All posts by Melanie

…So I Moved to New York

Have you ever felt like something in your life was just a little . . . off? Not that anything is wrong, but you just feel like there’s something you’re missing? I get that feeling from time to time. It’s a sure sign I need to shake things up a bit. If I ignore it, it usually ends with me buying a house or a car on a whim. I really wish I was joking right now, but that’s how I ended up with this:

Chevy Blazer

 

And this:

Foxboro Townhome

 

And maybe this:

Chevy Trailblazer

 

And then this:

Farmington, UT House

 

But when that didn’t pan out, I got this instead:

Chevy Equinox

Look, it’s a problem, I get it. But my point is, if I follow the urge to shake things up instead of shopping it away, I’ve learned that some pretty great things happen.

I started getting the “something’s off” vibe about a year and a half ago, and so I started “shaking things up.” First I hired life/business coach Tiffany Peterson to help me get clear on the direction I wanted to head. That was LIFE. CHANGING. It lead to me getting out of my job and starting my own marketing consulting/copywriting business. That was, and continues to be, a great experience. But apparently it wasn’t quite enough “shaking,” because I still had the feeling something was off.

Next I partnered with a Lindsey and Heather, a couple of AMAZING ladies, to start a blogger outreach business called Connective Circle. We host monthly workshops for bloggers to teach them how to be better at their business (or as we like to say, “ignite their inner awesome”), and we also connect brands and businesses who are looking for promotion with those bloggers. That business is really taking off. It has been fun to get to know so many great bloggers, and Lindsey and Heather have become two of my very best friends. We sometimes wonder if it can really be considered a business when we have so much fun running it.

Connective Circle Team 1

But despite those major “shakings,” I still kept coming back to the feeling that I needed change. And the change I felt like I needed? A move to New York. Now I’d been talking about moving to New York for awhile. In fact, I announced it back in September. At the time, I wanted to go. I hoped I would go. I was trying to go. But I wasn’t sure I would actually go.

And then, in early November, everything changed with an email.

An email saying that plane tickets to New York were on sale. So I bought one. Yep, just one. As in, a one way ticket to New York for February 4.

I may or may not have burst into tears the second I clicked “confirm.”

Ok, I definitely did burst into tears.

I think I probably looked something like this:

Smile Cry

That’s my “I’m smiling and pretending to be happy, but if you look at my red face and eyes you can tell I’ve been bawling” face. We’ve all got one.

I texted my friend Whitney in a total state of distress, and she let me come hang out for a bit until I stopped hyperventilating over what I’d just done.

But aside from Whitney, Tiffany, my business partners, and one or two other people, I didn’t tell anyone. I continued to talk in vague “I’m planning to move to New York in February” terms, but no one knew I was REALLY going. Or at least planning on it. I didn’t tell anyone because I wanted to make sure I had an out if something happened and I decided it wasn’t what I was supposed to do.

But over the course of the next couple of months, all of the pieces started coming together. I found a place to live, business picked up, and it still just felt right.

So I started saying my goodbyes. That was tough. I’m horrible at goodbyes. While social media and technology definitely makes it easier to keep in touch, I’ve said enough goodbyes to know that things are never the same. It’s a part of life though. A sad part, but a part nonetheless.

I’m sorry I didn’t get pictures with everyone, but here’s a quick recap.

I had dinner with Steph, Anne, and Pam. Friends from a ward I used to be in.

Blue Lemon Girls Dinner

Tiffany, my coach who ended up becoming a close friend of mine, and I went to grab some New York style pizza. Appropriate.

Tiffany Peterson

 

Sharley, Quade, Chad, and I relived some of the glory Burger Bracket days by hitting up The Garage—a dive bar with oh so good cheeseburgers.

IMG_1927

Now earlier that day I had sold my car and gotten a rental car. When I picked the rental car up, they told me the one they were going to give me had a flat tire. “How do you feel about mini vans?” they asked me. How do I feel about them? Not good. Not good at all. That didn’t stop them from sending me home with this beauty:

IMG_1928

So naturally my friends and I drove the minivan to the bar for burgers. And naturally I got the minivan stuck in the snow and mud of the dirt parking lot afterwards. Of course. Because a single girl driving a minivan around town isn’t a spectacle in and of itself.

I also got to meet up with my friends Christin and Rebekah for some breakfast and lunch.

Rebekah and Christin

 

When it came time to say goodbye to Lindsey and Heather, we decided to do a photoshoot with Lauren from LaLa’s Lens, to get pictures for our soon to launch website.

