Movin’ On Up

This post is a departure from my usual meticulously researched and edited content (cough). I’m a rebel.

1:15pm. Have decided live blogging my day of packing is the way to go. Productivity levels increasing already.

1:16pm. Ooh. Hello clothes from bottom of my dresser. I missed you. Better try you on.

1:17pm. Can’t tell if I should keep this shirt. Better make a whole outfit to test it. Hair and makeup too.

1:21pm.  Technically, it is an act of patriotism to look up the history of Memorial Day.

1:27pm.  Oh wow, Marilyn Monroe shot glasses and Lolita heart shaped sunglasses!

1:29pm.  Sadness pangs.  Realized I left my blonde Marilyn wig in Vegas.

1:30pm.  Gaga dance party of one to cheer myself up!!

1:39pm.  Dizzy from head bopping to Hey Ya.

1:39:07pm.  Ooh.  Sean Paul is telling me to shake that thing.  Ok.

1:53pm.  Jewelry individually wrapped in baggies, check.  Feel like a fashion drug dealer.

1:59pm.  Didn’t know I was running a dust bunny farm in that corner.  Hai floofy bunnies!!

2:14pm.  Dancing around in everything I try on.  Testing functionality is key.

2:26pm.  Coffee induced spurt of productivity.  18 new outfits accomplished.  Wait, what was my goal??

2:55pm.  Am I still listening?  Oh Pandora, you don’t really want to know the answer to that.

3:04pm.  Did you know that T.J. Maxx is called T.K. Maxx in London?  Just found a skirt I bought there in ’02.

3:20pm.  Meticulously curated piles of clothing = progress.  Question mark?

3:31pm.  Oh.  Flo Rida was born in Florida.  That shouldn’t surprise me as much it does.

3:31pm.  I can’t believe technology has progressed to the point where talking to myself is publicly sanctioned.  And yet, I can’t get a few damn boxes packed.

3:35pm.  No, Kesha.  Stick to singing dance songs.

3:38pm.  I have so much black in my wardrobe.  So cliche.  (accent mark)

3:39pm.  Yeah yeah yeah (Ur-sher in da haooouse) yeah yeah!

4:01pm.  Damn you, American Apparel!!  Stop making me think I’m growing when you’re the one that’s shrinking.

4:02pm.  OW.  Eyeball snagged on button.  When fashion attacks.

4:24pm.  What IS that??

4:25pm.  Omggg, it just moved.

4:32pm.  What UP??  Violent Femmes to the rescue.  Lemme go oooon, big hands I know you’re the one!

4:36pm.  Steak Break!

5:15pm.  Meat. Is. Awesome.  Game on!!

Sun, 5/30.  It ain’t over til it’s over, baby!

3:13am.  Woke up in puddle of steak sauce.  Confused.  Pleasant somehow.

3:49am.  Two more boxes packed.  Meat + nap = action!

4:12am.  Left dresses on hangers.  Tied them up in sheet like giant bindle.  Fashion hobo!

4:78am.  Brain numb.  Belly growls.  Best time to organize paperwork.  Obvs.

5:34am.  Soup break!  Plus new episode of Top Chef Masters to watch, ooh!

5:47am.  Rooting for you, Chef Obi Wan!!

6:17am.  zzzz…  wha??

7am.  Ok, sleep.  But only for an hour.

8am.  Snooze.

8:09am.  Snooze.

8:18am.  Set alarm for one hour later.

11am.  Hooray!  Office organized.  Categories include freelance materials & info, contacts (the people kind, not the eyeball kind), sewing materials, art retreat supplies, stationery and toys.  Toys is the biggest category.  Ooh.  Hello smiley, dancey plastic thing!!

11:08am.  Omg, sunshine buddy trance.  Must.  Break.  Free.

11:34am.  Eep!  Coffee time!!

12:47pm.  Surely it’s ok to take a brief Haute Look break?  Oh.  Surely.  Haha, I just got that.

3:25pm.  Home stretch.  Am I insane or do I just play one on tv?


In Like a Lion, Out Like a Chan

What a crazy week!  First of all, yay!  J-O-B!!!!

Here’s what happened when Quirky called with the offer: I screamed yes, attempted to jump on my bed in joy and smacked my head on the low ceiling.

Here’s what people outside of my bedroom heard: “Yessss!!”  Then a bed squeaking.  Then a loud thump.  I’m suddenly a lot more popular in the neighborhood.

Anyway, I started the job almost immediately.  And just as immediately, I found out that I couldn’t write several articles a day when 8 hours were dedicated to my new company.  I know it sounds obvious, but I really thought I could continue all the projects I had taken on since my layoff.  Knowing that didn’t stop me from accepting a plum assignment to cover the Martha Graham Dance Company Gala or hosting a writing group meeting (complete with an urban s’mores station).  I just couldn’t say no!  On top of all that, I’m moving into my awesome sublet this weekend!

