I don’t know why we get all uncomfortable when people talk about sex. It’s taboo in American culture, and we really are (I know I am) afraid of how people will perceive us if we talk about it.
I first heard of Cindy when I watched her TedTalk from 2009.
I found her candor and values admirable. Growing up in Oklahoma, sex education was lacking, to say the least. I saw my state become one of the worst for teen pregnancy and STDs. I saw the effects of living in a state that not only didn’t talk about sex, it condemned those who did. If you were talking about sex in Oklahoma, you better be discussing it in terms of chastity or the right to life. Those were your options.
Going to college was a whole new world. In college I volunteered with the Women’s Outreach Center and became a Sexpert, a peer college sex education presenter.
I had been in a class where the Sexperts presented and I was completely impressed by how fun, informative, and important the presentation was to my development as a young person. For the next two years I had the best time wow-ing people with sex knowledge. Did you know the male ejaculate can get up to 28mph? Neither did they.
Every time we gave a presentation, people let their guards down and felt more open about the topic, because we were setting the tone. We never had hecklers, negative feedback, or any of the things you might fear if you were talking about sex in front of a room full of 200 18-year old freshmen.
Little did I realize, I was really getting some of the best public speaking experience a person can ask for. Talking about sex in front of your peers is about as nerve-wracking as you can get.
One of my fondest memories from doing this volunteer work in college was being a part of a distinguished group on campus that invited prominent authors to speak.
I was paired up with an Indian author after I read a few of her books. I was ecstatic to meet her. Her writing very much moved me. As we got to know each other over the weekend she was in town, I told her about my college activities—and being a Sexpert. To my surprise, she wanted to know more.
I told her about my favorite part of the presentation where we showed audiences how to properly put on a condom. We used a blue and white cloudy “Smirf” looking demonstration tool (aka dildo), and it was always my favorite part of the presentation because it got the most giggles. We made jokes like “If it looks like this (Smirf like), you should probably run.”
She confided in me that she actually never had seen a condom, because she married young and it was never something they used. I told her I could bring her some if she wanted to just open them and see what all the hoopla was about. She was thrilled by the idea, so the next day when we met for a distinguished banquet I slipped the goods under the table. We giggled so hard that I know people wished they were at our table. If they only knew.
This experience made me realize everyone loves to talk about this stuff—even world renowned authors from India. People have questions. Curiosities. And it doesn’t make them weird, whore-ish, or (fill in your own misconceptions).
In Cindy Gallop’s vision of MakeLoveNotPorn I see something that is on the verge of taking off. It’s our culture embracing the au naturel that make her project so enticing. People are sick of the fake.
We could all use a better dose of reality when it comes to relationships and being a respectful partner—Cindy’s site delivers.
I need you to trust me on this. This isn’t your typical life changing moment or story. It’s a bit more practical than that, but don’t doubt the title of this post. It truly is LIFE CHANGING.
So what is it?
The Food Processor. I know what you are thinking. Cassie, you are SO over exaggerating. Nah, nah, nah. We agreed to trust one another here. So let me explain…
I just got done gushing about this machine to my coworkers and guess what they did in minutes of me telling them this information? They both bought one.
I’m telling ya—everyone wants their jobs to be easier. And in this city, time isn’t a joke. It comes as quickly as it goes.
I have always wondered about food processors. They seemed very expensive—but this one was a surprising $30. My hunger for fresh guacamole and salsa increases as this summer season inches closer. Salsaaaaaa….
With my mouth watering, I put it in my Amazonian cart. Checked out. And yesterday it arrived.
(I watched this video about how to put it together and use it)
Chop ‘em. Dice ‘em. Slice ‘em. Purée ‘em! It’s all a possibility with the three blade options. Craving tomatillo salsa? Make your own (without preservatives) in SECONDS. I mean that….seconds. Is this pitch working?
That’s my least favorite part about making a meal is all of the chopping…so I made this southwestern chopped salad and dressing with it last night in about 7 minutes. It chopped my salad perfectly, and as a byproduct I’m probably going to eat more of it. It also can make a lot—so now I have meals for days.
I’m such a newbie at this, so I’ve been pinning recipes that are food processor specific, or that I know could use a little food processor love. Check them out:
I’ve never heard anyone gab on about a food processor before, so my bad if this news isn’t so new. Perhaps this is the best kept secret. I’m here shouting if from the (Tumblr) rooftop…
Everybody, a food processor will change your life for the better! Chop, chop—time’s a wastin’!
