New York City Survival Guide
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New York City Survival Guide

Metro is your best friend.

Congrats! For whatever reason and for however long, you're making the move to the big city. New York really is a concrete jungle and it really is where dreams are made. It's full of character and life, adventure and experience.

However, there is a lot going on and it can be hard to adjust for some people. Luckily for you I've been there, done that, and am more than happy to share a little Big Apple wisdom with you. Because I promise you the city does not disappoint, as long as you keep a few things in mind.

1. Eating alone is totally OK and sometimes totally necessary.
If you eat alone in any average midwestern town, or any place similar, it's mostly a sad affair and a little against the social norm. In a big city like New York, it's nothing but normal. In a place where everyone is constantly so busy, sometimes a lunch alone is a break from the chaos.

There are rules, however. Never eat alone on the weekend--you should be able to find at least someone to eat with you then. Thursday nights are also a no. And never get a table for one at an overly nice restaurant.

2. The Metro is your friend. Use it.
Trust me, I get it, the Metro can be totally intimidating to those who haven't used it before. Typically I would suggest an App called HopStop, but it unfortunately no longer is with us. Really all you need to do is look at a map of NYC and go from there.

As long as you know the difference between the Uptown and Downtown trains you should have no issue. In just a matter of time you'll be hopping on trains like an old pro, knowing exactly where you're going and how to get there. Plus the train is way cheaper than taking a cab or Ubering everywhere.

3. Going to happy hour every night will not make your wallet happy.
Yes, half-priced drinks is a great deal, but even the little things add up. If you're a college student in the city for the summer, please do me a favor and keep in mind you're a college student. No need to spend money like you're Beyonce. Budget your money and figure out a Happy Hour allowance. I promise it will save you in the long run.

4. Make a point to try new things.
You're in one of the most diverse and lively cities in the world, appreciate that. Try foods from new countries and restaurants that aren't on top five lists (although you obviously should try those too). Make a point to go off the beaten path a little bit and learn more about the world you're living in.

5. Sitting and reading in the park is so underrated.
So so so underrated. I don't think a sunny day went by that I didn't spend at least 30 minutes in Washington Square with a book in my hand. It's a chance to sit down and relax in beautiful place. You'll see so many other people enjoying the day in the park and you really should take the hint. It's a true New Yorker thing to do.

6. Times Square is hell.
Just take a walk through if you haven't already. You'll never go back.

7. 5th Avenue shopping is a tourist trap.
I mean sure, it has good stores but they all have a million other locations throughout the city. Anything you can get on 5th ave you can get downtown. If you're a serious shopper you'll stick around Chelsea, Meatpacking, and SOHO areas. Broadway near the intersection of Broome is a good place to start.

8. You have no business between 35th and 49th st.
You'll pretty much only be here possibly for work or to meet friends who do work in midtown for after work drinks. Of course there are always exceptions, but for the most part Midtown is the ass of the city and not a great representation of the place.

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15 Random But Important Tips For All NYC Newbies

Trust me, you need these.

After a couple of summers interning in the city and making plenty of New York City native friends to show me the way, I've learned a lot of things I wish new-to-the-city me would have known. So to save you a little trouble and help you out a bit, I've put together a list of 15 random but oh-so useful tips I wish I would have known the first time I made the big move.

1. TAO and 1OAK are the last places anyone should go out.
If you plan on spending even five minutes of your weekend at either of these places, the Kardashians clearly have you brainwashed. I know you see celebrity after celebrity promoting these clubs and holing events there, but it is strictly because they're getting paid. Both spots are overrated and known tourist and "basic bitch" traps to real New Yorkers.

2. Unless you have exact change, never use cash in the Metro card machine.
Unless you're a collector of useless dollar coins, always use a card in these machines. I've on multiple occasions had $15+ worth of those annoying little guys spit out to me after refilling a card.

3. Go for the unlimited Metro pass.
Paying $130 a month is so worth it once you realize just how much you're going to be using it. You'll more than likely spend more than that a month refiling cards if you choose to just load them up with money to ride.