Here’s Heather, being cute:

Heather Blowing Hearts

And Lindsey, keeping it classy:

Lindsey Leaning

And then there was me:

Mel Pocket Hands

 

They told me to put my hands in my pockets. So I did.

Next we headed off to a grub crawl complete with 1,000,001 self portraits. Café Rio pork nachos. Check.

 

Grub Crawl Stop 1 Cafe Rio

 

Bombay House tikka masala and naan. Check.

Grub Crawl Stop 2 Bombay House

 

I think we were halfway through our Indian food when I started crying. I basically didn’t stop until I got on the plane . . . three days later.

 

The Chocolate cazookie and manicures by Lindsey. Check.

Grub Crawl Stop 3 The Chocolate

The next night was a family dinner party with all of these great faces:

Family and Friend Goodbyes

Monday there was much stressing, cleaning, packing (a huge shout out to my parents and brother and sister-in-law for making it happen), lunch with Melanie and Machel (the bottom right in the above picture), a blind date for dinner on my last night in town (hey, you NEVER know what will work out), and the next thing I knew, I was sitting at the airport with my dad, waiting to board the red eye flight to New York.

Close Your Eyes and Leap Bracelet

 

The bracelet I was wearing was a gift from my friend, Whitney. It is stamped with a phrase from Wicked that says, “Close your eyes and leap.”

And so I did.

Next stop, New York City.

Date #12 of My 12 Dates of Christmas: Brad W.

I know, I know, I suppose since I finished all of my 12 Dates before Christmas ::ahem:: almost two months ago ::ahem:: you expected me to write about them all then too. Sheesh, kind of demanding, don’t you think? Ok, sorry for the delay (I’ve had a few things going on—more on that to come very soon), but I’m finally ready to give you the low down on Date #12, Brad W.

Brad W. was sent my way by my friend Amy. She is a crack up, and since funny people usually hang out with other funny people (that’s a pretty standard rule, right?), I was excited to cap off the dating series with her guy.

Date #12 Brad W

I was trying to wrap up all of the dates before Christmas (so I could write about them two months later, obviously), so I ended up having only one date time slot open before I left town to head home to Idaho. This meant—breakfast date. Now if you know me AT ALL, you would know that I have a bit of a love affair with breakfast foods (read: BACON). I love them, and I’m pretty sure they love me back. (It should be noted here that I was into bacon before bacon was cool. Don’t believe me? Here’s the proof: Bacon Party 2008. You can call me the Bacon Hipster) So to me, a breakfast date was heaven.

As a side note, you know you have a bacon problem when people give you bacon items as gifts (Thanks, Quade for the bacon mints, air freshener, chapstick, soda, and other delicious bacon items) or post bacon related things on your social media pages. A few weeks ago three separate people posted this on my Facebook page. Hi, my name is Melanie, and I have a bacon problem. And by “problem”, I mean awesomeness. That’s right, I have a bacon awesomeness.

Bacon tshirt

Anyway, back to Brad W. I left it up to him. to choose where we ate. Now when you’re taking out a girl who has made it a mission to try breakfast eats up and down the Wasatch Front, and she tells you to pick the restaurant, it’s a test. It’s definitely a test.

Fortunately, Brad W. picked (all on his own, mind you) The Park Café and passed with flying colors. The Park Café is a Salt Lake City classic, and definitely a favorite of mine—and on a Saturday morning, it’s a favorite of everybody else in the city too. The extra wait gave us time to sit outside and chat for a bit while we slowly lost all feeling in our outer extremities. (I wasn’t panicked because I knew if my hands were too cold to operate a fork I could go straight plate to face to get that bacon handled.)

It was in our chat that I learned Brad W. works two jobs and goes to school. Talk about a busy guy. But not just busy, going places. I was pretty impressed by his determination to make things happen in his life. He had left his home in Washington to move to Utah for school, with a promise that when he was done, he could go back to a better job at the company he was working for previously.

It was also during our chat that I learned the second half of our date was supposed to consist of us running through Liberty Park and attacking each other with Nerf guns, but due to a malfunctioning firearm, we’d have to settle for a walk instead. Now any other day I’d be happy to bob and weave and pelt a date with foam bullets, but this day was COLD, so I was actually a bit relieved for the change of plans. Plus, I was leaving town in a couple of hours and still hadn’t packed a thing.

Finally, the time for eating came, and I was presented with this beautiful creation:

Park Cafe Breakfast

What you’re looking at there are the four basic food groups: bacon, cheese, potatoes, and carbs. AKA, heaven.

