The New York Diaries: 7 Things I Did/Learned in My First Week in New York

Times Square from 50th St

It’s been crazy that I officially live in NY now. I didn’t expect myself to acclimate as I have. I am really trying to get my life together. For those of you who don’t know…I am in New York working as an apprentice for the next 9 months. I am so happy to have this as a stepping stone in my career and life. I do miss my siblings dearly and I have called my mom more often than I ever did. Distance truly does make the heart grow fonder and give you perspective. So, here are a couple of things that I have learned this week that I want to share with you. I also have some advice. Let me know in the comments below or give this a like. I am thinking of doing this series once a week. New York is not without the most interesting things happening.

  1. Don’t let the comfort of your home stop you from going out. So, when I arrived at my apartment, all I wanted to do was unpack and stay in. However, I didn’t have groceries. So, I forced myself to head out to the grocery store instead of using modern conveniences like postmates or another grocery service or eating out. Not that those are bad, but I wanted to really push myself to become comfortable where I live and the surrounding area. I found an area that had more than just my local Aldi, it was fantastic and I have been back at least two times since
  2. Take the taxi. If you can afford it, take it when you first move to the city. It cost me about $60.00 but I know I wouldn’t have been able to lug three suitcases through the subway and then up the stairs. Most of the subway stops don’t have elevators. So, if you are moving with all that you have, just save the headache and get that taxi.
  3. Subways aren’t that bad once you get used to it. The three words “Uptown,” “Downtown,” and “Brooklyn” will help you gain a general direction as to where you are going in the city. Of course, some of them are not listed and you will definitely have to use Google Maps to help you out. Uptown= goes up towards the Bronx. Downtown= goes down towards Staten Island Ferry. Brooklyn= goes off the main island towards Brooklyn. I know that it may sound silly to say all of that but it has really helped me gain a sense of direction.
  4. If you get lost, explore. (within safety and reason) New York is only dangerous if you aren’t smart about it or at least cautious. I got on the subway and realized I was heading towards downtown. Sadly, you can’t just transfer over, you have to actually get above ground and go to the uptown side, meaning that you will have to swipe your metro card again. I got off after the second stop and ended up at 50th st. I took a moment to see the hustle and bustle of Times Square from afar.
  5. Tourist is not a bad thing. There is so much to see and do in New York that avoiding the touristy spots means that you can really be missing out on the amazing things in life. Like, me getting lost and ending up near Times Square was my first moment of realization that New York is my home for the next year. The museums may be considered tourism but the exhibits are amazing, for sure. I still need to go to the Heavenly Bodies exhibit at The Met! If you end up feeling jaded, go on off hours. Go to Times Square early in the morning when you are enjoying your coffee or experience it at night when the people are in awe of the bright future they see.
  6. Getting my stuff delivered has been a nightmare. I don’t say this to freak anyone out, I am just telling you my story. So, in order to get someone to sublease my room, I ordered a folding bed frame, bed, and mattress cover. My bed frame was said to have been delivered but my roommate did not see it. I called Amazon, who were really helpful and replaced it free of charge. When I ordered my items from UPS, they wouldn’t deliver for the longest time even though I gave them my door code. So, I signed up for a UPS My Choice account, which made things a little easier but not by much. I also have a UPS store close so I had my personal boxes that my sister sent for me sent there. Currently, I am dealing with a desk that I ordered off of Amazon that got shipped through FedEx and was said to have had three attempted deliveries. I was not home for the first time, the second time I was home, and the third time I left them the door code on my account. I called FedEx, she was helpful, and she called the local facility who were really rude. You will find that shipping companies around here are actually really rude. Granted, some of them are really nice. My local UPS, is pretty nice. FedEx, I feel, is the most unreliable where I am living in the city. UPS is hit or miss, USPS has been pretty consistent.
  7. I LOVE the quiet. With the craziness of the city, I am always surrounded by people or noises or my A/C unit. I do not really hear quiet unless my A/C shuts off or I am asleep. I hear so many things throughout the day that I just need that peace and quiet. I don’t want the honking, the screeching of the rails, or the people who will randomly talk to you in a way that is uncomfortable. This is not to say that I don’t appreciate the sounds of New York, I do, but I enjoy a quiet mind that comes with stepping away from teh world and into my room.

I hope that this helps you! I know that it was a lot of information! I am hoping that I will get to document more of my time here and give you peaks into my life.

xx

Tiffany

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Introvert at a Concert | Tips to Help

Introverts at a Concert

If you love artists as much as I do, you would love to see them but it isn’t helpful when you get anxiety in large crowds and don’t move like everyone else. It is overwhelming to all senses with the music, people, and possible danger when it comes to being at a concert. I have been to a couple, you can read those experiences at the end of this post. I hope that these tips will help you stay calm and enjoy the experience as much as possible.

