NY Life

22 December 2015

Sorry to Burst Your Bubble, But We Are Going to Talk About Waste and Holidays in the Same Sentence

It’s official! The holiday season is in full swing. Maybe you’re frantically running around town picking up those last minute gifts, or perhaps you’re baking and decorating away in anticipation of all those family and friendly gatherings. Whether you’re keeping it small this year or really amping up the festivities, here’s one thing you might not have considered: household waste.

I know, I know. It’s kind of a drag to think about things like conserving energy and reducing waste when there are holiday cookies to decorate and bubbly drinks to imbibe. But the fact of the matter is that household waste increases by over 25% during the holiday season. In one home that’s a major increase, but across the country, that adds up to a lot of trash. If you’re inspired to do something about it, check out these tips and tricks.

Gift Wrapping

“Every year, Americans use at least 40 million tons of paper products for wrapping, packaging, and decorating gifts during Christmas, birthdays, and other holidays,” writes Hearts.com. That’s not even counting the shopping bags (another four million tons) and ribbon (38,000 miles worth).

We know what you’re thinking: Presents have to come wrapped! Agreed. That said, there are sustainable options when it comes to wrapping your gifts, and they don’t sacrifice holiday cheer, either. For example, you can use reusable items such as gift boxes, baskets and fabrics. You can also use paper products that would end up tossed anyway, such as newspapers, magazines and even maps.

Go with Real Over Faux

It may seem counterintuitive to get a real tree versus a synthetic one that can be used over and over again. However, according to EarthEasy.com, real trees are the more earth-friendly option. “Plastic trees are made of petroleum products (PVC), and use up resources in both the manufacture and shipping,” they explain. “While artificial trees theoretically last forever, research shows that they are typically discarded when repeated use makes them less attractive. Discarded artificial trees are then sent to landfills, where their plastic content makes them last forever.”

If you’re feeling particularly eco-conscious, buy a small, living tree that’s potted. You can keep it for two to three years without having to re-pot. Once it becomes too big, you can plant it outdoors. If it doesn’t live, have it chipped and mulched for free.

Switch to E-Cards

We’re sad to break this to you, but holiday cards usually end up in the trash at the end of the holiday season. Womp womp. That said, an e-card takes up no space in the landfill, can be sent and received instantly (hello, procrastinators!), and are low (or no) cost.

Fast fact: “The amount of cards sold in the US during the holiday season would fill a football field 10 stories high, and requires the harvesting of nearly 300,000 trees,” writes EarthEasy.com.

Buy Environmentally Friendly Gifts

Going green with your gift wrap and holiday cards is an excellent way to reduce your carbon footprint. Take things one step further by actually gifting green presents.

For example, a thermos or water bottle or reusable coffee mug will conserve over a long period of time. Another idea is to purchase items that are solar powered versus battery or electricity powered. “Experience” gifts — such as tickets to an event, museum passes, and spa or health vouchers — won’t end up in the trash, either.

Other ways to buy with the environment in mind: buy local (cuts transport costs and energy), purchase gifts made from recycled materials, and re-gift items you don’t intend to use.

Conserve Electricity

We know ol’ tannenbaum looks pretty all lit up, and the same’s true for your exterior decor, as well. However, if you’re not home — or if you’re sleeping — it’s best to turn lights and decor off.

Another way to conserve electricity is to utilize a fireplace over a heater, and to make sure that windows and doors are sealed tightly to keep heat inside. Finally, instead of holiday lights, opt for popcorn or cranberry garlands. If you don’t want to give up your lights, consider reducing the amount of lights you use. You can also try LED or solar powered lights, which use far less energy. In fact, according to ConsumerEnergyCenter.com, you can save up to 90 percent of your energy costs with LED holiday bulbs.

Another tip from ConsumerEnergyCenter.com: “To avoid accidentally leaving your lights on and running up your electric bill unnecessarily, use an automatic timer, both indoors and out. You’ll remove the burden of turning the lights on and off and avoid leaving them on all night or during the daylight hours. Just make sure that the timer you use is rated to handle the total wattage of your lights.”

Take it Easy on the Food Prep

“In the United States, we generate an extra 5 million tons of household waste each year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, including three times as much food waste as at other times of the year,” writes WorldWatch.org. “When our total food waste adds up to 34 million tons each year, that equals a lot of food.”

