Street lights, big dreams all looking pretty.

I'm a city girl. I think we've already established that. But as I was in a taxi along 34th Street this afternoon with the windows rolled down and the sounds of the city all around me, I began thinking about all the things that I love about this magical place.

For starters, I love a good park. As parks go, Central Park is the absolute best. I love jogging at sunset with all the sweaty, spandex-adorned New Yorkers. I love seeing the blossoms open on the trees and explode the park with purple glory. I love getting Nuts-for-Nuts on the corners from the little man who doesn't speak English. I love seeing all the duck-couples waddling around the reservoir like they're talking about what they're going to do for dinner or what they'll name their ducklings. I was telling my fiance how beautiful it is to see nature juxtaposed with the buildings that surround the park. In the spring especially, it's stunning.

I also love the mix of cultures that you find in NYC. You can't walk 9 blocks without feeling like you've traveled to a different city or time period. The lower west side is filled with great places to shop and eat. At midtown, you've got your typical tourist-y things: Empire State Building, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central, etc. The upper east is filled with quieter areas, ridiculously expensive restaurants, and classy museums (the Guggenheim, the Met). As you move up towards Harlem, there are fewer renovated buildings, more playgrounds, and a few shady subway stations. Every area has something to offer.

I'll show my inner fat kid again, and talk about restaurants. Now, my budget doesn't really allow me to go out to eat often, so when I do, I do it right. I love the cute little Chinese restaurants near NYU just as much as (sometimes better than) the upscale cafes on 5th Ave. One of my personal favorites for breakfast is Sarabeth's (on 5th) - they know how to do pancakes. For dessert, nothing beats Pinkberry. It's just sweet enough, just big enough, and just caloric enough for me. For lunch, Hale and Hearty or Energy Kitchen are excellent. Don't even get me started on cupcakes. :)

Tourists come here to shop. And, if I had money, I would live here to shop. New York is where I bought my purse, my wedding dress, my make-up, and my sunglasses. It's where I can find everything from a new leather jacket for half the price to a Vera gown for half of what I (don't) make in a year. Downtown, half the fun is in the hunt. It's very fortunate for my bank account that I don't live on the lower west side. It's also very fortunate that I didn't realize I live a block from H&M, Victoria's Secret and Sephora until three weeks ago. When I start making money, I'm going to sneak in to NYC at least once a week to eat, shop and go for a run in the park. (Shhh...don't tell Blake)

I love the city when the sun rises. I love the way it smells around dinner time. I love the change in seasons. I love the rush of the subways. I love the surplus of coffee. I love the little dogs who check each other out on street corners. I love the women in fur coats. I love the men in skinny jeans. I love the historical buildings. I love the tourist traps and local dives. If I was of age, I would love the clubs.

Watch out, New York. I'm not done with you yet.

The Female Brain

Lately, I've been very into understanding gender differences. That's probably because I'm getting married, and we need all the help that we can get in understanding each other. On the same level, I'd really like to understand myself. Why do I cry so much? Why can't I relax when I think about the future? Why do I say that I dislike children, but when I hear a baby cry, I just want to hold it? Why do I recognize facial cues much faster than my fiance? Why do I always need to call another girl to vent?

Dr. Louann Brizendine knows. And her book, "The Female Brain," is brilliant. I've been recommending it to everyone - both men (because they should really know how to help women calm down when they're upset) and women (because they should really know how their reactions will be different from a man's, and why they can accept that).

It's a beautiful, poignant expression of why men and women fit together, and why women need to have girlfriends.


Sto andando verso l'Italia.

So last night, upon realizing that I have 19 days and counting before I leave for Italy, I picked up my "Italian for Dummies" book and began developing a tongue for the Romance language. I found myself adapting the language to what I know of French - a dilemma that I know Rachel struggled with when she spent time in Spain. I've heard that Italians are very polite, though (when they're not sneaky thieves), so hopefully they'll be gracious.

Here's what I know so far...

Non fumo. - I don't smoke. *In movies, Italians are always smoking, so I think I'll need this one. "Italian for Dummies" reminded me that I shouldn't jump to any conclusions based on what I've seen in movies. I don't believe them yet.

Io non ti piace. - I don't like you. *My grandfather is always telling me that I look like an Italian princess. I'll use this phrase to ward off the men hoping to marry royalty.

Io non ho ucciso il mio compagno di stanza. - I didn't kill my roommate. *Heard of Amanda Knox? That was Italy. Ok, that was probably in bad taste. But you never know.

Perché stai rubando? - Why are you stealing? *This one's for those pesky pick-pockets.

Io non voglio il vostro formaggio verme.
- I don't want your maggot cheese. *Absolutely necessary. They have cheese over there filled with maggots. It's called Casu Marzu. That's getting shut down immediately.

Like I said, I'm learning.

