Wednesday, February 29, 2012

NYC Empire State Blue and NYC weekend wrap-up

They say there's no place like home. In my case, there's no place like home to make you want to leave just as soon as you've returned!

I had another NOTD planned, but I wanted to mark my return with a New York Color polish and some snaps of what I picked up on my trip. First, the polish.

Three coats with SV.

Empire State Blue reminds me of the base color of all the Charla mermaid-type shades, only with golden shimmer instead of golden flecks. The gold and the turquoise/aqua blend to give this polish a green lit-from-within look. The formula of my bottle was a bit watery, and I needed three coats for opacity. I did see bald spots, so I think I could have gone with four, which sounds bad, but this is the kind of polish where four coats doesn't really seem like work, if that makes sense! Empire State Blue dried quickly with SV.

I'm not really sure about wear, but I've had it on for about a day now and it still looks great. For what I paid for it, that's awesome! I just feel like I have a ton of shades like this, so I'm not exactly committed to keeping it as of this moment.

EDIT: I got three great days of wear using Cult Nails Get It On under Gelous for the base. Mild tip wear and two tiny chips on the morning of Day Three, but I had subjected my hands to lots of water. Still -- not bad!

I bought my bottle at Kmart last year when I was looking for some Revlon Chanel dupe (Black with Envy? Carbonite?). I know you can find NYC at Target as well, and I think RiteAid might have them. I have one other from this brand, so they won't break the bank -- it's just that as this point as a collector, I need colors that really excite me!

And this color doesn't really feel "New York" to me ... what do you think?

Speaking of New York ...

I asked my parents if there was anything they'd like me to bring back, and my father just told me to take pictures with my new camera.

As you're about to see, that didn't happen. I did take my camera along, but I'm the kind of person who just wants to do things and taking pictures kind of hampers you if you're alone and trying to get somewhere or do something. All of these pics were shot from my beloved phone.

Thursday was all about getting myself situated, checked into my hostel and fed before the opera. The hostel wasn't too bad -- I had no problems and the service was fine. The location was in a weird area of Brooklyn, though ... it had that empty back-alley feel to it and if you are apprehensive about traveling alone at night, I wouldn't recommend it for that reason. Otherwise, the building is very well-designed and the hostel has great amenities and activities for its guests (free breakfast from 6-9 in the mornings, and bbq at 7 p.m. on MWF, I think).

I can't speak to the other rooms, but I got a private twin with a bathroom and it definitely had a dormy feel to it. The sheets were clean, the towels were horrible (as expected) and the floor looked like it could have done with another round from the vacuum. The room smelled like bleach (I think that's because I checked in right after it was cleaned), so I had to open a window for an hour or so while I got ready for the opera. With tax, I was charged around $83 for one night, which isn't too bad; the maximum number of consecutive nights you can stay at that particular place is 29. If you'd like the name of that hostel, I'd be happy to e-mail it to you!

The weekend my ex-roommate and I went to NYC for NY Comic Con '09, we started our trip with dinner at Sardi's before going to see the "Guys and Dolls" revival on opening night. My pre-opera dinner wasn't as classy as that one, but it was still awesome.

Thanks, Shake Shack!

I opted to explore before the opera (i.e., walk off the cholesterol) and ended up getting to the opera house maybe ten minutes late, so I had to stand up for the first act. I didn't care.

I am one of those people who frowns on those who take pictures at live opera performances, so instead we get a picture of my BAM program and ticket. If I had had more time, I'd have loved to check out more events there!

You know I love opera. I also love Rufus Wainwright and I've listened to as much of his work as I've been able to get a hold of (his Judy Garland tribute at Carnegie Hall has never left my car since I bought it). So I was thinking opera + Rufus would equal awesome, but actually I left the opera house feeling very, very confused (and a little excited ... I'm 90% sure I saw former "Project Runway" designer Austin Scarlett in the flesh. He is VERY tall. And his use of foundation is better than mine ever will be). If you're familiar with Opera 101 or Rufus' back catalog, it's easy to hear his musical influences. The singers were very good. It's just that the music itself wasn't memorable.

I could write a whole column about my frustration with "Prima Donna," but I'll just say that you can't expect perfection when you're writing your first opera "from scratch." This particular opera had been performed previously in Canada and the U.K., and I suppose some changes in staging and even the libretto might have taken place in between then and its American debut. While the themes of love, loss and failure stick with me, I got fairly frustrated in discovering that there was nothing under the iceberg, so to speak. I'm pretty good at reading in between the lines, but you've got to give me something to work with! If your opera is about a singer who hasn't sung in six years, you've got to tell me why and there's got to be a payoff. I don't want to read Wikipedia to fill in the blanks!!!


Friday morning, I left Brooklyn and saw the best hipster ever. It wasn't how she was dressed; rather, it was the fact that she was drinking water ... in a Smucker's jar ... ON THE SUBWAY. (Facepalm. My friend Steph says said hipster probably scored the jar in a swap meet. Also, I could never be a hipster. I like taking baths, eating red meat and liking things, damn it.)

