9/11 Museum

Going through the 9/11 Museum presented me with a strange dichotomy of emotions; it was both utterly heinous and incredibly beautiful at the same time.

Upon arriving at the 9/11 site on the morning of July 15th, I noticed that it was quiet.

I should mention that it was not silent. There is almost zero silence in New York City.

But, instead of the regular intensity of the city streets, there was only the hum of muffled chatter.

The mood was markedly different.

The Fountains

In the footprints of the 2 fallen towers, there are now 2 seemingly infinite water fountains. And lining the edges of these enormous memorial fountains are the names of all of the victims: those in the towers, those on the plane in Pennsylvania, the plane at the Pentagon, firefighters, volunteers, etc. There are even tributes to unborn children of those victims that were pregnant at the time. IMG_2876


IMG_2878 The Survivor Tree

When the towers fell, thousands of trees were vaporized. But, amid the rubble and debris, one small tree held on.

“In October 2001, the tree was discovered at Ground Zero severely damaged, with snapped roots and burned and broken branches. The tree was removed from the rubble and placed in the care of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. After its recovery and rehabilitation, the tree was returned to the Memorial in 2010. New, smooth limbs extended from the gnarled stumps, creating a visible demarcation between the tree’s past and present. Today, the tree stands as a living reminder of resilience, survival and rebirth.” (via 911memorial.org) IMG_2956 Inside the Museum

When we finally got into the museum, we were told it would take us roughly 2 hours to see everything. We planned accordingly.

Wanting to get as much out of the experience as possible, my mom and I rented interactive headsets.

The museum had many layers and floors. We went deep down into the ground to see everything available to us.

Mangled beams IMG_2916 Melted firetrucks IMG_2902

IMG_2899 One “small” section of the needle that was on the top of one of the towers. IMG_2893

The “Survivors’ Stairs”

IMG_2891 IMG_2886 IMG_2885

Ways We Remember

This piece is called “Trying to Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning” by Spencer Finch. Each blue square is watercolor on paper (not tile).

“Each of the 2,983 squares represents one of the victims of the 2001 attacks and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.” (via artnet.com) IMG_2888 But what’s more astonishing than this giant mosaic is what lies behind it. IMG_2892

This 4-ft tall porcelain urn created by a University of Minnesota artist has all of the names of the 9/11 victims on it. And on the lid are the words from the then-President Bush’s 9/11 speech.

IMG_2903 IMG_2904 IMG_2906

This quilt, which covers an entire wall, has photos of every single 9/11 victim on it. IMG_2909

IMG_2913 IMG_2911 IMG_2910

This steel beam, appropriately named the “Last Column,” stayed standing after the towers fell. It became one of the many places where people would post pictures of their missing loved ones and publicize memorial inscriptions for those already lost. IMG_2945

This exhibit (the name escapes me) allows museum-goers to pay their very own tributes to the victims of 9/11. IMG_2942 Just past the interactive screens (and below the “slurry wall”–a surviving retaining wall of the original WTC), messages that patrons write get projected for all to see. These messages are written in real time.

Here is my mom’s projection:

Other Images IMG_2921




IMG_2923 In Memoriam

The In Memoriam exhibit was by far one of the most sacred and reverent places in the museum. IMG_2927 This is one of those places that was completely silent. No chatter. No whispers. Just silence.

Inside the In Memoriam exhibit, there is no photography allowed (hence my picture taken from the outside). Lining the walls are pictures of each victim of 9/11 and the 1993 bombing. Some 3,000 images give patrons a glimpse into the toll of these hellish events.

Housed within the corridor of photographs is an inner chamber. Inside, a glass floor reveals the original dirt foundations beneath the building. Benches line the walls for patrons to sit. And projected on the walls are not only pictures of each victim, but on the speaker is a recording.

“[The] inner chamber presents profiles of individual victims in a dignified sequence through photographs, biographical information, and audio recordings.” (via 911memorial.org)

As I sat and listened for maybe 15 minutes in total silence, my heart sank. These were people with families and friends. They socialized on the weekends. They worked hard in their jobs. They had quirks and silly habits. They had histories and back stories.

Often, the voice that was reading the biographical information was a relative of the deceased. I wondered how long it took for the entire recording to read every single victim’s profile. I wanted to hear so many more tributes. I wanted to somehow honor the people by at least caring about their lives. But, we could only stay for so long.

Historical Exhibition

After all of this, we were sure that we were done. It had been almost 2 hours at that point.

But there was one more thing to see. Through the revolving doors is an exhibit called Historical Exhibition. This exhibit takes you through thousands of details surrounding 9/11–before, during, and after. Photographs, artifacts, newsfeeds, transcripts, phone recordings. etc.

We were in there for another 2+ hours and could’ve stayed longer. Some of the pieces really made an impression on me.

-A written transcript from an airplane’s black box. It showed the dialogue between the hijackers and the pilots.

-Actual recordings of phone calls that people made from the airplanes, telling their loved ones “goodbye.”

-A piece of paper found with words scribbled on it. I don’t remember the exact words, but it was something to the effect of, “87th floor, stairwell, 8 people, please help.”

I think what is most chilling to me is hearing of the people who knew they were going to die. These people were entirely cognisant of their imminent death. How absolutely terrifying that must’ve been.


Instead of taking the prescribed 2 hours to see everything, we were there for over 4 hours. We could have stayed longer.

To say the 9/11 Museum was overwhelming is an understatement.

While my heart aches for the total lack of respect for human life, I was still taken by the beauty of this memorial.

9/11 is a very ugly day in the world’s history. But the tribute of the 9/11 Museum is a tasteful juxtaposition to the evil that occurred that day.


I hope 9/11 is the worst thing I ever witness in my lifetime.


