Biting at the Core of the Apple

I am down to my last little nibble of the Big Apple! I leave NYC tomorrow... yikes. It's been such an incredible 7 weeks and I'm uber lucky to have been able to do it.

A couple of Mondays ago, I went with my friend Cara to "The Australian" which is an Aussie restaurant/bar. The waiters were legitimately Australian--nice touch. We split sausage rolls, meat pies, and an Aussie burger with egg, beetroot, and pineapple. Oh. My. Gosh. I love my country. The decor was very cool too.

Last Saturday I hung out with Candice, my Aussie friend from BYU. We walked the streets of SoHo, the East Village, and Chinatown--very cool. Later on, we met up with her brother and his family visiting from Perth. Aussies are just a different breed, I'd forgotten how entertaining they were! We checked out Times Square and got some NYC pizza, and played in Toys R Us. Check out the ginormous Barbie house in there! Too bad I'm 26 and had to control my excitement. Lauryn and I would go nuts in there if we were a wee bit younger.

I Heart NYC. I ain't ashamed to wear a tourist t-shirt in NYC :)

At 5:25pm on Friday, I officially finished all requirements for my BYU undergraduate degree. Woah. I left work and walked out onto Madison Ave and there were hundreds of bubbles floating down the street - in celebration of my 10-semester achievement, no doubt :) It was fun to see. I walked over to Times Square and met up with Candice. We got some dinner and shopped--and we were on a Times Square billboard! That's how you know you've made it in NYC! Forever 21 (which was right underneath the billboard) had a camera pointed down on Times Square that showed up on the billboard. Such a great night. What a way to celebrate being done with school! It was a such a great feeling to finish BYU and be in NYC.

We're on there, I swear.

Today, I took a victory march by the East River and saw into Brooklyn, and then strolled around Central Park. It was such a nice day, so every man and their dogs were out--literally, dogs everywhere. So many people on the Upper East Side have dogs.

The Great Lawn at Central Park

So what's next? Good question. If you know, I'd like to be in on the secret. I'm now unemployed and not a student! My company wasn't able to offer me a full time job, but they do want me back when something opens, so I'll keep in contact. But I'm considering working in Salt Lake City and Mesa. I've applied for jobs in SLC, and am waiting for them to close. Eight weeks ago, I was very against moving back to Utah, but now I'm really excited. Bree is there, and I have lots of friends. And it's grown to be so homey; I've lived there for over 4 years now. I have such a great idea of how I want my life post-graduation. One part involves getting a car once I've saved up--can't have that in NYC! I'm excited for a more chill lifestyle and having S P A C E! My room is a shoebox and I have to contort my body to get around the loft bed ladder. NYC is so congested, and while that's cool... I'm excited to be able to breathe a little more. NYC jobs will want my soul, and I'm not sure I'm prepared to give that to them. But maybe. I'm keeping options open.

I'm flying to Phoenix tomorrow to stay with my parents and see my sister and my nephew Kohl for a couple of days. Then on Thursday, my parents and I will drive up to Provo ready for my graduation on Friday. I'm SO SO excited! I got a new swimsuit the other day and am so glad it's 30C in Mesa so Lauryn and I can get some color on our white bods.

Did I Mention I Love NYC?

I've been feeling like such a local lately. I can hear "5th and 23rd" and understand where they're talking about. I was a fast-ish walker and talker before, but I'm even speedier now. I am apologizing less to people I bump into on the subway and in the streets--just because you're always running into people/being run into. People are brutal.

I haven't blogged in a while, but here are all my adventures!

My good friend Matt came into town for a conference a few weeks back and he came a little early to explore the city with me. We packed so much into two days and were utterly pooped at the end of it. First stop was Ground Zero. What a place. It was such an interesting feeling to see the big space where an event changed the whole world ten years ago. I couldn't take the feeling in, really. I was in awe. They are constructing a beautiful square as a memorial and it'll be ready by 9/11's 10th anniversary this year. They're building the largest man-made waterfalls in the world in the footprints of the Twin Towers. Around it, they're building four new towers that will look all different and modern. I'm excited to visit it when it's done.

