T.Swift & Sophie Blackall

I received the Red album in one of my lovely care packages and some of Taylor’s oh so famous lyrics really got to me in “State of Grace.”

I’m walking fast through the traffic lights, busy streets and busy lights and all we know, is touch and go.

Do you ever think about how often you pass by something and never notice it? I know in my time here in the city I have learned that I need to live more in the moment. We miss out on so much as we walk rapidly through the streets, running into people, yakking on our cell phones. About a week ago I was sitting on a bench in times square when I thought, man I wish I had my journal and a pen on me. There were so many interesting people, so many interesting conversations, so many lights and signs and shopping bags and cars. I felt like I was in my own little world sitting there, and that is something I will truly miss about being in this city. I think New Yorkers get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of work and getting from one place to another as quickly as possible that they forget about the phenomenal sights and sounds surrounding them. So from this day forward, I’m hoping to live more in the moment. I don’t want to be so concerned with what will happen in the future or what’s happened in the past because if I am, I’m going to miss out on what’s going on in my life right now, right at this very moment.

My favorite piece of art here in the city is actually a poster in the subway trains. This poster depicts a day on the subway perfectly. It has the right mix of people which includes everyone from couples to families to people clearly not afraid of expressing individuality. I think that’s what I like most about it. It shows NYC’s true colors. NYC is made up of such a diverse range of people, and that isn’t something that should go unnoticed. It’s what makes this city so unique and so spectacular. I love the vibe the city puts off of “be who you want to be without fear of being judged.” Because in this place, you won’t be judged. It’s the easiest city to be you and do as you please and I love that.

Sophie-Blackall_Subway-Art1

Hurricane Sandy in Detail

A hurricane in NYC – let’s be real, I didn’t believe for a second that Sandy would affect me. Despite my disbelief, I went out on that Sunday morning to stock up on some food. Two days later, I was kicking myself for only purchasing strawberry pop-tarts, cheese Pringles, pretzel and cheese snacks, and bags of chips. It was fairly late in the evening Monday when she came. It was dark and quiet, but then came a loud whistling sound that wouldn’t go away. The wind was picking up speed and smashing into our windows. It was louder than any wind in Kent, that’s for sure. But the wind wasn’t what I had been waiting on. Where was all the rain? That’s what I was expecting. Some tumultuous thunderstorm, not just wind. There were sirens and lights going up and down our street for quite some time, but none of us knew why. It turns out the entire facade of a building down the street had fallen off! At one point our lights flickered and my heart stopped, but then it was back to living our normal Monday evening routine. A little while later I sat down on the couch to watch a movie. As soon as I got comfortable – BAM! – no lights. No flicker of electricity, no loud explosion, just utter darkness. My roommates and I were instantly bored. After all, we are part of a generation that constantly needs to be entertained. We decided on playing Apples to Apples by candlelight. Again, let me reiterate the fact that we thought Hurricane Sandy was a joke, so we only had one candle. One smell good candle, zero flashlights. Yeah, we should have listened. We finally went to bed because there was nothing else to do and it was so dark.

The view from my bedroom window

The view from my bedroom window

We woke up Tuesday morning and decided to go on a walk around our neighborhood to see what was going on. There were no lights for miles. I’ve never seen the place so quiet and dark. We walked and walked and walked and found not one place with electricity. We went and saw the building that had fallen apart; it was crazy! Then we headed back to apartment to sit in the dark. It never really rained nor did we ever see water in our part of town though, which is crazy considering so many parts of the city were flooded and we aren’t far from the Chelsea Piers. After hours of sitting around on Tuesday, we played 20 questions around the candle that night. And back to bed it was. Looking out our bedroom window was something I never expected to see. Darkness everywhere. No lights except for the police cars passing by every ten minutes or so. Only the flickering of candles and shadows in the nearby buildings. To see the NYC sky so dark is in a way pretty neat though. How often does that actually happen?