Final Days in NYC

Being that I am more than 2 weeks behind on posting my final days in NYC, this post will be fragmented and picture-heavy. Enjoy!


July 7 Monday

Sadly, I honestly can’t remember what happened on this day….

I am ashamed…

July 8 Tuesday

Went to the Manhattan Temple. Totally needed that. Best part? Utter and complete silence.

The church is so very true.


Stopped in at Trader Joes on my way home. That place is NUTS in New York! But the huge line moves surprisingly fast. Way to go, TJ’s.

Also, did you know that Century 21 is not just a real estate company? Apparently, in the eastern US, it’s a department store. I was always so confused to see people walking around the city carrying huge Century 21 bags. Makes sense now.

I stopped in a Century 21 to see what it was about. It felt like a Macy’s or Dillards.

July 9 Wednesday

My mom had been visiting my sister in Maine for several weeks. Well, on July 9, she took a bus from Portland to Boston and then got on the Amtrak train to Penn Station in NYC. She stayed at my brother’s apartment and we got to spend time with her in the big city all week. Yay!

I think today was the day that we also went to Waffle & Wolf for the first time. It’s another one of those places that my mom saw on the Food Network. Well, this one turned out to be a total home run! Oh my heavens! So delicious!! Waffle sandwiches, both sweet and savory. My mom and I shared a #12 (Bacon [Baked in], Cheddar, Tomato, Arugula, Avocado-Yogurt) and a #25 (Walnuts [Baked in], Goat Cheese, Apples, Lavender-Honey). Why did it have to be so delicious?!

July 10 Thursday

Today was the day my group presented our book project. Finally done. Amen and amen.

After classes, I headed toward the Chelsea area. I met Collin and Jana at the pier there, with my mom in tow. We boarded The Adirondack for our harbor cruise. So so so enjoyable. 2 hours out in the water. The hot sun was buffered by the breeze coming off of the water.

IMG_2791 IMG_2775 IMG_2772


Chelsea Market. A veritable food mall. Our trip there was undoubtedly met with purchases of some goodies. And this book. Love.


July 11 Friday

Today was the very last day of the program. I put on my professional best and headed to Greenwich Village where the NYU-SPI hosted a career fair. All in all, I met with about 6 different people (from magazine companies like Time, Inc., Hearst, and Condé Nast), passed out my business cards (designed by the talented Collin, once again), and distributed my resume where necessary.


After meeting up with Collin, Jana, and my mom, we had delicious ice cream at Farmacy (Brooklyn). Peanut butter and potato chip sundae? Yes please!


We made a quick trip to Eataly in the Flatiron District so that my mom could see it. She’s a huge Food Network fan!

Fishs Eddy. Like an indie kitchen supply store. I wanted to buy so much stuff. Gotta get my own kitchen first. 🙂

Paper Presentation. Cards and stationery and gifties out the ying yang. Aka heaven.

Kate Spade. My mom’s happy place.

July 12 Saturday

Ok, this NYU-SPI program was amazing and incredible and life-changing and exhilarating. And it also kicked my trash. Time to relax.

Four & Twenty Blackbirds. A hipster pie-lover’s paradise.



Fairway Market. Again. Took the madre. Loved it! Saw some weird sky writing.


Indoor S’mores. These are the times I love most.


July 13 Sunday

Church. Met a guy who happens to know a bunch of the same people my parents do back in Studio City, CA. Man, it’s a small world in the church!

Keenan came into town from CA for work (sprinkled with fun!).

Dinner at Fragole (Brooklyn). I got grilled peaches with fresh mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto and drizzled with balsamic. What the what?! Too delicious!


July 14 Monday

After taking the express bus into the city, my mom and I went to check out the 9/11 Museum. Because of time constraints, we bought tickets to go the following morning. But we did get some pictures of the outside.

Words can hardly express the feeling there. I will write an entirely different blog post on the actual museum experience, because it merits that. But here are a few pictures that we took of the outside.

IMG_2822 IMG_2825 IMG_2830

Balthazar. A European lunch with my mom. Feeling fancy. Loving it.


Across the street from Balthazar in SoHo was Paper Source. So much good stuff!!! And, bonus: we found out there is one in Denver. Guess where my mom went the day after she got home to Denver!? (Hint: it was Paper Source.)

Dean & DeLuca. Even though she’d been there before, my mom had to go back. We are totally cut from the same cloth. She is just as obsessed as I.

By the way, best way to travel in NYC? Uber. So comfortable. So convenient. So easy. So clean. Cheaper than yellow cabs.

My mom is a HUGE Teddy Roosevelt fanatic. She has read every book about him…twice. She may or may not even have a pseudo shrine to Mr. Roosevelt in her bookcase. (Don’t worry. It’s not a creepy kind of shrine. It’s more like books, coins, pictures, etc. all dedicated to TR.) We took an Uber car there and found out it was CLOSED!. But we did get a snapshot of my mom in front  of TR’s boyhood home. Can you see the elation on her face?


30 Rock. You can’t NOT go to 30 Rock at least once when you visit NYC. We got a picture of a Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon sign and sent it to my sister, Holly. She may be mildly obsessed with Mr. Fallon and, after receiving the picture, called me very upset that we had gone to the Tonight Show without her. Hehe. I assured her we did not go. We got her a Jimmy Fallon shirt at the NBC Experience store to soften the blow.

IMG_2849 IMG_2857 IMG_2855


The Plaza Hotel. I dream of one day staying there for a weekend. At $600 a night (at the cheapest!), it’s a very lofty goal.

But in the basement of the hotel, there is this: The Plaza Food Hall. We perused for a while. So much beautiful food.

IMG_2861 IMG_2863  IMG_2868

Today I decided: That’s it! I’m getting a dog. Why not? I totally can! I want a Maltese. Gimme.