Next stop was Wall Street--NY Stock Exchange and the Charging Bull. Apparently, it's called Wall St because there was once a literal wall there to block off the city (before it just exploded with a buzillion people) that spread the bottom of Manhattan island. Then we hopped aboard the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. In Grade 4 in Devonport, I wrote a story for school about my imagined travels in the USA, and how I saw the Statue of Liberty. It was cool to finally realize that and see Ms Liberty with my own peepers.

This guy is a random... there was a huge crowd at the bull, I had to zip in and get a snap.

At the suggestion of my sister Bree, we took a (long) train to Coney Island (which used to be an island before it joined back up with the lower part of Brooklyn). The place must be jumpin' in the summer months. It has a beach, a boardwalk, and some amusement parks. It had such a fun, summery vibe. And I touched the Atlantic!

We rode to the top of the Rockefeller Center to the observation decks and the view was just phenomenal. NYC is insanely huge and populated. Buildings everywhere. It's definitely a concrete jungle. It's building, building, building... then bam.. the dichotomy of Central Park smack bang in the middle of Manhattan. We had a good walk around Central Park on Sunday and saw the fountain and ice skating rink where all sorts of movies were filmed.That Saturday night, BYU was playing Gonzaga in the NCAA Basketball. We had dinner at Planet Hollywood in Times Square. We saw a couple get engaged in Times Square, too! On Sunday, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and back again--very cool. Big weekend, but so fun.

I was still taking American Heritage online, so I resigned myself to studying my pants off to get that done, so the weekend after that wasn't too eventful. BUT! I took the final for it this last week, and I am DONE WITH BYU EXAMS!! I have one little assignment to finish for my internship credit, and then I will be all done with BYU! It's so weird that I'll graduate in 3 weeks. Only after doing university in some shape or form since Feb 2004! I have 2 more weeks at my internship. My my, how it's flown by. I got to go to a recording studio in Grand Central last week and see how commercial tags (the part at the end of commercials that say the promotion) are done.

I had a really fun night out with my roomie last night. We went down to SoHo because she heard of a great pizza place. We checked out a few stores there, and I vow to return to SoHo to check out all the other cool places. They're all boutique-y stores and uber-expensive stores. DASH (the Kardashian sisters' store) is down there, and Chanel etc. Uber exy. But so cool to see. We went to an ice skating rink on the Chelsea Piers to see one of her friends play, but we were too late. We said hi in the rink and had a little walk around outside. It was cool to see across the water at all the lights of New Jersey and see two states at one time. I never got to do that in Tassie!

Week 2 as a Mad Woman

Big week.
but way good.

So, I just made the connection this week that the "Mad" in Mad Men is short for "Madison" ... like the Avenue ... aka the one I work on! Duh Justine. But, I proudly announce that I, Justine, have been a Mad Woman for 2 weeks, and will be one for another 5 weeks!

And it has been kinda mad this week; I'll be clocking about 50hrs. But, I'm learning so so much from my internship. Gosh, I love advertising. I love that I will get to be part of putting some kind of image or words in your face to hopefully make you do what I want. Ooh, the power :) This internship is showing me I have an incredible amount to learn about advertising and business, I'm such a newbie. I've sat in on a bunch of different meetings this week; a pre-production meeting for a photoshoot, and some brainstorming meetings and follow ups. Very cool vibe in there. Advertising is a change industry, and it's cool to be in meetings where people bring that to life. They try to link different media in different ways, and want to get out the message in a unique way to make the consumer "get it" and respond. I was in a meeting this week in a corner office overlooking Madison Ave, with all sorts of advertising geniuses in the room. Great feeling :)

I've been so inspired this week with great advertising we've talked about...

There was a long commercial for a car company that showed in a cinema. The ad went through how it feels to drive a snazzy car and feel the power and speed--without revealing the sponsor. Then, the spokesperson in the ad asks the audience if they want to know who sponsored the ad, asks them to close their eyes. Iin the time it takes them to close their eyes, the screen goes white and there's a flash. They close their eyes and they see "BMW" float across their eyelids. Very, very cool.

