Big City Gal on a Small Town Budget

…I just wanted a title that sounded like a fashion magazine article, because that’s pretty much what I find when I try to research budgeting tips.

Side note: there are no new tips. Coupons. Bring your lunch. Don’t take cabs. Stuff I already know but don’t want to do.

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Stop Thinking. Enjoy Now.

So, I listen to this UCB podcast, where they interview different improv performers, and it’s kind of great. Because they talk about when they were first starting out, and how they weren’t confident at first, and how they got rejected at auditions. And I think “Oh, cool. These successful improvees were once like me, but they stuck with it and it worked out.”

But then I think

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Project Optimism: Making Life Happen

I started Improv 201 on Friday and, dare I say, the class is even better looking than my 101 class. What’s with that?

“Do I have to get better looking too, as we move up?” I asked my new improv bestie Amanda as we left class.

“No, you’re already good looking.” she answered without missing a beat.

“Right back atcha.” I winked.


proof. sort of.
my camera sucks since I dropped my phone down an elevator shaft (10 months ago)

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Alice Guest Post: Inspired By My Friends

Every once in a while, my commuter friend Alice gives me a day off by guest blogging for me. 
As you all know by now, Saturday was Jill’s improv showcase. Admittedly I had some trepidation about attending. One, it was on a Saturday – but I did say one of my New Year’s resolutions was to get out more on weekends. Two, no matter how funny and entertaining someone is, when they say “come to my improv 101 performance on a Saturday afternoon” you worry about a certain cringe factor. Well, I needn’t have been concerned about either. The commute was super easy being that Jill and I got a ride in together in the back of her parents’ car like we were 12, and I bummed a ride home with her and Tom. More importantly, the show was super good. I was really impressed. Obviously I could never ever do that. Even when I’ve taken dance classes that require 8 counts of improv I freak out. So kudos to Jill and I can’t wait for the 201 performance.

Afterwards we all went to a bar nearby for conversation and day drinking. I learned about the day jobs of Jill’s fellow improvees (new awesome word I just made up) and how much fun she’d had in the class. I also talked to our really cool friend Erika about some cake decorating classes she’d been taking. And I thought, what the hell am I doing? I’ve started taking ballet classes again which is great, but there are a ton of things I’ve wanted to learn and always found an excuse. “I don’t have the money” “I’m in grad school and busy” “I live in Arkansas” Ok, the last one was pretty legit. But I’m saving money now by not paying rent and my work hours have stabilized for a while and it’s about to not be cold and dark out so I’ve decided to take the plunge.

Today a bought a groupon for a ballroom dance studio ten blocks from my office – I get one group class, two privates and one zumba class. I figured this was a good first step since it doesn’t require a ton of commitment. But I’m pretty sure that come summer I’ll be winning dance competitions in a sequined mini dress.
**Note: I did not coerce Alice into saying my improv show was good. Some people just like me, okay? Also, Alice, way to come through with the word-coining. I’ve been slacking lately.**

Moves Like Phoebe

Sunday bonus post!

The other day, I was walking to the train at Hunterspoint Ave and I saw this guy running ahead to catch the train.

He was running like Phoebe from Friends, only with a messenger bag.

“That’s not running! This is running! Let’s gooo!”

It made me really happy.

Also, I caught the same train as him, so I don’t know why he was running. Maybe he wanted to make sure he had time for a trank.

Happy Sunday! :)

Another *Badge* Of Honor… Get it?

Lovers and friends of Back Home Blog, it’s all really happening for us now.

We (ok, I) have been nominated for, and therefore received (I guess that’s how blog awards work) an award…


I am just racking up the fancy-ass badges


To be honest, I don’t really know what the criteria for the Versatile Blogger Award is; apparently it can be anything. I guess that’s the versatile part. Anyway, I’m very honored.

I was nominated by Phil at The Regular Guy NYC ( which is exactly what it sounds like. Phil does it all: reviews restaurants, makes fun lists like the best speakeasies, shares embarrassing facts about his personal life, and even finds time to rant and rave about various things.

Now, just as with Miss America, this honor does not come without responsibility.

New York represent!

New York represent! (AP)

Here are the rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and include a link to their site. (check)
  • Add The Versatile Blogger Award picture to your blog post. (check)
  • Nominate 7 fellow bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly and include a link to their site.
  • Let them know you have nominated them.
  • Share 7 random facts about you.