Officially the word “one” should be spelled out. I know this—but unofficially because this is my blog want to numerically represent it because 1 is lonely. 1 is solid. And 1 is truly the hardest.
This time last year I was packed chin deep in the tiniest car (Toyota Yaris) I’ve ever been in—let alone travelled in, heading with David Bizzaro to New York City. The planning, the saving, the worrying, the excitement, the more saving…all lead up to this three day excursion across my country tis of thee.
I’m an extremely reflective and introspective person, so this 1 year thing has really been fun to think about. It honestly feels (cliche I know) like we moved here a few months ago. But nope…more like 12 months ago.
It’s been a wild and crazy year. I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve had some really tough days (mostly involving the subway), and some of the greatest moments of my life, but the things that I want to share with you on this anniversary are the AMAZING ways I have found that living in New York is *CHEAP!
I know what you are thinking, “New York…? Cheap???? You crazy!” I know it’s hard to believe after years and years of false messaging. But New York can be one of the cheapest places to live, IF and only if, you know where to go (and you have will power to live within your means).
*Cheap: When talking about New York, the word cheap is all relative.
You’re going to have to work on the will power issue all on your own, but here’s a great way to start… read this book on Audible.
I’m going to help you with the where to go aspect, since most of your money is going to get blown on rent.
Here are my 10 Ways to Live Like a Boss in NYC
1) Street Fruit/Veggies
Get your daily dose of nutrition from the street vendors selling fruit and veggies. You can always negotiate, but it’s so cheap why would you? Just to give you an idea. In Washington Heights (which is the best nabe), I get an entire carton of fresh strawberries for $1, and avocados go for 2 for $3 ($1.50 a piece). That’s just amazing. You could live, healthily I might add, on street fruit for a steal!
Look how much you are saving versus the Gristedes price…
That’s just robbery.
2) Happy Hour
Most places have a happy hour special, but in New York the hours usually last longer and the deals are better. One of my favorite low-key bars is Formerly Crows and they do a buy one get one special until 8 p.m. every day. It’s dangerous, but sweet on your tab. Plus, there’s a fellow Okie who is a regular waitress there—so you can reminisce about Oklahoma over your BOGO whiskey and coke. Just remember, wherever you are ask what their happy hour special is and how long it lasts. Every place is different.
3) Doctor’s Visits
This one assumes you have insurance. All insurances companies (that I’m aware of) offer you one free physical and one free well-woman exam a year. By “free” that means you don’t have to pay a copay or any lab fees associated with those visits. If you have a laundry list of issues you want to address with a doctor: that mole on your back, that pain in your thumb, your inhaler refill, make an appointment for an annual physical. All of your questions and needs will be addressed…on the house!
We all know about Groupon and Living Social. Amazon Deals are another cool service for saving money—and How About We is a lesser known company but has a monthly membership fee. My favorite for services, whether they are spa/salon is via Lifebooker! I found my current hair stylist at Medulla through a great deal—ask for Dave Rico. You will save SO much money by using Lifebooker to keep your look up.
5) Amazone Prime
For $79 a year you get free two-day shipping on tons of products. Living in New York, this is a godsend.
6) Wal-Mart Cat Litter
Now this money saver hint only applies if you have kitties, but the point is still there for anyone with fuzzy loves in their life. You can find deals on pet supplies. My local pet supply store has a great deal on fancy cat food and crunchies, but litter remains the most expensive necessity for my cat care taking. I did a ton of hunting online and in-person and I found the best deal. An 8lb bag of Crystal Fresh Step for $14.48. Get 5 of them at a time and get free shipping and have litter to last you the month. Bonus: You don’t have to hall them home. Delivery is a beautiful thing in New York City.
7) Yelp Elite
Did you even know Yelp has an Elite status? Create your Yelp profile, start checking in and writing reviews. Apply for the status, and for a bonus, have another Yelp Elite friend nominate you. Getting the invite to free events with dinner and drinks is a great way to meet new people, try new cuisine, and save that moolah. Make sure to friend me on Yelp! Not interested in being Elite? It is a lot of pressure… (that is sarcasm). I would still recommend creating profiles on both Yelp and Foursquare and checking in when you are out. You can lock down your profile if you are worried about creepers, but those checkins usually result in awesome FREE food or drinks. I have had plenty of first rounds on a business because of their Yelp/Foursquare specials.