  1. Go with friends | If you have similar interests and the people you go with understand how you are in crowds, this will make life easier. I admit that I have complained through the night because of the crowds but my sister, my concert buddy, understands how I am in crowds. I just need space and it is hard when there are so many people.
  2. In the seats | If you are in the sectioned areas that have seats, take advantage of those seats to just take a moment to rest when the artist has just finished a song. You can also use it to just calm yourself down without drawing too much attention. I also appreciated having seats because my feet hurt badly through all the standing. I will say that I didn’t really like the concert experience in the seats though because it didn’t feel as intimate. You can read about that in my Ellie Goulding experience, below.
  3. In the pit | You get an amazing experience being relatively or really close to the artist. However, people are dancing and having fun so you will get bumped into constantly. I am a concert goer who stands still like a statue. A girl actually asked to take my hand twice, I gave it to her twice, and she tried to get me to dance. Not my thing. I appreciated her effort though.
  4. Venue is key | The crowds can be good or bad but you can’t really control that. You can, however, think about the venue that you are going to and how you will do. I love smaller venues because I am closer to the artist and the people aren’t as “inconsiderate”. By inconsiderate, I mean that in a smaller venue, people are less likely to bump into you or take up a large amount of space to dance with their arms out wide. However, this is not a proven fact, just what I have observed in the past. I am not picky about venue and will only go to a large venue if I really love the artist. The only artist I can say that I would do that is for Taylor Swift.
  5. Cash | Don’t bring too much cash with you. $20 should suffice and make sure that you check how much parking is. Also, check if the venue has a fee. I didn’t bring my ID because I thought I wouldn’t need it but the door charged a $3 fee if you weren’t over 21. I definitely was but ended up having to pay for it anyway. Also, most merch places accept cash and, if they don’t, buy what you want online.
  6. Belongings | If you can keep to a small wristlet or small hipster bag, that would be ideal. I, now, only bring my essentials such as my ID, cash, debit card, credit card, phone, possibly a camera, phone charger, chapstick, and my kitty defender keychain.
  7.  Merch | Band merch is awesome but are overpriced a lot of the time. I would say that if it is a band tee that is really awesome, go for it. I generally purchase a t-shirt and poster if they got it. If I can get the items online then I decide to just wait and if I really want it, will purchase it.
  8. Concessions | Keep in mind that you may need to use the bathroom at some point. I will say that water is something that is good to have at a concert because you will get dehydrated from either your singing at the top of your lungs or the body heat around you.

I hope that this helps! You can read about some of my concert experiences below! Any tips? What has been your favorite concert?

Christina Perri Concert Experience
Ellie Goulding Concert Experience
Bastille Concert Experience
Glass Animals Concert Experience
Broods Concert Experience

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Wanderlust #16: What’s in my Fanny Pack?

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Fanny packs are my favorite thing to have when I travel because my hands are free and I can carry other bags or get my food from somewhere in the airport. Some of my essentials are pictured above!

Essentials:

Passport | Seriously, the scariest thing to forget but if you keep it always in your fanny pack, it is on you and not in a bag.

Phone | Putting your phone in your fanny pack will make everyone happy. I don’t check my phone unless the line is so long and I know that I can spend a couple of minutes checking Instagram or something.

Phone Charger + Battery Pack | This is important if you don’t have a charging dock in the airplane or the kiosks at the airport are full.

Mints | If you want to get wisps, that is cool too, but mints are super easy to travel with and they are not liquid! The one pictured above is the Ampelmannchen mints that I bought in Berlin.

Itineraries | Printing off your flight itineraries makes life easier when technology fails you. You can also snapshot them so that they are on your phone.

Kitty Defender | As a female, it is better safe than sorry, the first time I left internationally my sister purchased this for me so that I could be safe. I am happy to say that I haven’t had to use it yet but it is a great source for calming anxiety. Sadly, they don’t sell it on Amazon anymore but I am sure you can find a dupe elsewhere.

Headphones | I cannot tell you how nice it is to just plug in your headphones and ignore the world. I think I would love to get noise canceling headphones but I am content with the ones I have now.

What are your essentials? Let me know in the comments!

-Tiffany

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Wanderlust #15: Traveling Alone

Traveling alone is both the best and scariest thing a person can do but it is life-changing for the better, in my opinion. I have traveled 3 times solo on my own, all international and the first time I traveled, I had immense anxiety. The first place I traveled to was Novafeltria, Italy where it is the countryside and no one speaks English well or at all. I was there for five weeks and during my internship, I took Italian classes almost every morning. But, how did I adjust to the different culture and environment?

