It's official!

It's official!
David Stubbs Photography

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everybody! I hope you had a wonderful holiday with family and friends. (And I hope today brings you stretch pants so you can comfortably relish in the 9,000 calories we all consumed yesterday.)

My mom and stepdad are in town and as we finished up our meal yesterday, we noticed the sunset outside was breathtaking. We decided to take a walk to check it out and I'm so glad we did. Check out the pics! I didn't touch any of these up with filters...the New York City sky above the Hudson River was truly that magical.

Enjoy the rest of the holidays!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Our Dead Neighbor

There comes a time in every New Yorker's life when he/she must ask: "Excuse me officer, can you tell me if the death was from natural causes?"

I've told you before about the little old lady in apartment #4. In fact, she became the subject of an entire blog post. She was older, she lived alone and it was pretty apparent she hadn't showered or cleaned her apartment in our pre-war building, well, since before the war.

The smell wafting from her rent-controlled apartment was enough to smack you in the face when you walked into the building. I often apologized to friends and family members when they came over, joking that eventually you have to get used to the smell of a dead body, right?

Well, on Tuesday, that was put to the test. I left around noon to meet my visiting family for lunch. As I walked by her apartment, I thought it smelled nastier than usual. Like really pungent. But, I shrugged and just figured she was cooking her usual lunch of rats and garlic. By the time I came home though, there was an ambulance outside and four police officers hanging out in our lobby. When I asked one what had happened, he told me she had died.

Well now, didn't I feel like a jerk? I never even alerted the authorities.

Now, here comes the really awkward part. Since we're moving out of our apartment, I've had brokers calling me daily, setting up times for their clients to come look at our place. And wouldn't you know that on Tuesday afternoon, we had an appointment set up. I could only imagine what an apartment buzz kill it would be for the naive Wisconsin couple if they came to look at our place at the exact time the NYPD was removing the woman's body.

That couple re-scheduled, but another broker and couple came by that afternoon without an appointment. But here's the crazy part--they didn't ask me ONCE about what was going on downstairs. Isn't that nuts? Not one question about why there were officers with rubber gloves processing an apartment just four floors away. Weren't they the tiniest bit curious? They must already be jaded New Yorkers. 

Oh, and yes, the officer assured me the death was from natural causes. He laughed and said there would be a lot more officers on the scene if it wasn't.



Monday, October 21, 2013

Our new NYC apartment!

Hmm, that wasn't completely awful. I didn't cry once OR find new gray hairs. Did I miss something?

Mike and I signed a lease on our brand new apartment today, which we got approved for in approximately one hour. We didn't have to turn in last year's tax returns, we didn't have to show photos of us interacting with our dogs (that really happened), we didn't have to have a relative co-sign, we didn't have to sign away the rights to our first born AND we didn't have to pay thousands of dollars in broker's fees. We showed up and looked at the apartment, filled out an application, had our credit checked...and bam, we were in. It was like a completely normal process.

As I've mentioned before, last year's search for an apartment in Manhattan (albeit, right after Hurricane Sandy) was in the Top 5 most miserable experiences of my life. Between working with an inexperienced and completely incompetent broker, landlords who wouldn't meet with us in person but decided they didn't like us on paper, and getting rejected from several apartments, I felt like Carrie at the Prom. "They're all going to laugh at you!" And they did laugh.

But now, we're getting the last laugh because we're moving into our beautiful new pad! We decided to stay on the Upper West Side, which we love. We have east and south views, so that means plenty of sunshine, which the dogs will be oh-so-excited about. And are you sitting down? We also elevator! Central Air! A doorman! Washers/dryers in the building! No more schlepping 20 pounds of laundry 5 blocks away. Score. 

Here are some pics :-)  Now, who wants to help us move out of our 4th story walk-up?

Monday, October 14, 2013

New York City apartments

I can't believe it's been a year since I was crying on the streets of New York City. A whole year since I felt like I didn't belong and would never fit in. 365 days since I thought perhaps I would never be included in the elite group known as being a Manhattanite. I just can't believe it's already time to look for another apartment.

As Carrie Bradshaw said in Sex and the City, "In New York, you're always looking for a job, a boyfriend or an apartment." True dat Carrie.

You may remember how excruciating the apartment search was for us in the weeks that followed Hurricane Sandy. (Check out the blogs HERE.) Between the background checks, the grueling look into our entire financial background, the investigation into our dogs and just about every other part of our lives...we were finally able to move into our third choice-- a tiny one-bedroom apartment on the fourth floor of an Upper West Side walk-up with no elevator or laundry. In exchange for those perks, we instead got a super smelly woman on the first floor that I've literally called to have welfare checks done on, because I feared she was dead.

So now, after a super fast year, the search is on again. We have two things working in our favor this time: one, we're already in Manhattan. And two: we're able to increase what we're paying in rent, which is allowing us to look at some very nice places.

