Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Queens: A Diamond in the Rough

After re-reading my last post about house hunting and then seeing Jason's comment on Forest Hills, I realized that I failed to mention that I was born and grew up in the Rego Park/Forest Hills area and have basically lived my whole life in the borough of Queens, except for four years in Newark, Delaware for college, and now Washington D.C. for the last three years.

I've actually been wanting to do this post for a while now, but you know, things come up and life happens, and I just never got around to it. But the time has come for me to let you all in on a little secret...Queens is the perfect borough to live in in New York City.

Here are my top ten reasons to love Queens:

1. Beautiful Neighborhoods - Places like Forest Hills, Bayside, Fresh Meadows, and Kew Gardens make Queens really pretty. Forest Hills Gardens boasts lovely homes that are gigantic and have been kept in the old tudor style, which I happen to think is beautiful. Old world charm if you will. There are also cobblestone streets in Forest Hills near the Long Island Railroad station which have been kept in tact and makes you feel like you're not in the middle of NYC even though you are.

2. Affordable - Renting is definitely cheaper in Queens compared to Manhattan and even compared to Brooklyn these days. You can also buy a house if that's what you want, unlike in Manhattan where there aren't actually houses to buy (only multi-million dollar brownstones), or Brooklyn where you'ld either have to live in the ghetto to afford to buy a house, or be Heathcliff Huxtable and afford to live in Brooklyn Heights. Either way, it's tough. Queens has some really great houses both attached and detached that are not insanely priced. You will also get a backyard and some trees!

3. Diverse - Queens is the most diverse place on earth, period. You name it, they live there. Diversity is something that's important to me. I liked growing up in a real melting pot with friends who weren't like me and who's mother's made different foods for dinner than what I was used to. I also LOVED going to like 37 bar and bat mitzvahs when I was 13...wearing slouch socks on the dance floor, watching my friends squirm while reciting their hav torah, dancing the electric slide with a plastic lei around my neck...ahh the good ole days.

4. Strategically Located - Queens is the easternmost borough of NYC and is sometimes called a part of Long Island, which annoys me, but is basically true. It is close to Manhattan by both subway and car, Brooklyn by car (not subway b/c you have to take the train through Manhattan - DOH!), and close to Long Island for shopping, the Hamptons, and other nice neighborhoods. Who the hell cares about The Bronx and Staten Island?

5. Good Food - If I want Greek I'll go to Astoria. For Chinese (or for any Asian food), you'll find me in Flushing. Latin cuisine is best in Jackson Heights along with amazing Indian restuarants. There are so many great Italian restaurants all over Queens I won't even try to specify a neighborhood. You will also find tons of amazing pizzerias, fun Irish pubs, delicious bagel places, jewish delis that have the best matzah ball soups, diners, steakhouses...everything!!! I'm hungry just thinking about it.

6. Airports - Both LaGuardia and Kennedy are both located in Queens, which means that you don't have to leave your home 5 hours before your flight just to make it to the airport. Also, your cab ride home after a trip won't take you two hours or cost you $100. That's a perk if you ask me!

7. Beaches - The Rockaways are in Queens, which aren't my favorite but are close...but you can jump onto the Southern State and get to Long Beach or the LIE and get to Jones Beach in a jiffy! You're also not far from other State parks with pools and fun outdoor activities. Hello tan!

8. Sports - Citi Field (formerly known as Shea Stadium) where the NY Mets play, as well as Flushing Meadows Park, where the US Open is played are both in the Q-B!

9. History - Simon and Garfunkel both went to my High School, as did Jerry Springer (I'm not as proud about him), the Ramones are from Queens, as are Tribe Called Quest, Run DMC, Nas, and hottie LL Cool J! The 1964 World's Fair was held in Queens as well...too cool.
**I realize this section is a bit cheesy, but whatever.

10. Community - The one thing I miss the most about home are the people who live in the neighborhoods and communities that make up Queens. They are real New Yorkers whose families emigrated to the US decades ago and they provide the flavor and the dynamic that I know and love. Wherever you live in Queens you will find good people, good families, family owned businesses that treat their customers like family, and a real sense of community. It's really cool.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. Go QUEENS!

Monday, January 25, 2010

I Want a House!

So my new obsession is looking at houses on Mike and I are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel (meaning that we can leave DC soon) and lately have been searching for houses in the NYC area online.

It's really exciting to think about owning our own home and starting a family. At first we were only or mostly, considering Forest Hills, Queens because that's where we lived when we were in NYC and that's where my parents currently reside. Then after taking into consideration that we want to buy a house more than we want to buy a condo or co-op, we have begun to think about certain parts of Long Island where you can get a bigger house for around the same amount of money you would pay for a house in Queens. Unfortunately the property taxes are higher on Long Island, but there are other important factors to consider which make moving there the more sensible choice for us (ie. better school districts, more outdoor space, parking!!).

