Southern Review: Chick-Fil-A Meets NYC

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Address: 1000 Ave of the Americas, New York, NY 10018

On my latest quest to find a little bit of the south in the city I ventured to Chick-Fil-A. A recent addition to NYC, the fast food restaurant is conveniently located in the middle of the city.

To be honest, I’ve been avoiding the place since its opening in 2015. Mainly for two reasons – the lines have been reported to be out the door, and the idea of having an authentic southern staple in the city was unbelievable. But alas, I decided to venture out on a Friday afternoon, hoping to avoid the weekend crowds.

The verdict – It was everything I wanted and more. The line was quick, thanks to the surplus of employees who rush to take your order on iPads upon arrival. My two friends and I were easily able to find a table. And, last but not least, the food tasted just as good as it does at home in North Carolina. Without even looking at the menu I ordered the chicken sandwich, waffle fries, and signature lemonade. Read more

Southern Review: Smorgasburg and Artists & Fleas

IMG_4217This past weekend I was able to find a little bit of North Carolina in the City. Not only did I have a friend from home in town, but I was able to find a few NYC attractions that brought forth memories of the Carolinas. Where did I find all of this? In Brooklyn, of course! More specifically, Williamsburg.

Over the past two years, Brooklyn has become one of my favorite places in the New York area. I spent a summer  living in Brooklyn Heights and fell in love with the quaint quietness of it all. The streets are actually lined with trees and the buildings often don’t reach higher than several floors in height, and for a brief moment you are able to forget that you live in one of the largest metropolitan cities in the world.

I’ll spare you the rest of my Brooklyn love story, you get the picture, and get to my point – Williamsburg is home to two of my favorite gems in the city. Smorgasburg and Artists & Fleas.

Smorgasburg is a weekly food festival featuring some of the best local vendors in the area. This is the type of place where you can find a vendor devoted solely to gourmet grilled cheese, or the recent food trend/crowd favorite, ramen burgers (yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like – a burger squished between two buns made out of ramen noodles). Read more

Amber and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Bug

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As promised, let me tell you a story about me, my apartment, and a very big bug.

You remember me mentioning that sometimes I catch my Southern showing? Well honey, this was one of those days (cue Patti LaBelle voice).

It’s no lie that we are familiar with bugs in the south. Mosquitoes and gnats are everywhere, especially in the summer, but the bugs in New York are from a different family. They are decidedly bigger, badder and of an entirely different breed. You haven’t truly lived in New York until you see your first cockroach.

The day was September 12th and it was an oddly warm fall evening for New York. Not quite hot enough for the A/C unit to be turned on, I cracked a window in my apartment to let in some fresh air. A traditional girls movie night, a friend and I set-up shop in my apartment surrounded by halal and an array of junk food from the nearby Duane Reade. The feature film of the night was “Age of Adaline.”

We were about an hour into the movie and Blake Lively had just pulled us into yet another graceful plot twist when the visitor arrived.

My vision was triggered by sudden movement on the wall to my right.

“Oh. My. Gahhh-shhh!” I whispered the statement in fear that the apartment’s latest inhabitant would hear me.

On the wall, about four feet above my bed, sat the biggest cockroach I had seen in my 20-something years of life. I don’t know how long it took me to get up from the couch but the next several minutes were a blur and slur or What do I do?!

Maybe the drama of the moment was enhanced by the darkness of the movie, but at that time the situation was life or death. My friend and I decided it would be best for me to use my Swiffer as a weapon… oh, and I would be the one to kill the bug.

My heart quickened as I climbed upon my bed to be in better reach of my opponent. What would I do if he fell to his death upon my soft yellow bed spread and favorite decorative throw pillows? I would for sure have to replace it all.

Usually when one gets closer to an issue their fears begin to dissipate as they realize the situation is no where near as big or dire as they thought. The opposite happened for me. Up close and personal, I saw that the roach was as big as I had imagined from afar – maybe even a centimeter bigger. At about two and a half inches in length, he was ready for a fight.

I became paralyzed with the exception of my legs which were now shaking due to nerves and the squishy surface of my bed below.

“You can do it! Kill it!” My friend chirped in the background. It wasn’t until the bug began to move that I too jumped into action.

With my Swiffer waving up into the air I would attempt to squish and swipe him to my right behind the bed. A brilliant plan except for the fact that as I swung in defense I closed my eyes, letting out what I imagine to be a full Serena Williams level grunt of power.

When I came back to my senses the bug was nowhere to be seen, but I was told that my plan had somewhat worked and he was now on the other side of my bedframe.

I walked around to the back of the bed with a heavy amount of dread and anticipation. The fight was not over. There the bug lay. Unmoving, unconscious, and surely not dead. I would have to finish him off.

Oh my gahsh!

Oh my gahsh!

Oh my gahsh!

The southern accent deep within me reared its head and the verbal attack was on. Sometime between my ill wishes and my friend’s kind encouragement I managed to complete the task. With pink rubber gloves and a wad of paper towels, I picked up the victim and threw him into the trash can. This must be what a near death experience feels like.

The next morning I called my super, and the exterminator arrived two days later. A pest control company visits my building once a month. They are perhaps my favorite people in New York.

Got a story of your own? Send it my way for the chance to be featured on The Urban Magnolia!

Monday Musings

7 Reasons Why I Want to Sit at the Reception Desk

Recently, my office was moved into a smaller space behind the reception desk of my organization’s office. Due to that small space actually being a conference room, we often leave the door open to feign off the feeling of cramped claustrophobia. That being said, we have the pleasure of hearing daily reception desk convos.