It was a tough choice, but here are my 7 nominees (and, therefore, recipients):

1. Cecile @ tryingtobeconscious
Formerly of Nice, New York, Zurich, and just recently of Christchurch, NZ. She’s also a journalism student and a brilliant writer.

2. Rhye @ 7SeasOfRhye
Left college to follow her high school sweetheart at age 18 and it actually worked out! Now a mother of 4 and multiple degree holder, living in the deep south.

3. Curly Carly @ That’s Just Ridiculous
Ah! 80′s flashback-tastic! Carly regales us with tales from her childhood.

4. WhenCrazyMeetsExhaustion
Hilarious, fed-up mom and teacher.

5. Anita @ The Best Life
Made a resolution to see everything in her life as the best, and is actually doing it.

6. Anka @ Keeping It Real
Anka is a mom that tells it like it is, in a way that still manages to make you happy.

7. Tragic Sandwich
Toddlers. Am I right?

…Now back to me. Here are my 7 random facts:

1. I hate onions. Don’t even get me started.

2. In 6th grade I wrote a poem for D.A.R.E. and got selected to read it at graduation. I peaked early.

3. I enjoy an annual (or semiannual or triannual) cigar.

4. One time, Alice and I saw Clinton Kelly of TLC’s What Not To Wear at Mexican Bingo and he told me he liked my trousers.

5. I rarely use nail polish remover. I prefer to slowly chip my polish off.

6. I have a forever crush on John Mayer. Yes, I know what he did to poor [insert female celebrity name]. The heart wants what the heart wants.

7. Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again” once got me through a tough day in college.

(email readers click to blog to see the video)

Now blast this and go do something fun! Happy Friday!


Project Optimism: Can My Dad Change?

Two weeks in a row of optimism on Mondays! Hmm, maybe I need to publish earlier in the day, so it can actually give you optimism before your Monday’s over? I’ll work on that.

I had not mentioned that last Sunday, the same day as the dust-splosion, the light fixture in our room broke, which further added to my frustrations.

All week we survived without a proper light. We found this weird spotlight-thing that we hung from our defunct light fixture, but it was super annoying because we could really only point the light in one direction at a time, and there was no switch for it.

weird spotlight thing

I think it’s made out of a re-purposed mixing bowl


I know this sounds like a petty complaint, but when you wake up in the pitch black at 6am, it can be a real bummer to have to feel around in the dark for the cord and the extension cord, and line them up properly, all before caffeine.

Daddy said he’d get us a new ceiling fan this weekend, but since the faucet is still not fixed, and his plumbing problems have resurfaced and remain unresolved, I was not holding my breath.

And then, get this, he did it. Yesterday, he went to Home Depot, bought a ceiling fan, and he and Tom installed it. I wasn’t home during the installation, but Tom said that during the process, Daddy realized he needed an extra part from Home Depot, and then proceeded to get that part, and come home to finish the installation.

where fashion meets function

where fashion meets function

Do you see what this means?? He started and completed a project in the same day. Only a week after the problem originally arose.

Maybe Daddy just has an easier time grasping lighting than, say, plumbing or cleaning. But maybe, just maybe, he’s improving? Maybe Tom’s efficiency is rubbing off on him? (That might be too optimistic. But still…)

For today, let’s celebrate this win. If Daddy can change, anything can happen.


Yes, I’m Married. No, I’m Not Pregnant.

Back in the days when I was single (last year), I used to frequently and fearlessly ask any woman I knew if she was pregnant or planning on getting pregnant.

kate preggers

Kate knows what it’s like

I was told this was rude. I didn’t care. I had a superstitious Catholic friend tell me it was terrible because you could be forcing a woman to choose between announcing a pregnancy in the first 3 months (bad luck) or denying the existence of her unborn child (even worse luck). I thought that was just silly.

Since I got married (and a little before), people have been asking about our plans or, even worse, joke-asking me “Uh oh! You feel sick? You’re not pregnant, are you?!” and I have to admit, it’s really fucking annoying. (Can I curse here? Sure, my blog, my rules.)