Houses are so pretty! Especially when you are searching in what I like to call "fantasy" mode. This is when I pretend that our price range is 900K and up and that we would like 5+ bedrooms and 3+ bathrooms. You wouldn't believe the houses that trulia has for me when I am in fantasy mode....they're freakin fabulous!

Back in the real world, the houses that are actually within our price range are quite lovely as well. In fact they're amazing! To think that we will inhabit more than 600 square feet, and that our closet won't double as Bella's play room while we're not home, and that we will have two floors and more than one's almost too much to bear! Bella will be able to run around in the backyard, I will be able to watch whatever I want on TV while Mike watches whatever he wants -- in separate rooms!!!

It's funny if you actually think about it. I love Mike with all of my heart and soul, and yet I can't wait until the day when we can be in separate rooms, enjoying some alone time, yet still together under the same roof. In our current abode the only alone time we get when we're both home is in the bathroom.

Anyway, just wanted to share a bit of fun news. I can't wait to actually see some of these houses and step foot in them. Until then I will continue to search for my dream house and enjoy the fantasy of owning a home, which will hopefully soon become a reality. I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Thank God for Michael Kors

I have to say that last season of Project Runway just wasn't the same. First off Lifetime aint Bravo. I missed seeing snippets of the next episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County during commercial breaks. I also hated that the season took place in Los Angeles. I'm sorry, but LA is not the fashion capital of the United States - - New York City is.

All that being said, what I really missed the most was Michael Kors. He is just so fucking hilarious. Pardon my French, but he is. He is the judge who just says what he thinks and he doesn't hold back.

Here are some of my favorite Kors-isms:

"The crotch on those pants is insane!"

"It's a little Shirley McClaine when she played a hooker with a heart of gold."

"I think she looked like $29.99 prom."

"She looks like her ass is in her front."

"Scarlett O'Hara ripped drapes down and made a couture dress...this, she ripped the sheets off the bed and ran out the door."

"I feel like a pope at a sex club."

And those are just a few! Oh Michael Kors! How happy am I to have you back on Project Runway, and to have the show back in NYC where it belongs. I can't wait to hear what comes out of your mouth next.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Adulthood = Exhaustion

This is my life (on a daily basis) in a nutshell.

7:30am - Roll out of bed. Feed Bella. Into shower.

7:45 - 8:45am - Get ready for work (hair, makeup, clothing), walk Bella, set up Bella's "area" (this is the place that we keep the Bella Boo while we're at work so she can't howl and be heard by the entire floor).

8:50am - Walk out the door.
9:15am - Arrive at work.

6pm - Leave work.

6:25pm - Arrive at VIDA Fitness to work out...yuck.

7:25pm - Walk home

7:30pm - Feed Bella, throw her blankies in the wash, then walk her, then shower.

7:45pm - Make dinner

8:15pm - Eat dinner, wash dishes, throw Bella's blankies in the dryer.

8:45pm - Relax

10:30pm - Bedtime

Next Day - REPEAT

I feel exhausted just thinking about it. The work week is such a grind. My dear husband is hardly home during the week (he travels for work) and so coming home after 7pm just means that everything is rushed and there is hardly enough time to relax and breathe.

We spend so much time working during the day, and so little time on ourselves. When we get home from work, it's all about "getting stuff done" and not taking a load off after working 9 hours. And at least I'm home. Poor Mike is working 12 hour days and then sleeping in a shit box hotel room. He's exhausted, I'm exhausted...and we don't even have kids yet (oh shit)!

Being an adult is exhausting. Remember when your mother did the laundry, and the cooking, and the cleaning? Remember when getting sick meant staying home while your mom took care of you? Remember when email was something fun that helped you stay in touch with friends? Remember when someone else paid your bills? HA!

Okay I'll stop now. I sound pathetic. My apologies, I'm just tired.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

It's 2010...Where Did The Time Go?

Wow. The holidays have come and gone and now the year is 2010. I really can't believe it. When I was a child, I never thought time was passing quickly. The school year always seemed to drag on and on. I remember thinking that 4th grade would NEVER end (that year really sucked for me, b/c that's the year that little girls become caddy bitches and boys start talking about boobs).

Now as an adult, I realize that time actually does fly and that it's flying too fast. I realized that in 6 months I will be 30 years old, and that's a little crazy. I realized that my best girlfriends are married, pregnant, or already mothers. I realized that both of my parents are retired and traveling around the world in their free time. I realized that I am getting excited about becoming a mother in the next few years (hopefully sooner...Mike close your eyes).

How did this all happen? Where did the time go? We got together with good friends of ours last weekend and their daughter is already 9 months old and this was our first time seeing her. It really blew my mind.

I sometimes find myself wishing that time would pass more slowly. Then I would have more time on vacation with friends and family, and more time to sleep, and more time to relax and enjoy the wonderful parts of life that seem to go by in the blink of an eye. Then, when I really started thinking about it I realized that time is what you make of it and that it is up to you to savor and enjoy the good times in your life.

So that's what I'm going to do. That's one of my new year's resolutions. I'm going to enjoy the good times with family and friends so that I can make them last a little longer.