A crash course in how to use Twitter

March 14, 2010 § 8 Comments

Before I begin, let me say I am by no means a Twitter expert. I signed up for an account for the sole purpose of getting free Tasti-Delite coupons almost a year ago and it was not until recently that I attended a Social Media conference where my eyes were opened to the relevance of the website. I hope this entry can help those of you who are either Twitter haters and/or new to the site and/or just don’t quite understand the purpose of one of the internet’s latest phenomenons.

The biggest misconception about Twitter is that it’s meant for anyone to use to “tweet” about their every move – “I am making toast”. “My plane just landed”. “O man, I’m soooo hungover! BEERZ 4EVA!#$!” – FALSE. Sure, it’s nice to add a human quality to your account by posting about your life, but when you have nothing to offer your readers other than a recount of your daily meals or what your cat’s up to, why should people follow you? Try your best to be useful, original, and contributive. Funny tweets are also a favorite of mine. Put yourself in your followers’ shoes – why would they want to follow you? What sets you apart from other people with Twitter accounts?

Twitter is a great source for receiving and sharing the latest news on anything from flight/transit delays, weather warnings, and news on your city to the newest fonts available and latest concerts announced. Feel free to “retweet” any of this information you come across to those you think would be interested.

A great way to meet new people and network is by using Twitter. You can search by trends or topics to find those discussing and involved and see who they’re following. You thought Facebook was good for lurking? Well once you get into it on Twitter, who knows what you’ll find or how deep you’ll go. And best of all, it’s pure information! No silly apps, dumb photos, or game invitations, this is pure, 140 characters or less information sharing.

Much more can be said on the subject of Twitter (just google “how to twitter” and see what you find), but for those of you who didn’t come here to polish your Twitter skills in the first place, I don’t want to piss you off. One last thing: In my opinion, I think Twitter accounts are best used for promoting businesses or services, but I believe the individual, if Twitter-savvy, can create and manage an extremely interesting account worth following and reading on a regular basis.

Some of my favorite Twitterers:
Torontoist
Eli Klein
Word
Color Me Katie
Pitchfork Media
Shit My Dad Says
Ben Pobjoy
Tom Waits (doesn’t Tweet enough, but he’s 61 for godsakes)
Conan O’Brien definitely the new KING of Twitter

Would you rather (“get me back to my fiance!” edition)

March 13, 2010 § 1 Comment

Nick & I at Coney Island, 2007

I am so tired of not being with Nick every day that I want to go back to “visit” again, even though I originally thought I could stick it out and wait to go back for good, whenever that is supposed to be.

To tempt the gods of luck, knocking on wood, and jinx, I will perform any one of these tasks if I can get back to New York by the end of March:

1. I will learn all the American states and their capitals

2. I will take a picture of myself every day for a year, and make some kind of weird, slowly aging, creepy photo diary

3. I will attempt to learn some Spanish, as I think that’s what a good portion of NYC speaks (Sorry, Greenpoint, I’m not touching Polish)

4. Not only will I make a point to explore parts of Manhattan I’ve yet to see, I will also try to reach more (non-scary) areas of Brooklyn and/or Queens

5. I will try some kind of meat that I’ve always been scared to try (squaw, octopus, horse, as long as it’s not enough to make me gag)

Okay, Chance Gods, what’s my assignment?

Crazy kids

March 11, 2010 § 6 Comments

Now that I’m 28, I have reached the age where when I see a group of rowdy, excitable kids in their early twenties, almost definitely in their first or second years of college, I cringe and contemplate leaving the immediate vicinity. This usually happens in Toronto, places like Sneaky Dees or most recently, Sadie’s Diner. When this happens, I need to remember that I once was one of these kids. When I was 23-25ish, I traveled in a pack of 10-20 people every Friday and Saturday night. We did ridiculous things like have planned food fights, played on an organized dodgeball team, declared a random day in May to be “everyone’s birthday”, and my old apartment used to be host to every birthday party of all of my friends. I wish I had my iPhoto on this computer, but I don’t so check out some pictures that brought all this on as I read through my oldest comments on myspace. (The only reason I haven’t deleted my account, it’s worth saving for the inside jokes alone!)

The Dirtballs

I think this was somehow work-related?


Chad & Julia go all out for Halloween


Angela had me play dress up to make me feel better when I almost missed a party because I was coming down with a cold. It worked like a charm.