Breakfast apparently brings out the true confessions in Brad W., because he told me, 1) He is a fan of the TV show Glee (at which point I tried REALLY hard not to judge him); and 2) He’d never been on a breakfast date before. He then proceeded to describe the date he would have taken me on if I hadn’t been pressed for time.

One of his jobs is as a security guard at Energy Solutions Arena (where the Utah Jazz play basketball). So his idea would have been to take me on a date there, play a little basketball on the court, walk on the cat walk, and have dinner on the roof. Honestly, that description made me look up from my bacon. It sounded pretty cool, and I almost was a little resentful of breakfast. Hold it, I said “almost.” I didn’t lose my mind completely.

After breakfast we headed across the street to the park, wandered around the semi-frozen pond, and chatted some more. Brad W. was funny and we had a lot in common.

Liberty Park pond

But alas, I had to run, so we called it a day. Bacon and good company. I couldn’t possibly think of a better way to end the 12 Dates of Christmas series.

Date #11 of My 12 Dates of Christmas: Craig M.

Date #11 was not only the second Craig of my 12 Dates of Christmas, but my second set up from Janet. (She also connected me with Date #5, Bart.) When I found out we were going to the Zoo Lights at Utah’s Hogle Zoo, my first thought was, and I quote, “brrrrrrr.” Although now that we’re in the middle of January, and the daily highs are 12, or some ridiculousness like that, that night seems like it could have been a balmy summer evening.

Date #11 Craig M

But trust me, it wasn’t. Now I’ve lived in Utah off and on for   ::ahem:: 14 years ::ahem::   and have NEVER been to the Hogle Zoo! Can you believe it? It’s actually been on my summer bucket list book for the past few summers, but I’ve never made it. So despite the cold, I was actually pretty excited to go check it out.

Since I live in a place that’s a little bit off the beaten path (it’s not really, but if you ask my friends, they’ll tell you I live in Idaho or southern Canada), I met up with most of my dates. I mean, I felt kind of bad about asking them to take me out AND make the trek out to get me. However, Craig M. was very generous and offered to pick me up. He said it wasn’t out of his way at all.

The reality? It was very out of his way. His gesture wasn’t lost on me.

Knowing that it was going to be cold, I wanted to dress appropriately. I’m not much of a hat wearer on dates, but I thought this might be a good time to make an exception. So I went to my coat closet and found this gem:

Date #11 Fuzzy Hat

Now I’m sure you have plenty of questions at this point, so I’ll answer them now.

1. Yes, the ear flaps DO pull down and tie for maximum warmth and comfort.

2. Yes, this WAS a gift from my grandma.

3. No, I DON’T know why my grandma thought I would use this.

4. Yes, I have kept this in my coat closet for YEARS.

And finally,

5. No, I DIDN’T end up wearing this on the date.

When Craig M. picked me up, one of the first things we talked about was concerts. Apparently he is a big concert goer and has driven all over to see bands play in different cities. I used to work for a radio station back in the day, so that was pretty cool. I do love a good concert. Although, I’ve discovered that I can be an awkward concert goer. Should I sit and watch? Do I stand up and dance? Is singing along at the top of my off-key lungs appropriate? I just never know. At any rate, I love concerts just the same, so it was fun to chat about them.

The zoo happened to be PACKED that night. I mean, it was just a few days before Christmas, so I don’t know what I was expecting. So we saw tons of people wandering around. But you know what we didn’t see tons of? Animals. Apparently they thought it was cold too.

A few of the animals did have the courtesy to show up (not the polar bear though. Come on, it’s winter! Isn’t that supposed to be his season?). The bad news is that while I took a ton of pictures (45 to be exact), onlyapproximately 1.5 of them turned out. Boooo! So, you’ll just have to use your imagination.

Date #11 Zoo Lights

I guess the flamingo theme from Date #3 was carried on in Date #11 too. The tunnel of lights was actually my favorite. It changed colors looked amazing.

Ok, so we did see a couple of animals. When we made our way into the reptile/monkey/random small animal house, we found warmth and animals.

Date #11 Animals

Of course the pictures I took of the cute cuddly animals came out blurry, but the ones I took of snakes? Yeah, crystal clear. Blech!

Date #11 Snakes

Craig M. said he was a cat guy, and that was proved when this blur of a kitty-like creature walked up to the glass where he was standing. No, I didn’t get a picture of that. Thanks for asking.