July 15 Tuesday

9/11 Museum (future blog post to come), Took us 4 hours.

Gramercy Tavern. Located just down the street from Teddy Roosevelt’s boyhood home (that we visited the previous day), this place is incredible! I ate the best hamburger I have ever had in my life.

That Cabot cheddar cheese….no words.


Waffle & Wolf. Again. Twice isn’t enough. I would go back to NYC if only to eat Waffle & Wolf again.

July 16 Wednesday

Farewell New York.

Flew home. My mom and I took a 7am flight out of LaGuardia to go back to Denver.

IMG_2962 IMG_2964 IMG_2965


Where did I eat?

Here’s the awesome list of places I ate at in NYC. No regrets.


Shake Shack

Pizza Plus (Park Slope)

Financier Patisserie

Sun in Bloom

Pret A Manger

Chipotle (duh. so good. I ate this weekly)

Melt Kraft (Park Slope)

Naidre’s (Park Slope)

Dinosaur BBQ (Gowanus)

Wendy’s (yeah, not exactly NYC specific. No link needed–or wanted)

Long Island Bagel Cafe

Beygl (Park Slope)



People’s Pops (Park Slope & Chelsea Market)

News Bar Cafe (Union Square) Where I learned what an “alfajor” is. So good!

Pio Pio (Hell’s Kitchen)

16 Handles (SoHo)

Nirvana Indian Food (Midtown)

Juniors (Brooklyn)

Kitchenette (TriBeCa)

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse (Manhattan)

Cocoa Bar (Park Slope)

Bare Burger (Carroll Gardens)

Farmacy (Brooklyn)

Waffle & Wolf (Brooklyn)

Oasis Sandwiches (Park Slope)

Fragole (Carroll Gardens)

Balthazar (SoHo)

Gramercy Tavern (Manhattan)


Week 5 Happenings

I realize that I am a week behind for my NYC blog, so here goes:

Monday (6.30): I headed out on the train early. This time, I got to take the PATH train, which is considerably cleaner than the regular subway. For the NYU-SPI, we got to take a tour of a book company, and I signed up for John Wiley & Sons, a top academic publisher. Their building happens to be in Hoboken, New Jersey, just across the water from Manhattan. Despite my impressions of what that town might have been like (based on TV shows like Cake Boss), I was totally charmed by the cobblestone streets and the most amazing view of the NYC skyline I had ever seen. I suppose it also helps that the Wiley office sits right on the water’s edge with a view of the river and an amazing park just below.

IMG_2546 IMG_2552 IMG_2557

IMG_2558 IMG_2568 IMG_2584


After our tour of the company offices (which even include a gym and gourmet cafeteria), I ventured out on my own. I grabbed a gluten free pie (pizza) and took a picture of Carlo’s Bakery (from Cake Boss) for my mom. In the picture, the line to get in doesn’t look very long, but a block away, a massive crowd is roped off, waiting to get a peek inside and perhaps even meet Buddy Valastro himself.

IMG_2588 IMG_2590

Tuesday (7.1): I spent the better part of the next couple days in the computer lab at school trying to figure out book covers. I actually left early and headed back to Brooklyn where Collin helped me develop and produce ideas. He insists that what he produced wasn’t very good, but to my seemingly untrained eye, what he did was incredible.

Here was his process: He pulled up a pic online, held up a piece of paper to his screen and sketched the image, took a picture of the sketch on his phone, emailed the picture to himself, uploaded the picture to Adobe Illustrator, and proceeded to the draw the image digitally. I was flat out amazed, especially since the “pen” tool in the Adobe Creative Suite totally mystifies me.

I left his apartment that night feeling so much better about the project.

Wednesday (7.2) was another day where I lived in the computer lab. Except this time, I had material to work with, thanks to Collin. I have concluded that my bar may have been set too high (having 3 artist brothers makes me want to deliver just stellar material) and the program’s bar may have been set too low (since they know we are not artists). I ended up meeting my group somewhere in the middle with our covers. In my personal opinion, I am not a fan of any of them at all. They veered pretty far away from some of the amazingness that Collin created. But, with a group of 11 people, compromise is crucial.

That night, I decided to head uptown to buy an NYU t-shirt. The NYU Bookstore is in NoHo, so I hopped on the subway and got there around 5:30. After purchasing my NYU garb, I went outside only to find that it was raining.

When it rains is New York, it REALLY rains. And I wasn’t about to buy an umbrella. Vendors sell them for way too much and their quality is way too low. By the way, I also had my laptop in my backpack.

Anyways, here’s what happened:

I ran to the subway to avoid the rain and head back downtown.

As I got off the train near City Hall, I noticed that it had completely stopped raining. Delighted, I decided to run to the TriBeCa Whole Foods for some goodies. WIth my paper grocery bag in tow, I left Whole Foods to find that it was raining harder than ever. To make a long story somewhat short, I found myself running from awning to awning trying to avoid getting wet, and failing horribly. Amid my running in the rain, my paper grocery bag had soaked through and my food fell out everywhere. But don’t worry. Luckily, I was able to salvage it all.

After almost 1.5 hours of running and only going about 4 or 5 blocks, I was positively soaked. Finally in the subway station and walking in my own personal puddles (my shoes), I was certain that my laptop was ruined.

IMG_2596 IMG_2597 IMG_2602

I was happy to be underground for the next little while, even if it was in the subway, but I was beyond ready to get home and get washed up. At the Bergen Street stop, the train turned off its engine. From the PA system, the conductor announced, “attention ladies and gentlemen, the train is currently being held by the train’s dispatcher. Please stand by.”

This happens sometimes. I’ve never experienced a delay like this that has been longer than a couple minutes. But that night, we sat there for 15-20 minutes without moving. My patience was wearing very thin. But I had absolutely no other choice but to sit and wait. My phone’s battery had died and I simply couldn’t walk home in the rain without directions (from my phone) and an umbrella.

