Monday, January 31, 2011

You're the Intern, Right?

“Britney… Britney Fitzgerald?”

I didn’t want to turn around. There was an unfortunate feeling in my stomach, reminding me of a possible miscommunication that was now coming back to haunt me. I sat at my desk, frozen to the keyboard, and managed to squeak out a, “Yes?”

Let’s backtrack. I was doing a “product roundup” for some of the editors at Martha Steward Living, looking for the most highly reviewed sleds of the season. Clicking around the internet, I stumbled upon Mountain Boy sleds. The majority of buyers enjoyed the product, so I added it to my list.

Taking a closer look at the website, I saw that many of the sleds had “low in stock” alerts next to their descriptions. I found a contact email and asked about the quantity left for buyers. I said something along the lines of “Hi…my name…im the intern at…saw your product…liked it…but I saw your low in stock…wondering how many are left for the readers… let me know numbers…thanks…”

Because what’s the point in including a product if there aren’t any left to buy?
A day later, I received a response. All it said was something about shipping, and to have a great day. I showed my boss, and we both shrugged off the email. There had been no real answer to my question but… I included the sleds anyway.

Flash forward.

“You’re Britney, right?” the mailman said to me. I hesitantly looked over my shoulder with a Gilly-like smile and responded with an "uh-huh." Behind him was a huge rolling rack, with 56 pounds of sleds I was required to sign for, as they had been addressed to me – Britney Fitzgerald, Editorial Intern, Martha Stewart Living. This was oh so discretely plastered all over the merchandise.

There are two long rows of approximately 16 people lined up, with large Mac computers in my department. Most of the time, the intern’s job is to lie low, observe the environment, and assist in any way possible without too many questions. At the moment, the intern is entertainment. She is also slightly embarrassed as 24 eyes turn to see what she could have possibly ordered that required a rolling rack and 3 brown boxes the size of her apartment.
Yes. The sleds were not only over $130 each; they were additionally quite HUGE.
“Well, just put them in the Free Box,” my boss said. I assumed she meant next to the Free Box, since the sleds and toboggan would have actually smashed and killed the Free Box had I placed them inside the laptop-sized container.

Lucky, several parents had taken the sleds by the end of the day, and it snowed that evening, giving kids a guaranteed ideal sledding experience.

Majority of embarrassment = somewhat avoided.

My face when the packages arrived = priceless.

Oh wow. For me? No really... You didn't have to. No, but for real.

I actually regret I couldn't keep these - they seem amazing! Alas, that tall one is the size of my living room. One day Mountain Boy, one day.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thursday’s Things New Yorkers Say: An Indian Curse

We were back at Rudy’s.

The crowd here is always interesting, and rarely do you leave Rudy’s unscathed by an ancient local or a hot French guy or Louie Prima Jr., or… or a Native American?

I think he was passing through the city.

Clare, Ivy, and I were lucky enough to have found seats at the bar, and sat comfortably with hotdogs in hand. While we discussed events both pleasant and unfortunate, there was a happiness hanging about us. Part of the Pub Club was back in action, and our better halves would join us next week.

"Free hot dogs always!"

Poke. Poke. A tall, dark-skinned man with traditional Indian garb (feathered hat included) tapped Ivy. He motioned for her to take a note card that had a scribbled picture on the unlined side.

“Oh cool…” I heard Ivy say. He spoke not a word, but motioned for her to take the card. She grabbed the paper and then handed it back. These signals repeated themselves for several minutes before Ivy yanked on my pant leg.

Ah. The official girl sign for “I need help. Rescue me now.” Touching a friend’s arm, shirt, or pants, while still pretending to talk to the “sir” in question is a definite plea for assistance.

“Mom’s calling!” I threw my phone is Ivy’s face like an annoying sister… or at least an obnoxious drunk. “Talk to her now!” I said loudly. Ivy turned away from the inclosing man, and motioned a “this guy is freaky” gesture. Clare and I nodded and then took turns talking to our pretend mother.

Poke. Poke.

“Ah!!” Ivy screamed and I almost peed my pants out of sheer hilarity. This gentleman wasn’t given up! But Ivy was, and didn’t even turn around before pointing to a rare open table. We took the opportunity to vacate.

Fifteen minutes or so later, the tall man walked over.

“May I say something?” he asked.
“Depends on what you’re going to say,” Ivy responds.
“May I say something?” he repeats.
“Okay. Sure.”
“What does that mean? May I say something?”
I could tell this guy and I weren’t going to be chums.
“Yes!” Ivy finally shouted.

