Stress week

Oof, I’ve four stressful days ahead of me. I can’t believe four months have almost passed by already but there’s still so much stuff left to do! I just finished my final exam for Events Planning (it went well!) and now I’ve to finish two out of five drawings for my arts class that are due tomorrow night and have to be presented in class.

After the presentation, I’m gonna taste wine with a friend for the final paper I’m writing for Wine Studies. Very much looking forward to start writing this paper! I’m gonna write about food and wine combinations, for those who’re interested in my topic. Hopefully I’m able to WOW my professor. Small chance as he’s been in the wine business for a longer time than Bill Gates has been in the computer industry.. Wednesday afternoon I should be finished writing the paper.

Wednesday night and Thursday are dedicated to finalising five projects for Advertising Design. I’m super happy with the magazine cover, feature spread and secondary spread I made but I’m a perfectionist and won’t rest until the job is perfected. Life as a perfectionist is hard! Besides these projects I also have to work on a poster and brochure and I still don’t know which way I want to go.

To be honest, I’m not stressed, I’m barely ever stressed out. For everyone who reads this and is in the same boat as I am: you’ll make it! Believe in yourself and work hard. I know the last mile is the hardest but you can do it!

Just keep in mind there’s only three more nights until Thirsty Thursday!

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For all the men I know

Hi, I’m a girl and I love meeting new people but there’s something you need to learn about women in general. Have you every heard of the song “Hello” by Martin Solveig? That’s the womens’ national anthem. For all us girls (okay, most of us), giving a compliment to men does not mean “hey, I want to get into your pants!”. If a girl says “I like your beard”, she literally likes your beard or whatever she just complimented you about.

From my experience, men don’t get compliments. They love receiving them, but they always, and I mean ALWAYS believe there’s something behind this little compliment. No. I like giving people compliments, give them a little confidence boost, make them happy for a second. It really is as simple as it gets.

If you ask me for my number, you’ll probably get it because I’m a nice person and I want to be your friend, but just your friend, nothing more nothing less.

The thing with men (I shall be honest, this goes for a lot of women too) though, is they’re desperate for attention. This may or may not be deliberate but there will always be this hope in everyone’s mind that someone will like them in the way of “like like”. Hang on, there’s definitely someone out there for you! I’m sure you’ll find that person but until that time, don’t take every compliment too seriously. Just let it be, say thank you. You don’t have to compliment back, simply smile and thank the other one.

Another thing. Some people are in relationships. Men tend to forget this which leads to awkward situations. Guys and girls will never have a conversation like this in a bar/nightclub/etc:

Girl “Nice shirt!”
Guy “Hey thanks. What’s your name?”
Girl “My name is Elja and I have a boyfriend. What’s your name?”
Guy “..”

Yeah, that’s when we lost you. Can’t guys and girls just be friends? The one thing girls want is a pure platonic relationship with guys other than their love interest. (If you’re our love interest, believe me, you will notice. We will make it very, very obvious. That obvious, there’s no getting around that fact anymore.)

I’m just another girl who seems to like flirting and hanging out with people, and that person could be you.

Okay, now I proof read this post I see it’s kinda weird and awkward.. Well, I guess we just have to give in to the fact that it will always be like that.

Brooklyn nightlife: Output Club

I could not believe my eyes. Last Thursday I was sitting in class when I stumbled across this party in Bedford, Brooklyn. Tanner Ross + Slow Hands, Soul Clap and Wolf + Lamb. All of these house magicians in a newly opened (January 2013) Brooklyn club called the Output. I didn’t have my credit card with me so I quickly ran to my dorm to pick it up and ran back to class. My professor didn’t even notice me being away, that’s shows how excited I was. One minute later – score! – I’m gonna have a fantastic night in the city!

I looked at their website at everything looked cool. It was certain that they spent a lot of time perfecting their mission statement, club interior and exterior, social media and of course, their listings. In the Netherlands a line up like this one would’ve been sold out months before the actual date. This event wasn’t sold out which shows how far behind the New York City house scene is. It’s strange when you think about it, as the roots of electronic music are in the United States, while it’s way more popular in Berlin, Amsterdam, London, Paris, et cetera.