4. Shopping at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's is absolutely unnecessary.
Unless you're looking for specific items only sold at either of those overpriced grocery stores, you're throwing away your money shopping here. There are plenty of mom and pop grocery stores around you to load up on groceries at for half the price. You just have to actually make a point to find them.

5. The beach is just a train ride away.
A lot of people don't know this, but you can hop on the metro and be at the beach in an hour. Once you get off the train it's about a 10 minute walk to a nice, clean beach.

6. For every overpriced, overrated restaurant there is an equally delicious cheaper option.
While grabbing a nice dinner at Nobu or Postmating in a little Sugarfish can be a fun splurge time to time, they aren't the only options. Some people spend far too much money splurging on meals at restaurants they've heard of and can rely on. With a little research you can find the same quality food for much cheaper.

7. Avoid midtown when at all possible.
Obviously this isn't completely possible because a good majority of people work in Midtown and it is still the only home of certain shops and restaurants. However, unless you have a specific reason to be there, stay away. Midtown is the busiest, most touristy area in the whole city and really not all the enjoyable to hang around.

8. Train over taxi / Uber any day.
If you have a Metro card, always use it. You'll save so much more money just riding the train, not to mention the amount of time you'll save avoiding traffic.

9. Avoid taking the train after nine.
After 9 PM, the train is just not the place you want to be. I typically avoid taking it once the sun goes down. It's a whole other world after hours.

10. Washington Square Park is the best park in the city.
OK, so this may be a personal opinion. I will however say it is one a lot of New Yorkers share. There is plenty going on around you and plenty of people watching, but still has a relaxing Sunday afternoon feel to it.

11. The smaller the shop, the better the coffee.
I don't have any solid evidence or statistical proof on this one. It's just a known fact. If you're looking for a good coffee drink, a small shop is always the move. You'll never need to go into a Starbucks again.

12. Bodegas are your friend.
For those new to the city, these can seem a little sketchy. However, they're actually totally acceptable and much cheaper than going into a CVS to grab a bottle of water. They're on literally every corner, so you can always find one when you need one.

13. Brooklyn is absolutely worth going to.
I spent two whole summers in New York City without ever hopping on a train to Brooklyn. That was a big mistake. That was two summers of missing out on some of the best food and cutest shops. Definitely make an effort to go, it's really not that big of a hike.

14. The Lower East Side and Chinatown have some of the best going out spots.
Meatpacking is for the most part totally overrated. If you're looking for genuinely fun, chill spots to go out then look no further than these two neighborhoods.

15. For every trendy workout class, there is a cheaper "off brand' option.
Before you pay Soulcycle prices, do some research to find other cycling options, because they're out there. Same goes for any other trendy class you may be looking to take.

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The Ultimate MLB Road Trip Guide

You've gotta see it all.

I was lucky enough to grow up in an extremely sports obsessed household. Growing up my brother and I spent more time watching ESPN than we did actual children's shows.

My family's biggest obsession, as I'm sure many of you can identify with, was baseball. My first real dream as a little girl was to be the first female MLB player. I'm, of course, now a fashion major - things change.

Summers were spent checking off as many new baseball stadiums as we could, the ultimate goal being to hit them all at some point. We're about halfway through now, so we still have a ways to go, but that is the fun of it.

Even through I have yet to hit every stadium, I've at this point mastered the stadium road trip. Being that Spring Training is wrapping up and the real season is on its way, I've decided to share with you nine road trips you can take to knock off a couple parks in one trip.

A couple quick disclaimers: First, you'll notice that a few parks are not on this list (the Seattle Mariners, Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamond Backs, Minnesota Twins, and the Atlanta Braves), this is because the driving distance from these to any neighboring parks is too long for a road trip. Secondly, depending on where you live you may have to drive to the first location, but from then on it's easily nothing but road.

1. Oakland A's, SF Giants, LA Dodgers, LA Angels, SD Padres.
California is home to a total of five teams, which makes this by far the most efficient trip to take if you're looking to knock off as many parks as you can. Here I suggest starting north and working south. Staring at the Oakland A's stadium leaves you with only a short 30 minute drive to San Francisco to see the Giants.