I distinctly remember praying for patience.

I, of course, eventually got home. Everything on me was soaked through. But, through some miracle, my computer was dry and completely functional. Successful day. 🙂

I was pretty excited for Thursday (7.3). All that was scheduled for the day was indie bookstore tours. I signed up for Posman Books, a bookstore located in Grand Central Station.


Let me say, first of all, that this day was so wonderful because I got to wear normal clothes (not business casual) and I got to sleep late and arrive at the bookstore around 11am. Oh joy! Second of all, Grand Central Station! Holy cow! What a place!!! It was so clean and gorgeous and full of art and shopping. I could have stayed there all day. After my quick jaunt to the bookstore tour, I roamed all over GCS. Stores, markets, the historical clock…just wonderful.

IMG_2604 IMG_2608 IMG_2616

IMG_2606 IMG_2609

IMG_2613 IMG_2618 IMG_2623

IMG_2624 IMG_2625 IMG_2627

I then decided to treat myself to a quiet lunch at a place in midtown called Nirvana (Indian Food).


Then I headed to SoHo for some frozen yogurt with a friend from BYU. After we ate, I explored SoHo, finding my absolute favorite place ever.

I have claimed to love grocery stores before (Union Market, Fairway, etc.), but I finally found the market of markets. Dean & DeLuca. A gourmet marketplace that feels like what I imagine a fancy European market might feel like. Marble floors. High ceilings. White pillars. Cheese counter. Candy counter. Artisan products. I could’ve spent so much more time (and money), but I knew I’d be back.

Friday (7.4), I had 4th of July breakfast with Collin in downtown Brooklyn at a place called Juniors. We spent quite a while eating way too much food and talking about life and creativity. Just a lovely time. Then, after walking around a while, we parted ways and said we’d touch bases later to see what holiday fireworks we could find.

I got home and made the decision to venture out again. I wanted to cross some things off on my NYC list. So, here are the places I went:

-back to Dean and DeLuca (twice)

I just can’t get enough. And I fully intend to go again before I leave.

IMG_2647 IMG_2645 IMG_2644

IMG_2643 IMG_2640

Strand Bookstore

A fantastically huge bookstore with thousands upon thousands of books and a really cool display behind the counter of a rainbow of books. This store supposedly carries 18 miles of new, used, and out-of-print books.

IMG_2669 IMG_2665 IMG_2667


Started by The Food Network’s Mario Batali, Eataly is a huge Italian marketplace. It includes a wine shop, bakery, fresh pasta, gelato, cheese, pastries, a butcher, books and housewares, European beauty products, sweets and chocolates, oils, a creperie (with nutella jars lining the walls), produce, sauces, etc. Interspersed between all of these sections are mini restaurants.

Che bello!

IMG_2675 IMG_2677 IMG_2681

IMG_2680  IMG_2798


The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop

This is another one of those places that my mom saw on the Food Network forever ago and I’ve been wanting to see what all of the hype was about. They originally started as a food truck, but they’ve since retired the truck and opened 2 brick and mortar storefronts here in NYC. I was so jazzed to find out that they had gluten free cones, so I ordered their famous cone, the “Salty Pimp.” Delicious!

IMG_2682 IMG_2685 IMG_2683

I later returned to Park Slope, just as the sun was setting.


Still devoid of 4th of July plans, Collin and I met up. We headed out looking for fireworks, but were unsuccessful. Instead, we went back to his apartment and tried to watch fireworks on his computer (lame, I know…haha) and I snuggled with his dog, Simon.


Saturday (7.5) was fun. I had plans to see a broadway play, so in the morning, I headed into the city to pick up my ticket. After getting my ticket, I went out on the Brooklyn Bridge, something I told myself I’d do while I was here. The enormity was simply awe-inspiring.

IMG_2696 IMG_2702 IMG_2698


Later, I went home, got stuff done (laundry, etc.) and got ready for my play. In the city, I had a spectacular birthday dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. I don’t really love steak that much, but…wow.


Then, to the Shubert Theater, for an amazing broadway play, Matilda the Musical! I highly recommend it.

IMG_2715  IMG_2723


I was a happy camper!


Sunday (7.6) was MY BIRTHDAY!! I headed to church in the morning and got a sweet treat from Collin and Jana later in the evening.


Ok, that was a lot. Hold on tight because I’m going to publish about my last week and a half and that should be up in the next few days.


I Can (And Will) Do Hard Things

This week, we launched our new (hypothetical) book imprint called “Brink.” It has some pretty gritty subject matter (secrets, lies, drugs…that whole shebang), and I am charged with designing the books’ cover art. Long story very very short, in my attempt to design “art,” I was rescued  from complete frustration by my dear friend, Josh. And, we (really he) turned out some pretty good drafts of covers. I’ll post those later this week.



This week has been a good one. I simply cannot believe I am two-thirds done with this program! It has been incredibly challenging. But, in all of this, I have learned something about myself: as scared as I was to do this, I still did it because I knew it was right. This is a pattern for me–one that I am proud of. I served a mission for my church. I chose it, and I knew it was going to be hard. I was 100% correct. One of the hardest things I’ve done. But it was right. Going to college was also very hard at first. But it was right, so I forged ahead.

In all of these hard but oh-so-right experiences, I have found unimaginable satisfaction and reward–I can’t emphasize that enough. But the reward has only come upon completion and accomplishment of the hard task. That cannot be manufactured.

I will continue to do hard things.

