About Amanda

I’m a disgruntled Metro-North commuter by morning, real estate journalist by day, insomniac by night, and cancer butt-kicker for life.

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New York City

Happy 2014!

Wow, I haven’t posted here in a long time. What better day to come back than New Year’s Day?

It certainly was an exciting year, and plenty happened since my last entry of June 9. While in contract for the short sale, we found another house we liked a block away, and bought it while still in contract for the other.  We closed on the house July 18, and less than 18 hours later on July 19 (which also happened to be Lexcie’s 34th birthday), we marched over to Ossining Town Hall and got eloped!


That day, a Metro-North train also derailed on our new home line (The Hudson Line), and we wound up driving into work. Since we eloped, we hadn’t taken time off of work, and both went in. On the way in, I called both my mom and boss and told them I got eloped. Mom was shocked, and of course, owning a bridal shop, asked me what I wore. The dress above was the only one in my wardrobe that doesn’t wrinkle, and since we didn’t have much at the house yet, that’s what I wore! It took us so long to get to Manhattan with traffic, by the time we drove in, parked, and got to our respective offices, my co-workers had set up a part with cake, champagne, and flowers. I was pleasantly surprised!

Apparently I’m quite talented at pouring champagne towers.

The house has been quite an adventure so far. It’s an 1884 Victorian and has a lot of little quirks, which we liked. It’s a never-ending project though! Right now, we’ve been without heat since the end of October, and it’s been quite the hassle trying to find someone who will covert us from oil to gas within a decent price range or is responsive. We’re hopefully getting somewhere, though. I’ll be chronicling all of my adventures soon on HouseByTheHudson.com.

A month later, I was finally told by my oncologist—after 8 years—that I could finally be called the “c” word. “Cured,” that is, which is huge.

There were plenty of other highlights, so 2013 will be hard to beat. I’m looking forward to what 2014 might bring!

I’m not making any resolutions this year, because I’ll probably break them all, but I leave you with my favorite proverb: Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.



101 in 1,001 – The Results

For the past 1,000 days, I participated in Day Zero’s 101 Day Project, a unique challenge that inspires you to set and achieve your personal goals in life. My friend Caitlin had started one, and I was intrigued. At that point, I had been in five years’ remission from cancer and was basically a lump when it came to goal setting. The diagnosis had resulted in my having a hard time looking in the future, as I got in the mindset of “Well, anything can change quickly.” I thought that starting the list would be better than a so-called bucket list in inspiring me to look forward again. (And I’d just beaten cancer… why would I want to think about kicking the bucket?)

The challenge runs 1,001 days—I started September 12, 2010 and ended today, June 9, 2013. To count, tasks must be specific with a defined result that represents some amount of work on my part. Here’s a summary of my first list and what happened. Bolded items are ones that were completed. Not bad for my first try, with 54 of 101 goals achieved. I start Part II tomorrow, and will aim for 75 next.

Continue reading

One Place I Forgot To Check

Today, I hopped on the M4 bus to go to Penn Station. When I boarded, the MetroCard machine was broken, so the driver waved me on. Sweet, a free ride!

But this time, I didn’t immediately put my MetroCard back in my pocketbook. As I sat down toward the middle of the bus, the card went flying out of my hand. I looked on the floor, on the seat, and throughout my bag, but couldn’t find it. I then glanced under the window, and saw the card jammed between the seat and the wall.

It took extreme acrobatics to maintain a ladylike posture in a skirt while trying to dislodge my stuck MetroCard. An Asian woman said, “I’m small! I’ll help!” and climbed under the seat to try. No luck. Other passengers handed me random pens, pieces of plastic, and other apparatus from their purses in an effort to remove it. Despite everyone’s valiant efforts, I thought my MetroCard will likely remain a permanent fixture on bus #6626.

Tonight, I went for a massage, and as I got undressed for my appointment, guess what fell out of my bra? Yep, my MetroCard. Turns out that that the helpful Asian woman and I had been trying to vainly dislodge someone else’s lost MetroCard for 15 minutes. Now who’s the boob?

Our First NYC Easter Parade!