I met up with my host and we walked, talked and beered before heading to Webster Hall for the sold-out Heartless Bastards show. Surprisingly, one of the openers, Hacienda, wasn't too bad, but if you'd seen how the band was dressed and bearded that night, you would've taken them for fans of bands like Rancid, probably.

My friend and I are mutual Heartless Bastards fans, so we had an awesome time! It was his fourth show, my second, and our second one together. I always get excited to see what Erika Wennerstrom is wearing -- I think she's been going through a little style evolution as the band's popularity has grown. I wouldn't go so far as to say she's up there with Cat Power just yet, but she's figuring it out. My only regret is that these pictures do not show you how awesome her shoes were on Friday night. I could never play a gig in those things.

To see the set list and to listen to some of the songs performed live at the show, go here. Bonus: it's free! "Sway" is an incredibly special song to me for reasons I cannot begin to articulate right now, but also because it was the song that featured the band's second appearance on "Friday Night Lights" (Season Four, I believe). And "Only For You" was featured in an episode from the last season of "Chuck." ;)

I gave this bottle of wine to my hosts as a thank-you gift and humorous throwback to old times in our former workplace.

A lazy Saturday morning was spent watching news (... as former news employees do), figuring out what to do until we met up with another friend, and not playing with the cat. This is her reproachful face.

We finally went out and met another friend from our former workplace (it was a mini-reunion) for mac and cheese at S'MAC. I went there three years ago in an extremely agitated condition, and the cheeseburger dish was so magical that I mellowed out long enough to eat it.

I ordered it again in the major munch size ... and yes, I ate the whole thing. IT IS AWESOME. (Bonus: S'MAC is very close to the Strand bookstore, so you can make an afternoon of it if you wish.)

We braved the wind and headed out to Forbidden Planet for some comics and nerdery. It. Was. Fantastic. I decided to go crazy and buy a couple of trades, the more notable of the two being this one:

I was listening to Aisha Tyler's "Girl on Guy" podcasts last year and as I'm always on the lookout for new titles to get into, I clicked on the show with Jonathan and Joshua Luna of Image Comics. Just like polishes, I need new titles like a bullet to the brain because I get so invested in them and I somehow end up not continuing with them. Anyway, I really enjoyed the podcast, and jumped at the chance to support fellow Virginians (contrary to the god-awful legislation you may have heard about, we're not all bad people!). I love stories about myths and I wasn't about to fork over $50 for the "Girls" deluxe hardcover, so "The Sword" won out. I read this volume in one sitting and I can't wait to pick up the other three! Story- and art-wise, I don't think "The Sword" would be wildly out of place as a Vertigo title.


Then we ended up at Bourbon Street for $5 hurricanes (HOLY SHIT, SO GOOOOOOD) and that was the rest of that night. I wish I'd been able to stay out later for a geeky burlesque show (not sure where that was), but that would've been harder to do between trains and my Amtrak departure time on Sunday morning.

Apart from seeing a Bill Murray-esque guy at the train station (same height, build, hair color, gait, pockmarks, style) and encountering some horrible manners from a group of southern ladies on the train, the ride back was uneventful. I have to say that one of the crew members who got on after the switch in either Maryland or D.C. was really wonderful -- if I had gotten his name, I would've called Amtrak to put in a word for him. He was so polite and helpful, I just wish I had a way of making sure he knew that!

My boyfriend picked me up, took me out for a beer and then home to watch "Free Enterprise," but not before giving me a super-late Valentine's gift.

Yeah, the way to my heart definitely involves Lindor truffles. (Puppies are a given.) But he spoiled the bejeezus out of me, and I have to admit I experienced strong feelings of not hating it. Maybe I should go away more often, yes?

I'm not sure why I just spent so long writing that much about four days! Say what you will about my blog, but don't say I don't provide you with reading material. ;) Hope you found this interesting enough to forgive me for not buying any polish while I was in NYC!


  1. What is this I don't even your trip is my dream NY trip ashfpauefhasdjhfs.

    1. I think one day when budgets and schedules allow, we should go together, yes????

  2. ...I drink out of old jam jars. Does that make me a hipster?

    1. Only if you do it in public. And you know I love you, whatever vessel you drink out of!

  3. 1. love this polish. also the price is amazing.
    2. glad your trip went well!:]
    3. that cheeseburger dish looks delicious. i want to reach through the screen and eat it all.

    1. 1. It's pretty great for the price! I have others that do a slightly better job as far as opacity but this is still great.
      2. Thanks! Me too.
      3. You live closer to that place than I do and I suggest you take full advantage of it!
      4. I ate a whole bag of Lindor white chocolate ones a couple of Christmases ago. It was too awesome to be considered a "low" point.

  4. Am now lemming those shake shack fries!!! Am so jealous of your opera experience! And maybe that smuckers jar was filled with vodka and then to be used as a toilet after its been drunk? Just a thought!!!!

    1. Fingers, those fries were AWESOME. So worth the cholesterol! There are two Shake Shacks in D.C. if you ever go up there, one near Nats Park and the other in Dupont Circle.

      I just wish I could have gone to see "Porgy & Bess" while Audra McDonald was headlining it!


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