Nov
21

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Three Years

I was all prepped to write my New Yorker Moments post for today when I realized, “holy smokes!  it’s UsedYorkCity’s 3rd anniversary!  bring out the champagne!”  (No Jess, it’s breakfast…bring out the fancy lattes!)

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Obviously I got to reflecting about when I first started this little blog back in 2011 as a way of motivating myself to get out there and appreciate the city I lived in, (even after an exhausting and stressful day of work).  I would come home after my day job and document my adventures on the blog and man my Tweetdeck and wake up at the crack of dawn the next morning to reply to comments and return emails and all the other little details that go into creating and maintaining a healthy site.  It was a labor of love with long hours and no monetary return, but one that kept me going creatively, which at the time was worth its weight in gold.

I’ve recently transitioned from a 9 year career in education to being a full time blogger + domestic engineer (that’s the fancy name I use for wifey).  My dad asks every time I talk to him how “retired life” is, and it’s always a little tricky at social gatherings trying to convince acquaintances that “no, I really don’t get bored…blogging really does take more than 5 minutes, I promise!”

Jokes aside, I’m really thankful to be able to have this time to do what I love.  I’ve been collaborating with some great folks on NYC based projects, which I’m really excited to share with you in the coming months!  Until then, here’s a peek at some of UYC’s milestones over the past 3 years…both professionally and personally.  Thank you guys all for being a part of this little blogging community…here’s to using your city and finding inspiration in the little things every single day, wherever you may be! 

professionally personally

xx,

jess

 

p.s. a peek at year two and year one!

Nov
20

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UYC’s Book Club: The Love Affairs Of Nathaniel P.

Dating in NYC is an island unto itself, am I right?  The dating rules and etiquette that are perhaps observed in other parts of the country (and certainly the world) seem to fly out the window when applied to courting others in the Big Apple.  Often times the first question when meeting someone at a bar isn’t “What are you drinking?” or even “What’s your name?” but rather “What do you do?” and “Where do you live?”  Folks need to size up A. are this person’s life goals in sync with mine financially/morally/creatively/lifestyle-ly (which can of course be done by finding out the other’s profession, right?! ha!) and B. if the other person lives in Jersey or too far in Brooklyn, I best not be wasting my time.

If you haven’t guessed, this month’s book is a peak into the snarky, sensitive, and sometimes brutal world of dating in NYC…from a man’s perspective.  Here’s the synopsis of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. from author Adelle Waldman’s website:

New York writer Nate Piven’s star is on the rise. After several lean and striving years, he has his pick of both magazine assignments and women: Juliet, the hotshot business reporter; Elisa, his gorgeous ex-girlfriend, now friend; and Hannah, who is “almost universally regarded as nice and smart, or smart and nice,” and who holds her own in conversation with his friends.

For anyone who has ever wondered why men do the things they do, Adelle Waldman plunges into the psyche of a flawed, sometimes infuriating modern male—a young man who thinks of himself as beyond superficial judgment, yet constantly struggles with his own status anxiety, who is drawn to women, yet has a habit of letting them down in ways that may just make him an emblem or our times. The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. is an absorbing tale of dating in the big city—and an inside look at what one young man really thinks about sex, women and love.

No gonna lie…I inhaled this book.  I found the black humor pretty hysterical, and even though I’m now happily coupled up with my own NYC man (who yes, I met in a NY bar!), there were some points in the book where I could really relate to Nate and his dating struggles.  And I hated myself for that, cause he’s SUCH an asshole, but then again…maybe everyone has their own degree of Nate in them when it comes to finding your soulmate in this incredible sea of candidates?  Maybe just a tiny bit?  Let’s discuss below!

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1. “Dating is probably the most fraught human interaction there is.  You’re sizing people up to see if they’re worth your time and attention, and they’re doing the same to you.”  Do you agree with this summary of dating, or do you believe, as Nate does, that it’s “not that big a deal”?

