Thursday, December 9, 2010

With the kind of money it cost to make these movies, I could have invaded a small country.

This would be a confession, but you probably already know... I watch made-for-TV movies, and I do because I love them. The only thing better is a Christmas themed made-for-TV movie. They are entertaining, they are heartwarming. They are so poorly acted they are funny, they are cute and they always tout messages of the Christmas spirit. If you seek after them, you will find them on ABC Family, Lifetime, and Hallmark channels.

Some people look to the classics; A White Christmas, Miracle on 34th, It's A Wonderful Life. And sure, they are good, but I offer you a virtual gift of movies with more. Without further ado, I present: THE MARY MERRY MOVIE MANUAL. Here are my favorites with my synopsis... (in no particular order)

Holiday Switch
The older sister from Charles in Charge, well she is rich and snobby and one day climbs inside her clothes dryer (duh) and comes out on the other side, where she has the life she always wondered about. But is it better or just different? Dun, dun, dun.

Christina Milian shakes a snow globe, and then finds herself INSIDE IT. OMG. FREAK OUT. When she gets to the winter wonderland everyone is so nice, but fake. Its like the poor mans version of Stepford Wives, with out a plot, set inside a snowglobe, themed around Christmas.

12 Men of Christmas
Maybe the most plot of all. The girl who got famous on Broadway in the original Wicked, she moves from NYC to nowhere Montana to be a PR agent, hired to lure corporations to host their retreats in the town. The reason she left NYC is because her boss and fiance were fooling around at the company Christmas party and she caught them. Gasp. Well, don't worry, in Montana, she meets 13 hot search + rescue men who need money... so naturally, they make a nude calendar and magically everything works out. (What? Don't get mad at me spoiling this for you, it's not like you will watch it, and even if you do, you know how they will all end.)

Christmas Blessing
You know the song "Christmas Shoes" that comes on the radio and all of the sudden it gets a little dusty in the car. Yeah. Neil Patrick Harris is the adult of the child in the song. And if you know the song, you know how good this has to be. It's the sequel to the original movie, based off the song.

So, there you go. The best of the best. I have also watched *many* more this holiday season alone. I can endorse some, but none as much as the ones detailed above. Go ahead, brew some hot choco and have yourself a merry little Christmas movie night.

P.S. I also watch QVC, what's it to you.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mary McMullen's Gift Guide 2010

My first ever gift guide! This is stuff for all sorts of people. Hopefully you will find something you want to give, or it will inspire you to give something else great; something useful... or at the very least something really cool.


Kitchen Odor Remover

Stainless Steel "Soap" is to remove odors from your skin. Its not really soap, its just a bar of steel. With the natural power of oxido-reduction, it removes all traces of onion, garlic, fish, even nicotine and household cleaning products like bleach from the skin. I am not sure how it works, but it does. I have one and can't believe I ever cooked with out one. Get one for you, one for a friend: Soapless Soap ($11)

Cookie Cutters

I like giving US Capitol Cookie Cutters to friends from DC or who miss living in DC or who are moving away. You can pick them up at Hill's Kitchen shop near Eastern Market. But for friends who have no relation to DC I present, other cool cookie cutters:
To get yourself a Ninja-men, click here: Ninja Bread Men Cookie Cutters ($9)

Wheeled Duffle Bag
A really nice wheeled weekend travel pack. This thing will set you back a few dollars ($450). But if he has years of traveling ahead of him, think of it as an investment. To buy: Filson Wheeled Large Duffle Bag Or, you can try to find another more affordable option. This one just looks like perfection.

Reversible Bow Tie
One that looks like it would look good on a 20 year old, or a 90 year old. Give one (but it will be like giving two): Graham Withers Tie Collection ($54)

Pac-Man Themed Notebooks

For kid of the 80s this is not only practical (who doesn't need a sleek notebook in their pocket or purse to jot things down on. Lists, phone numbers, names, brilliant ideas. This one is not only useful, but nostalgic. And they lie completely flat when opened, and they have an elastic closure, so they are sure to stay shut. They are available at Amazon in different sizes: Amazon Link ($13-20)


If you make something to give out, make these...