Did you have a group of friends as close-knit and crazy as mine? Leave me a comment about it, and if you’re brave, a photo!

My guide to New York and Brooklyn

March 9, 2010 § 6 Comments

After typing out countless emails of choice spots to visit in New York each time a friend travels there, I thought to myself, hey – why not just make a blog entry about it that can be here for each person who needs it? Also, I miss New York and want to take a trip there in my head.

These are my favourites. Do you have any must-sees or -dos that are worth mentioning? Please share in the comments!

MANHATTAN:

Food & Drink:
Cafeteria a cute breakfast & lunch spot in Chelsea. Great eggs benedict.
Cosmic Cantina burritos that are both tasty AND healthy
Heartland Brewery delicious, reliable, cozy pub
Magnolia Bakery amazingly delicious cupcakes – be prepared for a line up!
Max incredibly affordable Italian with generous portions.
Nobu I haven’t been here myself, but I hear it’s the best of the best when it comes to sushi. $$!
Panna II This Indian spot is more worth the trip for the ridiculous atmosphere. It’s food is decent and cheap, but not the best you’ve ever had.
Pegu Club a classy bar on the border of NoHo & SoHo – amazing cocktails! Perfect for a shopping break.
San Loco Cheap, fast Mexican – try the guaco locos!
Sidewalk Cafe cute bistro, great happy hour specials
S’mac treat yourself to the ultimate comfort food: many kinds of mac & cheese to choose from.
Toasties can you believe I almost didn’t go in because their sign’s in comic sans? I’m glad I did because their sandwiches and salads are so good!

Shopping:
Apple Store on 5th Ave. Worth going there just to see the store design, especially at night.
Evolution you probably won’t buy anything, but it’s worth a look!
FAO Schwartz the famous toy store featured in Big
Giant Robot vinyl toys, art – better selection than Kid Robot and for a more mature audience
Kid Robot vinyl toy giant
Macy’s I almost have a panic attack every time I come here from the sheer amount of people, but their selection is amazing.
NBC Store pick yourself up a Dwight bobblehead
Steve Madden I always buy my boots here
Strand legendary with book lovers – great used book deals
Tiffany & Co. come plan your engagement ring!
Topshop The first North American store – a sort of more scandalous British H&M
Toy Tokyo huge selection of collectible toys
Uniqlo great for affordable staples, cheap but awesome jeans
Upper Playground design & culture store
Urban Outfitters not just any UO, this one has a huge sale basement!

Other:
Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment (from Sex & The City): 238 East 72nd Street
Central Park
Grand Central Station
Jonathan Levine Gallery
Josh Liner Gallery
New York Public Library (so beautiful)
Rockefeller Center (30 Rock!)

BROOKLYN:



Food & Drink:
Alligator Lounge Order a drink, get a free pizza!!!
The Bagel Store Williamsburg bagel suppliers
Bakers Dozen my favorite deli in Greenpoint with the best bagels EVER.
Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory need I say more?
Fort Defiance Great bar with serious cocktails in Red Hook.
The Habitat great place for a pint and dinner. (Greenpoint)
Lodge great brunch spot in Williamsburg. I vaguely remember a special on Bloody Marys… It must have been a good one if I can’t remember!
Ontario Bar I haven’t made it here yet, but still want to go for obvious reasons.
Pencil Factory Bar good beer selection, good patio (Greenpoint)
Peter Luger amazing steaks, even better burgers available only at lunchtime. Call ahead to make a reservation. Cash only. (Williamsburg)
Peter Pan Bakery tasty pastries – they offer ice cream sandwiches made with donuts in the summer! (Greenpoint)
San Loco their Williamsburg location is bigger and better.
Turkey’s Nest Tavern grab a “to go” beer in a styrofoam cup and watch sports across the street in McCarren Park. (Williamsburg)

Shopping:
Beacon’s closet super trendy used clothing. (Williamsburg)
Brooklyn Flea Market tons of vendors selling great stuff! Delicious food options too. (Fort Greene)
Buffalo Exchange used clothing. (Williamsburg)
Built By Wendy expensive, but so pretty. Sometimes they have sales. (Williamsburg)
Catbird cute clothing & jewelry. (Williamsburg)
Dalaga my current favorite clothing shop. Local designers and original pieces, but not as pricey as you’d think. (Greenpoint)
Oak ladies, you will want EVERYTHING. (Williamsburg)
Sound Fix decent record store, new & used. (Williamsburg)
Spoonbill & Sugartown Booksellers wonderfully packed to the gills with books, magazines, and other pleasant things. (Williamsburg)
Word I fantasize about working in this bookstore one day. It’s just that sweet. (Greenpoint)

Other:
Brooklyn Bridge
Coney Island (you must go! ride the Cyclone!)
Williamsburg Bridge

Immigration/Porter Update!