Anyway, once arrived at the club at a ridiculous late time (2 am), there still was a line. The line took fairly long but it seems that normally the line in front of the entrance goes even across the street. Apparently, this house club is exactly what Brooklyn – or NYC more generally – needed.

The bouncers were friendly and laid back, though strict enough. They check your bag, search your coat and pockets and if nothing’s suspicious, you’re all set to go in. The Output has a mandatory cloak room. I brought a bag with me and put my coat inside. It only cost me $3 which is extremely reasonable compared to Manhattan clubs.

The club has only one stage but it’s two levels high. There’s four stairs so people can always find a way downstairs without getting lost between the crowd. The crowd is very pleasant. They’re all young, beautiful people who clearly have a thing for house music. They’re stylish, but not overdressed, nor underdressed. I think the average age is about 25 years old and the ratio men/women is approximately 65/35.

When I was waiting in line by myself, I met two guys who live in New York. One of them lives in a spacious apartment in the TriBeCa area, the other one – allegedly – in a shitty Brooklyn apartment. It doesn’t matter, they were nice to me and I enjoyed spending time with them. I’ve noticed that many Brooklyn residents are open to the rookies in town and love to tell you about their experiences and recommendations. Big plus for me as I like talking to people I’ve never spoken to before, and because I like exploring new places.

Okay, so the club just opened a couple of months ago. The dance floor is in superb condition, as well as the simple decor and couches on the second floor (there’s ample space for people to sit in case you need to cool down for a bit or just want to chill). It wasn’t terribly hot inside the club, something that usually bothers me when I’m out. In fact, there was enough air around everyone to breath and to even shake our hips to the beats.

The Funktion One sound system is – of course – top notch. Very nice to listen to, especially because I didn’t bring earplugs with me and at the end of the night, my ears didn’t hurt at all.

There are multiple full bars in the club on both floors. It doesn’t take long before you’re served. If you give a big bill, don’t forget to ask back your change because the girl who served me brutally gave herself a $6 tip. I couldn’t care too much though, I was pretty impressed by the looks and everything of this club. Note that they stop serving alcohol after 4 am.

Smoking inside is prohibited. Please be careful if you decide to smoke inside, because security walks around with flashlights shining on the floor looking for burning cigarette buds. This girl next to me on the dance floor was blamed for smoking while it was actually a guy who was playing dumb but still checking out the situation. Good way of ruining someone else’s evening as she was almost kicked out of the club. Smoking happens in a designated area outside.

Another thing they have is not allowing phones inside. Obviously you’re allowed to make a phone call or text someone but taking photos or videos is an absolute no go. And don’t try it out because I’ve heard stories about people getting warnings and stuff from the security. I don’t know if it’s true, but the night is better without a phone anyway. Just enjoy the music instead of twittering and instagramming all the time.

General information

Address: 74 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn
Closest subway: Bedford (L train), Nassau (G train) – they’re only a couple of blocks away, no need for a cab
Minimum age: 21+
Price category: $$$
Other: Once you leave the club, you can’t get in again without paying for a new ticket. This goes for most NYC clubs.

I can definitely recommend this place to all of you. I had a brilliant night surrounded by fine people and beautiful tunes to listen to.

Before I forget, here’s a little recap of my night; When I walked into the club, Tanner Ross and Slow Hands were playing “The Blame Game”. The night couldn’t have started any better! They absolutely blew my mind. It was a live concert, both of them were singing and Tanner Ross was spinning the wheels. They played on the actual stage, but when they finished, they continued the night playing at a temporary stage in the middle of the crowd, which was pretty cool.

Yeah, it was a good night.

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Heading towards the end

Only five more weeks left in New Jersey before I fly out to Los Angeles for three, hopefully wonderful weeks in California.

This semester has gone by so quickly. I met wonderful people whom I’ll definitely miss dearly, went tons of times to one of the greatest Metropolitan cities in the world and of course, studied a little.

Fairleigh Dickinson University feels like my home now, and I’m by no meaning ready to leave this place. The last 11 weeks have been marvelous and needless to say, I would love to stay here another semester, was it not that I’ve almost finished my studies in the Netherlands. The only things left to do are doing four exams, find an internship for at least ten weeks and write my final thesis.