Half baked brownie, peanut butter rice krispies, chocolate topping, melted marshmallows. O-M-G. They are good. So good. Add some cinnamon to the brownie mix for a little holiday warmth. Recipe Link: Click Here [via Brown Eyed Baker Blog] (Approx. $10 cost of making)

If you decide to buy a baked treat. Get these:
They are Levain Bakery Cookies from NYC and they are famous for a reason. To order online, click here: Link to Levain Bakery Online Ordering. ($22 for 4 cookies)

A Root Beer Sampler

My local (chain) World Market sells about 15 varieties of bottled root beer from around the globe and you can buy them by the bottle, to create your very own sampler pack. You can use this idea for chocolate too. Or real beer. (Aprox. cost $15)


City Posters
I have the DC poster, and the SF poster. They also sell posters of the following cities: NYC (and all the boroughs separately), Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle, Portland, Great Lakes, Toronto, New Orleans, Minneapolis & Vancouver. So for someone who has lived in any of those places, or does live in those places, or wants to, this is a great gift. AND if you have a doctor friend they also sell The Brain map and The Heart Map. Ork Posters Online ($20-$30 depending on poster, print media & size)

Paper Tweets
Sure these might be more fun than practical, but from someone who hates twitter, I can't get enough of these, and to give to a friend who is addicted to twitter, might be fun too. Buy here. ($5 for a pad of 50 sheets)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Story Time

Outside CVS today there were two bums. Mid-60's I would guess.

They looked like this...
Except the woman was wearing a once-ravishing purple coat... so it was more like this...

But she was old. And homeless. And dirty.

And the man was sporting a long, full braided beard. Much like this...

I am going to refer to them here forth as Ozzie & Harriet.

Harriet: Well, I am still married according to the law. The law screws us.
Ozzie: That don't matter to me.
Harriet: It should matter, they really do cause all sorts of problems for us.
Ozzie: No, I meant you being married don't matter to me.

I go inside, they had finished their cigs, so they were right behind me, going to the same section of the store.

Harriet: I like you. I really do. I am going to buy you something. Pick something out.

I then go about my shopping.

In line at the front I hear them behind me. A lot changed in 5 min.

Harriet (stern tone): Give me your money.
Ozzie: I don't have any.
Harriet: Then you are no good to me.

So, really a lot changed in 5 seconds.

They left the store separately.

It was a short, hot, love affair.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's like riding a bike

Some musings for you all...

I rode a bike for the first time in, oh, like 20 years on Friday (I wish that were an exaggeration). Anyway, Friday was a half day of school, so naturally we had a lot of time on our hands, so this 13 year old kid peer pressured me into it. I almost fell off- multiple times.

Story time: I hate(d) riding a bike. The only reason I really learned is because my Grandmother bribed me, telling me she would buy me a new outfit if I would learn. I rode to the court by my house, crashed into a mail box, and earned those damn turquoise jeans with zipper details and that puff paint tee. It was 1989. Now in 2010 and I would rather walk 10 miles than ride 1 on a bike.

I love pumpkin things. My frenemy Dan made a fantastic pie on Sunday and that really reminded me of my pumpkin love. It also got me thinking about using squash as a dessert. Why do we choose pumpkin? I don't think it is even the best choice. Last summer sour cream ice cream was all the rage in the hip/foodie places and it was good, but you know what would make it better? Some zucchini. Not kidding. Zucchini actually is breaking into the baking world. It started with bread, but it is now in brownies, etc. You know what would even beat out zucchini--- beets. (See what I did there? That was just a little homophone for all you english teachers out there.) It beats me why we don't have more desserts made from delicious sweet plants. (Man, I am on a roll). Seriously folks, add enough sugar and we can take these vegetables/startches to a whole new level. It will be delicious.