March 4, 2010 § 4 Comments

Oh, Christina, again with the Porter airlines heralding? Well guess what? They heard my praise from the my last entry and approached me to use mine & Nick’s story as a testimonial on their website. Of course, I tried to wriggle some free flights out of them, but to keep their respectability, they don’t indulge in bribing customers for good reviews. Makes sense, but a girl had to try! So stay tuned for that sometime in the near future.

Yesterday I crossed another thing off my “to do in order to get a visa” list; I had my medical exam. I was on a streetcar at 7 am to head to the only doctor’s office in Toronto approved for doing these medicals, which luckily was across from a Starbucks as I wasn’t running on much sleep. I have to say, it was much more pleasant than what I was expecting! I didn’t even faint from my blood test since I chowed down on a banana right up until the moment my blood was taken and my sweet doctor gave me an apple juice drinking box and let me sit in the office for a little longer than usual.

The only thing I’m waiting for now is to be assigned an interview date at the Consulate in Montreal. Come on, America!

Porter Airlines

March 2, 2010 § 2 Comments

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – if it weren’t for Porter Airlines, I don’t think Nick & I would have made it.

When we started dating, the only way to get to each other was to fly through Toronto’s Pearson airport, which is really not your ideal way to travel. We’d see each other every other weekend, ideally, which meant we each traveled to the other’s city once a month. At first, it was fun and exciting, but after countless delays, cancelations, and headaches, I started to develop a nervous tick when faced with the thought of having to fly to NYC. We only had 2 or 3 days to spend together on these trips and when Air Canada cancels your flight at the last minute because of rain, that one night you miss out on is a big deal!

In 2008, Porter started flying to Newark, NJ from its airport on Toronto island. I’m not a religious lady, but it could only be described as a godsend! I could walk from my office to the free shuttle, which takes you to the ferry, which takes less than 5 minutes to get to the airport on the island. Once inside, it is the quieter than you could ever imagine. Going through security is a breeze and the workers are friendly – one of them actually got to know who I was and would say hi each month. The lounge is equipped with leather armchairs, tables, and iMacs and the kitchen is stocked with free Starbucks, juice, water, pop, and snacks. This is really the only pleasurable way to travel by plane if you can’t afford first class!

I wondered if Porter was actually able to make a great deal of profit, being so kind to their passengers, but it turns out, they must as they recently finished the construction of their second terminal. The photos are from their Facebook group. Check out the cheery cupcakes provided for friends & family for their preview party.

If you haven’t tried flying Porter to one of their destinations, I urge you to keep them in mind for your next trip. I promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Toronto love

March 1, 2010 § 2 Comments

I took the two hour venture into Toronto on Saturday to meet with my lovely lady friend Julia for lunch. It’s always a good time when you mix the two of us with food and coffee, especially coffee, since I don’t drink it often and when I do, I get pretty enthusiastic! After stuffing our faces with Sadie’s Diner’s breakfast burritos, the two of us headed west on Queen to check out the aforementioned Coriander Girl flower shop, which was so cute and smelled amazing! I wish I could have bought one of her pigeon toe ceramics, but I just don’t see myself trying to jam that into my already overflowing suitcase when I head back home to Brooklyn.

After checking out a few more stores, Julia and I parted ways and I walked from Ossington back east on Queen Street. I ran into a few people on the street as it had turned into a nice day, but what I enjoy most is walking around Toronto alone. I love to walk and take it all in, the old buildings and people and happy dogs wearing doggie clothes on the street. Not to mention that there have been so many adorable shops popping up lately! Queen Street between Niagara and into Parkdale is really starting to remind me of Brooklyn. The area around Trinity Bellwoods is great. The fairly new bookstore Type is wonderful and actually had some of McSweeney’s Panorama in stock, so I picked one up and was instantly excited to head home and read it!

I know I’m trying to move on and live in New York permanently, but I will always have a special place in my heart for good ol’ Toronto <3

[photos above taken by me on Sat. Feb. 27 – Trinity Bellwoods, flowers outside a corner store, and the view from Chapters at John & Richmond]

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