The building down the street

The building down the street

I think the worst part about the hurricane was not having any cells service, although not being able to ride the subway was right up there with it. No social media, no texting, no phone calls, no emailing. I felt so disconnected from the rest of the world which is somewhat pathetic, I know. I did go outside one night to call home. To say it was really dark would be an understatement. People were walking around with flashlights and there were police officers on every corner. Places like Barney’s were being looted, and the amount of graffiti artists that came out in this time of turmoil was unbelievable. School was cancelled for the entire week and I didn’t intern either. On Wednesday, which happened to be the worst Halloween of my life, we went out in search of some lunch and electricity so we could charge our phones and laptops. We had to walk all the way to 27th street before we found anything, and it was probably more crowded than Times Square. There was no way were going to find any empty plugs. We even had to eat our Panera sitting in the cold outside of a hotel! We gave up on the search and headed home for the night, even though our apartment was absolutely freezing. On our way home we passed many business with signs on their doors that read: We have no batteries, no candles, no flashlights. Thankfully we were able to watch a movie on my laptop to help suppress the evening’s boredom.

My bedroom once it hit 5pm

My bedroom once it hit 5pm

Thursday we were finally able to find a seat in Panera, and luckily it was near an open outlet. We spent a few hours in there charging up before getting Chipotle and heading in for the night, which was completed by watching another movie. On Friday afternoon we went to Starbucks and the school, which now had power we could use, to charge and work on some homework. While we were here, we received the best news of our week: The power was back on at our apartment! Woohoo! We celebrated by going to eat at T.G.I. Friday’s before heading home and turning on every light we have and the heat. The subways weren’t up and running for the remainder of the weekend, but my life here in the city was pretty much back to normal by Monday evening.

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Lesson learned. Predicted hurricanes will more than likely hit. You will lose power. You should stock up on food and candles and batteries. That way, you have some form of light and you don’t have to try to keep what food you have cold by sitting it out on the fire escape.

Bring It On

It was the end of the week. The day we all countdown to starting every Monday. Friday. TGIF. I was on my way to work one Firday morning. It was a dark rainy day and I wasn’t particularly in the greatest mood, but as I neared the subway in my new, shiny, hot pink Doc Martens, I passed by a mom and her daughter. This little girl had on bright, shiny, pink boots too. She reminded me of myself; I totally had an awesome pair of pink kicks as a youngin’. photoThe little girl tapped her mother in the arm and pointed in my direction. “Look mom!” she gasped, while looking at my shoes. Her mom just smiled and looked at me, because honestly I don’t think she knew much English. I looked at the little girl, smiled, and thought to myself what a wonderful day it was going to be after all. It’s the little things in life that make you smile, turn your whole day around, and show you how truly appreciative you should be. IMG_5758After work that day, my roommates and I went to see Bring It On: The Musical. Being it was my first broadway show and I’m a cheer freak, I thought it was absolutely phenomenal. It was so good and so funny and it turns out that I have met some of the people in it at UCA cheer camp before. After Bring It On, I saw my very first NYC rat! That was probably enough to ruin the whole day but thankfully it was running towards a girl on the opposite of the subway tracks from where I was standing.

The End is Near

My mom keeps telling me I need to update this thing, and every time I respond with, “I will, I will!” However, today she made me realize it’s been over a month since I’ve sat down to write and that did not settle well with me because I only have 2 weeks left in this concrete jungle. 2 weeks left in this place I’ve been dreaming about forever. So tonight, I think I’ll sit down and write post after post. So much has happened! And when I get back to reality, who knows what I’ll have to say to the world. Consider this your warning: Words are about to spill out of me and overflow the pages.

Hurricane Sandy

Well, it appears my posts are going to be at a stand still until I get power back. On the bright side though, we survived! Not having power, internet, or cell service has given me time to think about how truly blessed I am. I am beyond thankful that Sandy didn’t do more damage to my home this semester. Continue praying for all those affected by her though – those who lost everything and those who are just awaiting electricity. It’s cold and quiet and dark and boring, but we’re very fortunate to still be standing.

K-S-U That’s my school!