And finally, here is a picture I took of the Flatiron Building while I was in New York. Nevermind that I puked in a public trash bin right after this was snapped. Meh, the picture is great, but I won't ever shake the events surrounding it. Blah.

Monday, October 18, 2010

In Central Park

I walked into the Lincoln Triangle Barnes & Noble about eight hours late (though, I didn't know it at the time). The sign wasn't big, nor on prominent display, but when I walked in, it was all I could see. It glared right at me; as if somehow I was looking for it. As if it was there to mock just me... "R.L. Stine event at 1pm". I got there at 9pm. Had I known, my day would have gone drastically different. (Note: If you don't know who he is then well, go ahead and stop reading now because you don't deserve this blog).

But don't worry, I still live a charmed life. Take for example this treat in the park...

Walking through the park was pure fall perfection. It was 55 degrees out with puffy white clouds, and a breeze just strong enough to stir the fallen leaves. I was perfectly comfortable wearing a thick sweater and a long sleeve tshirt. I was meandering when I spotted a little disagreement between two attractive lovers. It quickly became clear the model didn't want to jump into the fountain and the photographer had a vision. He won. I grabbed my camera.

My favorite shot by far is the last one. He is happy she did it and she is happy it's over.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Outlook Good

"Solves all problems"!?!?! How could you deny such a promise? We couldn't. We went to get a reading.

And the place is exactly how you might imagine. Ostentatious, kitschy, and attached to the readers house. The TV was on, there were like 10 cars in the driveway but we knew they weren't customers and we knew there weren't 10 people in the house. There may have been 10 cats; not sure.

We had to go in one at a time. Which was scary slash professional of the Madame. And it was also quite nice because then we could lounge on the astroturf porch.

If you look closely in the next picture, you can peer past the re-assuring religious paraphernalia, and find Kami receiving her future. Excuse me, Dr. Kami.

Now, now. Everyone calm down. She wasn't creepy. She wasn't channeling the devil. She read our palms. She had surprisingly fitting insight. She wasn't over the top.

Oh, and all three of you men who read my blog because you have crushes on me... prepare, because she said I would fall in love and get married in the next 18 months.

As for everyone else: Kami and lots of money will be in either Hotlanta or Seattle soon. Wayne will have a baby, and a baby momma but not a wife. Eeeks. And Matt needs to let go of his double life, dun, dun, dun.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

We did it right

Sunrise in OBX

Have you ever had something, lost it, then got it back? When it was yours again, you treasured it even more... it's like when little and a brother would steal my toy and Dad would swoop in and I'd get my fun back. Last week Hurricane Earl was an immediate threat; roaring off the coast. There was even a time when we started to move on, planning some two-bit barbecue in VA instead, thinking he had take our beach vacation away. Because of the pre-trip-trepidations we were all that much more thankful once there. I have always loved the beach, but this time I loved, loved, loved it! (yes, at least three times more). I partially attribute it to my forced gratitude, but more-so to the cast who filled the weekend. It was a perfect storm of people, weather, and the house.

Drastic measures were taken to get Earl to calm down. Ashley resorted to pillow talk. I relied on old-school bullying. Earl got out of our way quickly, leaving behind crashing warm waves and cleared skies. Phew.

Mary McMullen Living

Days were spent with a revolving schedule of kitchen-beach-pool-snack cabinet-repeat. The elevator and direct beach access made it reeeeaaaaal easy. The nights brought stars from the heavens that were just as eager to be there as we were. Space junk fell freely.

As someone else said, the worst part of the trip was having to go to sleep every night. One particular night I had a dream that someone attempted to wake me from my beach slumber to get me to go night swimming in the bio luminescent waters. Only later did I find out that actually happened. My top regret is that I wasn't lucid enough to recognize reality from dreams at that moment. And if that doesn't smack of a successful beach weekend, I don't know what does.

A special thank you to everyone who planned it and those who lived it with me.