Remember the Ikea "Lamp" ad? Classic. I read up on it this week and it was in response to the trend of Americans to hang on to old furniture etc. I love how it shows just how film/advertising can be so persuasive. Have a squiz:

Last week I saw a stunt for a new TV show called Breakout Kings. I was walking past Grand Central and there was a chain gang of people dressed in orange jumpsuits--advertising for Breakout Kings--walking around with attitudes and yelling advertising for the show.

I love my major.

You know, the only reason Evian became all hip is because models in France couldn't drink the tap water, so they drank the cheapest water in France--Evian. They were spotted with it in the States and this random French bottled water became all elite. Weird!

I went to a photo shoot yesterday and I felt so legit. I took my first NYC cab to the studio which had a view of the Empire State building. A window was cracked open and the sounds of pouring rain, taxis getting mad at each other, and the smell of cigarette smoke wafted in. So NYC. The photographer was Japanese and needed a translator to communicate with the agency team. So cultural. Everyone had their laptops out. What were they? Macs. All Macs. I felt like a noob with my purple PC laptop :) On the background of a creative's Mac was a quote I really liked... "Boredom is your fault." This is going to be a life mantra, I feel it.

I'm starting to read a lot of technology blogs to get me in-the-know for the client I work with. I don't speak Geek, so it's a learning curve. But it's all so stinking interesting. The technology and the idea has apparently been around for a while, but an app is being developed for the iPhone to make life-lapses with the camera. You can take a video of your entire day, compress it down and have documentation of your day. Very cool, huh!

I went to a restaurant called Max Brenner with a friend from BYU who works here too. I laid down an easy (pfft) $27 for a yummy B.A.L.T sandwich and a shared dessert. Their specialty is all things chocolate. My, my, they do it well. They have pipes around the restaurant with chocolate in them, and a big vat of the heavenly liquid. Such great ambiance. Two thumbs up from moi!

Week 1 Wrap-Up

So, I survived one week in NYC! I love my internship. The people on my team are great and are involving me in everything they do. I'm learning oodles and oodles. I was in a meeting with the creatives on Friday afternoon, and ... just the vibe in the room of creativity and excitement for it all was so great to feel. It's why I love advertising. The person I'll really be shadowing comes back on Tuesday, so that's when I'll get into the whole experience more. I've got a good grasp of the client now, so I feel about ready to roll.

After work on Friday I strolled around the streets of midtown Manhattan. NYC is all levels--up and down. It's weird to think that a whole subway system is under your feet. There's an Apple Store that is just a giant glass box with an elevator and a set of stairs going down - that's where the actual store is. Very cool. Very Apple. Buildings aren't just up, they go underneath too. I found a dollar store near my work... a dollar store? In Manhattan?! I witnessed it myself, it exists. I'll have to get myself some ramen and ketchup. Bargain :) I found a Ross/TJ Maxx-esque store called Dally's and had a little squiz, so NYC isn't all 5th Avenue. It can actually be affordable! It's interesting to see the differences in people. You have your dressed-to-the-nines chikkies who wear heels and Audrey Hepburn sunglasses when it's dark (and in the latter end of winter...go figure), then you have all your international/tourist people who wear what's normal for their country, then the rest are your average people like me who dress just decently. Interesting place. But it's NYC, people can wear what they want and it's no biggie.

I walked down 5th Avenue on Saturday and saw all the designer stores. Very cool. I was so impressed with Hollister though... their whole storefront was video screens with live footage of people surfing at Huntington Beach, CA, and then there were pools of water jutting out from the screens. Very very cool. Anthropologie's storefront is very cool too. I wish I'd taken photos. They're very alt-hip. When I can decorate my own place, I vow to go there for inspiration.

I met up with a designer I worked with at BYU on Saturday and we went to Magnolia's Bakery. My goodness... best banana pudding in the world as far as I'm concerned. Getchya some.