Also in preparation for Italy, I got my International Student ID pictures taken yesterday. I didn't smile, because I got yelled at when I smiled for my passport pictures two years ago. After the CBS woman finished taking the pictures of my disgruntled-looking self, she showed them to me. "Oh, I don't care," I said. That was rather harsh, I realize. "Well, some people really want to see them," she told me.

In what scenario would you need an attractive passport/International Student ID? I've never been hit on by the airport ID checkers, and I'm now thinking that my mediocre passport photo might be the reason why. Are they nicer to the people with attractive passport photos? Do they not frisk people with attractive passport photos? Do they get fired if they hit on people with attractive passport photos? These are all things that I wonder. But then I have to ask myself if I really want the people in the airport to find me attractive.


Blue Things.

Blue is a nice color. It says - hey, I'm classy, but I'm also youthful and natural. And in the wedding world, blue is king.

I would know this, because I'm having a serious love affair with wedding blogs. It's really a problem, because it makes me second-guess everything. I've had 4 different dresses (well, two were just different sizes). I've questioned the church. I've tossed and turned over the tablecloths. It took a month to decide what color the lollipops should be. I know, I know. This shouldn't be that big.

These are my two favorite blogs:

So, after spending far too much time viewing picture-perfect weddings with their perfect dresses and perfect venues and perfect tablecloths and perfect wedding favors, I came to the perfect decision - BLUE.

Navy and light blue with green and silver accents.

Bridesmaids and flower girls are in navy, boys (groomsmen, dads, ushers, ring bearers) are in black tuxes with light blue vests and ties. The groom is in a black tux with a silver vest and tie. Elegant.

Now, let me tell you about the cupcakes that we have planned for this wedding (you all are going to want to come now). Whipped frosting with white and chocolate cupcakes, decorated with a tiny (blue) hydrangea bud. Of course, we had to test them before the wedding. They were delish.

Wow. How embarrassing is it that I've only done two posts and both have cupcakes in them? What a fat kid.

Then we chose the favors. I originally found smaller lollipops that we could have monogrammed, but they were a no-go because Blake thought they should be bigger. So we found these wonderful blue swirl lollipops and tied a navy ribbon around them with a note. My inner fat kid is totally showing.

We then had to decide how we're going to leave at the end of the wedding night. If you see pictures of this joyous departure on stylemepretty.com, you will understand my desire to exemplify such wedded bliss. Sparklers are the only logical decision. Everyone holds them and yells at you while you run to the car. My sister did this at her wedding, and it was very emotional. Lets just say I didn't handle myself well. I hope to have the same effect on my guests.

My mom found centerpiece jars and we decorated them with blue ribbon. They'll have blue hydrangeas in them, of course.
My mom also found nice blue and green (and one pink) antique plates that we used appoxe to bond to some antique candle holders. The result? Cupcake tiers.
Oh dear. That picture isn't so hot. They look better in real life, I promise.

More wedding updates to come!

Oh Hello, Social Media.

After feeling guilty for a while about being a writer and not having a blog, here I am. Thank you, Sara Martisek, for sharing your love of social media (and feeding what will inevitably be an addiction). Thank you, also, Melissa Overmyer, for creating a blog, sharing it with me, and making me feel more guilty about not having one.

I'm not really sure how this is going to go. I may have created something that I can't complete, like one of my many stories begun when I was young, restless, and probably far more creative. In the midst of planning a wedding, leaving for Italy in 2 and a half weeks, finding a job for the summer, finding a place to live next year, and completing an internship at CBS News, I have no time for this blog. Really, I don't.

The true irony of this blog is that it comes at a time when I am leaving the city (Une Fille Dans La Ville - A Girl in the City). And, I'll be honest, it took me far too long to think of that name. I like to rhyme, so that's part of it, I guess. I like French, too. And my heart is in the city, even if my fiance never lets me live here again.

I suppose now it's time to include a picture. What do I like today? Well, I'm hungry. Here are some cupcakes:

I'm also thinking about how I really need to run today. After work, I generally go back to the apartment, say hello to Donald the Doorman, and frantically change into running clothes to head over to Central Park before the sun sets. This arrangement usually works out nicely, but for the last few days, it has rained. Rachel tells me that running in the rain is always the best because it washes off the sweat, but I can't believe her. I don't like to be cold or wet, and I certainly don't like to have my clothes sticking to me as I run like a freezing, wet idiot through the park.

This is not me. This woman is probably in better shape than me. She probably runs even when it's raining. She's that dedicated. I don't know who this is because I found it on Google images. If this is you, I'm embarrassed, but I applaud your running form.

I'm thinking that, from now on, I need to have a direction to my posts. Or maybe I should make this blog about something specific - like finding the best clothes for your shape or cooking through Julia Child's cookbook. I'll let you know what I come up with.

Ok, I need to do some real work now.

Au revoir.