With a floating platter of nachos in the pool and a faint scent of saltwater in the air, I got it.

P.S. I bought a new pillow the day I got back and I am in love with it. It's a quilted alternative down number from Target.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

People are Good

I have all sorts of rants on this blog. I have ranted about animals, twitter, and even the President. Today I will rant about the goodness of humanity. I am in now way showcasing my sarcasm either. People are good. We are born good and we generally stay that way. We sometimes make bad decisions, choose the wrong, or otherwise screw up. As a whole, as a collective body of souls roaming the earth: we are good.

I was home in California recently and my parents and I visited the wonderous land of Costco. We went about our shopping and we got a treat at the food court on the way out. This adventure lasted at least an hour. When then returned home, unpacked our treasures that we never even knew we needed and/or wanted, and then my mom noticed she didn't have her purse. We had trampled all over that store. You have all been in Costco and found something so exciting that you lose your wits. You drop everything and you investigate your find. That purse could be anywhere.

En route back to the store, I called to see if someone had turned it in. They had not. I had all the hope in the world that the purse would be sitting alone in a cart somewhere in the lot. Or sitting on a shelf next to the food processors waiting for my mom to come pick it back up. My parents were less hopeful. They claimed if someone saw it, they would take it, spend all the money and go wild. WHAT? No way. First of all, they would have to be proactive. They would have to find the purse. They would have to take the time to steal it unnoticed. They would have to then purchase things hoping not to get caught. Even more than I think people are good, I think them to be lazy.

Sure enough, the purse was turned into the food court people; everything inside. I bet they didn't even open it to see if there was money in there. They turned it in because had they lost their purse, they would want someone to do the same.

People are living their lives just like you and me. Trying to live a good life. Trying to have fun. Trying to be happy. Being a criminal is not easy. Especially being a criminal who is not caught.

I have met tons of people. Some who have come to Jesus, some who hate religion. All sorts of people with all sorts of different morals. But the bottom line is most have morals. I may not agree with the level of guilt they associate with certain actions. But overall I don't know any thieves. No rapists. No murderers.

I work with all sorts of law-breakers. Even the ones in juvenile hall are good kids. They might fight, they may sell drugs, they may do drugs but they aren't evil. Most people are nice and helpful. And if they aren't, they can quickly get to that point with a little help. People like to feel good.

I am not saying everything is lolipops and roses and we should walk around being gullible and susceptible to being victims of crime. What I am saying is this: generally, people are good.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I don't eat meat

I needed a snack. Something salty. Something crunchy. I was standing in the basement of my office building and that's when it happened.... I, a pescatarian, purchased BEEF FLAVORED POTATO CHIPS. Specifically "Baby Back Rib" flavor ruffles. Now, that's just gross. I don't love potatoes, I don't even eat meat (just fish, and I know what you are thinking, no, its not meat, we will get to that). Curiosity got the best of me. I had to know what the hell the chips were about. They tasted like bbq flavor, with liquid smoke flavor and maybe a hint of meat? I don't know for certain. It has been more than five years since I have had a rib. I knew the chip contained no meat, but it tasted like what I remember ribs to taste like. I ate the whole bag and didn't regret it.

People oft ask why I don't eat meat. It started as me cutting out red meat to reduce my fat intake. That worked. Then I decided all mammals must go. And now, nothing but fish. Why? Because the thought of digesting flesh of another animal is disgusting to me. I mean, it walks around, like you and me and then it dies and I eat that? It's like eating human, but just one degree less creepy. Grab your arm. Flex. Now think of a cow walking around. Ick. Killing is not the issue. I have no moral objections to killing an animal for my gain. I have a shoe and purse collection that would make you weep of joy. So, why don't I eat meat? It isn't just one thing. Its a lot of reasons. Detailed below are the various leading reasons why.