Homecoming weekend at Kent State – need I say more? I had the greatest three days I’ve had in such a long time. Thursday night after class my roommates and I were packing and getting ready for the weekend all night long. Seriously, we finished at 3am and got up at 4am to catch our ride to the airport. It’s not like we could really sleep anyway. We were all kinds of hyper. We flew into Pittsburgh and got a ride back to Kent, arriving at 10:45am which was a perfect time. I spent the day with my boyfriend, eating lunch and visiting with my old roomie, before having an interview for a position on the Annual Fashion Show PR Committee (which I got by the way!).  I had Hungry Howies for dinner with him, complete with Sheetz icees of course, before heading over to the field house for cheerleading practice. I’m not going to lie to you, I cried like  a baby when I got to hug my very best friend for the first time since April. It was so emotional to finally see all of my friends and teammates, new and old. It made me truly appreciate what a family my team has become. The whole weekend reminded me of how blessed I am to go to a school I love with people that mean the world to me. After practice I hung out with my friends, baking cookies, gossiping, eating, and catching up. It was a perfect evening. Saturday I got up early to head to the football game. I needed one of the 1000 free scarves! But first my one friend brought over some Buckeye Blitz ice cream fresh from Columbus because she’s the best. I got in line for a scarf at 12:45, and it was lined outside of the field house. But no worries, I got my scarf at 1:10 just before they ran out. It was so cold and rainy at the football game – let’s all act surprised, I mean it wouldn’t be Kent if it wasn’t cold and rainy. After pouring, the sun teased us for a bit before it rained even harder. We left the football game at halftime, soaking wet. I didn’t have too many clothes packed; I only took a carry-on!  My boyfriend did tell me that I’m “a horrible football fan so it’s a good thing you cheer.” Ha! If I had been in a uniform and a poncho, I would have loved every second of that game. No one has to know that I knew it was a first down because of the cheer the cheerleaders were doing. I did get hot chocolate and Chick-fil-A though, and Kent did win. That evening we went to dinner with my old roommate and her boyfriend. It was a wonderful evening of food and talking. Actually, most wonderful evenings consist of food and talking in my book. Sunday morning my boyfriend and I went to Mike’s Place for some tasty chocolate chip pancakes and chocolate milk. We headed to the airport that afternoon, and it was a sad goodbye as none of us were ready to leave Kent – our school, our home away from home. Despite that, back to the city we went. It was a great weekend though filled with pretty fall leaves, pretty people, and happy moments.

Country Boy Meets City

Two weeks ago I was fortunate enough to get to see my boyfriend after a long five weeks. He rode the MegaBus into the city on a Friday evening. Unfortunately his bus arrived about an hour and a half late, but we didn’t let that rain on our parade. We spent Friday evening eating at Shake Shack, where people were lined out the door waiting to order, and walking around Times Square. I don’t think he enjoyed that part of NYC too much, but I’m glad he got to see it! Some lady stopped us and asked us to take a picture of her family for her. She asked me if I was from Australia because my “accent is beautiful.” Of course I had to reply with the awkward, “Uh no, I’m from West Virginia.” That was definitely a first and probably a last. Our Saturday morning started out bright and early, but at least it was a sunny day. We went to the 9/11 Memorial which was a real eye opener. Sure I was in fourth grade and remember in detail seeing everything on the news and hearing people talk, but actually seeing in person the spot where the Twin Towers once stood was incredible. It truly put into perspective everything that had happened. Seeing the fountains, the names of all those lost, how close the buildings were to each other and everything around it. Wow. It was just wow. There is also a Survivor Tree; this tree’s roots were saved from the rubble and is being nourished back to life. After walking around the fountains for quite some time, we went in the Memorial store. In this building were pictures of heroes, a video playing of those remembering the day and losing their loved ones, and artifacts that had been found among the rubble. One lady’s ID and a few other trinkets were in a case. I thought that was really neat and I can’t wait for the Memorial museum to open in the future. From here we headed to see the Statue of Liberty. The line just to buy tickets for the ferry was an hour wait. Good thing we didn’t intend on doing that! After Lady Liberty we walked around Rockefeller Center (including the Lego Store), Fifth Avenue, and Madison Avenue. We also had to look for some architectural buildings (for the boyfriend of course) along the way. We ended the afternoon at Central Park sitting on rocks, sharing a snack, and overlooking the skyline. I couldn’t have asked for a better day. We headed back to the apartment to rest before dinner at Grimaldi’s Pizza. This tiny little restaurant had delicious pizza, which was good because we were starving. After dinner we walked around the Chelsea Piers and hung out by the water before calling it a night. Sunday morning we had breakfast at Doughnut Plant (another restaurant choice courtesy of Travel Channel). I’m not a donut fan by any means, but they were really good. The rain held off until it was time to stand in line for his bus out of the city. I’d say one thing we learned was to make sure you know when you’re bus departure time is so you’re not standing in the rain a half hour more than need be (right Jimmy?). I’m so glad he was able to come here and see what my life has been like for the past two months. I can’t wait for him to return soon!