The reason(s) I used to ask my friends if they were getting pregnant was because I was (a) nosy, (b) hoping that they weren’t having kids because I want them to still be fun, and/or (c) mentally preparing myself so I wouldn’t be blind-sided when I found out in 6-9 months that my friends were no longer fun. I don’t know the intentions of everyone that asks me these questions so I just assume nosy, which translates to annoying.

That said, here’s a list of rules for asking me if I’m pregnant or working on it:

1) Ask yourself if you know me well enough. The answer might be yes. I’m pretty open with a lot of people and, you know, all of the internet. But if you have to think about it for more than a second, the answer is probably no.

2) Just come out and ask it. Don’t joke-ask or hint at it, for God’s sake.

3) Don’t give me your opinion afterwards.

4) If we’re real life close friends, you can pretty much disregard all of these and the worst I can do is to tell you to shut up.

5) If you’re a nail salon technician, you can get away with anything.

nail scene

Or, I could just answer the question for the world:

No. Check back in 3-5 years.

Becoming Bridge & Tunnel

Let me start by saying that the drunk train as immortalized by How I Met Your Mother’s episode “The Drunk Train” is completely a thing.

HIMYM reps NYC (even if it’s filmed in LA)

I try not to go into the city on the weekends. Let’s face it: at a certain point, even going into Manhattan from Brooklyn became a chore. But a couple times recently, I had the occasion to take the drunk train.

The most recent time was this past weekend. Rachel and I decided to be young and give in to excitedly jump on our friend Rae’s invitation to go dancing.

Oh and since the LIRR is awesome, when we got to Huntington Station, we found out there were no trains from Huntington and had to take a shuttle to Hicksville. We rolled with it but the old man on the bus with us was pissed.

kind of like this… or something

Usually I’d go for beer but, this time, my trank (train-drank) was 5 Hour Energy, which just barely lasted until we got home about 5 hours and 15 minutes later. I blame my work/commuting schedule for conditioning me to get tired early, therefore making me drink harmful caffeinated beverages when I should be drinking alcohol.

We met Rae at Culture Club. This is where I crossed the line into Bridge & Tunnel.

For those of you that aren’t from here, Bridge & Tunnel (B&T) is a term we snobby New Yorkers use to refer to those overdressed drunks who are bussed (train’d) in on the weekends from such God forsaken places as New Jersey or (heaven forbid!) Long Island. B&T bars are the last place you want to be seen. And I’m pretty sure Culture Club is B&T Mecca.

Culture Club

So, why did I go? 
Was it the $25 cover? (No, I’m not joking.)
Was it the $13 drinks? (Includes a plastic souvenir cup.)
Was it the crowd? (A unique mix of bachelorette parties, middle-aged women, and a few creepy guys trying their odds with either of the above.)

The truth is: I secretly think Culture Club is fun. Bombshell.


But… ok??

1- The 80s room is akin to singing into your hairbrush with your girlfriends at a sleepover.
2- The 90s-00s room lets me relive my high school and college dance party days.
3- Plus, thanks to the high female-male ratio, I can mostly avoid the creeps. Except for those that came with my friends (*ahem* Rae).

That said, it bears repeating… $25 cover. Therefore, never again. Never. Um, maybe just except for a bachelorette party or something but that’s it, I swear.

Mommy’s House

Who can resist a look in someone else’s house? I used to live at street level on Mott Street, so trust me: no one. It was like living in a freaking store window…

My mom’s house is precious, as we say in my family. In fact, we say precious (adj.), preciousness (noun), or preciousing (verb).  As in: “Mommy is preciousing up her dining room.” or, the more general: “How precious.” (to be said in a mocking tone).

This is a good example of preciousness…


precious dolls and dishes above the precioused out window

Here’s the dining room…

And one of several wine racks….


ok, I bought the gourds so maybe I have a little precious in me
Living room…
still using the summer pillows – the winter pillows are much scratchier :(

The small but precious backyard…

the grill cover is Cutie’s

Plus her house comes with precious cats like this…


Or this….


Or these….

ok, so it’s the same two cats
Mommy’s house is my favorite place to be. It’s always clean and organized, and filled with good food and family and girly movies.

But now… we’re off to Daddy’s, which as we know from the preview is not so precious. To be honest, I don’t even fully know what I’m getting into. I’ll keep you updated.