It's better for the environment.
I've been saying this for years… and now other people are too: cows emit far worse gases then cars do and more. Seriously. According the the WorldWatch Institute: livestock contributes 18% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, even higher than the GHG emissions from transportation. As part of this figure they produce 37% of methane, which has more than 20 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. And if that weren't enough to be concerned about, their manure emits nitrous oxide, 65% of world totals. "A University of Chicago study examined the average American diet and found that all the various energy inputs and livestock emissions involved in its production pump an extra 1.5 tons of CO2 into the air over the course of a year, which would be avoided by a vegetarian diet. Thus, the researchers found, cutting out meat would do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than trading in a gas guzzler for a hybrid car."

Women who eat red meat are twice as likely to develop breast cancer
The risk increased with the amount of red meat consumed, with those who ate more than 1 1/2 servings a day of beef, lamb or pork having nearly double the risk of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer compared with those who ate three or fewer servings per week. A serving is roughly equivalent to a single hamburger or hot dog. Now before you say "EVERYTHING CAUSES CANCER"... let me just say, most things change your cancer chances by a percent or two. This is 35% higher risk. That is HUGE.

Health Reasons
I am no picture of health. I make tons of bad choices (rib flavored ruffles anyone?), but this choice is easy for me. So why not make the good choice here?

Spiritual Beliefs
My religion teaches of "Flesh of beasts and of the fowls of the air... are to be used sparingly. And it is pleasing unto me [God] that they should not be used..." I am in now way close to the whole ideal. I strive for it, I fail continually. I have had a hard time with this one. But, one thing I can do, one thing I don't mind doing is following the meat thing. I am sure it would also be pleasing unto Him if I stopped eating so many Doritos and Snickers, but why not do what I can?

What it all boils down to
I can do whatever I want. Oh, and peanut butter is my favorite food.

*a note on fish: they don't use the muscle the same way as we do. they move their vertebrae, and thus, they move. their "meat" is really just an extension of the fish- like milk is to a cow. like a snake - i guess i would be ok eating a snake, but they don't even taste good. (and yes, i know, i tried them before).

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

How to celebrate your freedoms the right way.


I am spoiled. Sometimes I am also a brat. During a bout of being a spoiled brat I was lamenting on the phone with Momma Jo, telling her that my life was basically over because there was no way I could have a Fourth of July better than the recent previous. Last year, it was Boston and Neil Diamond sang Coming to America- twice! The year before that I was somehow able to get on a boat to watch the show in DC from the Potomac River alongside the memorials... there was no way I could top these things. No matter what I did, it would pale in comparison. My life was over: Spoiled. Brat.

Well, read on readers. And for those fearing that this is just going to be a brag-blog, don't worry, there are descriptions of the most interesting characters. So there's that too.

The Build Up

First of all, watching Top Gun under the stars is always a good idea. Always.

Now, what is even better, is waking up and floating on a tube down a river. Highlights from the River include:
-Not being able to manage a re-mount of the tube. What?
-LB peeing from laughter, and it finally being ok because we were in a river.
-Going to a National Park and asking a man in costume (a civil war solider) if he was a ghost. He wasn't.
-Laughing so hard that one ab hurt the next day
-Pulling over to the side of the road, for no other reason then to really be able to focus on singing "Country Roads" with all my might when John Denver came on the radio.

After you get home from floating a river, going to the capitol building to watch the dress rehearsal for the Capitol Fourth Concert is also a great way to celebrate our freedoms. So we went. David Archuleta sang the National Anthem, Lang Lang tickled the ivories and Reba gave me goosebumps with "Fancy". (Note: I was also able to tweet Archie and invite him to church, from 4slyce's account- don't worry I am still anti-twitter. Anyway, he didn't show but he did read the tweet.)

The Big Day
Zipping into the District was a relative breeze. We were able to roll the windows down and roll alongside a biker who loved us and clearly loved America.

Furthermore, we were fortunate enough to view the fireworks this year from a rooftop terrace that was right next door to the white house. I don't know, magical things just fall into my lap. (Shout out and thank you, Sweet Ash.) Whilst a half-million of my fellow Americans were crowding the mall, I was able to avoid such crowds and watch with an un-obstructed view from the exactly one block due north of where Obamas watched. I will never be the same.