After that it's a roughly six hour drive (the longest on this guide) to LA where you can knock off both the Dodgers and the Angels an hour away in Anaheim. The last stop on this journey is a two hour drive to San Diego where you can end with the Padres.

2. Tampa Bay Rays, Miami Marlins.
Here we have one of a few two-stadium trips. Where you start on these doesn't matter so much considering it's the same length drive either way. Travel distance between these two is about four hours.

3. Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals.
Again, a totally doable trip of around 3.5 hours.

4. Texas Rangers, Houston Astros.
No matter where you start, it's a four hour drive between the two Texas team's stadiums, so pick your route.

5. Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates.
For this trip I suggest starting in either Cincinnati or Pittsburgh considering the third stadium in the mix is in Cleveland, which is kind of the middle ground. The Reds' stadium to Cleveland is a three hour drive and from Cleveland to Pittsburgh, you're looking at two hours.

6. Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox (the only team that matters).
This trip is quite possibly the easiest on the list no matter where you start. Milwaukee is an extremely short one and a half hours aways from Chicago where you can hit the two parks that are only 30 minutes away from each other.

7. Toronto Blue Jays, Detroit Tigers.
Get your passports ready because this trip is going to take you across borders. While this may seem like quite a journey, Toronto and Detroit are only four hours away. I've done the drive myself and it's not that bad.

8. Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, New York Mets.
If you want to mix things up on this trip, instead of driving take the train down from Boston to New York. You can start at Fenway, hop on a train that night and hit both New York teams via metro or cab without having to touch the wheel of a car yourself. However if you choose to drive it's a 3.5 hour trip between Boston and New York.

9. Philadelphia Phillies, Baltimore Orioles, Washington Nationals.
The last road trip is definitely the second easiest. No matter which stadium you start with, the Phillies or the Nationals, it's about an hour to Baltimore and an hour to which ever park you choose to hit last.

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Handy Tips For Big Girls In The Big Apple

Tips for the Empire State Of Mind

As a lifelong Philadelphian, street smarts, a natural appreciation for grid planned cities (please explain to me why anyone would lay out streets any way besides perpendicular?), and a general laxness about jaywalking were already well engrained in me by the time I arrived in New York City for the summer. However, as much as I love my hometown, the two square miles that encompass the whole of downtown Philly can't begin to prepare a person for the monstrosity that is Manhattan. Through my morning commutes alongside herds of interns motivated by their new resume additions, Subway rides to the West Village in a quest to fill my Instagram with more aesthetic desserts than acceptable for any white girl, and river to river runs to justify said quest, I have picked up on those few little tips that one can only learn from experience, and I am here to share them with you today! Sorry boys, but these tricks and tips to city livin' are just for the ladies who have their own special place in NYC's heart.

What's so wonderful about tip #1 is that you don't have to even be looking for this piece of advice in order to receive it! This one goes out to all of us gals with resting bitch face, or really any resting face at all.

Tip #1: "Smile More"
As the saying goes, New York is full of the happiest and most friendly people on earth, so sporting a natural ear to ear grin is pretty much expected for all of her great inhabitants... err great female inhabitants. Ladies, you're much prettier when you're smiling, and when getting from point A to point B we all know the end goal is to exude prettiness to our surroundings! So turn that frown upside-down, because if you don't, chances are the man who resides at Lafayette and 3rd will remind you to.

Manhattan is an island that is ever evolving. The skyline is forever being added to and once unvisited streets are constantly turning into retail and residential hot spots. But all of this growing up and out couldn't be done without the hard work of New York City's construction crews that line many a busy street and intersection. This next tip ensures that this great city can continue to flourish without limitation.