Take a day to relax. I remember waking up early and going to the grocery store by myself and it became an occurring thing for me. The grocery store was about a 10-minute walk and it allowed me to just take in the scenery and then I went to the local cafe and even made lunch in the house I was staying in. Taking that adjustment time allowed my anxiety calm down. After that moment, I went place around the small city by myself and felt at ease. I still had my kitty defender keychain with me but only experienced one possibly uncomfortable situation. Aside from that, I had a wonderful time and felt I could go anywhere and still feel good.

Travel with caution. I don’t mean to feel like someone is looking over your shoulder every second of every day but to take precautionary measures, especially in a new place you don’t know until you become a little more comfortable. When I travel, I generally have a backpack with essentials, a carry-on, a checked bag, and my fanny pack. Because everything would be inconvenient to grab in case of something happening, put all of your needed essentials into the fanny pack. I will be posting what they are very soon!

Just take it all in. The best thing about what I did in all the places I visited is just taking a moment to sit and really take in that I was in a new country with people I didn’t know at all.

Get lost. By get lost, I mean have an offline version of Google Maps downloaded with your hotel/hostel starred so that if you don’t know your way back, you have a map with the roads and can follow that.

If you have any questions about traveling solo, leave them down below! I hope that this helps. I may do a sequel to this in the future.

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Essentials For Moving Out

With the recent experience of a moving out rush, I have accumulated a couple of things that have been extremely useful to make packing a little bit easier.

  1. Scrap Paper Labels | To save you nice computer paper, grab all your misprints or scrap paper and label all of your boxes. From names to locations it all needs to be written down because when you move, it will make telling movers or yourself where the box goes.
  2. Towels and Paper | Wrap all breakables in towels first. It is helpful and will save you money from having to pay for bubble wrap and other packing supplies.
  3. ABC Store + Sam’s Club + Aldi | Did I get your attention? Go to the any of those stores and grab all of their empty boxes, they don’t need it and they are free!
  4. Packing Tape | So, the one thing that spending money on that is worth the full price (or in bulk on Amazon) is packing tape. Seriously, you will be going through a good amount of it. Grab a tape gun if you can help it so that your hands have more mobility.
  5. Garbage Bag Clothing Covers | It is already a pain to have to move all your clothes on hangers so just put clean garbage bags on and overlap the loops around a bulk of hangers. You won’t have to cut any holes and it will save you from having to toss your clothes into a bag, disheveled.
  6. Scissors | The most important to keep in your car so that when you are finished moving, you can unbox them without having to wonder which box you put your scissors in.

Biggest tip: Breathe and take it one room at a time. I didn’t get to help much due to school and being on wardrobe for a production. However, my sister took it one day at a time and it was helpful not to get overwhelmed, especially since she only had one day to pack.

What has helped you during a move? Let me know below!

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Wanderlust #14: 8 Weeks, 4 Pairs of Shoes

I was thinking about traveling recently because I dropped two of my friends off recently at the airport. I am actually dropping another friend off tomorrow so I thought it would be cool to let you all know about how to save room in your suitcase when traveling abroad or for a long period of time.

I am pretty simple with my shoes nowadays. I love flip flops/sandals more than anything else and when I went to Italy and London this past summer, I knew that I had to wear closed toed shoes if I wanted to survive. With climbing a mountain and walking all around the city, it was time to really bring closed toed shoes. I had to really think about what I would really wear every single day and get the most use out of what I was bringing, clothing wise, and how much space that I had.

  1. Shower shoes – I grew up with a mother who didn’t trust communal areas when bathing. I had to share a bathroom with three other girls in Italy in a house and up to twelve over girls in London at the hostel. I purchased my pair from Vera Bradley Outlet. They were $24.00 but were on sale for $12.00. I debated on buying overpriced flip flops but they are well made and much better than the cheap Old Navy pair that I wear to death. Vera Bradley Flip Flops
  2. Sneakers – I needed shoes that weren’t the shoes I had to wear during opera tech. They are gone forever now because I wore them consistently from June to October/November. The shoes were from the 90’s and had a zip up front, a great pair of sneakers I adored. Anyway, these shoes were my everyday shoes that I wore out and about and having fun essentially.
  3. Tennis shoes – I wore tennis shoes when we had tech and performances, essentially the last two weeks of Italy. I did not wear these in London because I honestly can’t stand tennis shoes. I wore this pair of shoes hiking up a mountain and trekking up and down cobblestone streets.
  4. Sandals – My gladiator sandals were the most important pair of shoes because when I wasn’t working, I had a nice pair of shoes that made me feel like me. My sandals, because they zipped up, I didn’t have to worry if they would fall off my feet or not.

