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Monday, March 30, 2015

A Penny for your Food Thoughts




Hello every!  Happy and beautiful Monday.  Still a cold spring...still freezing my nads off!  This past week was pretty chill for me.  Lots of kitty cuddling, which I won't complain about. What I'm really trying to avoid saying is that I did a bunch of nothing!  And yea, sure, sometimes I felt a little bad about waking up at 3pm, or binge watching random series on Netflix, but for the most part, why should I feel bad? I know in this game of life, we are conditioned to think that we should be "working hard", which is fine, but what about those of us that just want to live life each day in new and different ways?  I have no problem working toward a particular goal that I'm trying to accomplish, but working hard every day?  Maybe it's not for me!  Some people thrive off of mundane daily tasks.  I suppose I could see the joy in that.  However, I thrive off of daily relaxation, discovery, unplanned spontaneity, and learning new things.  I've always asked myself this question because of these things... Am I just lazy??

I don't really think I am.  Just because I don't want to "work" in the traditional sense doesn't mean I don't have things that I want to do.  The things that I actually LOVE doing don't really make much money though .  But does lack of a typical "income" denote a lack of work ethic? (Don't you just love written air quotes?)  According to society, as long as you are getting paid, you are technically working, right?  There are people who get paid to sleep for crying out loud!  What am I doing wrong?

In honor of exploring my options of doing what I love and getting paid for it (the true American dream), I decided to begin writing about my traveling and food experiences!  I dabbled a bit when I wrote my blog about my trip to Columbia recently, and today I will review a lovely dinner party I was invited to last night!

So if you know me, you know I LOVE food.  Where does it all go?  Beats the heck outta me, because I've remained the same size since middle school.  Gift and a curse people, trust me.  Anywho, last night I was very randomly invited to eat at a supper club dinner party by a wonderful lady named Naomi! Naomi is the founder of CENA, which is a monthly dining experience like I have never had before. I didn't really know what to expect, but I received the email containing the location and a sample 5 COURSE Indian cuisine inspired menu (there was no set menu, but she told me that people could send in allergies before hand).  

The invite also said BYOB, (which is basically what I do secretly at every restaurant anyway) but I'm glad it was encouraged.  The venue was a small pottery shop in a Greenpoint neighborhood that use to be a restaurant and record shop.  Very cute!  A lovely, mood setting jazz trio was in the front doing a set of a few cover songs when I got there.  Also there was a cat named Dragon sleeping in a box!

Dragon!


Chef Shuchi!
 One thing I WAS a little leery of was the guests of the dinner party.  I'm not the most social of butterflies, so I was very nervous when I saw the set up of the room.  There were 16 settings at 3 different long tables.  Who the heck was I gonna be sitting next to??  I was gonna have to interact with people I don't know! Ahhh! It turns out, as the guests started to arrive, some people did infact know each other already.  A few did come all alone, like me, but there were all very welcoming and personable.  I suppose if you are coming to a place like this you are probably an open individual anyway.  It was a very communal setting though overall.  The kitchen was completely open for us to see chef Shuchi Mittal (of 29calories.com) preparing the food.  


She came out to introduce each dish, since the menu was practically a secret until the day of.  As the wine flowed, I began to come out of my shell a bit and talk to some of the people, who all loved food just as much as I did.  I guess food really can bring people together.  Usually we think of food as a necessity of life and just scarf down the required daily portions, but it's so much more!  It's an experience! The idea of this kind of dinner party supper club is actually very cool when you think about it.  BUT it is definitely for the adventurous and open minded.  Each month is a different location, chef, and group of people.  The reservations do sell out fast, so you should probably make some in advance.  And yes, I know, it's hard for us random New Yorkers to actually PLAN things so far ahead like that, but it will be worth it when the day finally arrives.  


