I cooked.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The other day I followed a recipe and made enchiladas! 14 enchiladas.  I went all out and even made enchilada sauce (at home we always buy enchilada sauce from a can). I didn't realize the sauce was made from tomatillos (pictured below). These were vegetarian enchiladas stuffed with peppers, jalapeƱos, onions, butternut squash, mushrooms, and spices. They were so good. The process took awhile, but I was proud of myself and the best part was making them (and eating them) with a friend! 

Here's the recipe I followed: 


Sunday, November 17, 2013

I certainly love Autumn! This weekend I went to the Cloisters in the Washington Heights neighborhood. The weather was so beautiful and serene. Peaceful weekends help me forget about the drama and the headaches that happen during the week. Like when the ceiling in my bathroom bubbles and falls down, flooding my bathroom with water because of a leak on the floor above. No big deal. Or when Ms. F is gone and I have to put up with another sub. There's lots to do before the holidays roll in. I'm hoping my students and I can keep the stamina going. It's interesting that I will head home in about month. I can definitely go strong 'til then.
This weekend is probably the last that it will feel like fall. Leaves are quickly falling, and the city is filled with Christmasy stuff. The other day the Empire state building was lit up with red and green.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

My students like to break out in little discussions trying to figure out how old I am. I just listen, but don't answer. I made a promise to myself to not tell any of them my age. I don't want to risk losing respect, which is so hard to hold onto with these students. They probably think 24 because 24 is the oldest you can be to do City year. Who knows what they would say if there wasn't an age limit? :) They ask if I have kids at home. They ask about my relationationship status. It just doesn't stop. 
Maybe they guess 24 simply because I look weathered come 4 pm on a Tuesday. I might have to agree....

This is me on the subway after the school  day and 2.5 hours of our after school program:

This is Dedicated to Benji

Monday, November 11, 2013

When my family helped me move to New York back in August my brother only wanted to do one thing and that was,

"Yo, can we go to southside Queens to see graffiti?"

Ben isn't a man of many words, but he was persistent with this request and unfortunately we never went together.  I brushed the idea aside because I wasn't a fan of Queens and I didn't realize that the graffiti was legit. This area is located off Court street, and it covers an abandoned building called 5 Pointz. I wish I was able to see the graffiti with Ben, but I enjoyed visiting it with my City Year team.
In honor of him I took pictures. 

This is for my Dad. 
I love my team. Unity!

no caption. 

Back to the budget

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Remember September when I gave a break down of living on the city year stipend? I wanted to review that. Living on less than $1000 per month is tricky, but it is possible. One thing I should clarify is that I technically live on less than $1500 per month if you include benefits like food stamps, metro card, health care, and my cell phone. I have been tracking how I spend money through mint.com

Challenges and errors:
I'm not saving any money. I'm living paycheck to paycheck. This was not what I wanted, but it's what I have to do. The original plan was to save $110 per month, but all of that money is being spent. I didn't consider all possible expenses and I underestimated the cost of things. 

  1. I need to eat, and eating requires cooking, which requires appliances and "tools."  Tools cost money. I have purchased a nice knife (which also cut my fingers which required bandaids. oops), a blender, a colander, a can opener, tupperware, and other random things. I didn't budget for those things.
  2. Entertainment. I budgeted $50 per month, and I have been doing okay with that but not really. If I want to eat out that costs around $20. Movie tickets are $14.50. Shows are also expensive, so it's definitely a struggle. At the same I have been able to enjoy comedy shows and plays under $15, and there are lots of free concerts around town. 
  3. Clothes- I budgeted $20 a month for clothes. Way off. $20 a month on clothes looks like 1, maybe 2 articles of something. Living in New York has also made me a bit more conscious of what I wear, but probably not as bad if I were living in L.A. (just being real). Basically I spend about $75 per month on clothes and accessories. This is an area where I don't NEED to spend money, but the urge is strong and I'm okay with spending extra. 
  4. Necessities: I forgot things like haircuts, de-tanglers, new toothbrushes, and medicine. Those things cost more than $20/month (original budget).

Blessings and Successes:

  1. I have not had any emergency expenses. I haven't been mugged and I haven't lost my metrocard. Yay!
  2. I have been able to tithe, and I have been more generous than I planned. 
  3. It's been no problem living on $200/month for groceries. I have joined a Farm Share and I can still shop at Trader Joes and Whole foods for fun items. I get basic food things at Aldi. I've been deliberate at stretching the food I buy and not wasting things. My freezer is well stocked.
  4. I haven't gone to my parents for money. :) However, I have enjoyed nice care-packages from them and a handful of other people. Care-packages totally make my day. Gifts and quality time are my two love-languages.  
  5. Exercising: Originally I was considering joining a gym because I wouldn't have organized sports like I did in high school and I wouldn't have a bike. That hasn't been necessary because I have a river right by my apartment to run along, I walk at least 2 miles every day, and I have gotten into yoga (also free).

FALLing for New York City

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Yes, that might be a cheesy title, but fall and New York City are pretty much the best. The weather has been great. It's already November 10th and I can walk around without a coat or mittens. A nice change from Minnesota weather. I spent a couple hours today soaking in the fall beauty. Enjoy the pictures!

Photos were taken in Central Park with my iPhone.

Of Halloween

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Halloween is definitely a holiday in my book. Costumes, chocolate, cheap Chipotle, and the color orange are the greatest and they all join forces on one night. What's not to love? Plus the line for chipotle took like 2 minutes.
I wanted to share the costume I made this year. It was an owl. I saw a picture of an owl costume and wanted to make one from scratch. I went and bought a cheap black dress from goodwill and then got some fabric and a glue gun. From there I cut little "feathers" and glued away. I was happy with the outcome! 
I also made owl eyes and owl ears but I am too embarrassed to show them. Truth. 
This was my inspiration
Okay, fine. Here's a picture of my head gear. Go ahead, laugh! 

My first place

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A great thing about moving to New York has been living in an apartment. My own apartment! I love taking ownership over where I live. My apartment has been a relaxing, clean, and quiet place - just what I need when living in New York City. It's on the second floor of a 2-story walk up. It has one bedroom, a large common area, one kitchen, and a bathroom. The apartment is very large by New York standards. I wouldn't consider myself a domestic person but cleaning, decorating, and cooking have been enjoyable things for me.
The apartment was furnished by myself and my roommates. Our apartment theme is owls. :)

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