These following five weeks will be hectic as opposed to the previous weeks. Six projects due for my Advertising Design class (love this class so much even though I didn’t like it too much in the beginning), plenty of papers due for several classes but thank God for my Wine Wednesdays where I get to learn about wine, smell, taste and review it, and all of that in class (for 3 credits, ha!).

The weather is nice outside, so I’m off to sit on the grass with my amazing friend Ruby and watch the last home match of our tennis team. Enjoy your day beautiful people!

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NYC. Wow.. Just wow

I’m sitting on a bench by the pier in Greenpoint. My view is astonishing, I can’t describe how I’m feeling.

It’s 76 degrees, I’m in Brooklyn and looking at the big island called Manhattan. From every place I’ve been in the city so far, this is absolutely my favourite place.

While I’m looking at the o-so polished Manhattan midtown, I feel such a big gap between these two boroughs. Manhattan is clean, fast, extremely touristic and all about money (just to name a few). Brooklyn is tainted in a positive way, full of meaningful graffiti and being different is the most normal thing in the world.

I like this place. I feel inspired, relaxed and nothing’s on my mind except for how amazing this part of town is. I’ve the earbuds of my iPod in and I don’t mind that the album I was listening to ended 10, 20 or maybe even 30 minutes ago.

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Brooklyn is AWESOME

There’s just something magical about this place. I went to Manhattan earlier today and really, there’s such a big difference between the heart of New York and everything outside of the main island Manhattan. This was the third time I went to Brooklyn and for some reason, this place amazes me every time I go here. It feels like home, but differently. Brooklyn is in the capital of the world, though it doesn’t feel like New York. Brooklyn has this weird, laid back ambiance. The people I’ve met are so open to what life has to offer and as opposed to Manhattan, they’re genuinely interested in the words you say. I guess you could say Brooklyn doesn’t have boundaries, it’s mellow though upbeat, it’s young, vibrant, international and it has this original swag. I can’t describe it otherwise, you have to experience to believe it.

At the moment of writing I was at Shea Stadium. It’s a small venue in East Williamsburg, 7 minutes walking distance from the nearest subway (if you wanna go there, take the L train to Brooklyn and hop off at Grand Central/Bushwick). It smells like sweat, their bar is about 3 feet big and their unisex toilets look like ones you’ve never seen before. One of the two restrooms even has a crooked shower. The venue is hidden behind a grey door, very unnoticeable, and you gotta walk up the stairs as it is on the second floor. The venue is twice the size of my living room and there’s couches everywhere, as well as hipsters (everyone wears either Converse, Vans or brothel creepers). The decor doesn’t make sense at all but the bands are cool and energetic.

Before I went to Shea Stadium, I was just wandering around the area. On my left hand, there was a night club and right after that, a furniture shop. The owner was inside and curious as I am I looked inside. I saw this beautiful cat, named Santo and after I finished my cigarette the owner invited me to have a look around and have a shot of some really good vodka. The guy is from Syria and his name is Ibraham. A long time ago he moved here because of the Taliban, crazy Muslim rules and the unpleasant society in Syria. He told me about Muslim stuff in Syria and how he didn’t like living there. The furniture in the shop are all handmade by him. He’s a very positive person and I enjoyed the 10 minutes I spent with him.

I walked out of his shop and went to the venue right next to it. I’m not familiar in Brooklyn, everything is still new and exciting, I’m just trying to discover this place. I asked the bouncer if I could have a sneak peak inside and then someone else showed me the place. It’s small, just like the other two Brooklyn venues I’ve been to, and it looked pretty much alike every other place. I gotta say, the venues are very practical. The bar is located on the side, stage in the middle in the back and merchandise is on the side in the middle. The damage isn’t too bad either most of the times. Count on about 8 to 10 bucks, and a double vodka is far below Manhattan prices. The bouncer gave me directions to Shea Stadium, literally ten steps away from where I was standing.