Beets + Cilantro Raita + Spicy Orange Compote

Fishcake + Green Beans + Pickled Cabbage

Chicken Keema + Pastry + Achaar Aioli

Mix Veg Korma + Chickpeas + Pilaf

Butter Cake + Cardamon Creme + Chikki



New York is full of so many things that I haven't even THOUGHT about trying yet, but I will be here to tell you about each experience I have (so you can know which ones SUCK and which ones are awesome).  This one was absolutely awesome.  I'm not gonna jump off the social deep end just yet, but it really opened me up to the idea of getting to know more people in this town.  

If you live in NYC, go check the website for April's dinner party reservations www.cenanyc.com 

And if you need some food (or a tropical location) reviewed, feel free to invite me for dinner! 

p.s. I use to want to be a professional taste tester when I was a kid (like those people on Iron Chef), but then I thought about all the terrible stuff I'd have to eat too -___-

p.p.s I do remember my first food review job ever though, I was like 12 and this lady in the mall made me watch a video, eat a piece of candy, then answer some questions about what I ate.  I got 20 dollars too!  Man those WERE the days...

Monday, March 23, 2015

Kardashians, Kollege, and Kan't the rent be cheaper??




Hello everyone! Happy Monday! And happy Spring!  Speaking of Spring, where the hell is this warm weather supposed to be?  I'm still freezing my balls off.  I think I need another excursion.  Since I can write from anywhere, my office can technically BE anywhere right?  Home base is always NYC, but gosh darn-it, I need some warmth!  (and I know when the sweltering warmth finally comes, I'll be begging for a cool breeze... oh such is life!)

Anywho, speaking of current events.... I'm not really one for much celebrity gossip, especially the Kardashian kind, but I recently read about the youngest daughter, who isn't even 18, buying a nearly 3 million dollar home.  Now, ofcourse there is some natural innate jealousy, but more prominently, curiosity!  What the heck does this girl even do??  I barely know what the rest of the family does, but how in the world can a 17 year old afford a 3 million dollar house?  I decided to look into it, and basically, they all do a bunch of random everything (and at the same time, random nothing), that I guess somehow adds up to millions of dollars for each of them?  I suppose they get paid for being on the reality show... and then there are endorsements I guess.  Then there are a bunch of other random things you can do like have a clothing line, a make up line, a hair product line, a game on itunes, appearances and hosting, a book deal, and miscellaneous modeling jobs.  But these people aren't basketball players or singers, or anything really!  They just all look extremely decent with lots of makeup, styling and (supposed) non surgical enhancement procedures.  I will give it to them though, they sure knew how to bust wide through that door that Kim's foot wedged open.  I know a few Kardashian lovers who have the never old argument of  "They're making money, and looking fabulous so why are you hating on that?"  Because I really wanna know how it all got to this point America!  The uneven distribution of wealth!

I know I have mentioned a few of my projects that I would like to work on this summer, including my documentaries about American college being ridiculously over priced, as well as NYC rent being ridiculously over priced for current residents, and today, I will discuss a little bit about why I feel the way I do.

Sometimes things in this world just don't make any sense at all, and it seems like everyone just goes with the flow so much that we forget to question and analyze why things are the way they are.  We are raised to go to elementary, middle school, high school, and college.  Everyone tells us college is expensive so we need to save up or get a bull crap scholarship, but nobody tells us why the f*** it's so expensive!  Who does all this money go to?  Also, most "real world" jobs make it so that college degrees are REQUIRED, so if you don't fork over all the doe, you're screwed!  Who invented this system??  But it doesn't end there if you live in NYC... every single year since I've been here, rent has went up tremendously for me personally.  And I hear many horror stories of people who have lived here much longer, and are always in fear of having to move because rent will suddenly increase to an inexplicable amount.   People should not live in fear!  I have been homeless quite a few times, and it is not pretty.  I know the city would just love it if all the people who couldn't afford the ridiculous rent prices would move as far out as possible so that they can charge the NYC hopefuls whatever the highest bidders offer, but come one now, you can't just drive people out of their HOMES.  Especially the ones who have been here for years working for these rich bastards in Manhattan.  At this rate, the lower class will have to be shipped in from 3 or 4 hours away just so you precious Manhattanites can have someone to serve you coffee in the morning!