How do I do it, you ask?  Well, prioritization is key.  I have to juggle events, writing group, porn, a fashion marketing gig and my super secret mystery dining gig (which maybe I shouldn’t publicize here, oops).  Unfortunately, I seem to prioritize sleep at the very bottom of the list so I’ve been averaging 3 hours/night this week.  Oops!  At this point, I’m pretty much made out of coffee.  Forget the milk, I’m pouring my cereal into a bowl of coffee.  Hook me up to the caffeine IV drip, doctor, it’s an emergency.  Hey barkeep, gimme another shot of espresso, I’m good fer it.

I wonder why my hands won’t stop shaking.  The world looks like it’s on a strobe setting.  Huh.

Anyhoodle, all this sympathy building is for a purpose.  I’m being lazy and linking to my write-up of the Hudson River Pageant for my jobby blog instead of writing it up special for you guys.  I know.  I can’t look myself in the eye anymore either.

What is Shirley Chan?

A rainbow!!  For one day only, come see me in full-on face and body paint and costume as a pretty pretty rainbow.  And, oh yeah, support a great cause too!

The Hudson River Pageant is a FREE parade and performance art  event to celebrate and help clean up the Hudson River (yes!  it can be done!).  There will be performers and Shirleys dressed as different seasons, natural phenomena (did I mention I would be a rainbow??) and aquatic species (please refrain from making blue crabs jokes).  It will begin at 1pm on the Marina behind the World Financial Center and then move northward along the river.

Come!!  If only to take blackmail-worthy pictures of me.  Yaaay, nature!!

The Ultimate Chanjob

As crazy as my life has been lately, this past week surpassed all expectations.  There were record highs (all legal) and lows (with a chance of precipitation) which led me to the next stage of The Chan Plan.

Last week began with a case of minor burnout.  Yeah.  Apparently the last 3 months of constant activity was not humanly sustainable.  No wonder I was going through so much coffee!  Luckily, I had a backlog of Lost episodes to watch and a friend with a beach house to visit.  And somewhere in between those two things, I scored an interview for a job that sounded like it was created specifically for me.

The interview went amazingly well and a second interview was set up for Monday afternoon.  Perfect!  I sauntered uptown to meet with the Fab Four where we, of course, compared ourselves to Sex & the City.  All the other ladies were fabulous, gorgeous models and knew how to flip their hair the right way.  So I ended up being Miranda.  I knew this would happen when I moved to Brooklyn.

We made it out to Long Island and were driving around gawking at crazy non-city things like grass and yard sales (we were sale’ing, hardy har!) when we saw it.  A light golden brown classic whale of a Caddy with a bright red For Sale sign stuck cruelly under its left windshield wiper.  We screeched to a halt and ran out in our heels and dresses and giant sunglasses to get a closer look.

“Heeey ladies!”  A pale Gollum-esque man with the mustache of a 70’s porn star approached us, looking like he had won the lottery.  “Wanna give it a test drive?”  He was playing with his mustache when he said that, so nobody asked what he meant.  We gave the Caddy longing glances and backed away from the man slowly.

The Doll joined us later that day via Jitney, so we became the Fab Five.  Then I drank half a bottle of tequila, so they became the Fab Four again plus one awkward asian stumbling around the deck, trying to lift the winter cover off the hot tub, screaming “Hot Tub Time Machiiiine!!”  Not that anyone has proof.  I mean.  I’m kidding, nothing like that ever happened ever.  Ever.

So here comes the part on Sunday night when we decide to drive back to the city on Monday morning instead.  Because we were definitely going to leave on time.  Hand Model and The Doll scoffed at us and left.  They were right.  I slept until 10am on Monday and then ran around the house waking everyone else up.  We got on the road within 15 minutes.  But then we got cocky and congratulated ourselves for being so fast by getting breakfast wraps at Subway (???) and then stopping at Target to shop for a while.

I got back to my apartment at 1:10pm.  I showered and changed and somehow arrived early for my 2pm interview.  So early that I was left alone for a few minutes in their conference room with a dry erase board and markers.  By the time I left, I had filled the board with smiley faces and suggestions to hire me.  And when they DID hire me, approximately 3 hours after I left, I knew I had found the right place to work!

That’s right, people, I am a functioning part of society again.  Booyah!!

I am not stopping all side projects, however.  So if you are in the city this Saturday, I will be marching in the Hudson River Pageant.  Please come see a great (free) show and parade spectacular!!

To Live and (sub)Let Live

I recently decided to move out of my apartment at the end of May and sublet a place for summer while job searching, writing, submitting articles, interning for a fashion Frenchie, marching in parades, sewing mobiles and waiting for responses to my tv writing fellowship applications.  Clearly I decided to move because I didn’t have enough on my plate!  Even though moving is the one thing I consistently hate with a passion equal to my love for writing (and my love for your mom), there were surprisingly positive results from Sublet Safari 2010.