So how did I end up at this place? On Thursday I went to see one of my favourite bands, We Are Scientists. I bought their CD ‘With Love And Squalor’ 6 years ago in London. I didn’t know them, just liked their album cover so I bought it. Turned out pretty good! They have a British indie sound and are very well received in the UK. In fact, they’re more popular in England than anywhere else. I read they were performing at the GAP store on 34th in midtown Manhattan so I signed up and one week later I was standing in line (in the rain) to see them. 21+ which means free drinks, cool! The gig was simply amazing. They were very talkative and funny but more importantly, they played well. After the concert I talked to Keith Murray, lead singer of the band. I want to explore and experience New York like real New Yorkers do so I asked him what he was going to do this weekend. He said he was going to Shea Stadium to see the Paws (band from Glasgow) and recommended me to go there. So here I am, writing this post on the couch in Shea Stadium (named after the home of the NY Mets).

Keith and I @ Gap

After the gig was finished, I went to this bar called ‘The Anchored Inn’ just around the corner with Keith and the Paws. We talked, drank and laughed. Just wonderful.

Here’s a little shout out to my friends Michalis, Mathias and Phil. Thanks for picking me up in Williamsburg, you guys are the best.

Have a great day you all. I’m off to Miami!

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I’m slightly panicked..

It’s Tuesday and tomorrow at noon I’ve to give a presentation to my classmates. I’m the worst at giving presentations because I’m shy when it comes to public speaking. I also need to hand in a paper and in the evening I have my first midterm. Eerrmmm!

At the beginning of the year, I said to myself “this year I’m gonna study on time for exams and do my homework directly after class”. College doesn’t work this way for anyone. College is about partying rather than studying. So much for new year resolutions, ha?

Oh, and on Monday we’re leaving for Miami but I can’t find my passport anywhere..

Circus in Central Park

Last Sunday was a sunny day so I decided to go to New York City’s Central Park. The bus came on time, no traffic jam on the way and I didn’t have to wait long for the subway to bring me to 5 Av/59 St.

I stepped out of the subway station and as soon as I saw the natural light, the sunshine blinded me. It was beautiful. I haven’t had this exact feeling ever since summer ended. I put on my beloved sunglasses, had a quick look at the Diesel window, picked up a cup of coffee and walked to the Upper East Side entrance of Central Park. This was my very first Central Park experience and it already began so dreamy and perfect.

It was still too cold to sit on the grass so instead I chose a nice looking bench to sit on when all of a sudden a crowd of approximately 30 people were lining up in front of me, in rows of four. What the hell were they going to do?

There was a person sat next to me reading a paper. I couldn’t see his or her face but I was kind of intrigued because this person also covered his head with a baseball cap. Kind of like how you see it in movies when someone spies on someone else.

Then someone with a boom box came from behind a tree and pressed on the play button. Thrift shop blasting out of the speakers, wicked! Check the track below if you don’t know it yet.

So imagine you sitting in the park in Manhattan on a sunny day, right next to an unknown person and a bunch of people standing in front of you. Got it?

Then something like this happened (I didn’t tape it myself because I was totally overwhelmed by all of this energy and weirdness):

Then, out of the blue Sir William Vanderbilt walks by. I know who this is and I should, because I’m a big circus fanatic. Sir William Vanderbilt is one of the most famous lion tamers in the world. Lions are my favourite animals and I love going to the circus, it makes me feel like a little kid again. Of course, he didn’t bring a lion (would’ve been epic though), but he did bring a couple of his fellow circus co-workers. The first one was a juggler. He was so impressive! This guy was huge, I think I could easily fit in his body twice. But yeah, he’s very talented and I think the Big Apple Circus will definitely bring out the best in him and also the other way around. If you have the chance to see this circus, please do, you’re gonna be surprised by their acts for sure.

And then came the clowns. I don’t like clowns so I ran away to the subway, utterly scared they would follow me. I went to have coffee with the person who was sat next to me, you know, the one with the newspaper. He’s also afraid of clowns so he ran away with me simultaneously and his name is Andy Samberg, you may have heard this name before. If you don’t know him yet, meet Andy, a dapper fella known for this:

Alright wonderful people. I think I’ve written enough. Peace out!

This is a message to all gullible people: there’s only one true element in this story, the rest is plastic, people..