Date #11 Cat

Cat whisperer, indeed. In fact, he said he had a cat that would climb onto the bottom shelf of the refrigerator in the summer to keep cool, and occasionally would accidentally get shut in there. Admittedly, the thought of a cat in my house, let alone in my fridge, is kind of horrifying to me. But, good for him? [INSERT APPROPRIATE AND TACTFUL THING TO SAY HERE]

The evening wound down with a trip to the zoo cafe to grab some hot chocolate and chat. We talked about Craig M’s job, about how he lived in California for a bit, about the time he took a trip to New York, and about how he once had to kick his roommates out because they’d turned his house into a druggie hangout. So, you know, the usual stuff.

After we were sufficiently thawed out (ok, after I was sufficiently thawed out—apparently Craig M. doesn’t get cold), we headed back outside and called it a night.

Craig M. was an all-around nice guy who gave me the chance to finally check the Hogle Zoo off my bucket list. Totally worth an evening in the cold.

Date #10 of My 12 Dates of Christmas: Sean

It’s hard to know what to say about Date #10, Sean. Why’s that? Well, because we’ve still never met.

Confused? I’ll clear it up for you . . .

HE STOOD ME UP!

Yep.

This is normally the part of the post where I put a picture of him or the two of us. Since we never met, I’m just going to post a picture of what I imagined he looked like. I was positive he would resemble one of these fellas:

12 Dates, Sean Lowe, Josh Duhamel, Garrett Hedlund, Jesse Metcalfe, Justin Bruening, Rick Malambri

Now that I’ve been stood up by him, I think he probably looks more like this:

12 Dates #10 Quasimodo

The truth is I wasn’t totally surprised when Sean bailed on me since he’d been pretty flaky from the beginning. Sean’s sister is a friend of my tech genius friend, Sarah. The sister was one of the first people to contact me to say her brother was on board for a date. But after I didn’t get a response to my email or voicemail, I started to feel like I was stalking him. I contacted his sister again to ask if he had changed his mind. She reassured me that he was still on board.

After finally exchanging a few texts, we set up a date.

That was the last I ever heard from Sean.

The day of our date we still didn’t have a game plan, so I sent him a text.

12 Dates #10 Sean Text

 

No response.

A couple of hours later, I left him a voicemail.

Still no response.

That night I sent this text:

12 Dates #10 Sean Text 2

 

Aaaaannnd, he never responded.

Lame.

I actually don’t care that he changed his mind about the date. I get that going on a date that gets blogged about isn’t for everyone, and I would have understood if he wasn’t up for it. But the fact that he just went silent is not cool at all.

But as soon as I started thinking he was a jerk, I realized that maybe something happened to him that made it so he couldn’t respond. These are the top three theories I came up with:

  1. He was pushed off the Frontrunner platform and landed on the tracks. There was a train approaching (an express, of course) and a UTA worker jumped onto the tracks, rolled him to safety, and saved his life. Unfortunately, the accident left him in a coma. Due to a misunderstanding, Sean’s family thought he and the UTA worker were engaged. The family invited the UTA worker over for Christmas, and she ended up falling in love with Sean’s brother. In this case, when Sean wakes up from his coma, the truth will be revealed (most likely at their wedding), and Sean and I will have another chance at love. Oh, and the UTA worker will finally get a stamp in her passport.
  2. A crisis at the North Pole meant that Christmas was in jeopardy. Santa sent his elves to Utah in search of the Christmas spirit. That’s where they met Sean, a workaholic who no longer believed in the magic of Christmas. The elves set a plan in motion knowing that if they could make him believe, Christmas would be saved. Unfortunately, the elves were unaware of Sean’s plans with me, and instead scheduled him to wrap presents and deliver them to orphans. The good news: the plan worked and Christmas was saved. The bad news: I got stood up, which shook my faith in the magic of dating. I suppose it’s time for the elves to set another plan in motion.
  3. Sean’s nephew was starving, so he stole a loaf of bread and ended up getting sentenced to five years of hard labor in prison. That five years turned into nineteen years. When he was finally released, he stole some silver from a priest, who forgave him and made him promise to become an honest man. Sean was changed from that moment, but had to hide his identity. He started a factory and became the mayor, but because he had broken parole and was a fugitive of the law, he was unable to contact me and cancel our date.

Uh, it’s possible I watched too many movies over the last couple of weeks.

So what did I do instead of going on the date?

12 Dates #10 Chick fil A Old Navy

I treated myself to some Chick-fil-A nuggets and a new workout jacket from Old Navy, then sat in front of my fireplace and got some work done. Best of all, I didn’t have far to go at the end of the night, and there was no awkward doorstep scene.