Honestly I don’t even know what we said after that conversation. But here are the
highlights of his 20-minute stay with us:'

“You are a wolf,” he said pointing to Clare. “You are a pussy cat,” he said to me. “You are a tiger,” he said to Ivy.
“Oh come on. I hate cats. Can I be something else?” I respond.
“You don’t believe me?!” he says.
“It’s not really that I don’t believe you,” I say to the
offended Indian with a little laugh.
“It’ s just I really hate cats.”

He was slightly thrown off by this response, and said quickly “You doggy and you cat!” to Clare and myself.

I think my big mouth is also why he gave me the Indian curse.

“I came here to warn you of something,” he says to me without a smile. “Oh great,” I respond dryly. "I have to warn you of something, he repeats. “Okay… what is it,” I say.

“You. Be careful,” he says pointing at me.“Your boyfriend? He will
hurt your heart very badly.”
“He will hurt you!!”
“Okay!” I say slightly unnerved by my nonexistent
beau and the Indian’s persistence.

This is where Clare wisely throws in, “I think your boyfriend’s great.”
“Me too!” Ivy says.
“Thanks guys,” I say, throwing the tall man an irritated look.
“And what are you?”
“What am I?”
“Yeah, what’s your animal?” I ask.
“Ah… I am an eagle. An eagle is the best. You want to know why?”
“Why?” we all ask.
“An eagle is the best because of how we make love!!”


And then intense laughter, with an embarrassed look on the side. I should have seen that coming. I should have known he would say something ridiculous, but my curiosity had gotten the best of me. And you know what they say about curiosity? Curiosity killed the cat.

And I am a “pussy cat.”

PS: Should I be worried about my next boyfriend? Indian curses probably shouldn’t be trifled with :/

The cards given to us...


The 100th Post

March 16th, 2000 and 9,

I was really feeling quite fine.

That is when this blog began

Even if I was “The Why’s” only fan.


I first introduced you to the Newark streets,

With a harsh life for some that just repeats.

You saw school fights and broken lights

And at times, a complete loss of rights.


My next big adventure was out of The States,

To Dublin I went and met some new “mates.”

Ireland was lushly beautiful, no doubt,

And now I wonder how I’ll visit again and go about.


You were with me, dear blog when I was scared of planes,

Or when I was stuck in the “village of the dead,” called Slane.

I told you readers about being called homeless,

And when I got lost because my internship had no address.


Senior year was briefly documented despite class,

So you got to read about eating dinner under an overpass.

There were also some confusing moments in time,

Like how was I supposed to graduate and make life sublime?


Finally, you followed me to New York City,

Where life is enjoyable, humorous, and sometimes gritty.

I laugh and I mess up; I feel infinite and occasionally confused.

But I hope “The Why” and I always keep you amused.


So cheers dear blog, and cheers reader to you!

Happy Birthday to the “The Why” - what a dream come true.

The 100th post is now finally complete.

But may there be countless more adventures to beat.

May there be 100 more.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Back to School and Dogs Rule

We’re back.

School is once again in session, and these semester’s assignments are already underway. Between the internship 20 hours a week, Bloomingdales 22 hours a week, and two graduate school classes, this is going to be an interesting couple of months. Then again, who doesn’t love to be busy?

On a more entertaining note, I saw Martha Stewart’s dog yesterday! It was walking around outside the building, doing his business, with a little raincoat fastened over his white fur.

I really wanted to run up and kiss the little thing, with his only-cute-for-a-dog smushed face. But because of recent events… well, I just smiled at him from a distance.

And finally - the latest update from NYC - I woke up to this monstrosity...

2 to 4 inches today, and 3 to 5 inches tonight... humph!


Monday, January 24, 2011

So Where's the Art?

“The artist I work for is having a show in Williamsburg tonight.”

That was the text I received last Monday from a friend at Bloomingdales. She wanted to know if I would accompany her after work to the viewing, and I said “Sure. Why not? I like art.”

Several of us met on the corner of Spring and Crosby Street, with zipped jackets, scarves, and gloves. A possible “winter mix” was approaching the city, leaving the air icy and dry.

Hopping on the uptown 6 train, we transferred at the Union Square station to the L towards Brooklyn. We got off at Bedford Avenue, and wondered down 6th street in the Williamsburg area.

Now I like art – but I’m no expert. I took your typical liberal learning art history curriculum in undergrad, and I enjoyed visits to museums like the MoMA or the Guggenheim. Basic metaphors I can understand, and occasionally I’ll actually appreciate “modern art.” But the New York “art scene” is beyond my knowledge.