Food waste is a serious issue throughout the year, but as you can see from those stats, it’s exacerbated during the holidays. This is because many people prefer to make more food than necessary over not having enough. Really think about the amount of people you’re baking for, and don’t buy any more than you need. Trust that there will be plenty of cookies and plenty of ham.

If you do have leftovers, make a concerted effort to use them. If you don’t think you’ll have a chance to eat your leftovers, donate to a local shelter.

By Wendy Rose Gould

Posted by Wendy Rose Gould at 02:00 PM
Opinions , Shopping News , Shopping Trends , The City |

14 September 2015

When Life Hands You Curveballs, Clean Up Your Space (Literally)

Life can get messy sometimes. Really messy. That dream job you interviewed for may not have panned out, you may feel like you’re barely afloat where finances are concerned, your friendships could be in serious need of resuscitation, your family may be driving you berserk, and your relationship with your SO–once seemingly indestructible–could be falling apart at a rate faster than you can patch it up. Let’s all just let out a collective, heavy sigh for the ongoing disequilibrium life delivers on the regular.

The truth is that you won’t likely find a quick fix to some of the more difficult curveballs hurled your way. Ultimately, you’ve got to get right to the source of the matter and work it out like you would a knot in your back. That takes time, of course, but there are things you can do meanwhile that can actually improve your overall sense of happiness and inner serenity. And no, we’re not talking about a shopping spree or pedicure (which, OK, may temporarily placate you).

Tidying Up Your Space, Literally

Even if you’ve convinced yourself that you’re able to live amidst clutter — that you even thrive in the chaos — you’ll still benefit from cleaning up your space. And by space, we mean every physical area in which you spend any time at all. That includes your office cubicle, your car (should you own one), and, of course, your home.

Tiny NYC apartments are particularly susceptible to clutter, especially if you’ve got roommates and especially if you’re busy, which is likely the case. Think about the clutter in those spaces. Maybe it’s dog hair, cat hair, dirty dishes, disheveled laundry (both clean and dirty) piled on the floor and furniture, last week’s leftovers in the fridge collecting mold, mail you’ve been meaning to open for weeks, clogged shower drains, wet and musty towels, bedsheets that haven’t been washed in ages, spider guts smeared against the wall that you failed to clean up post-freakout, dresser drawers full of makeup or notes or junk… you get the picture. Doesn’t the thought of it all overwhelm you? Living in it may be affecting you more than you realize, even if you’ve only got a few of the aforementioned dirties to deal with.

Turns out, unkempt quarters and accumulating clutter can negatively impact you. The solution, then, it seems, is to remove it from your life. You may not be able to take full control over your career forecast or friendships at this point, but you can certainly take control of the tangible clutter you’re dealing with.

Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project” and “Happier at Home” — both instant New York Times bestsellers — says that even the smallest adjustments or actions can made a difference in your mood. For example, making the bed, reducing excess of anything (cups, vases, shirts, shoes, ketchup packets), and clearing even one shelf or organizing one drawer are all ways you can increase your overall happiness.

If you’re unsure of where to start, especially if you want to tidy your home from bathroom to entryway, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, is a good go-to. It’s another best selling book, this one by Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo. It “takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again.”

Purge Your Belongings, Lift the Weight

Don’t just stop at tidying, either. Purge, baby, purge. Even if you consider yourself a sentimentalist, a wee hoarder, a collector, just try to cast aside that, “What if I need it?” mentality and let go.

A good rule of thumb is that if you haven’t used or worn something in six months, and you don’t see yourself doing so in the next six months, toss it in the donate bin. It may be hard to part with items you’ve been sitting on (perhaps literally) for years, but getting rid of them can be incredibly satisfying in the end.

As a personal aside, I’ll tell you that whenever I’m going through a particularly difficult issue or major life change, which seems to come about once every couple of years, I’ll seriously purge. The process feels like an emotional cleansing of my soul, allowing me to start anew. I literally feel a weight lifted off of me. When my space is clean, when I’ve dropped off that bag at the local thrift store, and when I come back home and sit in a clean, less densely-decorated and stuffed room, I feel accomplished and, somehow, freer.