All of this is truly something that I feel needs to be exposed to the nation.  And I also believe there are things we can tangibly do.  The rich won't like it, but if enough of us poor people get together, we really do out number them.  Hopefully my documentaries will bring so many things to light in order to spread this "wealth" around a bit so everyone can have a better chance at a quality life.  The thing is, I really have to do a lot of research....because if you know me, I HATE being wrong (which I never really am).  I think about everything that I say and write, and make sure I know it to be the absolute TRUTH.  So that is why even in my disgust, I must research to the fullest to know all of the facts.  From both sides.  And that is one of the hardest things, trust me.  If anyone wants to help me research or work on my documentaries with me, please email me!  We should not have to live in a world where a 17 year old who sells nail polish and hair extensions lives in a 3 million dollar house, and families of 8 live in a 1 room basement apartment -______-

Truth!

bretonymcgee@gmail.com

p.s.  I can think of one solution right now that would solve this, (but nobody would ever go for it lol):  Take everyone's money away and give every human a cool million to start off with as a starting point.  Just like in the game of LIFE where they give every player $200 to start.  After that, spend it how you want! But atleast we were all even in the beginning.

p.p.s Don't forget it's tax season!  Have you given a third of your income to the Feds yet? (I'm doing it online right now -____-)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Past, Present, and Presents! 



I just love finding old pictures of myself online!  But it also scares me a little bit because I gotta think about all the stuff I've EVER put online, and the fact that it still might be there! Eh well, you only live once... unless you're a cat.  
Also stumbled upon these lowly picture of me as a college student...

tacky version

girls gone wild version

It's always interesting to see how far I've come in life, but I'm still pretty much the same darn person! I found a note on my facebook page from 2009.  It's a list of "facts about myself", and surprisingly, every single thing I said is still true! 

(this is copied and pasted straight from Facebook)

1. I love csi, cold case and law and order!!
2. When I hiccup, I actually say "hiccup"
3. I can't spell, and I don't have good punctuation
4. I like making people laugh, however, I feel most people won't get my sense of humor, so sometimes I just say nothing.
5.I'm not a hater, I'm a tough critic.
6. I'm not anti social, I'd just rather analyze you than talk to you.
7. My book is in the works (and unlike some other people that say "oh I'm writing a book girl!", I really like already have about 20 chapters) 
8. I don't really have a particular laugh
9. I have every genre of music in my ipod
10. I live like I have money but I actually don't Lol
11. I love Conan O Brien's fine self
12. I have grown to be open minded to almost anything
13. I'd rather someone else be happy than me... I feel like I can handle it better
14. I can solve a rubix cube pretty fast
15. I kinda like drama 
16. When I write for a long time, I wear as band-aid on my middle finger 
17. I almost always correct people when they refer to Native Americans as Indian.
18. My goal is to help as many people in the world as possible. I don't care about being super rich.
19. I use to wanna name my son Ankst Fitzgerald
20. I get irritated a lot
21. Life is beautiful
22. I have a nail fetish
23. There is a plan for me
24. I like saying stuff about me! (I'm sure we all do tho, everyone is so into themselves)

     Also, if you couldn't tell by now, another thing about me is that I LOVE making lists! 