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What a beautiful day! I’m looking out of my window, the sun is shining and I’m feeling good. At this moment my life is in perfect harmony. I’m having a blast here in America and nothing can bring me down. Happiness is something we create ourselves. A wise man once said “folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be”. I really believe that’s true. There were times I wasn’t as happy as I am now and of course everyone has their down days, but being stuck in that moment won’t help anyone and definitely not yourself. Take matters in your own hands, be as inspiring as you want yourself to be because no one can be happy for you, it comes from within.

Last week a friend of mine let me watch video, called “The 3 A’s of Awesome”. It’s quite a long video but if you have some time to kill, please watch this video. You’ll certainly feel revived and more appreciative after seeing it.

People become less and less appreciative of small things. The other day I was walking with a fellow international student to the cafe and the sun broke through. I took a moment to enjoy the sun and she didn’t even notice the sunshine. Ever since I got here there’s been snow. It’s been so cold and the only thing everyone could think about was summer. Unfortunately we can’t make time pass faster so instead just enjoy little moments like these. Today it’s quite warm outside and everyone seems so much happier. It’s the small things that make life worthwhile.

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I love you, William

So Friday night was interesting! It all began in the morning, still drunk-ish form the night before. The university had sent out a weather alert due to the infamous American blizzard. When I woke up and looked out of the window it really didn’t look that bad. I thought the Americans exaggerated like they usually do. Guess I was wrong.

I walked back to my dorm and man, it was damn slippery outside. The snow was soft, wet and didn’t stick to the floor. Every hour it got worse and I was a bit afraid.. Not because of the weather but because of the possibility I was going to miss Jamie Jones’ gig in Brooklyn. It was snowing badly and I really underestimated the power of this snowstorm.

At 7:30 p.m. Michalis and I were waiting at the busstop. Yosua was late and I was freaking out because we couldn’t miss the bus. All New Jersey busses and trains were suspended as of 8 p.m. and the only other way to Brooklyn was by Mexican bus. The thing though, is this bus stops at route 4 and we were 15 minutes away from the highway. Walking through the snow would take us at least 30 minutes. Was it really mission impossible to get to the city..? Finally, at a quarter to 8 Yosh arrived. Many buses came by, except for the 168 to NYC Port Authority.. After having waited for over 50 minutes, we gave up hope. It was long past 8 and the snow kept coming. There was only one solution: warm up William and use this beautiful young fella to bring us to Brooklyn.

Now, most of you probably don’t know who William is. William is a young Swedish guy and as you know, the Swedish know how to handle snow. There he was, covered in snow waiting to serve for us, give us a hand and help us survive. Michalis took William and us for a testdrive and after 15 minutes we were all set to go. Brooklyn, here we come!

Around 10:30 p.m. we arrived in Brooklyn. Quickly drank some Russian distilled beverages and went into this club called SRB Brooklyn. It was pretty much empty inside but after 1 hour people were trickling in.

Jamie Jones started his gig at somewhere around 2 in the night. I had a short chat with him, which was nice and then finally some nice beats to dance to. I really liked it, but what I didn’t like was the New York City crowd. I was dancing just in front of the booth (no, I’m not a groupie) and this guy was standing next to me, constantly shouting “Woooooh Jamie Jones!! Jamie Jones!!”. Imagine someone doing that for TWO HOURS STRAIGHT. And he wasn’t the only one screaming for the DJs’ attention. At one point I couldn’t take it anymore and neither could Michalis. We were ready to go home. Yosh had the night of his life, so babe, I’m sorry for dragging you back to William!

Because of the heavy snowfall, poor William was snowed-in and we had to wipe it all off. And of course, William was stuck in the snow. Yosh tried to push him out of the snow but couldn’t do it on his own. Thank God for the lovely people walking by and helping us.

It took us an hour to get home, the highway was almost empty which was nice. After dropping Yosua off at the campus, Michalis and I went to get some food and got lottery tickets (don’t know why we did that though). Michalis didn’t win anything unfortunately and I won a rather paltry 4 bucks. It was a good night, an experience and definitely an adventure.

William, I am grateful for your existence. Thank you. And Michalis, thank you as well for driving us.

By the way, if you didn’t get the message yet, William is a fuel-propelled passenger vehicle on four wheels.

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