Tip #2: Don't be a distraction
As women, we've learned by now from years in our school systems that our bodies are vehicles of great distraction. Breasts, buttocks, thighs, heads, shoulders, knees, and yes, toes, constantly put our male counterparts at risk of diversion. Many morning commutes have taken me along sidewalks lined on either side with those hard working men whose poor heads cannot help but follow the pitter pat of my sandals on the cement. With New York temperatures breaking records it can be natural to want to indulge oneself in breezy sun dresses or skirts for work, but from experience I can confidently say that a floor length bathrobe and wide brimmed sun hat are the best ways to ensure that New York continues to prosper as an urban hub.

The most frustrating time to spend a summer in New York has got to be the months just shy of your 21st birthday... or so I thought. While the local club and bar scene are notorious sticklers for fakes, the dating scene is open to all!

Tip #3: You're never too young to have fun!
In NYC you're always meeting new people, and lucky enough, this often won't require any effort at all on your behalf! As a woman of the city, take a train, walk a block, or spend a few minutes on a park bench and a young man is soon to introduce himself before you know it! As someone who personally doesn't usually engage in activities with men who approach me, I wouldn't want to waste a minute of their time, and thereby resort to politely informing these suitors that I am of the ripe age of 16 before the conversation escalates too far. While in other cities this line has disappointed and scared of new male companions, you'll be surprised and pleased to learn that in New York my announcement has yet to fend off any new friends! Sixteen shmixteen, I still have tits, right!

This last piece of advice is one that I hope women everywhere can carry with them on their journeys through life, for it is love that makes the world go round.

Tip #4: Open your heart to love
Too many times I've watched on as women are approached, talked to, or applauded for their beauty by men who are met with harsh exclamations to "leave them alone" or "fuck off." Wounded as they are, these young men clearly have been raised to never give up, and give their tactics another go with the next female to walk by. But these high spirits can't be sustained forever, and it's time for us women to open our hearts to love. We can be better than the generations before us who rarely boast love stories about how they met their significant other when he yelled " Nice ass, sweetie!" That can be your love story! It's time to get over our self -loathing and finally allow ourselves to swoon when gifted with the compliments we truly deserve!

I hope you take these words of wisdom to heart and always remember that New York City is a place to be your prettiest, most reserved, most loving self!

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Shit They Don't Tell You When You Go to a City School

Put on some jeans, and be an adult.

I always knew I wanted to go to school in the city. I never really cared about going to football games, crushing beers at tailgates, or going to class in my pajamas. The thought of being in a bubble away from the real world gives me severe anxiety, even though a lot of kids dream of having that traditional college experience. But going to a city school is definitely a unique college experience, so consider the below before committing to a concrete jungle college campus.

West Philadelphia, born n raised?

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You have to dress well. This isn't Happy Valley, and your flannel PJ pants and baggy T-shirt aren't going to cut it in the city. (No offense, Penn State). When you go to class in a city, your campus is going to be in the middle of the real world, so you need to get your shit together, put on some jeans, and be an adult.

Betch came to visit just to go brunchin' ?

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Sports take a backseat. A lot of city schools don't have major athletic departments, so don't be disappointed when you arrive at college and no one is planning a football tailgate. If you want to spend your Saturdays drinking at 10 a.m., dressed in your school's colors while watching the big game, then a city school probably isn't for you.

Invest in a fake ID, because you're going to be going to real bars. My school has Greek life, but it gets boring after a while because it's so small. Cities are filled with hidden gems and crazy dive bars--things a lot of non-city schools don't have. Don't restrict yourself to just your campus. You must like adventure and exploring if you chose a city school in the first place, right?

Manage your money. Going to school in the city can be expensive, especially because there's much more to do and see, like going to concerts, eating out, etc. Have a financial plan (like, how you're going to pay for all this shit) before you go so you stay on track. And don't blow all of your money during the first semester

It can be stressful. Living in a city as an 18-year old isn't easy. You're expected to grow up more quickly--you need to learn how to navigate subways and public transit; you need to find internships; you have to make your own fun; the list goes on. City life can also get competitive and even a little lonely because everyone is always have a million things going on and is running from place to place.

While it's not for everyone, going to school in a city undoubtedly helped shape me into the person I want to be--plus I'm experiencing a whole new world outside the college bubble.