Right after the pyrotechnic show, we sat and enjoyed the view, watched the people, watched the other area firework shows, and chatted. We met a man from Colorado. A client of the firm. He really wanted me to have a drink with him. And, I'm not going to lie, I really wanted to oblige, however Ashley stopped me. Saving my night yet again. (The even better news is that he was like 45 years old, skewing my average age to something a little more respectable.) I digress...

Another advantage to being on a rooftop is that after the whole she-bang was over, we could see the local street traffic pattern as well as the speed of travel on the bridges out of the district. After a spell, we determined it safe to depart. Clear for take off.

Walking into the parking garage I let out one of my finest "bwwoooops" and it was returned! By a chap wearing bright turquoise plaid pants. His girl in a matching sundress. They were holding hands and skipping. I don't know how they managed to find each other in this world we live in, but I am so glad they did. They were a perfect match.

We returned to our home in Arlington, lit some sparklers, whipped up a batch of chocolate chip cookies and thanked the lucky stars for the day.

The Slow Down
How do make the best weekend even bester (wasn't a word until now)... you go to the beach.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I'm quitting the interwebs one day a week. You should too.

The command decision has been made to not log onto the internet on Wednesday's. I don't know if I can do it. I am not sure I even want to do it. My hope is this will create a personal culture of productivity. I still hold strong doubts.

I am pretty sure I can survive with out one day of the internet. As far as my job goes, I will still use the ever essential Outlook (email & calendar) system. Other then that there is no real reason I am online.

I will miss some emails. I will long for gchat. And I fear the facebook backlash. I can see it now "Oh yes, post this horrifying picture of her, Mary won't log on for 24 more hours"... but really? Should I care. No. You all know what I look like.

So, kids, Wednesdays will be computer free. I chose Wednesdays because that is today and it is not Sunday. I considered doing Sunday, but that is cheating since I barely am online Sunday and I like to write long, unnecessary, rambling emails to friends on Sunday complaining about all of you and my job and detailing the days when I will become some elected leader and will put them into my cabinet.

On Wednesday I will do all sorts of other things. I am already daydreaming about what next week holds. The hobbies I will revive. The starving puppies I will feed. The bills I will pay. The rooms I won't clean. The world I will save.

Join me?

(picture taken in Amish Country. they would prob cringe if they knew I took this with my digital camera and it is live on the world wide web. heh)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What say you?

(this photo is an accurate depiction of me giving up)

My, my, my. It has been over a month since my last post. Sorry kids, momma has been busy.

The good news is Summer has arrived. Oh sweet Lady Gaga, finally.

Anyway, maybe its the recent discovery of Summerland that has made me totally apathetic. Maybe I have been filtering all my creative genius into other projects. Maybe it is ... who cares. The point is this; I have a little gift for you readers.... read on.

What do you want me to blog about? That's right, you tell me. Suggest something in the comment section. If I want to, I might write about it.

Even if you think I might not know anything about it, or I don't care about it. I continually shock myself with the things I get fired up about and I am equally as shocked about the things I am the authority on. Sometimes someone will bring up a subject that I am newly introduced to, and you know what? That's right, I am all of the sudden an expert on whatever that topic maybe.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

In Defense of Laziness

Things I should do, but haven't yet:
Learn spanish. Many kids at work think I am fluent because they have spoken in front of me and I will interrupt and/or respond to them in English... and I let them think that so they don't sit around and talk about inappropriate stuff in a foreign language around me. While in high school Mr. Hubbard forced me to learn latin root words (at the time I would pretend squish his wide head between my thumb & pointer finger from the back of class. Since the close of my 10th grade year, I have thanked him silently almost daily- especially days when I play Trivial Pursuit). Point being: there is no reason for me to not apply myself and learn Spanish. When I do end up doing it, it will be pretty easy. But I don't.