And a bonus you may not consider: There’s money to be made on those items collecting dust. Maybe it’s an old cell phone that’s worth a Benjamin or two, or it’s a pile of clothing you could send off to a website such as ThredUp, Tradesy, eBay or PoshMark, or maybe you could list an item or two on Craigslist or a selling app, such as OfferUp, Close5 or Gone.

Tell us — when’s the last time you purged your belongings? When’s the last time you dedicated an entire weekend to cleaning and purging and tidying?

By Wendy Rose Gould

Posted by Wendy Rose Gould at 05:30 AM
BODY/MIND , Opinions , Shopping News , Shopping Trends , The City , Tips Guides |

5 September 2015

Walk in Characters' Footsteps From These 3 Manhattan-Based TV Shows

Welcome to part two of our “walk in your favorite NYC characters’ footsteps” series, where we give you the deets on popular TV show hangouts. We think it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon — or even a day — and potentially makes for a great date idea. You’ll also score brownie points with out-of-towners coming to visit you, especially if they’re major fans of any of the shows below.

Sex and the City

It’s a no brainer to include this popular TV show. I mean, it probably gets at least partial credit for making people think of NYC as such a sexy and cosmopolitan place.

Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte were all over the big apple, but so many of their hot spots were in Manhattan itself. Now, there are plenty of guided tours you can sign up for that may be of interest. For example, On Location Tours does a great one that includes stops at over 40 locations, and we imagine it’d be a lot of fun to pal around with other SATC fans on a tour bus.

If you’re more of an individualist or prefer to set your own pace, a self-guided walking tour may be more your thang. We like this one by FreeToursByFoot, which does a nice job of highlighting some of those favorite SATC moments.

For example, you could start at the flagship Tiffany and Co. (727 Fifth Avenue, between 56th and 57th St.), where Trey re-proses to Charlotte. And speaking of nuptials, hop on over to the gorgeous NYC Public Library (Fifth Avenue and 42nd St.), which is where Mr. Big and Carrie planned to get hitched. You can also pay homage to Carrie via a little shoe shopping at none other than Manolo Blahnik (31 W 54th St, between 5th and 6th Avenues).


So Seinfeld was technically filmed in California, but the show itself was set in New York City, which is where you can find a lot of the TV show’s famous landmarks.

The number one must-hit spot, of course, is Monk’s Cafe, where Elaine, Jerry, George and Kramer spent way too much of their time. The cafe itself isn’t real, but the exterior of Tom’s Restaurant (2880 Broadway) is the filmed facade.

A second contender for where the crew spends most of their time is at Jerry’s Apartment, located at 129 West 81st Street, Apartment 5A. The outside of the apartment was actually filmed in Los Angeles, but it’s still cool to go to the location. Elaine’s apartment is located near Central Park at 447 Central Park West.

Two additional places you can venture to that are completely real (unlike Monk’s), is Kramer’s H&H Bagels (1551 2nd Ave), where he went on strike, or you could nab one of his favorite hot dogs at Gray’s Papaya (2090 Broadway), which is called “Papaya King” in the series.

If hot dogs and bagels aren’t your thing (I mean, they’re so New York, but we won’t judge you), perhaps you could slurp up some soup at Mendy’s (61 E 34th St) . This post by HuffPo has some other places you can visit.


This list would be so remiss without Friends. Like SATC, there’s a guided tour you can take with On Location Tours, which makes everything super easy for you. Note that Friends was filmed in California, but many of the exterior shots were filmed in NYC to keep that Big Apple vibe.

For those who prefer to do a self-guided tour, we’ve got your back. We recommend started at Pulitzer Fountain in Central Park (Grand Army Plaza at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue), which you’ll recognize from the opening credits. While this wasn’t the actual shooting location, the California fountain it was shot in is a replica of the original.

We’re bummed to inform you that Central Perk, the coffee shop where Joey, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Rachel spent a lot of time, isn’t real. They actually created a pop up shop, which closed in about a year’s time. Don’t fret, though. You can stop by the Solow Building (9 W 57th St #45), where Chandler worked, or hit up Lucille Lortel Theater (121 Christopher St), where Joey put on an off-Broadway performance.

Another cool spot to hit up is the Corner of Bedford and Grove, which is the apartment building where all six characters dwelled.

Stay tuned for part three of the series!

