Thursday, April 30, 2009

Craft Fair!

OK, my lovelies, it's in Park Slope, but let's not hold that against it.
On Saturday and Sunday there will be a $30 and under craft fair at the Lyceum on Fourth Ave in Park Slope.

As you all know, I have been pushing the crafting in these dark days - idle hands and all that. And while yours truly did not have her shit together to make things for any upcoming craft fairs, I definitely want to promote them. Especially one like this. Shop local. Craft local. Keep the little bit of cash you have in the neighborhood! They are keeping all the handmade goodies at under $30, with your laid-off ass in mind!

I hope to make it there on Sunday (as I already have plans for Saturday - It's the run for the roses, after all, and there are mint juleps to be drunk) to check out what the crafty peeps of Brooklyn have been up to. Fingers crossed that there are only one or two booths of screen-printed totes and tees, because we all know there will be a dirth of them if the Renegade Craft Fair comes back to McCarren! Hopefully, gentle readers, you will all be able to make it as well.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Loads of water, in what used to be a parking lot
Bedford Avenue, between North 11 and 12 Street

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It's a Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

It's been a beautiful few days here in Brooklyn, dear readers. And I have taken full advantage of the sunshine. And plan to do so again today.

But, in my morning job hunt, while drinking iced coffee under the skylight, I came across this article via a networking group called Job Angels. The gist of the article is that, while unemployed, one should be neighborly - not just to help others, but to help themselves.

A close girlfriend of mine has been telling me something similar for the past few weeks - every time I get sad or depressed or incredibly lonely in these dark days of unemployment, L tells me to get out and volunteer. And while I have looked into a couple of things here and there, I haven't landed on anything yet. What do I want to do? Even a couple of hours a week? With summer approaching, perhaps I will look for a youth camp or outreach program in my neighborhood to volunteer for. I like the idea of giving back in my immediate community, where I've lived for 5 years now. And where people are not well off (the median income for a family of four is $35,000).

Will I meet people who will give me a job that way? Would I be better off finding something in Manhattan where there are top executives "giving" their time? I don't know. But I have always thought the point of volunteering was to give back in your own community. To be a neighbor.

Will it help to lift me out of those dark days? Those days when I feel like no one would notice if I didn't even get out of bed in the morning? Maybe. Dear friend L knows me very well and is usually right about these kinds of things. Even if it takes me a little while to figure it out myself.

Friday, April 24, 2009

More Good Stuff on The Cheap

Thanks to one of my favorite neighborhood blogs, Greenpointers, for the shout out on my own On the Cheap blog of a couple weeks back.

And check out Greenpointers on a regular basis - they post loads of good info on the neighborhood.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Shout Out

Dear readers, the weather here in Brooklyn is still dark and grey. After an amazingly gorgeous weekend, it's been raining since Monday, maybe late Sunday night and, for the most part, my mood has matched the weather - as apparent by my post of Monday afternoon.

But I was reminded by a gentle reader, Star Mama, that even on the dark days one needs to remember that these days do not last forever. And neither do the good ones. In these stark, unemployed days, when MatchGirl often feels like the Little Match Girl, always looking in the window at how the better half live, it's important to take a step back and think about the positive things.

I have been throwing myself quite a pity party of late - I'm sure friends are all sick of it, though, thankfully they are all too kind to tell me so. I feel like nothing is going right. I can't find a job - nor interesting ones to apply for. I can't find a (good) man, though I met one I thought was perfect a couple of months ago (he has pulled that Williamsburg-guy thing and simply fallen off the face of the planet without a word, a warning, a returned text/phone call or an e-mail), and while I am generally an independent girl, OK with being on my own, my friends are all paired up and I am flying solo to yet another wedding ... which makes #4 in the past few years and is reason for a pity party all on it's own!

But Star Mama's comment has lifted my spirits a bit (Thanks!!).
Because she is right - when I am wasting these days on a "Woe is pitiful MatchGirl", I could be doing so many other things! And, those faithful followers who are regular readers and/or friends, know that some of those days I am quite productive - sewing jackets and baby toys and handbags and baking cookies and brownies and all sorts of things - but I could be doing more. Or, more importantly, I could be looking at things differently. With a different attitude.

So, while I can't promise that the pity party is gone for good, I can say that I will be trying very hard to keep it at bay. To find the positive in the long days. To have less sleepless nights. to enjoy what I have, and who I have, in my life, because, I do know that things could always be worse.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dark Days

Oh my oh my, dear readers. Isn't unemployment such a gas? Sleeping late, getting dressed at noon, having no schedule to speak of, going days without a meaningful conversation ("Credit or debit?" just doesn't count!) ... what a wonderful way to live.