I mean, I think it depends on what stage in you’re life you’re in and what it is you’re hoping to get out of the situation.  If you’re in your 20’s and just looking to have a good time, you probably aren’t reading too much into it, and it’s really not a big deal.  It’s like, “hmm, what will I have for dinner tonight?  what should I watch on Netflix?  should I text person A or person B or person C to hang out?”  Likewise, if you’re in a life position (maybe a bit older), where you’re not exactly looking for love and babies and all that jazz, maybe you’re totally happy just dating to have the enjoyable company of others?  A companion to go to the movies, share meals with, call during the day…that kinda thing.  However, where I think dating becomes a pretty big deal is when you’re at the stage (and granted, not everyone has this stage!)…but if you do and you are, where you’re ready to settle down and meet the one and fall in love and make a little family…well, then yes, dating is a pretty big deal.  So size away, my friends!

2. Throughout this novel, we see Nate’s views on others and also his thoughts on how people view him. Do you feel that it is a natural feeling to be validated through others’ opinions? Do we need reassurance from our partners in order to accept ourselves?

Oh man, yes!  I certainly think feeling reassured by the one you choose to spend your time and life with helps!  Kindness is kinda the main thing that keeps relationships happy and healthy, and while Nate certainly wanted to be validated by just about everyone in his life (his male friends, every woman he ever meets, his exes…), he certainly does a shitty job of returning this when he’s in a relationship.  I viewed a lot of his interactions as completely passive aggressive…I mean, he knew it wasn’t working out with Hannah pretty early on in the book, and rather than be honest about it he kept dragging her on, and becoming less and less interested.  I guess I’d like to think that Nate will get better at this with maturity and perhaps meeting the right girl, but maybe that’s too optimistic of me?

3. How does NYC play a role in this book?

It was really fun reading about Nate’s NYC: a cool Brooklyn kid, engrossed in the literary world, having his first book published, and dating all kinds of hipster either too pretty or too smart Brooklyn women…it was like taking a ride on the G train!  I love how the author described Nate’s apartment…like, he was just too cool and too creative to care that it was an absolute disaster with no food in the fridge, ever.  Although I have to say that if I was a single girl reading this book I would be running away as fast as I could from any guy potentially resembling Nate at a bar.  Just saying;-)

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the book below, and make sure to join us next month for our discussion on Miracle of 34th Street, which we’ll hold on the blog on Thursday, December 18th. Between now and then feel free to share your thoughts on Twitter with the hashtag #UYCBookclub!

By: Jessica Tiare Bowen

 

Nov
19

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UsedYorkCity Inspiration #11

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^^This delicious wine flight from Uva for $14.  Props to you, Upper East Side!^^

1. “I have always believed the rebirth of the subway in the ’90s was the rebirth of New York City.” Great article on how bringing art into the subway breathes new life into commuting. (via City Lab)

2. NYC is turning all its old payphones into free Wi-fi hubs and charging stations. New York for the win! (via Brokelyn)

3. You guys know I’m a sucker for traditions. So no surprise I got all googly-eyed over this NYC family and their holiday traditions. (via Love Taza)

4. Gah, just want to put my feelings on paper that not all areas of Brooklyn are filled with artisanal soap shops and vegan bakeries…in fact, I’d bet the majority of hoods are not. That being said, this is a fun little read on how The Times is comparing every trendy city, ever, to Brooklyn. (via The Atlantic)

5. Here’s 15 places in NYC you can see The Nutcracker at this season. (via Mommy Poppins)

What’s been inspiring you this week?  Share below!

xo,

Jess

Nov
18

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A NY Minute With Jessi Mechanic

Little known fact: when I was in college, I had my own radio show freshman year.  I know, I know, sooooo cool, right?!;-)  My co-host and I prided ourselves on being able to listen to an up-and-coming band’s EP and discerning pretty immediately whether they were actually up-and-coming or destined for a career of 4am college radio plays.