By Wendy Rose Gould

Posted by Wendy Rose Gould at 01:45 PM
Opinions , Places , Shopping News , Tips Guides |

21 August 2015

Hitting NYC and want to walk in the footsteps of your favorite TV characters? Or maybe you’re a resident looking for a new way to spend the afternoon? Why not!

Visiting the hallowed stomping grounds of well-known TV characters makes for an eventful day, a cool date idea, and would certainly earn you brownie points with anyone visiting from out of town.

Fortunately for you, we’ve compiled a list of popular television shows based in NYC, with this post focusing specifically on Brooklyn. Now you can eat where those characters have eaten, sit where they’ve sat, drink from the same cups from which they’ve possible drank, and frolic in the same gardens or down the same sidewalks they’ve too traversed.


HBO Girls TV Show Based in Brooklyn New York

We have to start with Lena Dunham’s GIRLS, which as you probably know, airs on HBO. Unlike some shows (ahem), this TV series does film in NYC, and in Brooklyn, to be specific. There, Hannah, Jessa, Marnie and Shoshannah get into their daily mischief.

Fortunately, you can find a surplus of resources to help you walk in their footsteps. In fact, avid watchers of the TV show have gone so far as to Google Map the show’s filming locations, pinning notable destinations for other fans. We’ll direct you to DailyDot, which has this very map of must-hit destinations available to you.

You can also check out the Huffington Post’s “Visit GIRLS” guide, which tells you how to get to Marnie’s Lehmann Maupin Gallery, the Tom & Jerry’s 288 Bar, Magnolia Bakery and Ray’s Cafe Grumpy.

P.S. If you’re able, get yourself to a Bushwick party and dance the night away a la wild girl Jessa.

Another good link to check out is this one, from the Guardian, which gives you the deets of Bushwick’s Country Club, where you can grab a pizza, and Beacon’s closet, which features a giant mural of none other than Lena Dunham’s famous mug. Weird? OK. But probably worth a visit if you’re a big fan.

2 Broke Girls

2 Broke Girls TV Show Based in Brooklyn New York

Sassy Max, played by Kat Dennings, and sweet Caroline, played by Beth Behrs, “reside” in good old Brooklyn and work as waitresses at a dive-y Williamsburg Diner. The show was actually co-created by Sex and the City‘s executive producer, so it’s no surprise that it’s set in good old NYC.

There’s a bit of a controversy on whether or not 2 Broke Girls accurately portrays what it’s like to be broke in Brooklyn, and some even say it’s a portrayal of an outdated version of Brooklyn. But does it really matter? Well, maybe, but today we’re just giving you the info on where the show’s set.

The girls are all over Williamsburg, so that’s where you’ll want to head. From there, well, things get a little iffy. The show technically shoots in Los Angeles, but we recommend grabbing a cupcake at Brookyln Cupcake or Cupcake Land in honor of the girls’ cupcake endeavors. And, to maintain that 2 Broke Girls spirit, get yourself something yummy at Jimmy’s Diner or Shorty’s Diner, and feel free to lament about your lackluster bank account and woeful dating life while you’re chowing down on greasy grub.

Sex and the City

Sex and the City TV Show Based in Brooklyn New York

Yep, though SATC has a very “cosmo” vibe to it, parts of the show were shot in Brooklyn. For example, Miranda, after proposing to Steve, decides to move their growing family to the borough. She later upgrades to a house in Brooklyn with new love interest, Robert, after things get serious.

For the record, there are entire Sex and the City tours you can sign up for, but most of the destinations aren’t in Brooklyn. However, some popular SATC destinations include the following:

First, There’s Brooklyn Bridge — technically Lower East Side Manhattan — but we’re including it because it connects to Brooklyn. It’s also one of the cooler destinations in NYC, so you should go there anyway.

Also hit up Junior’s Restaurant, at 386 Flatbush, where Carrie and Big dined. And if you wanna get real deep into SATC fan-dome, check out King’s County Supreme Court at 360 Adams and Johnston Street, where Carrie and Big ventured to tie the knot. I mean, we could also suggest you get married there, yourself, but that may be taking things too far…

By Wendy Rose Gould

Posted by Wendy Rose Gould at 01:40 PM
Opinions , Places , Shopping News , The City , Tips Guides |

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