On Wednesday, I found the most perfect one-bedroom apartment. It's only a few blocks from where we are now, plus it's across the street from Liz Lemon's apartment in the show 30 Rock, so I felt like it was a very good NYC omen. It also had a huge foyer that could almost be considered a second bedroom. I was ready to sign on the dotted line, until I started doing the financials. In order to move in:

1) We would have to pay one month's rent
2) We would also have to pay another month and a half's rent for a deposit
3) We would have to pay the broker(s) 15% of an entire year's rent.

When I added all that up, I realized we'd be paying a cool $15,000 upfront to move into an apartment that's about 300 square feet larger than what we have now. Ouch.

You see, most landlords hire brokers to show their apartments so they don't have to do it. The brokers show you the apartment, turn in all your paperwork, and boom, they make thousands of dollars. It sounds like it would be a great career, right? Only there are so many brokers in this city, I have a sneaking suspicion that many are barely making ends meet. I now have them calling me day and  night, begging me to be "exclusive" with them. I feel like we should at least do dinner first.

So now we're trying to avoid the broker fees and just look at "no-fee" apartments, which includes many of the city's high-rises. I'll keep you updated. I'm even looking at one today that....wait, are you sitting down? It has a washer and dryer IN-UNIT! It's a NYC miracle!

Wish us luck! I really don't want to have a second mental breakdown.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Bethenny Show

A week ago today I was on the Bethenny show, and honestly, I don't think I've stopped smiling since. It was one of the Top 10 coolest experiences of my life.

For those who didn't catch the show, you've asked why I was on. I will blog about it soon, I promise, but I thought this post would be funnier to start with. You see, I'm not exactly a tech whiz, so to get images of the show, I watched it on our DVR and snapped pics with my iPad. And well, not all of the photos were flattering.

So here I give you the Bethenny show rejects for your viewing (and laughing) pleasure. And along with it, I will summarize why I was on the show. Enjoy!

"Welcome to the show everybody!" 

"Who here would like to have....?"

 Crazy blonde lady in the audience: "Ooh, ooh, I would!"

Bethenny: "Has anyone ever told you you look like "Crazy Eyes" from Orange is the New Black?"

"Um, sometimes."

 "Okay, getting back to your dream, Jeannie, I hear Leo likes girls with more sass. 
 Can you bring it?"
"Bethenny, it's clearly already been 'broughten'"

"Um, okay. But Jeannie, what face would your husband make if he knew you were having these dreams about Leo?"

"Probably this one!"

"Ooh, not good. So how do these dreams make you feel?"

"Oh right, how can I forget. 

But do you think Leo could, um, measure up?"


"Okay fine Jeannie, you've argued your case, so you can keep having naughty dreams about Leonardo DiCaprio."

 "Oh yeah....I'm actually having one right now...."

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Never Forget: September 11th Anniversary

It's my first September 11th anniversary as a New Yorker, and I'm not going to lie, I shed quite a few tears today. This day has certainly always been emotional whether it was seeing the terror unfold from the news station I was working at in Cheyenne, Wyoming, or for the next decade covering the anniversaries as a reporter and news writer in Colorado, Florida, Indiana and Illinois.

But while I watched the reading of the victims' names today, I had this humbling thought. I realized the people at the podium are my neighbors. They're the people sitting next to me on the subway. They're the ones I pass on the street or perhaps the ones I get frustrated with because they seem to be in my way. Throughout the city, I'm next to thousands of people who's lives were forever changed during one beautiful, sunny day in New York City.

As I awoke this morning, I thought about all those people who just like me, got up on September 11th and had a cup of coffee. They got on the subway and headed into work. Or they drove to the airport, hoping to not miss their flights. It was just another Tuesday. They had no idea they would never see their husbands or wives again. Their sisters. Their brothers. Their parents. Their unborn children.

Today I did two things in honor of this anniversary. I thanked a police officer for her service. She smiled and thanked me back. And at dinner, I told Mike that if anything were to ever happen to me, I wanted him to know it's been one awesome decade.

To all the brave men and women that day who ran into the buildings without a moment's hesitation, thank you. To all the families of the 2,977 victims, we're with you, now and forever.

God Bless America.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

New York City culture

As a white Christian girl growing up in Cheyenne, Wyoming (population 50,000) let's just say I wasn't exposed to a ton of culture. In my elementary school we had exactly one black student, and in some crazy irony, his name was George Bush. 

I didn't meet a Jewish person until I was about 10. She was a Holocaust survivor and I remember my mom instructing me not to ask about it, so I didn't. It wasn't until I was a 22-year-old reporter that I was given a story on Rosh Hashanah, and when the assignment editor told me my story, I'm pretty sure I said "bless you," because I thought she had sneezed. I didn't know what the heck she was talking about. 

Fast forward to my 35-year old self living in New York City, and let's just say, I'm still learning new things. The first time I saw a Hasidic Jewish family (ever) was about 9 months ago, and I'm pretty sure Mike had to tell me to stop staring. I was so intrigued because it's just something I had never before seen. (Now a horse-shaped potty-training seat, that I have seen. And used.)