We love u Jason

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Your First Summer Away From Home

There are hundreds of new experiences at your fingertips.

If you, like me, decided to take the leap and attend college in a different city, you might be facing the same situation as I am: your first summer away from home.

For the past year or so, you've embraced whatever city you call your second home. You frequent local coffee shops, know exactly where to get the best happy hour downtown, and have a mental list of the best places to bring your friends when they come visit.

However, at the end of every school year, you returned to your hometown to spend some quality time with the family and friends you rarely see during the school year. Finally, you get to eat at your favorite hometown restaurants, and utilize that year-round gym membership your parents so kindly gifted you with, even though you're only home about three months out of the year.

This year, however, is different.

There's no packing up at the end of the year, no boxing up your clothes and sheets just to shove them in the back of your mom's SUV and speed all the way home. Nope, this year you're staying put. Maybe you got a summer internship right off campus, or maybe your apartment lease doesn't end until the summer's conclusion. Whatever the reason might be, you're facing a new scene: summer in your new city.

While this new experience may seem daunting, especially if you're close to your family and hometown friends, try to look at the positive: hundreds of new experiences lay at your fingertips.

If you're about to experience your first summer at school:

1. Take advantage of your free time.
During the school year, you don't really have a whole lot of time to explore the city that your school is in. Schoolwork, student employment, and classes occupy most of your free time. Your version of "exploring" while classes are in session, usually equates to typing a research paper at an off-campus Starbucks, occasionally people-watching while you sip your vanilla iced coffee.

Fast-forward to this summer. You now have ridiculously more free time at your disposal, even if you, like me, have a summer internship. Unlike school, when you finish your shift, your work is done. This absence of homework provides you with endless opportunities to truly explore all the cool spots your college city or town has to offer.

2. Take mini road trips.
If you find yourself getting bored of your city, spend a weekend road tripping with your friends. These trips don't have to be actual trips involving expensive hotel bookings or transportation costs. Let's say one of your friends lives a few hours away, and you have a friend who's willing to drive a few of you to spend a week in his or her hometown. These situations are great because, 1) you have a free place to stay, and 2) all you really need is a little gas money to give the driver.

3. Invite your hometown friends to visit.
During the school year, it can be hard to plan trips to see your friends who go to different colleges. Summer provides you with the perfect chance to get all of your buddies to see all of the amazing things your new city has to offer. Plus, since the weather is warmer, you can do way more than what is feasible during the school year. Take them to your favorite bars, restaurants, cafes, and ice cream shops.

4. Don't think about what you're missing at home.
Instead, focus on all of the different things that you can do this summer, away from home. Sure, you might miss the free concerts your hometown hosts every week at the park, or late nights at your local drive-in movie theater. Instead of groveling over things you miss at home, however, spend time researching activities and events in your summer city. Who knows, maybe your new city has similar events that will fill the void in your homesick heart.

5. Get a bus pass or subway pass.
This might be a no-brainer, but if you don't have a car, definitely dish out a couple of dollars for some public transportation. Uber's are great, too, but can quickly add up in costs. Invest in a bus pass or subway card, and venture outside your normal destinations. Explore a new neighborhood, or visit friends at another college in your city.

6. Get a job.
Obvious, I know. Chances are, you might be spending your summer away from home solely because of a job opportunity. However, if you chose to stay for another reason, like not being able to find a subletter for your apartment, try to find a job to occupy some of your free time (and rake in some cash to spend on your adventures). Check to see if there are still any internship opportunities near you, or find a part-time job working for a retailer or restaurant. Maybe you'll even meet some cool people or find a new hobby!

7. And, on that note, exercise your hobbies and talents.
During the school year, it can be difficult to make time for the things you love. Homework and responsibilities pile up and drown out your spare time. The summer, however, presents you with ample time to spend quality time exercising your hobbies. If you like photography, spend time walking around capturing moments or scenes that catch your eye. If you have a passion for cooking or making cocktails, dedicate some time to trying new Pinterest recipes with your friends or roommates.