As for you Sean, I hope you come out of your coma and continue to have the Christmas spirit. Oh, and good luck with that factory.

Date #9 of My 12 Dates of Christmas: Jeff

Date #9 was another fella sent to me by my friend Lindsey. It seems to be a general rule that good people know other good people. That was proven true by both of the dates Lindsey set me up on. Jeff and Lindsey used to work together.

12 Dates #9 Jeff

Jeff came to my house to pick me up for our date. This was especially nice of him since I live a good distance from where the rest of our date was taking place. In fact, Lindsey believes my city isn’t real because it’s so far away from where she lives, and my friend Michelle is convinced I really live in Idaho. I say they both just need to discover the wonder that is Davis County.

When Jeff came to the door, I invited him in for a split second while I grabbed my purse and keys, and then we headed on our way. He introduced himself as we were walking to the car and I realized if it hadn’t been him I might have accidentally ended up on a date with someone selling pest control or vacuum cleaners or something. What can I say, I just assume every guy who comes to my door is there to take me on a date.

We went to Fratelli Ristorante for dinner. Since we had to be at our next activity by 6:30, we were catching a 5 o’clock dinner. This meant the restaurant was mostly empty, except for a couple of old people who were presumably finishing their dinner so they could get home to watch an episode of Matlock and go to bed.

Neither of us had ever been to Fratelli before. Let me tell you—Oh. My. It was delicious. I had an internal struggle about what to order and finally landed on the Fratelli Pizza. When a pizza is loaded with mascarpone, gorgonzola, pear, arugula, prosciutto, and a balsamic reduction it’s a recipe for yum. Don’t worry, the arugula was pilled on top like a mini salad, so it’s like I was still true to the weird salad habit I’ve developed lately.

12 Dates #9 Pizza

Jeff, who has been following along with some of the dates on my blog, insisted I take a picture of some of his food as well. This is his tomato something-or-other soup. I didn’t try it, but I’m sure it was great.

12 Dates #9 Jeff Soup

I learned a lot of important things about Jeff over dinner. For example, he’s been booed off the stage at a stand-up comedy open mic night in New York, his apartment is a magnet for Christmas trees (they currently have five of them), and he doesn’t decorate his apartment or “Like” TV shows or music on Facebook because he’s afraid if he commits to one thing it’s unfair to all of the other things that he still likes but hasn’t officially declared his admiration for. So, he doesn’t want to put a poster for a band up because then he’d feel the need to either put a poster up for ALL the bands he likes, just to show impartiality.

So let’s get this straight, a 30-something-year-old with commitment issues? That’s so hard to believe.

However, he is willing to tell you his favorite music and TV shows, he just won’t officially declare his love via social media or any visible or tangible way. I guess that way everything stays off the record. So I guess in translating that to relationships, Jeff would be willing to declare his love, but don’t ever expect a love note or “In a Relationship” status from him.

After dinner we moved on to the part that will probably make some of you jealous. In fact, when I told a friend that this is what we were doing, she flat out told me she hated me. I have very kind and loving friends, in case that wasn’t apparent. Anyway, Jeff works for jetBlue, and that night they were having their Christmas party, which happened to be a private screening of Les Misérables.

12 Dates #9 Les Mis

At some point Jeff asked me if I would be singing along all karaoke style to the movie. I said no, but that’s when he revealed that he might. Apparently he has a penchant for belting the hits. I’m pretty sure I asked him what his favorite songs to sing were, and I’m pretty sure his response was ‘N Sync, with a particular fondness for “Bye, Bye, Bye.” Ok, that may not have been it, but since I can’t quite remember what his response was, that’s what I’m sticking with.

The movie was so good! With the exception of Russell Crowe, who, in my humble opinion, can’t sing worth crap, I thought it was really well cast. Marius and the whole band of revolutionaries and Eponine were definitely my favorites. And what’s not to love about this?

Since the movie doesn’t officially release until tomorrow, here’s a little sneak peak still shot I stole for you from the end of the movie. You’re welcome.

12 Dates #9 Les Miserables

On the drive home we chatted all about New York. Jeff lived there for a couple of years, and I am hoping to make a move out there in February. I learned about some of his favorite restaurants (none of which he “Likes” on social media—surprise, surprise) and other cool things about living in the city. It got me excited about the move. And I guess I’m ready since I passed the “folding my pizza” test at dinner. Phew! Bring it on!