beautiful ring! He did SO good - exactly what I wanted! 

Small Town Southern Life

Over Memorial Day weekend, one my roommates from Clemson, Rachel, and I went up to see one of our other roommates, Stephanie, in her grand hometown of Santee, SC. Most of you probably haven't heard of Santee before. It's a small little country town about an hour outside of Charleston, SC. Stephanie is so proud to be from Santee. When she introduces herself, she ALWAYS says "I'm Stephanie Peagler from Santee, South Carolina." It doesn't matter if the person asks where she's from, she always adds it in. Many times, the person hasn't heard of Santee. Steph LOVES this. She will then take the opportunity to tell them about her beloved hometown for the next five minutes.

If you don't know us, you need to know that Stephanie is nothing like Rachel and I. In fact, people often ask us how we became friends when they meet us because because we are so opposite (we lived on the same hall freshman year). Steph is one-of-a-kind. If I had to choose three words to describe her I would choose loud, outgoing, and redneck Southern (and proud of it). 

After hearing about Santee and all Steph's family members (they all live on the same street of course) for the past four years, we decided it was time to visit the beloved homeland. For some reason, Rachel and I have a very idealistic view of small-town Southern life. We picture everyone sitting out on their front porches all day, sipping lemonade, and greeting the neighbor boys as they walk the dirt road on their way to the fishing pond.  Everybody knows everybody of course. If you need something, you walk up to the corner market/grocery store that is named after one of the families in town (Puckett's, Dillard's, Durham's, Smith's, etc.). 

Of course, our view is very jaded and we all know that small-town Southern life is not actually like that. However, our experience in Santee was certainly noteworthy. Steph had organized a fish fry for the night we arrived. We always hear about the fish frys at Aunt Sarah and Uncle Buck's house, so she wanted to make sure we experienced one. We feasted on fried fish fresh from Uncle Buck's farm, grits, mac n' cheese (our veggie), baked beans, cole slaw, watermelon, homemade sweet potato fries and Aunt Sarah's boiled peanuts. For dessert, we ate nanner (banana) pudding of course.
Rachel and I enjoying Aunt Tyler's beautiful yard

Steph introduced us as "city folk" to all her friends and family. Before we left for the fish fry, Steph's mom, Mrs. Wanda Sue, made sure that we knew it was normal for her family members to yell at each other and maybe even cuss at each other. If that happened, she told us there was no need to worry. Steph also took us around the neighborhood before dinner and introduced us to all her neighbors. She just walks in all their houses without knocking and yells to see if their home. Completely normal. 

In true Southern fashion, we watched NASCAR while eating dinner. Aunt Tyler also showed us the pictures of all her family members. This also included telling us about the ex-family members (ex-wife, ex-husband) that she had purposely cut out of the picture. You could still tell someone was supposed to be in the picture there, but she had cut their head out. Guess that's what happens when you get a divorce in the family. 

Steph also took us fishing while in Santee. We went out on Uncle Buck's farm with her 15 y/o cousin Derek. Rachel and I both caught 4-5 fish - success! We also had a nice little encounter with a 4-5 ft. long chicken snake, which included Derek killing the snake by repeatedly whacking it with the fishing pole. Keep in mind, we are all crammed in the tiny fishing boat about 2 feet away from the snake while this is happening. He forgot to bring his gun with him, so I guess the fishing pole works just as well when you need to kill a snake.

Here's a little snapshot of our time in Santee

Definitely a trip to remember!