“This is the place,” one of the girls said. It looked as though we would need our IDs to enter, which made since if they were severing alcohol. After passing two different bouncers, we walked into a low-lit room with an elevated stage and a bar.

It seemed an odd setup for an art show, but I didn’t ask questions and simply ordered a drink. Looking around, I began to ponder how we were supposed to view art in such a dim environment. And where were the actual pictures or statues stored? Something was off…

“There’s the artist I work for,” the girl I was with shouted over the deafening music being played on stage.

I glanced over my shoulder and saw the rapper Stelley with his long beard and baseball hat. Around that moment, everything clicked.

I’m sure you could guess what I'm about to say. But I was, in fact, not an art show. No... I was actually in Brooklyn at some sort of rap-off. Now everything – the stage, the music, the bouncers, the dim lights – it all made since.

“IIIII’m an idiot…” I pretty much said to myself. Obviously "artist" doesn't necessarily mean a painter, just like "doctor" doesn't necessarily mean a surgeon.


Needless to say, we did not experience classic art that evening. But I enjoyed a different kind of talent I would never have been exposed to in an everyday occurrence. And I learned a new song. “S-T-E-DOUBLE L-E-Y, Stelley on top!” I said throwing my hand up.

Oh the situations I find myself in.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What To Do In "The City"

So I’m updating “the list of things I have to do in NYC” that I have now accomplished, and giving you some reviews and tips.

#3) Shop at Beacon’s Closet

This was actually a lot of fun. The large thrift store is located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, so if you’re going, make a day trip out of your adventure and look up the other sweet shops in the area. Also by nightfall, all sorts of awesome little bars were opening their doors.

Price: $10 – $40 average

Memorable moment: Kayley wearing 6 inch, clear, plastic, platform shoes – modeling for us – and then busting her butt.

#19) Go to a hookah bar on Steinway (Little Egypt)

I haven’t smoked hookah since college, but with Little Egypt practically a block away, I had to go exploring. Though our experience started off a little awkward, we eventually enjoyed mango hookah at “Egyptian Nights.”

Price: $8-$14 for hookah (which is usually split), $2+ for drinks

Memorable moment: How about Kathryn and I were THE ONLY girls/women/ladies/females in all of Little Egypt except for our waitress. Hence potential but avoided awkwardness.

#37) Go to the Ronnybrook Milk Bar

This little joint is actually located in the Chelsea Market, and has an awesome “glass of milk + 2 cookies” deal. The atmosphere has a nifty "soda-shop meets farm" theme and, of course, the milk was amazing. The Ronnybrook farm is local, organic, and highly rated by New York publications. The cookies were tougher than I usually like (then again I could simply eat cookie dough) but it worked well for dunking, so no complaints.

Price: $6-$10, but the 2 cookie deal was around $4.

Memorable moment: Waitress: “A glass of whole milk, right?” Me: “Um, yes.” I don’t think I’ve ever downed a glass of whole milk, but it was so good. There chocolate milk is also rated #1.

#42) Visit the Chelsea Market

This was a cozy, indoor market that was a great escape from the harsh winter weather. Filled with small shops and restaurants, it would be an ideal place to shop for gifts and snack along the way. I still need to do more exploring because I was mostly distracted by the Ronnybrook Milk Bar and the Anthropology on the way in.

Price: Ranges

Memorable moment: There are tons of different bakeries, and the entire place looked great for the holidays.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Help A Girl Out

My sister Kathryn went on a trip last summer to the Dominican Republic through a program called Orphanage Outreach. She worked in a children's home for boys, and though the trip had it's ups and down, she really enjoyed her overall experience.

So she wants to go back... but this kind of thing is expensive. Luckily, there is a contest to give one returning person a free trip.

This is where I need some help (because I only have so many verifiable email addresses). All you have to do is click the link below and vote for her picture! Make sure to uncheck any boxes so that you won't receive emails.

And that's it my friends :)

Look st that dedication! Standing in cold, with a teeshirt.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

I Love New York But...

A pepperoni pizza had started all this mess.

I hung my head low, surrounded by squished passengers on the subway. The train was crowed, partially because it was a Saturday, but also because the N train’s tunnel was under construction. Thus, many unhappy New Yorkers had piled into the less favorable 7 train.

I had gone into work at 9 this morning (earlier than usual) and had felt nothing except tiredness. The day had passed relatively quickly, with not much seeming amiss until after lunch. Around 3:30pm, my stomach was churning and waves of dizziness attacked me every 15minutes of so.