 I have been doing this blog since 2006.  Before I started this blog, I ALWAYS had some sort of journal (no, not a diary!... ok fine, maybe it was a diary).  I've been writing literally ever since I can remember.  One time I had a journal for my prime high school years.  You know the years where you start exploring any and everything?  My sisters had stumbled upon this masterpiece, which I thought was locked btw,  and took it upon themselves to highlight all of the interesting parts...and then proceeded to show my mom!  She questioned me about certain questionable things.  Blah.  I stuck to my guns and stood behind everything I said under my first amendment rights.  I feel like a diary should only be read when shared by the author, ya know?  Anywho, now I just write this blog for all to see.  Not even sure when I started sharing it so publicly.  It use to just be for me to get out secret frustrations and ramblings in my life.  If you ever have the time to go back through the archives of this thing, it gets deep!  I've since tried to make it more user friendly! 
     I love looking back at the past and remembering all of the things that have made me what I am today.  All of the choices that have lead of up to this exact moment.  Wether they were good or bad choices, they were my own, I can't change them, and here I am today because of them.  I use to look back and regret SOOOO many things.  I use to regret where I grew up, my living situation, sometimes my family.  In the moment, it can be tough, I know.  But everything passes people!  Then you look back on it and realize how far you've come.  It's great!  It's also good to see that actually, no matter how much we change and grow...we are still that same person at the core.  Unless ofcourse you just did a complete personality 360.  Which some people do!  A few of our interests may tweek a bit though... like apparently I wanted to be a firefighter when I grew up (according to my big sister).  Maybe I just wanted to help people (or maybe I was a pyromaniac...which makes sense because fire still kinda intrigues me).  It just interesting to look back!
     I recently saw a post on someone's instagram that was....well... it was this...

I just had to laugh at this.  I felt like this too!  Little did I know, these were my golden years, and I was missing them all!  All because I was worried about the future and wether or not I was accomplishing all of my goals.  Even now I feel like that sometimes, I admit!  But I'm sure there is some 60 year old woman somewhere laughing her hiney off at me too!  The present is just that, a present!  A wonderful gift that we have been given today.  We shouldn't be worried so much about what might be, because we are missing what IS.  I sound like such a Buddhist! Anywho, today's blog post is short because it's getting warmer outside and I have to go live in the present for a while!  Keep me updated on your projects everybody!  I need some new adventures to get into....

p.s. I lost my old diary when I had to move from place to place back when I lived in Michigan....man what I wouldn't give to read THAT thing!

p.p.s.   Another present for everyone...free ice cream at Dairy Queen today! You're welcome! (sorry vegans, no ice cream for you.  But Rita's will be giving away Italian ice on the first day of spring....you're welcome!) 






Monday, March 09, 2015

That's Art Boo




      Hello everyone! Daylight savings time was this Saturday, and I swear it always throws people off!  Why can't we just let time be what it is and stop manipulating it?  Time manipulation also makes me think of that one time when I may or may not have had some time altering substance that made it feel like time was moving very very slow.  I set an ice cream bar down on a table, about 30 minutes (it felt like) later, the ice cream still hadn't melted!  Come to find out, less than 5 minutes had passed.  But it seemed like so much had happened!  Also, you know the saying "time flies when you're having fun"?  It really does!  Whenever I'm doing something I love, it's over so soon (the funner it is, the quicker it's over).  Or when I'm running late for something, time seems to be stretched so impeccably thin.  Whenever I'm waiting for something to happen, or waiting for something to be over... forever! It literally takes for-freakin-ever (the more boring something is, the longer it lasts). Time is an illusion people!  When we realize that, things will be a lot less stressful.  
     Also over the weekend, a friend was in NYC from my hometown Michigan.  I never really know where to take people when they are tourists here, but they suggested museums.  Since it was Friday,  I remembered that the MOMA is free on Friday! It's crazy how I haven't been to the MOMA since I moved to NYC.  It takes an out of towner to get me to finally go back.  It's really free every Friday people, if you live in NYC, I suggest you take advantage of the wonderful culture (even though it's SUPER crowded during this time).  




So I'm looking around this place, and it's supposed to be the museum of MODERN art, but they still have a lot of vintage famous Picasso, Monet, Matisse stuff going on up in there.  






I also felt really old when I saw THIS on display...