Become famous. Yes, probably the most absurd thing you will read all day... but aren't famous people absurd? Anyway, all it would take is two, maybe three weeks of really trying to and I am sure I could be... at least D List famous. But I don't.

And the list goes on and on and on- most other things are pretty boring. And that, readers, is exactly why I don't bother. They are boring. People do things all the time for the sake of productivity. To be doing something. Don't get me wrong; I do all sorts of stuff that other people deem to be time-wasting (like blogging). I don't have excuses for why I don't do certain things; why I don't learn spanish, why my room isn't clean, why I haven't fixed my car wheel well yet. But I can most certainly defend every single thing I do end up spending my time on. Turns out, I get along more than fine with out the espanol, my room might not ever be clean, and my car may stay duct-taped together for a few more months. If I ever get bored enough to fix that stuff, I will... in the mean time I will be doing other stuff. There is value in all things if you recognize and are grateful for those things. There is even value in lounging about. Value in thinking, creating, breathing. We have been given a gift- of eternity.

The thought of anti-productivity makes many people cringe. But, it is the very thing that makes America so successful. Getting the most out of the least. So this week, go ahead and calm down.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Urban Cowboy, Intended Target, Rains that Never Fell, & Butterflies that Landed

Urban Cowboy
Cars attempting to cross the Queens-borough Bridge is typically chaotic. The bridge had been shut down for a bike race and Times Square had been closed to traffic the entire night before. This morning it was a particular mess.

Yellow cabbies were honking a symphony. A few local brave-heart drivers were weaving in and out. Traffic was moving, and there was a slight lag in one lane. Curiously, about three car lengths had been left by a cab driver in that lane. Windows down, he stepped on the gas and lunged forward, arm waved out the window and the man let out a "Yeee-Haw" like I had never heard before.

Intended Target
I was in Times Square on Saturday night. No one else was.

Rains that Never Fell
Chatting with a Slovenian artist in Central Park, I simply asked: "How long will you be in the park today?", she responds "Till the rains fall" -- the rains never fell that night.

Butterflies that Landed
There was a butterfly that we noticed on the Top of the Rock - 68 floors in the sky. The following day, I was basking in the park when a butterfly fluttered by, and landed atop my head. He stayed and visited a while. I think it
was the same little guy. He never said what he wanted.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mary McMullen's Guide to New York City

Growing up in the suburbs of Northern California, "The City" meant San Francisco. Now it means New York City. Though it is 288 miles away from DC (where I live now), it is The City in my own mind. Some might say the New City. Get it? Anyway, in my time spent in The City I have gathered a collection of places worthy of visiting. Some are really really great, others are better than average and all will leave you wanting more.

And don't worry, my next post is going to be "New York City's Guide to Mary McMullen" as I am going this weekend. Hopefully that means I will update this list soon.

Here it is:

General Basic Overview

Frommers gives you a concise guide of what to do, how to orient yourself, blah blah blah. For a first time visitor it is quite useful and includes some good links and phone numbers.


Bike Rental

$20 for 4 hours of bike rental. Great way to tour the city. You can google various self guided bike "tours" and trails (like the Hudson River). Turns out I don't (know how to) ride bikes... but, it seems magical and fast.

Central Park Summer Stage

Various cultural shows/concerts- free and in central park, one of my top five favorite places in the world, duh.

Staten Island Ferry

Lower Manhattan

Free. Just take the subway down to the Whitehall stop... the ferry takes about a half hour each way... but is a great view of the statue of liberty and of the skyline. People often just take it for the ride, and then you must disembark, but there is nothing to see on Staten island, so just turn around and go back to the city. Once in lower Manhattan you can tool around Battery Park and/or Wall Street if you want.

St. Patricks Cathedral

My second favorite Cathedral in the City, first being St. Johns . Sunday Mass is interesting & don't worry they are used to (read: rely on) tourists stopping in just to look is acceptable.