So, how does one exactly pack four shoes successfully?

  1. Make sure they can compress or are thin. I wore my sneakers on the plane. My sandals and flip flops were easy to compress in my suitcase. The tennis shoes were the hardest to pack because they were quite bulky but necessary. If you don’t need sneakers for any reason, tennis shoes work great so then you can take one pair less.
  2. Outfits go with shoes. I didn’t actually plan it out and wore my sneakers with looks that didn’t look exactly right. It may not matter to everyone but I felt a little self-conscious.

What pair of shoes is your must have?

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Wanderlust #13: Unneccessary Items Packed + What I Wished I Had Packed More Of…

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I didn’t necessarily pack correctly. I will say that if I didn’t buy anything that I would have been just fine but since there was a Monday market where I was in Italy every week…well, you can see that it was a pitfall for me.

What I actually did not need:
-Sun hat
-Swim cover up
-Swimsuit top
-Some clothes

I didn’t really need a sun hat because I wore it maybe once in the five weeks that I was in Italy. I took my swimsuit coverup once and didn’t really use it, it just got wet unnecessarily. Swimsuit tops were nice but I didn’t use them but once or twice. I don’t swim so it was really just a nice thing to have and not necessary. When packing I didn’t realize how important it was to make everything more versatile. I ended up having to haphazardly mix some of my favorite things and not really liking how they turned out together.

What I wish I had packed more of:
-Show blacks
-Jeans
-Underwear
-Plastic bags

I worked behind the scenes and wish I had packed more show blacks because we had two weeks worth of shows and I only packed two black tank tops and two black leggings. I had time to wash them but it would have been nice to have one or two more pairs. Also, packing one pair of jeans would have been nice because there were days in London that were kind of chilly. Underwear, I had plenty of but it would have been nice to have extras the one or two times I ran really low. Plastic bags were the best thing to bring, I brought over forty (or more) and still ran really low/almost out by the end of my time overseas.

Have a question about bringing an item and how helpful it is to bring it? Ask me below!

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Wanderlust #2: Just A Carry On? + Tips

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Guess who packed their carry on one month before she has to leave? This mermaid! I cannot believe that I was able to fit all of my clothes into the carry on that I am taking with me to both Italy and London. I had to be quite picky about what I was taking and not too much. Now, this just includes the clothing and not toiletries and all of that. Now, you can see above that my carry-on is made by Swiss Gear. I am not sponsored by them but I have had a book bag by them for the past 4+ years and it is still in great shape.

The Arbon is a 360 degree spinner. I wanted a 360 degree spinner because I knew that I would need to carry a larger suitcase for my costume supplies. So, travelling solo made it important for me to have at least one of them be a spinner. I purchased this spinner for $49.99 at Ross. I didn’t want to spend more than $50.00 because I knew that a lot of the more expensive carry-on suitcases were overpriced or the “newest” thing.

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Cocoly Packing Cubes

Packing cubes have been around for a while now and they have grown, for me, due to the YouTube community. I wanted to be as organized as possible so I purchased some. I love the idea of buying Eagle Creek packing items but they are so expensive. I think that if I were to travel a lot that it would make sense but since I don’t know how often I will in the future, it would make sense to be economic. The link above takes you to the packing cubes I purchased on Amazon. This packing cube set comes with three packing cubes and three pouches for laundry or extra storage.

I decided also to download an app to help me out with what I should take and the decisions that it created for me. I will create a post about that soon!

What went in the packing cubes?

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Smallest Packing Cube:
Underwear – 17
Bras – 2
Swim Tops – 2

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Medium Packing Cube:
Camis – 3 nude and 2 black
Scarves – 2
Tops – 9 (one short sleeve)

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Large Packing Cube:
Rompers – 5
Leggings – 2
Shorts – 2
Jeans – 1
Black Cardigan – 1
Sarong – 1
Dresses – 2

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Carry-On:
Sleeping Clothes – 2 tops, 2 pants
Sleeping Towels – 2
Socks – 11
Sports Bras – 2

Since I will be gone for 8 weeks, it is crazy that I was able to fit all of that in my packing cubes. I might have to handwash my items in Italy so I wanted to be prepared in case I don’t have time. Also, the numbers on the above packing cubes changed once I started laying all my clothes out on the bed.

Tips to packing a carry on for a long trip:

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Roll! You save so much more space by rolling your clothes up.

Spread it out! Put all of your clothes on the bed and look at what you need or don’t need.

Double Duty! My rompers act as a two-in-one since I really just want to be able to pack the least amount as possible.

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That’s it for now! Let me know if you have any tips!

-Tiffany

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