Here's what I'm thinking: New York City makes you skinny. For one, you have to walk everywhere, and fast.. to keep up with foot traffic. And two, food is so expensive, so you eat less.

I'm starting to give a LOT of thought to where I want to be after graduation in 7 weeks. I've narrowed it down to a few places, so I'm doing all sorts of searching online. It's a weird/crazy/stressful/exciting time of life. I'll be interested to see where I end up. NYC is great, I'm not sure it's for me. I'm loving it for the meantime though. I wonder if there's still remnants of Tasmania in me. I just don't know yet. But watch this space, all will be revealed soon! I hope...

First Day as a Madison Ave Worker

My first day on the job started out by waiting in the Y&R lobby for an hour. But, they had funky music playing, and a sweet, artistic video projected as tall as Yao Ming and as wide as 4 Yao Mings on the wall. Mind you, I did see the video roll through a few times waiting.

I'm working on a client I'd never heard of before, but I'm really excited to jump in. I did a research assignment online yesterday to find some of their advertising pre-Y&R days so I'm caught up a little more. I've had some down time since the guy I'll be shadowing is with the client for another week. I've been reading over some advertising tracking and brand tracking reports which are a little over my head, but absolutely confirm that I've made a good choice in studying advertising. It's just so interesting to me to see what avenues have worked and what hasn't, and where the brand is at relative to competitors--then using that to steer the brand. I've met most of the team, and we've had a few meetings. We sat down quickly today to go over a brief with the creatives for a 30sec TV spot, and it's gonna be so great to see it come together from inception stage. I hope to have a bit to do with the organization of that spot! Hello sweet portfolio!

Apart from the cool video at reception, the whole office is pretty cool. A lot of the "wallpapers" are chalk boards, and they have all sorts of designs and colors on them. I'll have to grab a piece of chalk and make my mark. Just to make Mondays start out a little better, they have free bagels that day each week. And... free hot chocolate anytime I like!

Everyone's been nice to me and tried to get me involved, even though I'm at the bottom of the totem pole, so I've appreciated that. It's a young people's business, and the staff at Y&R are pretty young. 25-40ish is about the average. Not many people are married, it seems... (My habits of ring checking haven't worn off in the 5 days I've been gone ;) )

I had the most amazing lunch today... it's a big cafe place around the corner from work. It has everything, I was so impressed! Salad bar, Mexican/Italian bar, buffet, aisles of food. I partook of their delicious buffet...mmmgood.

Gosh, I love walking the streets of NYC and hearing the NY accent... "cwall", "twalk"... so great.

I heart NY. I don't know whose amazingly lucky life I'm living right now, but I'm not giving it back for at least another 7weeks :)

NYC Day 2

Yesterday (Day 2), was the day I fell in love with NYC.

I jumped on a subway to do a mock run of my trip to work. I walk 15mins to my station, then it's 10mins on the subway to Grand Central, which is my stop. I'm going to LOVE walking through Grand Central 10 times a week! I had a black and white poster of Grand Central Station when I was younger (you know, that famous picture where the light streams in?) so it was just so cool to be inside it. It is the most beautiful station I've ever seen! So regal and ornate. Everything's shiny and I'm almost convinced you could eat from any surface, it's so clean.

I work 3mins walk from the station - not a bad commute at all. Here's the sign just down the road from where I work, and I think I'll always be excited to see it each morning and night!

And here's my corner looking north up Madison Ave.

It just so happened that my old roommate Satomi and her now husband Jeff (who I significantly helped get together!) would be in NYC for the week. We hung out all day and explored the city. We walked past Radio City, Carnegie Hall, and most of Manhattan it felt like (but not really because this place is huge).

We went inside St Patrick's Cathedral which was so beautiful. We had some fun in the M&M, Lego, and Nintendo stores. Got lunch for $6 at the most amazing halal cart - money very well spent. We spent some time at Times Square. Wow, what a place. People everywhere. It's an advertiser's paradise! Lots of big video screen billboards in your face. I saw the big red stairs and felt like Alicia Keys singing Empire State of Mind (which was funnily enough playing on the radio when I took the shuttle from the airport!) I saw the Naked Cowboy, lots of Broadway theaters, the biggest Forever 21 I've ever seen... We saw the Rockefeller Center and the ice skating rink, and got some legit NY style pizza for dinner. Here are some piccies.