Now, gentle ones, I know that Friday I was very happy to go and spend the day in the park in the sunshine and I know many of you weren't even able to leave the office all day and you are not pitying my afternoon of leisure, sitting in the park and hanging out with my good friend G, who I ran into on the way to the park and convinced to play hooky from his post-work obligations. That just didn't make anyone feel bad for me.

Today is another day and it is grey and raining and wet and cold and windy and disgusting and, OK OK, I don't have to go out in it. And, to be honest, I probably won't. But on a grey day like today, the unemployed girl can go to a dark place. It's so easy to let your mind wander to those "feel bad" places. You know the places - the place where you wonder if the job isn't coming because it's something about you, the place where you think that you will never find a job again, the place where you have way too much time on your hands and your mind is whirling a mile a minute, going over every text you sent or word you said in the past week or so and trying to figure out what it was that you did wrong. You know that place. It's a dark place. a black place. A place that makes you want to pull the covers up over your head and just wait for it all to go away.

Of course, you can't do that. If you pull the covers up and hide, you are not going to find a job (you at least have to open your laptop for that). If you stay curled up, waiting for the wind to change, how are you ever going to meet anyone? These are the things that one needs to keeps asking one's self, gentle readers. And these, perhaps, are the things that one knows in one's head. But on a dark day like today, no matter what one knows in one's head, it doesn't mean that one knows how to make these things happen. And sitting and wondering what went wrong or what you did ... It's just not productive. But ... how to stop? How to push away the mood that matches the weather today?

More Fun With Craigslist

Ok, dear ones, looking through this afternoon I came across this gem. I just couldn't resist sharing it with you:

We are a very busy Real Estate Company In Chelsea Area in Manhattan.
Looking to hire some smart, happy and fast learner people with great voices who know how to talk to our loyal customers on the phone in a daily basis.
Daily work includes; calling Landlords as well as prospect Tenants with Information about the services we provide.
Please DO NOT SEND US YOUR RESUME IN ANY FORM. We do not need your resume!!!
In a few short lines tell us about yourself including your past type of employment, Hobbies and what makes you a good candidate for this job. If we feel you are fit for this job, we will call you to schedule an interview.
We pay no benefit, vocation, 401K, travel expenses or Healthcare insurance but we pay Minimum wage. Isn't this great? :-)
After you proved yourself to us and became an asset to our company, then we will pay you a little bit more.
Now if you think this is a right job for you, Please reply to and let us know that you are interested. Looking forward to seeing you with a big smile on your face. :-)
Thanks Kevin

So, apparently, you are supposed to show up, work your ass off and make no money for it ... in the hopes of one day you might have "proven" yourself to this douche. Nice.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Beauty ...

... of unemployment, on a day like today, when the sun is shining and the temperature is finally catching up to the fact that it's spring, is that the unemployed gal can head to the park for the afternoon, while the employed world is hunched over desktop computers.

ta ta

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Here's the thing about unemployment.
You're home.
A lot.
A lot more than you were when you were working crazy hours, hitting up happy hours, falling into bed and waking up hours later only to rush into the shower, grab a cup of coffee and be off and running once again. But the unemployed girl is home. And, if the unemployed girl is of a certain age, then she's nesting.
There's a point in everyone's life where a mish-mash of mismatched plates, furniture and bedding are not really representative of who you've become. And working those crazy hours, the employed girl doesn't really notice. Even those nights she stays in, she is too exhausted for anything but staring mindlessly at the TV. How could she possibly notice the things that are not quite right in her place.
As my dear readers know, I have been unemployed since the middle of November. And, over this time, I have done things like scrub the rubber bits around the edges of the fridge with a toothbrush and put out cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil to repel the mouse all over the apartment. And I have noticed little things like chips in bowls and the fact that I don't have four matching plates. And the ones my roommate has, though matching, are chipped. A girl can't win.
So, the unemployed girl is home. A lot. And she wants to do things to improve her home. But there's the rub! The unemployed girl doesn't have the money to fix up the apartment. The place where she spends her days - job hunting, project making, food cooking - but who can afford the new duvet cover to pull the straightened up bedroom together on one's unemployment check?

So, my gentle readers, I am just compiling a list. A little wish list of things that would make my apartment better, more adult, more the way I want to present myself to the world. So that, slowly but surely, I will be able to pull it all together.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


A little bag, of re-purposed vinyl, I whipped up last Friday. A rainy day is great for projects!

The hot-pink cotton lining of the bag ...

Gettin' It On The Cheap

So, as my way of being helpful to all those other unemployed people in the Greenpoint/Williamsburg area, I've decided to complie a list of some cheap finds. On this list you will see some cheap eats and some good happy hours and some neighborhood beauty services. They're necessities for any city girl really.

Massage: Qi Gong Tui-Na on Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint. This is a no-frills massage place (men and women welcome) where you don't get the pretty music or the lavender scented room, but you do get a great massage. These ladies will pound the crap out of you for a very not-Manhattan price. An hour, at last check, was $45 (tip them well!).