Despite my work-in-progress of trying to learn about new cultures and religions, I'm still a hot mess when it comes to writing or reporting on 1) Anything Pope-related and 2) Anything Jewish-holiday related. So during my 12 years working in the news business, I cringe whenever I'm given a story on either of these. As many of you know, I work as a news writer for a station in NYC and this week when I was assigned a story on Rosh Hashanah, I literally had to Google "Judaism 101." Is that normal? (And a couple of weeks ago, I edited video of the Pope. But apparently the wrong Pope. Who knew? Don't they all kind of look alike?)

For the Catholic stories I do, it's not only trying to figure out who is who, but have you ever heard all the unique terms Catholics use? It's like a whole other dictionary! I have to chuckle every time I write about canonization or beautification, because this is what they could also mean:

Canonization- The act of getting shot out of a cannon at a circus

Abstinence- Giving up Chipolte for a week

Adultery- Hitting Chipolte on Tuesday after work, but hiding the evidence from the hubs

Anointing- The chubby kid next to me on the subway. Oh wait, that was annoying... 

Beautification- The 1 1/2 hours it takes for me to do my hair and make-up. Used only for special occasions.

Blasphemy- When someone criticizes any of the Real Housewives shows. Or The Bachelor.

Impediments to Marriage- Having only one TV. Or a Queen bed. Or only one bathroom. (During our city living, Mike and I have had a lot of impediments.)

Shalom everybody! (I actually have no idea what that means, so hopefully I didn't just curse you out.)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bethenny Frankel Show!

Well dang, that was sure fun. I'm sitting here in bed tonight, likely unable to fall asleep, because I just had the best. day. ever.

I don't want to give away too many details just yet, but let me just say that I was at a taping of the Bethenny show today which was in and of itself awesome, but are you sitting down?

I was also ON THE SHOW.


I got a HUG from Bethenny herself! And she COMPLIMENTED my eyes!!

Best. Day. Ever.

The show premieres next Monday, so I won't give away the specifics, but stay tuned!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Live with Kelly & Michael

Dang, that was sure fun. On Thursday, my girlfriend Laura and I went to a taping of Live With Kelly & Michael. Because Laura is a sportscaster for ABC, she got us special VIP tickets, meaning we didn't have to wait in line and got first dibs on seats. (Which I thought I'd feel bad about, but totally didn't.) She also introduced me to Michael Strahan which I'll tell you about shortly! It was an awesome day.

Let me tell ya, I'm no fair weather "Live" fan. I have loved the show for about 12 years. My first job out of college was as a master control operator, which basically meant I got paid to watch TV. I played commercials, made sure the correct show was on, etc. The highlight of my boring early morning shift was 9 a.m. when Regis and his new co-host, Kelly Ripa, came on. I thought her fun and self-deprecating humor was hilarious, and I quickly fell in love with her just like the rest of the country.

Fast forward to this week, and I couldn't have been more excited about the show. I even had my own version of Jersey Shore's GTL (gym, tan, laundry) to get ready camera-ready. Only mine was MHDST (manicure, hair did, spray tan). Unfortunately, Kelly Ripa was off this week and couldn't appreciate my pink nails, but we got to see two tapings, one with co-host Maria Menounos and the other with Whitney Cummings, and both were a lot of fun. (Tip: On Thursday's in the summer they tape Friday's show too, so you get 2-for-1!)

During the commercial breaks, Michael Strahan took the mic and entertained the audience. He's great and so funny! He also liked to explain to us how everything worked behind the scenes.

The best part was when he recognized Laura and came over to chat. In front of the whole audience he said, "Who's with you today?" Laura said, "This is my girlfriend, Jeannie." Then this happened...

Michael: "Hi Jeannie!"

Me: (Blushing and tilting my head down) "Hi Michael, how are you?"

He then welcomed us to the show and told us to have fun. It was the best. day. ever.

The first guest was Harrison Ford. He was there to talk about his new movie "Paranoia." They also had a little fun with him with a segment called "Harris-yes" or "Harris-no" asking him questions like does he go commando, etc.

The second show featured guest, Cuba Gooding, Jr. who's in the new movie 'Le Daniels' The Butler.' He even waved to me coming into the show! (Of course, I popped my top off at this point, so that may have helped.) Totally kidding. I would only do that for Leonardo DiCaprio.

I haven't watched both shows yet, but I saw the beginning of Friday's, and it looks like we got pretty good camera time! (Again, this could be because I popped my top off.)

And the icing on the cake was when Live with Kelly & Michael re-tweeted my tweet with the picture of Laura and me in the audience. For any of you non-tech savvy folks, this is basically the equivalent of the hot, popular guy in school telling his friends that he thinks you're cool. It makes your day.

Thanks to Laura, Michael Strahan and the rest of the crew for a wonderful, memorable experience! It is definitely in the Top 10 coolest things I've done so far in NYC.