We walked by the theater where the South Park guy's Broadway show "The Book of Mormon" was playing. It was heartbreaking to see so many people crowding around the door trying to get in. I'm all about freedom of speech, but I don't see the appeal in ripping apart what other people hold sacred.

On a lighter note, NYC is so diverse, and cultured... and has so much history. Outside of Grand Central there's an old shoe shine stand that makes me feel like I'm in an old movie. The smell of cigarette smoke reminds me of Brisbane city. The food carts on every other corner smell amazing. People are from everywhere... I heard so many accents and languages. Pigeons are all over. Cabs are always honking - the drivers in NYC are brutal. I wonder how many people get run over each day. I've been given advice to not hug the sidewalk, because you'll get hit. You never have to push a button to cross the road, because they'll flash the little white man anyway. People don't adhere to crosswalk signs, if there's no one coming, they'll just go. As a final observation, the air smells so clean and crisp here! I guess I was used to the dry air in Utah, but now my lungs are loving the air here.

Today I went to church and made some friends. It'll be such a fun 8 weeks. I start my internship tomorrow, and I'm super excited to get into it. I'm excited to see a Broadway show this week too. I'll keep you posted :)

NYC Day 1

After 4.5 years in the States, I've moved away from my American home in Provo, UT and have set up camp in a little apartment in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, NY. Yep, just today :) Goodbyes were hard. Really hard. I formed great friendships with salt-of-the-earth people in Utah (hah! geddit?!) and they'd become my extended family. And I've just loved having my sister Bree there for the past 2.5 years. But, I dreamed of doing great things in advertising, and there's no better place in the world for advertising than NYC. I start an internship with a fantastic advertising agency on Madison Ave on Monday, and I'm uber excited. There's a chance I'll get hired on after, so we'll see!

So, here's a blow by blow of the last 24hrs. After Bree dropped me off at the SLC airport, that was it.I was left to my own devices like the first time I came to the States. I bid farewell to Utah as I took a red eye flight into JFK. And that flight did result in red eyes - I couldn't sleep. It poured most of the morning, which wasn't the best welcome to the biggest city in the USA, but it cleared away the snow so I should count my blessings. I took a shuttle from JFK to my apartment and I was the last person to be dropped off, but I got to see a decent amount of Manhattan. Wow, what a cool place! It's just like I imagined really, so it's cool to see it all with my own eyes and not just a photo. We drove on 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue and I felt like a superstar. I saw a little of Times Square (but I'll return tomorrow for a better squiz), saw over the river on the west into New Jersey, and Trump Place, Planet Hollywood... it's just cool to see places I've only heard about. My apartment is cute. Tiny, but cute, warm, and comfortable. I have my own room I can barely move in, but it does the job and I feel at home. Here are some snaps from my stoop on my street.

I explored the blocks around my neighborhood and found the chapel, subway station, had lunch from a funky Chinese place called Ruby Rocks (and it did rock), and 2 grocery stores I can go to. My goodness, NYC milks you for all you're worth. Everything is exorbitantly overpriced. But, it comes with the city I guess! I love seeing the old buildings, with the fire escapes. There are SO many high buildings! You can look down each and every street and it just goes on and on. It looks like a painting! There's so much culture here. So many cute and classy little restaurants and boutiques. There's a laundry service on every block it seems, hotels everywhere... Everyone walks around like they know what they're doing. I'm gonna try to fit in and not look like such a tourist. But it's hard not to in a city as cool and hip as NYC.

I'll be meeting up with a couple of sets of friends in the next week. I'm hitting up Times Square tomorrow, and I think I'll see a Broadway show with another friend next week.

It is so so great to be here fulfilling the dream. I'm one lucky lassie. I intend to make this the most incredible adventure! Stay tuned :)