Ok, so in-class highlights:

Since I have more of an interest in the magazine side of publishing rather than in the book side, I have found the book lectures to be less intriguing to me. Still I take copious notes because it is all valuable stuff. Some of my favorite speakers this week are professionals in the book industry, specifically cover artists. Lauren Panepinto (Creative Director, Hachette Book Group) and Lucy Cummins (Art Director, Simon & Schuster) were definite stand outs. I think it’s mostly because they were hilarious! Nothing is better than learning under the guise of entertainment.

The other major stand out was Robert Oueste, Ph.D. (Johns Hopkins Press). He taught us about metadata. Sounds riveting, right? It’s not. But he taught it in such a way that I didn’t mind the dry subject matter. It must have been his cheery demeanor coupled with his awesomely bad dad-style jokes and sweet ‘stache. I wish I had a picture. He was rad.

So, highlights from the outside-of-class stuff:

On Tuesday, I decided to make a very conscious effort to not complain. I tend to complain more than I’d like. Anyways, I don’t know if it was the lack of complaining or just the nature of that day, but Tuesday was fantastic! We had a really cool evening at Time, Inc. It was a cocktail party. But unlike the cocktail party from a few weeks ago, this one was hosted specifically by Time, Inc. They threw the party just for us.

After learning about the program, they sought us out to network with us. I can’t tell you how good it feels to know that we, as students in this program, are desirable to a company like Time, Inc.! The night started with a really interesting lecture by Collin Bodell, the new CTO and EVP of Time, Inc.

Then they opened up the terrace for us for a networking party. Yeah, that’s right. The terrace. What a view, right?

IMG_2486 IMG_2489 IMG_2494

IMG_2495 IMG_2497 IMG_2502

We circled around talking and chatting with people who wanted our information and wanted us to work for them. I felt like I had a slight advantage, being one of the very few who doesn’t want to stay in NYC. Time, Inc. houses the editorial departments for all of their lifestyle brands down in Birmingham, Alabama rather than in New York. So, I was pushing for that.

On Wednesday night, I got to see my brothers. Keenan was in town again for business, so he, Collin, and I went out to dinner in MiMa at a Cuban restaurant called “Pio Pio.” So delicious. And the ambiance was unique. It’s one of the bigger restaurants I’ve seen in NYC…many of them are absolutely tiny.

The walls in this restaurant look like wallpaper…but nope. That is actual textured branches lining the walls and ceiling of the entire restaurant.


On Friday, after school, I met Collin at IKEA. I got there by way of bus. The bus system is mostly just like the subway: predictable and kind of gross. But reliable.

I was expecting IKEA on a Friday afternoon in New York to be insane. It was almost empty. And I loved it.

IMG_2518 IMG_2519 IMG_2520

After a quick trip there, Collin and I walked down the street to an incredible grocery store. Did I mention that I LOVE good grocery stores? Fairway Market takes the cake. Housed in an old industrial building right along the water in Red Hook, Brooklyn, Fairway Market is beautiful inside and out. The colors of the produce…the cheese counter…the olive oil and vinegar room…


IMG_2526 IMG_2527 IMG_2530

After browsing and wanting to buy everything, Collin and I enjoyed some eats and some chatter about life on the back patio of the store. Best view from the back of a grocery store that I have EVER seen.

IMG_2531 IMG_2535 IMG_2537



Saturday was filled with me being ridiculously frustrated at the design process. I sat in front of my computer trying to manipulate images in Photoshop for hours, and literally had zero work to show for it. (That’s where Josh came in and saved the day.)

With the graphic novel book genre assigned to me, I can’t help but feel immense pressure to deliver stellar book cover images. I mean, graphic novels are all about the visual. At best, I am a novice with Photoshop. Give me InDesign anyday, and I’ll deliver. But Photoshop and Illustrator…ugh. I’ll need to get more training in those before I can feel comfortable enough.


There are so many people in the program already applying for jobs, and some even sneaking away during lectures to go uptown for interviews. It’s not unheard of for someone to find a job while they’re here. I, on the other hand, am not in as much of a hurry. I mean, I need a job ASAP, but since I don’t really want to remain in NYC, I am limited at the moment. Plus, I have a small cushion of time since I have to finish out my summer out west. I just don’t know how anyone finds a spare moment to research jobs during this program!


Well, I should sign off for now.

The coming week will include details about Hoboken (New Jersey), the Manhattan temple, the 4th of July, a Broadway play, and my birthday!! Oh yeah. and some school stuff. 🙂


A Little Treat

The other morning, I got off the subway at Jay St./Metrotech. That’s where I switch to the Manhattan-bound C train.

As I stepped on to the platform, I reluctantly approached a subway newsstand. I always see them there, but I had yet to come close enough to make a purchase.

With cash in hand, I requested my favorite magazine, REAL SIMPLE. The clerk handed me the new July issue. I had been waiting for it to come to newsstands for a couple weeks now, even checking any and all drug stores and newsstands in my path on a regular basis.


I don’t know why, but this moment brought me so much happiness.

Maybe I was so happy because it was also Friday. Maybe it was because the stress of the magazine portion of the NYU-SPI program was behind me.

There was plenty that I could have been grouchy about: the early hour that we had to show up despite the culmination of weeks of hard work the night before; the crazy humidity at 7:40 in the morning that never seems to dissipate underground in the subways; the uncomfortable proximity to the people around me as we all shuffled to get where we were going.

But that morning, I was happy. Happy to have my REAL SIMPLE. It’s not just another piece of reading that makes its way on to my to-do list. Instead, it’s a welcome task that relieves me from stress. It makes my life easer. I simply can’t get enough of its features, like “new uses for old things,” “life lessons,” and “the simple list,” to name a few.

And, for those few moments, handing the clerk my money and then reading my magazine on the C train into Manhattan, I felt like a real New Yorker.

I pored over its pages, almost missing my subway stop.


The rest of the day, as I pushed through lectures and forums, I was content knowing that I had RS waiting for me in my backpack.