Easter is a holiday usually spent with family, but this year was a bit different. Mom decided to spend Easter in Florida with my brother, who moved down there last year. Alex and I were left to our own devices, so we thought we’d do something we’ve never done before: the NYC Easter Parade.

It was a goal on my 101 in 1,001 list to participate in a parade, and I was originally supposed to march with Fordham University in NYC’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade this year. But it snowed and rained that day, so in order to fulfill that goal, it was the Easter Parade or nothing.  So bonnets it was. (At least it wouldn’t be as complicated as the time we built reefed subway cars for the Coney Island Mermaid Parade in 2008.)

Of course, we don’t like to be normal, so it couldn’t be straw hats and fake flowers. We thought it should be something NYC themed, like the subway cars. Since we already did those, Alex thought that perhaps we should do buses. At some point, we came up with the idea of doing Staten Island Ferries… but instead of a normal boat, it would have bunny ears and and a tail. As an appreciator of all puns good and bad, the “Staten Island Furries” were born.

As we planned for our bonnets, we were discussing the other way to Staten Island—the Verrazano Bridge. Mom joked that was one way to “passover” to the borough. So, of course, we had to make the bridge hat. But we needed a third person. And who better than our friend Deena from Fireball Network!

The hats turned out to be a lot more complicated that we originally thought they’d be—I’d say they took about 15 hours in total, not counting trips to Michael’s and waiting for paint to dry. Using a combination of old Priority Mail boxes, a panko bread crumb container, plastic bowls from Panera Bread, fuzzy fabric, pipe cleaners, felt, glitter, brads, and a LOT of Mod Podge, we finally finished the hats:


Here I am with both hats (Alex and I wore similar Furry hats) and the sign Deena held with another pun: EZ Passover Accepted in All Lanes. (As she joked, if her people had as good directions back when, they wouldn’t have wandered the desert for 40 days and 40 nights.) It certainly took some posturing and alterations to keep the bonnets on our heads—not to mention it later got windy, and even mini Staten Island Ferries and the Verrazano Bridge sway a lot in the breeze.

“On the Avenue, Fifth Avenue, the photographers will snap us, and you’ll find that you’re in the rotogravure!”

We certainly weren’t expecting the reaction we got, especially since we were among so many creative bonnets! We couldn’t walk more than two feet without someone stopping us and then multiple people taking our picture. Not just folks on smartphones, but even press photographers. It will be fun to see what comes out in the news and Flickr over the next few days. So far, Deena and I have made Easter Parade coverage in the NY Daily News and all three of us appear on Whom You Know, Examiner.com , and Xinuhanet coverage. We must’ve gotten at least 300 photos taken of us, if not more. Real Staten Islanders were particularly amused (and somewhat disappointed that the three of us didn’t actually hail from their borough).

One memorable moment was someone smacking me hard on the butt. I turned around and it was a little boy, no more than two or three. “Picture!” he demanded. His mother was mortified, but I obliged.

Here’s another shot of us that was taken by David Handschuh from the NY Daily News:



I particularly enjoyed this tweet from a disgruntled parade-goer. Twitter name redacted to protect the moody teenager who was dragged to this awful parade by Mommy:

just saw a woman wearing a homemade easter bonnet shaped like the “Staten Island Furry” rabbit thing god what a freak TAKE ME HOME

Glad to be of service!

We wrapped up the day with some Potbelly Sandwich Shop then dessert at my brother-in-law’s family gathering (does that make them my in-law in-laws?)

Neither Alex nor I can walk anymore, and my legs feel like iron weights are attached to them. Even though two miles wasn’t a lot to walk (Penn Station to Grand Central Terminal to the parade route of Fifth Avenue between 49th and 57th streets), the constant stopping and posing took its toll.

More photos (and a post from Deena on what we learned at the parade) soon!



Almost Finished!

Lexcie and I spent a very long day crafting to put the finishing touches on our NYC Easter Parade hats. We’re covered in Mod Podge, glitter, paint, and hot glue, but we’re very happy with the results. Here’s a tease; we’ll reveal the fruits of our labor tomorrow:



We have lots of cleaning to do before Mom gets home from Florida.