“Actually no this isn’t on sale – yeah sorry, someone must have just put it on the sale rack,” I heard myself mechanically saying with a fake smile plastered to my face. What was going on? The nausea would suddenly ease up, and I could function for another 10 minutes or so.

But something bad happened. I work on the 3rd floor, and on the 2nd floor is the café. Smells of cookies, coffee, and pizza often waft up towards our counter, and unfortunately my usually nonexistent gag reflects did NOT enjoy the idea of pepperoni at all.


And so I did - up two flights of escalators, passed agonizingly slow walkers, to a vacant 5th floor restroom. There I was finally able to… well, to not do much of anything. But I wasn’t going to repeat this episode so I informed my co-workers that I was going home.

Ugh! But home was so far away! This kind of commute doesn’t happen in Virginia.

Hence me sitting with my head hung low in the crowded subway car. Everyone seemed to be breathing hot air, mixing into this nasty toxic oxygen that made my ailing stomach very angry, indeed.

Amazingly enough after mentally chanting Joshua 1:9 like a crazy person, stopping by a pharmacy, walking 15 minutes home without my jacket zipped because the cool air felt so nice, and crashing into my bed – I survived.

I won’t get into the details, but let’s just say 10pm – 11pm was not a pleasant hour.

24-hour stomach bug: 1, Britney: 0.

I'll win next time you stupid, little virus.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thursday’s Things New Yorkers Say: Pickup Lines

Yeah - we've all heard (or said) some good ones. Those lines guys say that make you cringe. In fact, I had a great example today and it was just in time for Thursday's Things New Yorkers Say.

Walking towards the Martha Stewart Living building in Chelsea.

"Miss?" I stop, but leave my headphones in. I press pause and look at the 30-something-year-old man. "Probably needs direction," I think to myself. "Yes?" I say. "I'm looking for directions..." he says and lingers for a moment, not speaking. I nod, prompting him to continue since I was already expecting this request. Then he says, without even cracking a smile, "I'm looking for directions to how I can see your beautiful face again." BLAH! I'm sure I visibly looked taken aback. I could only laugh out loud and walk away, smiling at the fact he would simply shine on my blog.

Guys in there late teens or early 20s talking behind me in Greenwich Village.

"Yeah, yo but do you remember the kind of crap we used to say? Like..uh, what was that one.. oh yeah, "I forgot my number. Can I have yours?" Several of the guys laugh. Another one says, "Or how about 'Have ya got the time? Cuz' I gotta place..." All the guys laugh again. One dude suddenly stops and says, "Hey wait, that's not too bad." Everyone ceases laughing, pauses to contemplate the idea of this pickup line, and then simultaneously say things like, "Mike you're an idiot." And I have to laugh too, because it's just that bad.

And my all time favorite in New York City:

"Hey... I'm an actor (insert creepy grin)."

Well aren't we all!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Want an NYC Internship?

I’ll let you in on a little secret…

Like what you hear about Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia? Well I was just informed that HR is looking for two more interns. If you are interested in working with or please message me on Facebook or email me at ...

Experience in writing or blogging would be helpful, and the internship will be taking place in NYC for the Spring semester.

So there’s a useful leak straight from corporate for you!


Monday, January 10, 2011

First Day as "Martha" Intern

I was 30 minutes early… again.
Why I perpetually stress about exact times and subway hold-ups, I’ll never know. The first day of anything new (Bloomingdales, graduate school, Martha Stewart Living, etc.) I am almost always 30 minutes early.
And then, once I find out the latest possible time I can crawl out of bed without being tardy, I sleep in late and rush rush rush… but in that situation it’s for good reason. What an anxious insomniac I do seem.
Never the less, I promptly arrived at Martha Stewart’s corporate office at 12pm on Monday afternoon. After a brief tour of the 9th floor, I was sent to work on a few different aspects for the editorial department.
The space is beautiful, with multitudes of natural lighting and magazine layouts covering the walls like artwork. It's slightly odd being the only intern, since everyone else is a permanent employee working on their careers, but I like the challenge this presents.
Large Mac computers are organized into rows based on departments and publications, with me seated in the middle of the Martha Stewart Living section. Yes! I have a desk. And Martha mug? That's just too much...
Now this is when it gets tricky. I want to tell you all everything! What I did, who I saw, my daily assignments – but you know I can’t. Just like with Bloomingdale’s, I had to sign a confidentiality contract. Of course this makes sense with a magazine, and it’s an opportunity I’d rather not destroy. So for now, these lips are sealed.
But I would suggest following MS_Living on Twitter ;)

Getting coffee does not seem as though it will be the main aspect of my internship.
More to come.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Great Gatsby's Breakfast

The dining area had an intricate glass ceiling, colorful and reminiscent of art from a previous time in history. Huge archways lined the parameter of the room, and grand columns with carved statues of ancient effigies greeted incoming patrons.