Fast forward a decade: the hubs and I are having a date night at The Bowery Electric.  The first band on was Jessi Mechanic, and it also happened to be the EP release party of their album “Wandering in Roam”.  After their first number, I turned to Mr. P and said, “Not only do I LOVE her red lipstick ((cause you all know how I adore a good red lipstick)), but her music? She’s going places!”  Beautiful vocals singing beautiful lyrics, in a style that reminded me of a nice mix between Fiona Apple and Lana Del Rey, seriously guys, give her a listen here.  My favorite track on the EP is Somehow.

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I was delighted to be able to catch up with Jessi and ask her a few questions:

1. What’s your favorite NYC venue to listen to live music?

I love the Prospect Park Bandshell for outdoor shows and Glasslands is great for indoor shows, unfortunately not for long.

2. Emerging from the NYC indie music scene is huge! What would you say has been a source of inspiration for your music career from the city itself?

Just wandering around and seeing something new on every corner gives you inspiration.  Also, the people in NY are so creative, it’s hard not to be excited and inspired by them.

3. When you’re not jamming, what’s your favorite NYC coffee shop and restaurant to fuel up at?

I love Black Cat Coffee on the LES.  Its big and comfortable and I go there for hours some weekends to write.  I am moving to Greenpoint in a week, so I’ll have to find another coffee shop around there!  Prosperity Dumpling is always great for a quick bite, Gemma is great for brunch – I love their banana bread and butter and their egg, fontina and mushroom pizza.

Thanks so much for chatting with us, Jessi!  We’re so looking forward to following your music career!

xo,

Jess

 

Nov
17

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Quotable Kicks For The NYC Hipster

Every Monday from now until Christmas, I’ll be posting a DIY project that you can easily knock out in an afternoon hour, which will make a special gift for someone on your list.  I’m a huge fan of DIY gifts, but a tad picky about the kind of projects I’ll do.  And I think as fellow New Yorkers you guys might just agree, too.  Here’s my criteria:

1. The project can’t be too complicated (cause we’re New Yorkers, ain’t nobody got time for that!)

2. The gift must serve an actual purpose (cause we have small apartments and don’t have room for unnecessary clutter, right?!)

3. It must be something I’d actually want to get myself (cause as much as I love following some of these artistic lifestyle bloggers, some of the stuff they create seems a bit silly to me.  A giant felt donut?  No thank you.)

So, now that we have the rules down, let’s get started!  First up on my list is quotable kicks for the hipster in your life.  The idea is simple: pick a quote (or song lyric!) that will resonate with the person you’re gifting the sneakers to, and design the sneakers with that quote in mind.  Recipient need not live in Brooklyn, but have an appreciation for unique shoes that are quite unrepeatable;-)

Especially love this concept because these shoes can either be worn outside to add a punch to any outfit (especially an all black ensemble!), OR you can take the laces out and wear them as fun indoor slippers inside the apartment!

Supplies:

-sneakers

-fabric paint

-paint brushes or q.tips

Instructions:

1. Make sure to cover your work area with butcher paper or newspaper…especially if you’re splatter painting!

2. Pick your quote, and get to painting!  Let the inspiration fly on that shoe canvas, folks!

3. After the painting is over, set aside and let dry.

4. Oh, and don’t forget to write the quote down!  I chose to make little tags which I’ll include with the shoes, tied up in baker’s twine, but you could also use a Sharpie to write the quote on the bottom of the kicks, too.  Or even paint it on the shoes if you have realllllyyyyy nice handwriting.  Personal preference.

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That’s it!  Seriously guys, easy breezy.

p.s. if you like the concept but can’t find the time/patience to unleash your inner artist, I’ll be taking a limited amount of custom orders on these for the holidays, you can place your order here!  

Can you think of a candidate in your life who would rock some painted kicks?  Share below!

 

By: Jessica Tiare Bowen