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Please excuse the less-than-stellar iphone picture taken in a dark room

Earlier this week I went to a book reading and Q&A with two authors. The event was at HousingWorks Bookstore and Café, which is an awesome New York bookstore that is run entirely by volunteers, selling only donated books, to raise money to end the dual crisis of HIV/AIDS and homelessness.

The topic to be discussed by these two authors was how to write about place. I am not an author but as I searched TimeOut New York at 5 PM on Wednesday evening it was listed as free and nearby. Basically the only two requirements for something to be worth my time these days.

So I threw on a scarf to appear more “author-y” and headed out the door.

It turned out to be a really great night. 

As I said before, they sell new (donated by the publisher) or gently used books that have been donated. All employees are volunteers so every dollar that you spend there goes to HIV/AIDS advocacy and support in the city. Shortly after arriving to New York I realized I wouldn’t be able to keep all my books so my first visit to HousingWorks was to donate many of my beloved novels.

Walking into the door, feeling maybe a little out of place, I saw one of my donated books flagged on the front table. An employee had written a little “this is a great book!” summary. And it was mine. I picked it up and saw my name scrawled inside the cover. I was so proud that it had been my book, now being celebrated in this big, lovely bookstore.  I wanted to turn to the guy standing next to me and explain, “look, this is mine and they really appreciate it!”.  I felt like a small part of this community. Just a little bit, but that’s often all it takes.

I took a seat, ate some free dumplings, and ordered a Brooklyn Brewery beer. The authors were brilliant and engaging and the evening flew by.

I walked home feeling better. My mind felt open.

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Dance Party

When you don’t have a job to rush off to in the morning things can easily slip into a lazy, stagnant day.

Not the way to get things hustling, right?

One morning I stumbled upon this gem via Spotify and I dare you to listen to this without dancing. If you have a soul with any joy inside of it, I think you will find it impossible. 

It just gets blood flowing, it gets my body moving, and it helps me conquer the day. 

Perfect for a Tuesday morning, which can sometimes seem a bit worse than Monday.

Dance Party This Way…

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Old Bay

This past weekend I took a bus down to D.C. to visit my friend Ashley. It was her birthday on Monday, providing the perfect excuse to finally get my butt down there and catch up. She’s one of those people who is super smart and incredibly welcoming and I had a wonderful time with her. If anything the time went too quickly. I only managed to get a few pictures from her bbq on Saturday, but wanted to share them. Her family ordered a TON of steamed crabs covered in Old Bay and we all got to work cracking them open! It was a blast. The night ended with ice cream cupcakes and rolling down the grass-covered hill like 5 year olds. In other words, perfection.  034031

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Run this city

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Central Park from the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir (from my instagram)

I’ve alluded to the fact that Boston and I had an interesting relationship. I didn’t really start liking the city until I began running through it. I was able to see the neighborhoods from a new perspective, as well as how closely they all link together. 

I’ve decided to skip the awkward phase with New York and just start running so we can start off being friends right away. 

Oh, and I signed up to run 13 miles in a row while someone times me. My goal is not speed (at all), but I would love to finish. So, practice runs it is!

Here are a few shots I’ve taken with my iphone while running (maybe I enjoyed a little break to breath). Some are from Central Park which is stunning and huge, and the others are from this morning’s run along the Brooklyn Bridge.

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Central Park is so huge and green. I never realized just how large it really is.

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Brooklyn Bridge, from Instagram (laurenasfaw)

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On the Way to the Eye Doctor

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Selemon is gainfully employed which means…our little family has insurance!

So Monday afternoon I had an appointment with an eye doctor. They took our insurance and had great Yelp reviews. 

I didn’t realize the eye doctor was located right in the heart of Chinatown.

Their awning was in Chinese. 

I’m not going to lie, I considered turning around. But I thought “what the hell?” and pushed that door open. 

Out of 3 employees I could really only understand 1. Thankfully that one person was the Optometrist so I updated my prescription and picked up some glasses. Success: Lauren!

Walking home, I took some pictures of all the dried seafood being sold on the street. These pictures capture vision but they don’t capture the most important component of this experience: the odor. Let’s just say I was purposely walking behind someone smoking a cigarette. It’s a very hot August. Oh lord. 

Another city experience for the books.

 

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New York Favorites: Laundry Day

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Today is laundry day. Which means today I put our dirty laundry in a bag and carried it down the street. After 4 PM today the dirty laundry will be transformed into clean, perfectly folded versions of our previously disheveled clothing. 

In Minnesota we always had laundry either in our very own basement or shared for a small apartment building. In Boston I had to rely on a Laundromat for the first time which meant I would haul giant bags of laundry down the street (about 3 blocks…filled with tourists) to spend $4.50 for a wash and $1.00 per 8 minutes of drying. It was expensive and a giant pain in the ass. I would usually do laundry every 3 or 4 weeks because it was such a process. 

But New York.

In New York you pay people to do your laundry which seemed excessively luxurious. I was telling Ashley, my friend who lived in NY before grad school, that Selemon had been sending out his laundry last summer, as if it was an embarrassing luxury and she replied that she had done the same. Now that I’m here I see that everyone drops off their laundry for wash and fold. You’d be crazy not to, but each time it gives me the biggest thrill. 

Basically each street has their own cleaner, and I have yet to see an actual self-serve laundormat so I’m assuming everyone does it this way too (it goes without saying that basically nobody has their own washer/dryer in unit). You just bring your laundry, they place it on a scale and charge $1 per pound. (Some charge more, but this place seems great so far and they only charge $1) We usually have about 19 pounds, meaning $19 for totally clean, folded laundry. 

You guys, its the best thing ever. 

I feel like a queen. It’s probably cheaper than doing it ourselves. They perfectly fold the fitted bottom sheet. These people are laundry geniuses. 

And its definitely one of my favorite parts of city life. This is absolutely not an exaggeration. 087

*There are caveats to this process.We had a previous cleaner who lost two of Selemon’s socks, so we switched. So far I feel good about our cleaner, but I’m also knocking on wood. 

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