Week 3 Roundup


Yes, it’s true. Like other weeks in SPI, this week was sprinkled with lectures, panel discussions, workshops–you name it. But on top of that, our magazine imprint was due this week. That left us with some very late nights, redesigns, printing fiascos, etc. But we got it done.

On Monday, we met with the magazine program director, Victoria, and got some positive feedback on a new image for our cover design. Instead of a stock image of a business woman, our cover girl became a woman named Maria Forleo, a real entrepreneur that I happened upon on a blog that I read regularly. With that as our new cover image, we felt a glimmer of hope that we had successfully found a picture that matched our brand and mission statement.

I should say that this program (and quite possibly the magazine business in general) is extremely fickle. We presented our overall idea and mission statement to an admin a few days in, and we were met with some very harsh criticisms. Then, about a week later, we came back with an almost identical proposal and received enthusiastic approval. Go figure.

Tuesday, I headed into the city in the morning to work with my group. As the managing editor, I was recruited to do some layout and design work for the “under-the-hood” stuff. Basically, I took everyone’s writeups about advertising, business and marketing, design strategy, etc. and made it look pretty and cohesive with our magazine’s design. I enjoy that kind of work. It always takes longer than I think it will. But, I get great satisfaction out of completeness and organization.

Later in the day, we had our magazine tours. At the beginning of the program, we all signed up for different tours of magazine companies. I picked Travel + Leisure, an imprint put out by Time, Inc. Their offices are uptown, just next to Bryant Park. They are located in a building called the Hippodrome (read about the history of the building here). It was beautiful inside (all marble) and had very tight security.

Uptown is just beautiful, but oh so crowded. And that day, it was very hot. So, I was kind of grouchy. Yeah, I don’t do great in the heat. The tour was very fascinating, but for some reason, my mind wasn’t there. I was thinking about other things.

I headed home after my tour to keep working on layout and design, and stayed up way too late doing that. Our plan was to go to print on Wednesday so that we could be prepared for our presentations on Thursday. Everyone else in the group also worked late into the night.

On Wednesday, as a culmination of the magazine section, we had a closing address by David Granger, EIC of Esquire Magazine. The remainder of the day was spent scrambling to finish editing, design, printing, etc. Late in the day, we ran into a big hiccup with printing. All of the printing places were telling us that they would need at least 24 hours to print all of our pages. And that clearly was NOT going to work, since presentations were at 1:00 the next day. We were desperate. With nearly 350 full bleed pages to be printed, FedEx Kinkos quoted us an outrageous price and couldn’t even assure us a timely job. After many phone calls (and silent prayers, on my part at least), we found a place near Union Square. So, since my group members live close to Union Square, I bid my colleagues good night and I headed back to Brooklyn while they did the printing.

Almost done with this mountain of a project…

Thursday was the day. The magazine would be presented to the judges and we would be done with it. By 9:30, all 12 group members had trickled into NYU’s Woolworth Building. The exhaustion was on our faces. So. Ready. To. Be. Done. The entire morning was free time for us to prepare for our presentations. I was going to present the magazine’s art and design strategy. Our group as a whole had 15 minutes to talk all about our magazine: the brand, mission statement, design, digital media, social media, marketing, advertising, etc. 15 minutes seemed like a lot, but it worked out to be just enough.

At 1:00, with the 3 judges in their seats, the presentations began. The judges were:

  • Donna Lagani, SVP/Publishing Director, Cosmopolitan
  • Lauren Purcell, Editor-in-Chief, Every Day with Rachael Ray
  • Ben Berentson, Site Director, Vogue.com 

Out of 11 groups, we were chosen at random to be #8. It took forever for our turn to arrive. Surprisingly, I wasn’t that nervous. And I think we did pretty well. Our feedback from the judges was better than I expected. The judges loved the name of our magazine and thought it was right on brand. Some judges thought our magazine lacked a little heart. But, that’s feedback for you. It’s one of those things that an admin had previously urged us to avoid (in so many words) and so we didn’t include it. The process is all so subjective that it is nearly impossible to please everyone at every moment. What one judge likes, one might hate, or vice versa.

All 11 groups finished around 6pm, waited for the judges to deliberate, and the judges announced the awards. There were winners in a few categories, and then an overall winner. Each winning team won 2 bottles of wine and bragging rights. Seems meager for the hours that went into the projects. So be it. The big winner was the food mag entitled Silver SporkPLATFORM Magazine didn’t end up winning any awards.

Exhausted, I went home, showered, and crashed. But, no rest for the weary. We had to be to class at 8:15 the next morning.

On Friday, to finish up with magazines and introduce the book portion of the program, we all met Libby Jordan. She’s the admin for the book section. We also had a panel of SPI alumni and some training on navigating the job hunt. All valuable stuff, but just let me go home now! We got off at 3:00 and I ran for the door. My night consisted of me cleaning, doing laundry, and sleeping.

After some much-needed sleeping in, I woke up on Saturday and took my time getting ready for the day. I had plans to go to the Park Slope annex of the Brooklyn Flea and then head to Manhattan for another workshop for class.

The Brooklyn Flea was fun. The Park Slope version was tiny…maybe 6 or 7 vendors. I purchased 1 item: an December 1887 issue of Good Housekeeping Magazine. I thought it was so incredible to see what magazines were like 100 years before I was born. The ads on the back are so great. And it’s printed on newspaper print, no color. It’s a cool little piece to keep as an homage to what I love and to this experience.

The workshop this week was on the basics of HTML. I never quite feel like I can get a grip on the whole HTML concept, but this class was by far the easiest to understand. After some wandering downtown post-workshop (and subsequently finding myself at the Union Square Whole Foods), I ventured back to Park Slope.