One of my closest friends was visiting New York for the holiday, and her family had given us the most marvelous gift: a fancy meal at the restaurant of our choosing.

And who wouldn’t want to try the Plaza Hotel?

After researching reasonable dinning options, scrolling through online menus, and completing reservations via an internet service, we finally decided upon breakfast at 10:15 in the Palm Courts Restaurant.

The posh 5th avenue hotel is no stranger to the wealthy and aristocratic visitors of NYC. But local societies also dine and divulge in the luxurious facility, giving the Plaza a unique feel of permanent, unchanging history as well as an everlasting and fluid vivacity.

“Miss. Fitzgerald, right this way.”

In the novel, "The Great Gatsby" two character's chat in the hotel's tea garden, so I couldn't help but smile as Alice and I were seated near a renowned palm tree, our table prepared with water and menus. She selected the delicious “Classic Eggs Benedict,” while I choose the immaculate “Plaza Omelet” complete the bits of salmon and warm goat cheese. To top our meals off, we drank warm tea with milk and devoured several crisp pastries.

Our dresses and drinks made me long to burst back into time, while the horse-drawn carriages lining Central Park outside the building did nothing to mollify my overactive imagination. Thoughts of literary figures and movie characters who had frequented this very landmark danced pleasantly in my mind.

I can enjoy a peanut butter and jelly sandwich repeatedly, without much hesitation. And I hope I’ll always be able to throw back a $3 PBR. But the occasional interrupting luxury is much appreciated and of course, extremely memorable. In fact the rarity of the situation is exactly what makes moments like breakfast at the Plaza Hotel so entirely worthwhile.

Thank you again Ricks family! Alice and I enjoyed our adventure :)

Enjoying the tea.

Forget Eloise. Alice at The Plaza.

Classic Eggs Benedict.

The Plaza Omelet.

A staple of the Palm Courts Restaurant.

The Grand Ballroom.

Outside the Plaza after our meal.

Like a scene from a movie...


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thursday’s Things New Yorkers Say

I‘ve been all over New York throughout the last several days, and “The List” of what I want to experience while living in the city has taken a happy beating. But the topic of today’s blog post must, of course, be about what was heard amid the streets and boroughs of the concrete jungle.

New Year’s Eve in Park Slope

Marty Markowitz (pronounced something like Ma-ty Ma-kowitz with a Brooklyn accent) walks on stage and thanks the band for performing that evening. As the Brooklyn Borough President, he has quite a bit of status with the audience.

Then, like something out of a movie, he says to a band member, “Ethan,” and kisses his fingers similar to an Italian mobster, “My fellow Jew, I love yeah.” Suddenly he gives a hearty laugh, clears his throat and continues his speech, with included popular catch phrases like: “Prospect Park is the most beautiful park in America. Who says so? I say so!” and “Forget Manhattan. Who needs Manhattan when you’ve got Brooklyn? Forgetaboutit."

Alice and I couldn’t stop laughing. Nor could we stop saying “forgetaboutit” in every possible situation all night long.

Waiting for the N train in Brooklyn on New Year’s Eve

Have you ever been waiting in the subway, and a train arrives on the platform opposite you, headed a direction you don’t want to go? After this happens twice, you begin to pace a little bit. Three times and you’re straight up angry. Four times and you think that the MTA possibly forgot your stop. Five times? If the train arrives 5 TIMES on the platform opposite yours, and not one train has even thought about stopping at your station, you might think the world is going to end.

So Alice and I waited. And waited. And waited some more. It had probably been 35 minutes of waiting on a platform with a growing number of aggravated New Year’s Eve goers, when a train FINALLY made an appearance.

Everyone shuffled about to get near the approaching transportation, when terror rapidly consumed our station. The horrific letters flashing across the top of the train read “NOT IN SERVICE.” Our collective hopes were crushed.

Then a yell abruptly broke through the depressing air. Police officers had been scattered through the subway all night, and finally someone needed their assistance!

A twenty-something girl screamed, “Officer! (pause for effect) Arrest that train!”

The majority of the subway station at least chuckled.

There's good ol' Marty. Photo courtesy of New York Magazine