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge

As we get further along in the semester, my “me time”, my writing time, has been slowly dwindling away. Needless to say, I am not a fan. On a different note, about three weekends ago my roommates and I walked the Brooklyn Bridge.

We walked from the Brooklyn side towards Manhattan. I’d have to say this has been one of my favorite things we’ve done so far. The views were just incredible and I took about one hundred too many pictures. The day wasn’t very sunny, but we decided to start walking at sunset anyway. It almost looked as if a storm was brewing, but luckily it didn’t rain. Everything had a blue tone to it though, from the bridge to the sky to the buildings. This shade of blue got darker and darker the more we walked. It took us about 45 minutes to walk the bridge, and that included stopping to take pictures here and there along the way. We were fortunate enough to still be walking when it got dark so we were able to see the skyline lit up. After our walk we stopped at a food cart, Waffles and Dinges, for some delicious waffles. Might I add this food cart has been on Travel Channel, so thanks to Man vs Food guy Adam Richman I knew it was about to be a great late dinner. I got a waffle with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, and powdered sugar. It was basically melt-in-your-mouth, heavenly awesomeness. So my advice to anyone looking for a good view and a good snack, walk the Brooklyn Bridge and get a waffle when you’re finished. You won’t regret it.

What Inspires You

It’s only 10am and my brain is already hurting this morning. First off, Obama is coming to Kent today.. the ONE semester I’m studying in NYC. According to all the tweets and photos though, the line is already ridiculously insane. And if I was in Kent I’d probably have class or practice and wouldn’t be able to see him speak. But still, I’m jealous and bitter about it. Anyway, today marks the first day of the year for a class being cancelled. So what am I doing with my free day you might ask? Well, I’m sitting in my pajamas getting ahead on homework. What a nerd. However, this homework isn’t like most homework. In fact, it’s a bit mind boggling and I’m stumped.

What inspires you?

I could probably write pages and pages of things , people, places, etc. that inspire me, but using pictures, catalogs, magazines, brochures, etc. to express what inspires me is a challenging task. Think about it. When’s the last time you slowed down, looked around, and thought “wow that’s so inspirational” or “looking at that makes my creativity juices flow”? Hello, I’m a creative writer, not an artist. So today, here’s to slowing down and looking around, here’s to appreciating the artistic and creative things that I pass by every day, here’s to finding out what inspires me and how I can inspire others. Happy Wednesday.

Good Old Days

Today I’ve spent a lot of time thinking. Things sure have changed in the last few years. I wouldn’t say I miss high school, but I sure do miss the people I used to see every day. It’s something I think we all take for granted and don’t even realize. Think about all the people you used to see every day and would casually talk to or be really good friends with.. Where are they now? What are they doing? There are so many people I wish I still talked to. I hate that it’s hard to stay in touch with all of us spread out across the country and what not. I mean for crying out loud I’ve gone from WV, to Ohio, to NYC in a matter of three years. How in the world are we supposed to keep tabs on everyone? I miss those high school folks, I do. But I also wouldn’t change the past three years of my life for anything. I love being happy and adventurous, learning new things, meeting new people, and finding out who I am as a person. I am still growing up; we all are. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back and look at how far you’ve come. To realize how blessed you are. To realize how special those people around you are. I miss everyone in Kent. I miss my friends, school and home ones, family, boyfriend. I miss winding roads, driving, eating without cooking. I miss cheering, regular classes, working and actually getting paid. Despite all of these things, I’ve got to keep going. I’ve been here a month and with only three to go, I know I have a lot left to see. A lot left to learn. A lot left to figure out. This week, here’s to pushing onward, making the most of my time, and never forgetting the people and places that have made me who I am today.