I still HAVE some of this stuff, and it's on display in a museum -__-

Anywho, amongst all the famous art, there was also an exhibit of super modern art.  Now, ofcourse art is subject-able to all eyes, so I really want to know what everyone thinks about this art in particular:


Yes.  This is art.  That was on display.  In a New York City museum.  For everyone to see. 

 Now....who am I to judge this if someone obviously likes it and is willing to put it on display, right?  
But my question is this, how does a person like this artist convince everyone that this art is one of a kind amazing?  Because, ya know, I kinda feel like I could draw this myself! But there must be something that sets this artist apart.  What was the background story for this?  What was the selling point?  That's what it's REALLY all about people.  Selling our art to the world, whatever kind of art that may be.  There are so many people on this planet trying to do the exact same things we are doing, wether it be art, singing, dancing, acting, modeling...everybody is trying to do these things.  What can we do to convince everyone that OUR art is best?  That is truly the secret of life that I have not quite figured out.  How to make myself a needed household commodity.  Is it all just right place right time?  Is it not what you know, but WHO you know?  I really don't know! I'm sure sometimes you can just straight up work hard and be excellent with real talent.  But there is also a lot of great talent out there doing just that and getting absolutely no where.  I believe the key is to look at consumerism objectively.  What do we as a human race desire? It's kind of a business economy sort of thing when you get down to it.  And yes, just like myself, I know most creatives are anti-business.  I hated my economics class in high school!  However, I think I need to start incorporating some sort of business knowledge into my wayward fairytale land approach.  It can't hurt right?  All the truly successful people in the world also have some sort of business venture associated with their talents.  The best thing to do is learn about it for ourselves.  Hopefully soon I will be able to convince people that my stick figure drawing of the number 23 is worth MILLIONS!



p.s. Seriously though, I took a (depressing looking) selfie in front of a Rothko painting, which is very simplistic in execution, but his stuff sells for literally MILLIONS!





p.p.s.  My brother-in-law, Tony Peters, is actually a VERY good established artist!  He sells art as well, and I get a commission if I refer someone, so go check out his stuff!







Monday, March 02, 2015

A Problem Free Philosophy



Buen dia todo el mundo!  Happy Monday to all!  This week's blog will not be about any problems in the world or anything heavy that we should be reflecting on within ourselves.  This week is all about clearing your mind from everything stressful and just focusing on positivity.  Which is very hard, I know!  People who know me, may sometimes look at me as naive even because I choose not to let all of the sadness of the world get into my soul.  That does not mean that I don't know it exists, but do I really have to think about it ALL the darn time?  The news is the news.  It's what's going on in the world.  But all they ever seem to talk about is negativity.  We can't live like this! If all we see is violence, destruction, and the evilness of the world, then that is all we will ever know.  I feel as though it's good to incorporate a bit of naivety in our lives from time to time.  It is very therapeutic.

I've only done yoga a few times in my life (and I always seem to either crack up laughing because of the silence and awkwardness, or my mind is racing looking around the room at everyone).  But I think yoga helps people forget about all of their problems for one measly little hour of the day.  It's great!  You're trapped in a room of silence with a bunch of sweaty strangers listening to some low, trancey music (although one time, the instructor's ipod played "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea, I think by accident).  Everyone is in their own space, in their own mind.  You flow through some random poses, which you can do at your own speed and discretion, and you breathe a lot.  It's pretty good for some people.  Also riding bikes or running helps people to give up the thoughts in their mind.  It's truly good for you to purge your brain every once in a while.  Just be positive!