All the small things will add up. I promise. And one of those small things can be using WageWorks for your commuting expenses. You can use it for other things too, healthcare, gym, wellness, but I use it for my commuter expenses because NYU (my employer) is a partner. So how does it work exactly? I signed up with WageWorks and they now deduct my monthly commuter expense, which is a 1-month unlimited MTA card for $112, with pre-tax dollars. They sent me a WageWorks credit card, and they put that $112 on there every month. When my MTA card stops working towards the end of the month I go ahead and refill it with more time and use that WageWorks card to pay for it. Using only my zip code to secure the transaction, it’s so easy and so fast. If your employer is a participant, there is no reason why you wouldn’t do this.
How much money am I saving a year? Check this out. $403 buckaroos!
9) Online Deals
I subscribed to my favorite stores email lists when I moved out to NYC. I needed to know when things went on super sale, and that’s the best way to find out. I recommend Landsend (great winter gear for cheap), Banana Republic, and Kate Spade. Two or three times a year Kate Spade has a blow out sale. I just got this purse for $80. It’s leather. OHhhhhh.
There are also sites you need to bookmark when you are in the market for a new item. I’ve never used these, so I can vouch for their services, but others have positively reviewed them online. Cardpool let’s you buy gift cards for less than their value (or sell the ones that you never are going to use).
Snobswap is basically like a fancier version of Craigslist. Name brand, slightly used, clothing for less. Living in NYC you’re going to have your pick from fashion that no one wants anymore. Living amongst insanely rich people does have it peasant perks.
The other option is Bib + Tuck. It’s essentially the same things as Snobswap, but just approached a little differently. People selling their stuff for cheapsies.
10) Cosmetic Market
OK. Don’t tell too many people about this one. It’s truly a gem. The hours are a little limited, so make sure to check online before you make the trip. Cosmetic Market is like the discounted makeup store you’ve always dreamed about. The selection varies, but one thing is certain…you can find top dollar products for reasonable prices. Sephora meets TJ Maxx…for makeup. They also have other skincare products like deodorant (for men, they have Old Spice and others), lotions, body wash, and razors. They also have an odd, but loveable section near the back with dry food and kitchen supplies. This is the place to go for all of your beauty product needs. There is NO reason to pay full price for top line products.
11) Live in Washington Heights
Seriously. It’s extremely affordable, in Manhattan, has many train options (A/C/E, 1/2/3) and it’s the highest point of the island so it will never flood out—and we can see when the zombies are attacking.
I live with my boyfriend in a completely renovated 1-bedroom for $1900 a month. We have a super, laundry in the building, cameras in the building and a secure entrance.
Right down the block we have an amazing coffee house, Taszo. We are off of Riverside Drive which has a complete park that stretches down the island. At 145th there are park facilities with a pool, tennis courts, b-ball courts, you name it. In the summer, families and friends gather to grill right on the rivers bend. It reminds me a lot of Riverside Drive in Tulsa, OK. It just feels like home here.
If you need help finding an affordable place to live (so you actually can enjoy your New York experience) contact my friend Sarah Beth Hill. She has her own company which focuses on roommate matching and finding people apartments in NYC. Her blog also has a mountain of vital information for moving to New York.
This is us this time last year, signing our lease with Sarah Beth!
So that’s it. Those are my secrets after just living here for 1 year. Just imagine what I will know by next year!
A few years ago I helped produced my first feature documentary. Even though I was a born and raised Okie, and a Women’s Studies minor, I knew nothing about Oklahoma’s status as #1 in the world for female incarceration. Appalled, and frankly skeptical, I was drawn to this project because of the children in this story.
We had a simple question: Why is Oklahoma rate #1 for female incarceration in the world? At ~40 minutes long, this is a perfect film to watch in a class or meeting and discuss. It doesn’t answer all of the questions, but it starts the conversation. A conversation that we’ve needed to have for a long time.
Please share it, tweet it, email it—because it needs to be out there. It’s heartbreaking, but I’m hopeful. Thank you for watching it.
Everyone has their favorite go-to cupcake place. Some are the considered tourist traps, some are actually really great cupcakes, but at the end of the day…it’s just your opinion. And this is mine.
The best cupcake I’ve ever had so far in NYC is from Molly’s Cupcakes. It is known as the Cookie Monster, and it’s center is full of cookie dough. Yup, that’s right…COOKIE DOUGH. It’s a every girl’s cupcake dream.
My other favorite thing about Molly’s is the inside. There are great spots to sit and catch up with a friend.
I needed to tell the world about this cupcake, so there ya go…indulge, enjoy, and compare every cupcake after to this gem of a baked good.
If you can’t get over to Molly’s the second best place on my list is Georgetown Cupcakes in SoHo.