After living in Brooklyn for eight months, I finally learned more about different parts of this borough because of all the apartments I visited during the search.  It opened my eyes to the fact that I was still surburban-style squeamish about some neighborhoods with cultures that deviated from what I was familiar with.  In one week, I visited East Williamsburg (Billyburg if you prefer to be more casual), Crown Heights (my mind is not quite changed about this ‘hood), Greenpoint (insert Polish sausage joke here) and various other neighborhoods.

It’s not that I haven’t been to these areas before.  It’s just that I only went to other neighborhoods for drinks at bars or parties.  So it was the first time I was seeing these places by the sober (literally) light of day.  It was a completely different experience!  Instead of vague shadowy shapes all lurching around drunkenly on sidewalks, I encountered young families and grizzled residents shuffling through their daily business.  Their actions combined into a unique personality for each neighborhood, so that Brooklyn was no longer quite so anonymous to me.

Then, there were the people that I met.  Going into this venture, I was skeptical.  What sort of shady characters post their apartments on Craigslist?  Well.  The sort of shady characters that I would like to befriend!  Among the amazing people I met, there was a Columbia MFA graduate performance artist headed to Maine for a summer residency, an Isabella Rossellini look-alike who sang in the subways and a comedy writer polishing off a script for a musical before heading off to summer camp!

I sat and chatted for hours with many of the people who welcomed me warmly into their homes, and even had an impromptu brunch of almond-chocolate croissants, Puerto Rican coffee and girly gabfest in the sunny studio that won me over.

Now, I’m not saying the actual process of moving will magically become painless (although I am keeping my fingers crossed).  But the apartment search was such a pleasure that the scales have tipped heavily in favor of the overall experience being positive.  Adding to the wonderful feeling of getting to know new places and interesting people, is my knowledge that I was astoundingly lucky throughout this whole process.  Not everyone offering sublets on Craigslist could possibly be this cool (although I am definitely trying this again next time I need new friends!) so it gives me a gigantic rush of happiness to appreciate how good life can be sometimes!

Public Service Announcement

I want to talk to you about a serious condition affecting more and more people today.  It begins with an innocent comment, something along the lines of “Oh, I guess I don’t really need that new Marc Jacobs bag” and quickly evolves into a full blown case of (dramatic microphone voice) Financial Anorexia.

I speak to you, not just as a public servant, but as someone struggling personally with the epidemic.  For me, it began with a layoff.  Typical in this economy.  I made a decision to pursue writing.  Not the most rational decision since I required luxuries like sustenance and a roof over my head, but the heart wants what the heart wants.

Soon, I was choosing to cook at home most nights instead of going out or ordering takeout.  It escalated quickly.  I would go to bars and opt to drink moderately.  Suspicions were voiced that I was either in rehab or pregnant or got pregnant while in rehab (a fair assessment by my friends).  But even that did not stop me.  In my mind, my wallet was not sexy until I could see its ribs (this joke courtesy of a professional comedy writer who will not be paid in any way, shape or form).

My name is Shirley Chan, and I am a Financial Anorexic.

I am attacking my affliction on many fronts.

To feed my love of dining out (forgive the pun), I have become a mystery diner.  I receive assignments to visit bars and restaurants, gorge on food and drinks and rate their service.  Yes.  It is as awesome a gig as it sounds.  Especially when the guy training me asked “You’re ok with drinking and eating everything, right?”  I pretty much high-fived him in the face as my answer.

I’m also finding ways to party without paying.  Sometimes, it’s a friend with an extra invitation to some gala event (note to the reader: I clean up nice and am not above being a plus-one!).  Sometimes, the fact that I’m a journalist warrants me on-the-list status.  And sometimes, strip clubs starting magazines just want to make sure I’m getting the full experience.  Nothing is beneath me.  Especially not if they offer unlimited free scotches.  Then there really is nothing beneath me because I’m in the gutter.

Living in New York City helps.  There are a multitude of free, interesting events to experience.  And thanks to friends with connections, I’ve scored free tickets to a number of amazing shows like Red and The 39 Steps.  As you can see, I try to make every experience count by writing it up and adding to my portfolio.

Being shameless helps, too!  A lot of my friends have cooked and purchased pity drinks for me since I became financially anorexic.  They do seem uncomfortable when I shed tears of gratitude though.  Maybe because the sobbing doesn’t stop for a few hours.

Remember, not all financial anorexics are easy to spot.  Many function normally, as if adding to their savings in this economy could ever be deemed normal.

Warning signs include:

  1. Standing with hands pulling empty pants pockets inside out and shrugging shoulders.
  2. Suggesting nonsensical activities like “walking outside to enjoy the weather” or “talking” in lieu of rolling up money and smoking it like a cigar.

If you are reading this and want to help, reach out to a financial anorexic today.  You may be able to start them on the path to recovery.

This has been a public service announcement.