One thing that always keeps me in a very good place?  Going out of town!  It has recently become one of my absolute favorite things to do.  This weekend, I had the pleasure of joining Ashleigh for her birthday trip to beautiful Cartagena Columbia (Yea, I've never heard of that place before either).  Now I know that some people associate Columbia with drug cartels, cocaine, and violence, but it was actually a very beautiful place!  Actually, me and Ashleigh have visited a lot of "3rd world" countries,  but I found every single one of them extremely beautiful.  I want to start documenting more of my travels, so now I will give my review of the one and only Cartagena Columbia:





 














20 american dollars = about 50,000 pesos
 So, the weather in Cartagena was absolutely freaking, kick me in the crotch and call me Susan, PERFECT! I mean, it really couldn't get any better.  The temperature was literally 90 the whole time, which I know sounds sweltering, but the city is on the coastline of the Caribbean Sea, so there was always a tolerable breeze.  PERFECTO!  The water on the beaches was the temperature of a luke warm bath tub.  Amazing.  However, when you do go the beach, there are many people trying to sell you everything under the sun.  Which is fine, I live in New York, I'm use to that, but these people will actually give it to you first, let you have it, make it seem like you need or want it...let you eat it, start massaging you WITH lotion, and THEN charge you for it later.  Even if you do say no!  The best thing to do is be very firm and do NOT accept anything from these people, or you will end up with no money.


Going to a Spanish speaking country and not speaking Spanish is also sort of difficult, but when you actually get there, you realize you know more Spanish than you thought!  Once you surround yourself in the language, you start to see similarities to English.  Also, a lot of hand gesturing and charades will help give examples of what you are trying to say.  There are ways to communicate with people without speaking the same language.  I mean hey, there is often miscommunication when people DO speak the same language!

The Walled City (A part of the city behind this huge wall)





The nightlife in Cartagena is so fun (if you love to dance that is).  Our first night there, we cleared the dance floor.  If Spanish music doesn't make you wanna shake that booty just a little bit, there just might be something wrong with your booty.  The beer of choice there is Aguila, so I suppose try that, but we mostly stuck to tequila.  During the day, besides the beaches, there are MORE beaches on the island of Tierra Bomba.  It's about 20 minutes from Boca Grande by boat, and you also get free lunch and a cabana included with your round trip boat ride ticket.  It was probably the best deal day trip

ever.

Very festive taxi

Boat ride to Tierra Bomba



The rest of the trip is going to stay in my journal, but just know it was overall awesome!  When traveling outside of the country, you have to be careful in any regard, but you have to do the same where you live as well.  Don't be TOO naive.  But this world also has so much positivity that is greatly overshadowed by the negative.  There are times when we really do just have to forget the negative completely in order to have any sort of sanity.  In order to sleep at night!  Just because I had such a great time in all the supposed touristy spots, does NOT mean that I don't know there is poverty, corruption, and violence there also, but we should absolutely appreciate the beauty sometimes ya know?  In fighting for a better world, a better tomorrow,  let's not miss out on everything that we are trying to preserve.  Even being back in this snowy ice world known as NYC today, I can see the positivity...may even build me a little snow man!  Remember how when we were kids and snow-days were a GOOD thing?  We didn't even think about the coldness! I don't even recall BEING cold as a kid, I was just having too much fun.

Anywho people, even if you can't make it to Cartagena today, go out and be positive.  Forget all of your problems for a while and go get yourself a cheesecake.  Eat it all yourself!  Smile at a stranger! Do a cartwheel! Twerk in the mirror!  Don't let the sadness of the world keep you in a constant state of sadness too.  Think happy thoughts and you will fly - Peter Pan



I've had this swim suit since 7th grade!



P.s.  Even though I got a little sunburned, I got a little tan too, so yay!


OUCH!


p.p.s.  If you would LOVE to travel, but don't love spending a lot of money, I highly suggest being a flight attendant.  Even part time will get you ALL of the benefits.  The only reason I'm not one is because I still get kinda nervous being up in the air sometimes...  Happy travels!


P.p.p.s  My jam there the whole time was "Bailando" by Enrique Iglesias, which I shouted randomly throughout the day.  (and listening too right now while typing this blog...)


Adios!