I got to visit with Collin a bit. Always a treat. And we took the pups on a walk around Prospect Park. After saying goodbye, I explored a tiny bit of Windsor Terrace, the next area of Brooklyn just south of Park Slope. It had a cool vibe to it.

Today (Sunday), I wanted to visit a new ward. A while ago, I connected with a girl who served in my mission who happens to also live in the Manhattan YSA ward. After a subway ride of almost an hour, I showed up at that very ward. And it was nice to see a somewhat familiar face. I really enjoyed church. As always, I heard things via the speakers and the Spirit that I definitely needed to hear. Funny how that works out.


So, this week begins the book portion of the program. It seems less intense than the magazine part, but equally as interesting. I am excited. My new group is assigned the graphic novel book imprint, and I have been assigned as the book’s art director. This should be fun and interesting.

Here goes…


The week in review

Monday (6.9)

On Monday, one of the lectures was a panel discussion about how to write pitches that work. I couldn’t take notes fast enough! Loved every second of it.

Later in the day, something came up and I had to leave a little early. But I got to walk up Broadway and see a bunch of amazing stuff along the way, including Canal street and some of SoHo. I so badly wanted to go into Dean and Deluca and oogle over all of the goods that I could never afford. Another time, perhaps.

That night, Keenan was in town for business. So he, Collin, Jana, and I all went out to eat at an artisan grilled cheese shop here in Park Slope called “Melt Kraft.” I swear it’s trendy right now to take the ordinary or mundane and give it a classy or artistic spin. I totally fall prey to this, as you will see if you read on. Anyways, the dinner was lovely, but the company was even more so. And the restaurant was practically empty, which I loved, as solitude is hard to come by in the city.

What could have made the night better?  If my whole family could have been there. That, or maybe some dessert.

I told myself I wouldn’t eat out this week. Day one: failed. I wish I could say I did better the rest of the week. Yeah…no. Oh well. “When in Rome,” right?

Tuesday (6.10)

In class, I felt more in my element than I have in the whole program so far. We talked a bunch about copy editing, which is my forté. I even felt a little bit ahead of the curve. We also got out later in the evening because we had a lecture on what are called “Edit Tests.” These are not just tests to see how well you can edit text. The “edit” here refers to “editorial,” and it usually requires a job applicant to come up with new fresh editorial ideas for a magazine, right off the cuff. The lecture taught us how to do this. And, the whole student body (~120 students) was assigned to complete an edit test (for AFAR Magazine) to be turned in on Friday.

Our business magazine (entitled PLATFORM) is starting to take shape. Each department has really done a lot to pull their weight. Everyone is still pretty stressed and it is really a lot to ask for a team of 12 to produce every aspect of a magazine launch in 2.5 weeks’ time. But I think we’ll pull it off.

I got a fitbit last weekend and I’ve been really trying to put it to good use…walking to a further subway stop or getting off one stop early so I can walk more. I even make myself walk the subway platform until the train comes, instead of just standing there waiting. I really enjoy seeing the numbers add up and seeing my progress, all from my phone.

Wednesday (6.11)

We had what might’ve been my favorite lecture/discussion so far in this program. Up until now, every lecture, panel discussion, strategy workshop, etc. has been so New York-centric. New York is the hub of the publishing industry. I know. And that’s fine. But one of the lectures was called, “NYC is Not the Center of the Universe: Finding Jobs Outside the City.” It’s one of the lectures I’ve been totally and absolutely riveted by and excited about. You mean there’s a chance for those (very, very few) of us who don’t want to set up shop here in the Big Apple?

I have grown to love this NYC experience after just 2 short weeks. Still I can’t avoid my distaste for the subways, the prices, and the lack of nature. Yeah. I feel like I’ve been complaining a lot about how I couldn’t really live here for an extended period of time. But, with all that I’ve learned about the biz, I assumed it was my fate if I wanted to be successful in my industry. I came to terms with it. I’d have to pay my dues in order to be successful, and then I could go elsewhere. But alas! ‘Tis not so! Honestly, Boston is really speaking to me. On the discussion panel, we had magazine executives from Alabama (which also seems amazing), Pennsylvania, DC, Seattle, etc. Who knows? I guess time will tell where I end up.

Later in the day, there was a mandatory forum/cocktail party. Prior to that, we had a really helpful networking lecture teaching us how to “work a room.” It was really interesting. But, I must say, a lot of the social strategies were a refresher course for me; I learned most of those tactics while serving my mission. I am so grateful for that.

They let us out of school early-ish to go home and get ready for the party. I made a quick stop at my Jay St/Metrotech subway stop to try Shake Shack (a famous burger place that’s been compared to In-n-Out). It was pretty good. I happen to be partial to In-n-Out, but I wouldn’t have known unless I tried it.

The cocktail party was fun. I enjoyed the discussion on social media (you can find the link about it in my previous blog post). I didn’t stay long for the actual cocktail portion…mostly because I don’t drink. But the best part about the event was this:

The view from the 10th floor of the NYU building in Greenwich Village. It looked out onto Washington Square Park and the amazing skyline.


Also, I’d gladly stay in NYC if I could live in this park-side building with greenery growing up the side. Yes please.

IMG_2326  IMG_2327

I left the cocktail party just at dusk and got a stellar view of the park and that whole area. I fell in love.

Thursday (6.12) and Friday (6.13)

The next couple days were full of what the NYU SPI calls “strategy workshops.” Professionals in their various sub-fields come in and assess our magazines and give us feedback. We had a marketing workshop, a web/mobile launch strategy workshop, etc. We got expert opinions on the nuts and bolts of our publication. It was enjoyable, but the best part was that it provided for a lot of free time in between workshops to work on stuff for the project.

On Thursday after classes, I went grocery shopping (with free delivery!). I also met with the AWESOME sister missionaries and went to institute. I love that the gospel is the same no matter where you go.

