Last Saturday was a good day — it was the day that I became convinced I had made a great apartment/roommate choice. I came back from my morning run to Riverside Park (lovely, but not quite like run along the Charles) and found my roommate at the kitchen table, reading an Us magazine (1 point for K; I also enjoy trashy tabloid mags). We started chatting about our day and what we each had planned. Neither of us had much on the agenda.
Yes, I should have been unpacking. I still haven’t made as much headway as I would like (#movingistheworst). What could I do to avoid unpacking AND the inevitable guilt that would come from putzing around the apartment, walking around my boxes while looking for something to entertain myself?? K came to my rescue! She offered to take me around the neighborhood, showing me where some essential, must-know locales were (2 points for K: not judging me for procrastinating and assisting me in my procrastination efforts).
Our first stop, mani/pedis! It is absolutelyessential to one’s well-being to know which salons are clean, can be trusted, and have the best trashy magazine selection. Also, interesting to me, it’s helpful to know at which ones you will actually get service. There’s a nail salon two doors down from my apartment, but K said that it can be hard to get a seat there and obliquely indicated that she thought it had to do with being a white girl in Harlem. Discrimination is not something that I had given a moment’s thought to. In all honesty, I have never been a minority, except for my short stint as a missionary in Chile…and even that was different because I had a nametag. I can’t help but wonder when/if being white will come into play again in my neighborhood.
After stopping at Lilac Nail Salon for our mani/pedis (I opted for a conservative pale pink on the nails — I was starting a new job on Monday after all — and a wilder, funky purple on my toes), we shuffled our newly painted toes and flip-flopped feet down the street to the next essential stop: Levain Bakery. I had heard of it before from another friend but had never stopped in. K felt it was imperative that I get an introduction to this all-too-close-to-my-apartment-for-my-own-good establishment. Their cookies are $4. Now that’s a pretty pricey cookie! BUT, they also weigh a pound. A POUND!! They’re about 4″ in diameter and about 2″ tall…and they are delightful! Uh-oh…I’m in trouble!! K treated me to a dark chocolate peanut butter chip (oh my!), while she opted for her favorite chocolate chip walnut. We walked back to the apartment and sat at the table eating cookies and discovering more things we had in common (3 points = 1 for introducing me to Levain, 1 for treating me to a cookie, and 1 for being a Humanities, Art History major at BYU, too!!)
Later that afternoon, we got dolled up and headed to Stake Conference together. I know, I know — Saturday evening session?! Don’t blink, you might miss me being translated. Stake conference was good and after conference, K let me be her shadow, following her around and introduced me to a number of new people (another point for K).
The night was still young and, with no immediate plans (it was a delicious, lazy Saturday), we decided to head out for dinner. K took me to a vegan place (1 point for being open to vegan places), Blossom. It was probably more hip than me, but I can hold my own with raw, vegan stuff. I had a tasty quinoa salad that I could probably replicate at home for a fraction of the price. K had less than stellar beet “ravioli.” Which brings me to a mini-rant: my “beef” (pun intended) with vegan/raw restaurants is how they create something that has the idea of a cooked/non-veg dish and give it the same name, but then it is NOTHING like the original dish. For example, K’s beet ravioli, or the key lime “cheesecake” we ordered for dessert. As much as it wanted to be cheesecake and tried to convince us that it was indeed cheesecake — it wasn’t. Honestly, I don’t really want to know what one does to come up with the cheesecake texture and consistency without using the real ingredients. It just sounds like gastronomical witchcraft — lots of soy proteins, thickeners, and crap. In case you were wondering, the cheesecake wasn’t a winner.
As we left the restaurant, we saw the ground was wet and congratulated ourselves for our impeccable timing of missing the rain. As we walked toward the subway, however, we started feeling a few drops here and there. Drops turn to sprinkles, sprinkles to showers, and before you know it, we were quite soaked. With skirt and dress gathered in our hands, and useless ballet flats flapping as we ran, we darted through the city streets, laughing all the way home (impossible to determine the points for this…at the end of it all, I realized that I had won!).