As a writer, this is paradise considering the conversations and the amount of shared personal information literally runs the gamut – especially on a Monday. Below are several conversations I overheard this past Monday, and some pretty darn good reasons why working at the reception desk is totally underrated.

  1. Movie Reviews – I received a full review of Zootopia. Apparently the movie has “deep undertones,” and is an adult movie in disguise. Note taken.
  2. Weekend Recaps – On average between the morning and the afternoon about five people stopped by to share full details of their weekend gallivants. My particular favorite was a spirited play by play from the office delivery man. He boisterously shared a story about watching his baby alone for the first time without his wife’s supervision. It seems that this was a trial and error experience.
  3. City Events – I learned all about the Gay Men’s Choir event held at NYU last weekend.
  4. Drunken Subway Stories – An associate in the office gave a boisterous monologue about being stuck in a drunken conversation with a friend of a friend on the subway. He does not remember the details, and fears that his feigned sobriety was blatantly apparent. Takeaway – awkward conversations are to be avoided by taking a cab.
  5. Anonymity – Often office visitors cannot see what a receptionist is doing on their computer due to their low-sitting desk behind a partition. I envy this ability.
  6. Health Advice – While sitting at the reception desk, one hears a great deal of unsolicited advice. Today’s topic was health and the importance of offsetting workouts with regular rest to prevent muscle tears. “Once you kind of tear it, it stays,” said a man with a small voice (I remained at my desk and never saw his face). The man continued on to share how he himself had torn a muscle in his knee a long time ago.
  7. Popularity – Did I mention that receptionists are often the most popular people in the office due to the array of mints and candies sitting on their desk. Yeah, it’s pretty hard to beat that.

Let that all sink in for a moment. Have a good day, lovelies!

Spring Break in the City – Somewhere in Soho

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Two Hands Cafe in Soho.

IMG_4061My spring break week was ended with a beautiful day in Soho. When living in NYC it’s easy to become consumed in your own neighborhood. You have your classes, work, grocery store, and favorite coffeeshops all within walking distance. There are weeks when I look up and realize I’ve gone days without leaving the Upper West Side. Without even knowing it, your world can quickly shrink to a one mile radius when living in the city. Below are some of my favorite spots in the Soho.

  1. Two Hands Cafe – The tiny cafe is a bright oasis in the midst of a crowded city. Technically in Chinatown, the cafe is an odd find considering its Aussie vibe. Go for the avocado toast and the coffee accompanied by a tam tam cookie (it’s never too early for chocolate). I recommend the Outback Cap pictured to the right. IMG_4055
  2. McNally Jackson Books – The bookstore is right in the middle of Soho and offers every book imaginable. The store also offers an in-house Self Publishing Department. An “Espresso Book Machine” sits in the middle of the store.
  3. Housing Works Bookstore Cafe – My favorite bookstore in Soho, Housing Works Bookstore Cafe is unique. The store/cafe is a nonprofit and all proceeds go directly to the Housing Works organization. All the books and records are resale and the store boasts a wide range of titles both new and old. Go for the beautiful library-like atmosphere and the rich literary history. IMG_4057
  4. Maman – Maman is possibly the most Instagram-worthy coffeeshop I’ve stepped foot in NYC. The cups are decorated in an array of light blue patterns and the decor is what I would call country chic.
  5. Sel Rrose – After a recommendation from North of the Park, I joined several of my graduate school classmates at the classic bar located on Delancey Street. I could not think of a better place for a Friday happy hour. The old-school decor, marble bar, and bartender sporting handcrafted leather suspenders completed the experience. The bar is known for its $1 oysters and array of uncommon cocktails.

 

What Season Is It Anyway?

I would like to formally issue a retraction of my earlier statement in which I declared that it is not spring in New York. I was horribly wrong. It is summer. Just check the temperature in my tiny studio apartment. The thermostat currently reads 85 degrees (that is about 29 degrees Celsius for all of my friends outside the States). Yeah, let that sink in for a second.

At this exact moment I am flat on my back on the floor of my apartment fighting off heat!

Okay so that is a little dramatic, but I am currently wearing my pink monkey pajama shorts and an old college t-shirt as if it is the middle of July in the Carolinas. I’m even slightly glistening (in case you didn’t know already, Southern girls don’t sweat).

At this point, Non-New Yorkers might ask the seemingly logical question of why I do not simply turn on the air conditioning. Well one side-effect of living the classic New York lifestyle in the cute little walkup apartment is the waving away the rights to control your own air and heat. Your super has all the power when it comes to this aspect of your life. Want it warmer? Shoot him a text and he’ll reply in about 3ish business days. Want it cooler? Well, try sending three more messages. I actually suggest saving your super’s number in your phone. And don’t be coy. It’s not that kind of relationship.

At this point, the New Yorker might ask the more logical question of my I do not simply open my windows. The reason – bugs. I am terribly, horribly, undeniably scared of bugs. That fear has intensified since moving to New York. I wish I had a more rational reason.

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I am afraid that if I open my windows – especially while I am sleeping – that a bug will crawl in. Anyone else have that fear?

They say everything is bigger in New York (actually, that might be Texas), but no one ever said that the bugs were bigger too. Laugh now but just wait until you experience it for yourself. Look out for the full NYC bug story to come.

So, what season is it for you? Comment below 🙂