On Friday, I had a pseudo-celeb sighting. I saw Kim Stolz from season 5 of America’s Next Top Model, back when it was a good show. The picture is the back of her, but I swear it’s her (in the beige blazer).


Later, I was planning to meet up with a couple friends from my mission. But I was just so wiped out from a long week. Plus, it started raining a bunch. So, I went home, showered, did my laundry, and stayed in. It was relaxing to just sit on my bed and hear the rain and thunder.

Saturday (6.14)

I was only planning on attending my optional (but highly recommended) InDesign workshop for school, and then going home afterwards. I actually already know how to use InDesign, but it was a good refresher course. During the lecture, I got a text from a mission friend (one I was supposed to meet with the night before) to meet up for lunch. We met up near Madison Square Garden at a place called Mexicue. Loved catching up with Sister Malala!

After lunch, I took the train back to Park Slope and decided to walk around the town.

I went to a gorgeous grocery store called “Union Market.” The colors alone…



IMG_0430  IMG_0490

I also stopped at Barnes and Noble, where I bought a few novels (yeah, I have no free time. I don’t know what I was thinking). Also did some “market research,” aka looked at a million magazines, took some pictures, and jotted down some publishing companies to look into later.



I should also note that I heard a guy say in a thick NY accent to his daughter as she was walking away from him, “Don’t go too fah (far), bubby.” I secretly loved it way too much. I want to have kids, so I can call them “bubby.” And for other more noble reasons too.

Later, as per my mom’s request via her Food Network recommendations, I tried a popsicle at “People’s Pops.” It’s another one of those regular foods that has been made more posh by labeling it as “artisan”. I admit, it was delicious.

Then to “Beygl” for an artisan (and gluten free) bagel. As I walked up and down the avenues and streets, a big festival was going on down on 5th avenue.


And, I want to live in this house on the corner of 8th Ave. and 3rd Street:


I also walked along the edge of Prospect Park. So lovely. Sometimes, I like to pretend I am a local. Just taking a stroll along the park. I hope one day to picnic in the grass in front of this mansion (yeah, there’s an old mansion in the park!)


It was a wonderful day.

AND…I logged over 20,000 steps on my fitbit! Yeah! New record!


Sunday (6.15)

Ok. I know I’ve written a lot.

I will share my Sunday adventures in pictures. I didn’t get to go to church today. 😦 Instead, I worked at NY ComicCon (arranged far in advance) as an assistant to the comic writer Chris Claremont. I’m not really into comics, but it was a really interesting and fun experience.



IMG_3914  IMG_8317

We got to take a car service there and back (YAY!), so I got to be a tourist on the drive home. There’s the Brooklyn Bridge!


Then my phone died.

The end.

Stay tuned for more stuff coming up this week.

We launch our magazine on Thursday, so it should be busy and eventful.



One week down. 

This week has been something else.

This city is crazy. I’ve come a long way since the beginning of the week, though. I most enjoy exploring on my own. During my lunch breaks, I like to wander the busy streets of the financial district and discover new spots. I like to walk around like I am a local: crossing crosswalks before the light changes, navigating the labyrinth of one-way streets, and transferring trains at subway stations like a pro. Whichever way I turn, there is something to see, do, or explore.

The food! Oh, the food! I had my first New York pie (pizza) this weekend from Brooklyn’s own Pizza Plus. I’ve also discovered the best macarons ever at Financier Patisserie. And Park Slope’s Naidre’s Cafe has the most delicious carrot cake I’ve tasted. My poor Instagram followers have had to endure my incessant food pictures lately. So far, no complaints, though.

I’m still working on acclimatizing. The humidity is insane. And, I’m told it’s only going to get hotter and more humid. Lord, help me.


Woolworth Building (aka, my classroom building)

So, now to the actual reason why I’m here.

This NYU Publishing Institute is no joke. It has been challenging and exciting at the same time. They really know how to push us to our limits. I understand that it’ll be for our good. And they want to pack as much as they can into the 6 short weeks of the program. Anyways, I’m exhausted.

As I mentioned before, we got pre-assigned magazine genre groups. Well, we also got pre-assigned roles within our magazines. And I got the role of Managing Editor (of the Business/Finance Mag). Basically, I am the organizer. In addition to helping the Editor-in-Chief with some ancillary tasks, I keep a detailed schedule for everyone on the team and I keep them on their toes to have everything in on time. Ideally, we’d like to go to print 2 days before launch so that we can edit and practice our launch presentation beforehand.

In the 2.5 short weeks we have until we launch, we have to create a brand on several platforms: print, website, tablet, mobile, and a customized app. We also have to create a detailed business plan with a 3 year profit-and-loss statement, a social media presence, a media kit, a mission statement, an advertising plan, planned hypothetical launch events, and a mockup of an email newsletter.

And, in the meantime, we also attend class, listen to guest speakers, sit in on workshops, and brush up on our digital skills.

With 12 people in the group, we can get it all done. But it’s going to be very labor-intensive.


What is my favorite part? Hearing from some amazing people in the magazine industry. Names like:

Pilar Guzman; Editor-in-Chief, Condé Nast Traveler

Michael Clinton; President, Marketing Publishing Director, Hearst Magazines 

Jon Gluck; Managing Editor, Vogue

Alison Brower; Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Oz The Good Life Magazine 

Lavinel Savu; Assistant Managing Editor, InStyle Magazine

Yulia Boyle; Senior Vice President, International Publishing, National Geographic Society 

David Curcurito; Design Director, Esquire Magazine


Oh my goodness. This is just the tip of the iceberg.


And, each day, we get a slew of magazines to keep, analyze and study. Me gusta.



Anyways, that’s it for now.

Here’s to another busy but exciting week.