St. John Devine

Old. Neat.

TKTS Day-of Discount Broadway Shows (Times Square)

You stand in line, and they release non-sold out show tickets for half price.

Top of the Rock (Observation Deck)

Like the top of the empire state, but has a better view AND no lines. You get tickets in advance, or the day of and they are time stamped. This also means they limit the number of people so it is far less crowded. $21 for adults.

The Met

East side of Central Park. I like this place because of the variety. They also ask for a suggested donation of $18, but if I am not going to really delve in, I only pay partial.

The Natural History Museum

$15- worth it... but the Natural History in DC is by far my favorite... so I am biased.

The Guggenheim

Modern Art housed in a building that is more more interesting then the MoMA, but the MoMA has a way way better store.


Banh Mi Saigon

Vietnamese Sandwiches sold in the back of a jewelry store. Must get it to go. I suggest the spicy chicken, it's hot. $4 and a little adventure. 138 Mott St (between Grand St & Hester St, Little Italy/Chinatown/Asian Jewelry District)

Becco Italian

Home made pastas, they offer a great all you can eat family style meal. Reservations recommended. Theater District/Hell's Kitchen.

DhaBa (Indian)

They offer a lunch buffet that it fresh and tasty and perfectly spiced. 108 Lexington Ave (between 27th St & 28th St, Flatiron)

The Dumpling Man

I call these "pot stickers". I also call these "tasty". Technically they are also called "Dim Sum" or an appetizer, but order enough and make a meal out of it. 100 Saint Marks Place (The East Village)

The Garage

American- Often has live jazz, always has good food in a cool space. 99 7th Ave S (between S 7 Ave & Barrow St, The West Village)

Best Gelato Italian Ice Cream Ever

Best in America.. literally, it was voted on... and I have pretty much tried them all anyway and agree. Once I was at a fancy Italian restaurant and paid like $15 for a TINY scoop of gelato. I was very impressed and asked them who their supplier was. I chucked when they said "Laboratorio Del Gelato". Don't worry their storefront isn't that pricy. 35 Orchard Street Lower East Side (walkable from Little Italy, but not in Little Italy)

Halal Street Cart

Get the chicken platter- add white sauce. the hot sauce is FIERCE, just fyi. 53rd & 6th at the Ave. of Americas

Haru Sushi & Japanese

Excellent Sushi... and reminder, I am from SF bay area, so I would know. 205 West 43rd Street, Times Square

La Bonne Soupe

French- casual- no reservations needed for lunch- I have only gone there for brunch, get the quiche- I love it and I hate eggs. 48 W. 55th MidTown East (near 5th Ave)

Magnolia Bakery

Seriously, get the banana pudding. Do not waste your time with the cupcakes. Soho & Midtown locations.


American Cafe- prob my favorite brunch spot of all time. My faves: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes or the Goldi Locks omelet. Various locations

Peanut Butter & Co

P'butter is my favorite food & I am recommending this place, so there you go. 240 Sullivan Street, Greenwhich

Pomodoro Ristirante Pizza

Creamy, perfect pomodoro tomato sauced pizza. 51 Spring St, Nolita

And if you ever find yourself in Brooklyn, I am truly sorry, but will offer up two small glimmers of hope:

Ana Maria's (Brooklyn Pizza)

Pizza by the slice. No frills establishment. 179 Bedford Avenue in BROOKLYN, Williamsburg

Baked (bakery)

Get thee a p'butter candied rice krispy treat. Thank me later. 359 Van Brunt Street in BROOKLYN, Red Hook


Moderate priced accommodations with good locations and most of all, they are CLEAN.

The Pod (European Style, meaning bathrooms/showers are single people, lockable, one person at a time, but they are shared among four or five rooms)

230 E 51st St

New York, NY 10022

(212) 355-0300

The Paramount NYC (note: beds are low, like, on the floor)

235 West 46 Street

New York, NY 10036

(212) 764-5500