Waxing: Ok. Every girl needs a bikini wax on a regular basis, Brazilian or otherwise. I found this place pretty soon after I was laid off, on the southside of Williamsburg. And, though I have given up a bi-monthly manicure (I can do it myself), I really want to keep a little normalcy in my beauty routine. So I've kept my monthly(ish) bikini wax. I always go to Audrey on Bedford Avenue. It's $15 for a regular bikini wax (using regular wax), and you're in and out (on a weekday, without an appointment) in ten minutes.

Hair: My friend Jenn is a stylist at Mousey Brown on Lorimer Street. They have really reasonable prices, great service and talented stylists (of course, I only go to Jenn, and you should, too!). And boys looking for a barber shop, checkout Tomcat on India Street and Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint. My roommate, the ex, and a couple other boys I know go here and it's $20 - $30 for a cut.

Nails: I can't recall the name of the place, but on Manhattan Avenue, next to a store called White Dream is a cute little manicure place where a manicure is $6. The women (and man) who work there are nice and they have a great selection of Essie colors.

Brunch: Ok, no links here, you guys can figure it out yourself. But the go-to, on-the-cheap brunch places are, in no particular order of favoritism: Mugs on Bedford Ave. (I never spend more than $10 and you get coffee and a cocktail with brunch); Acapulco on Manhattan Ave. (the ex and I used to brunch there every weekend and for the two of us, about $14); my friend G's new favorite brunch place in Greenpoint is La Brique on the corner of Manhattan and Bedford (you get a coffee and a Mimosa with the brunch menu, and they have a back porch).

Happy Hour: Happy Hour is an unemployed gal's best friend. In the neighborhood, there are some good ones - Black Rabbit, Habitat (ladies night all night on Wednesday), Matchless are some of my favorites. I read recently, though I've not checked it out, the Sound Fix has an open well bar on Wednesday from 7 to 8 pm. Ooh! And sitting in the park this fine spring day, I was handed a flier for "$1 Mini-Pitchers of Sweet-Ups" from noon to 5 every day at Royal Oak - now that is exactly what the unemployed are lookin' for!

Did I miss anything? Would love to hear other opinions on cheap finds (preferably in the Greenpoint/Williamsburg area) for the penny-conscious amongst us.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ways To Be Helpful

I found this link today while looking through some job search blogs and e-mails. It's pretty much common sense, but, sometimes, when one has been laid off, it's hard to see the big picture right away. A friendly word of encouragement, especially from someone who has been there before, is always a good thing.

Right now, unemployment is the worse it has been in over 20 years. And you will have a lot of friends losing jobs or having their hours cut or being bought out of contracts. It's just a fact. And if you are in a position to be of a little help, then please do. I have been very lucky in these past several months that I have a lot of friends who have not been affected by the "economic downturn" and those same friends are absolutely wonderfully supportive - from the friend who buys me a drink to the friend who gives too much cab fare to the friends who take me out for a nice dinner after I babysit. For these friends, I realize that these are little things. But to me, they are a big deal. And I really appreciate them. And, were I employed and they on the other side of the equation, I hope they know I would do the same for them.

It's so easy to get depressed when you are unemployed. It's so easy to feel like you are unproductive. It's so easy to feel like you are adding nothing to society. It's so easy to not want to get out of your pajamas all day because, after all, what's the point. But, having a working friend invite you to meet them for lunch (or midday coffee) or the like is always a good thing. And it's always nice to get out of the house. I have one friend who will invite me to an early lunch/late breakfast every month or so. So I get up earlier than I would normally. I do my normal morning activities. And I meet him at a time that I would normally be sitting on the couch, sipping my first cup of coffee and catching up with Martha. And then I do stuff. And I feel pretty productive. Because I am out and about. I'm dressed. I've got makeup on. So why not get on with the day and do a few things?

And speaking of ... today I am not having one of those days ... so I gotta get a move on!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Reality Television

I have an old friend who is pretty sure that every Seinfeld episode relates to real life. I haven't watched Seinfeld in a while, but he might be right. Here's the thing, as much as I hate to compare real life to a television show ... I am pretty sure all the early episodes of Friends are pretty related to real life.

Even in this age of the highest unemployment since 1982, I don't have that mane friends who are unemployed. That's great for them, but it's a little tough on me from time to time. Sure, I have friends who look out for me. And I am not too proud to accept a couple of drinks or a mid-priced dinner or cab fare. But sometimes I feel like people have no concept of what it is to be really and truly worried about money. I was poor a lot of my childhood and I know how to work through it and live through it and I know how to do it all while appearing like you are just like everyone else. It's pretty much how I got through the '80s.

But today, in trying to organize Sunday brunch, I felt like this episode of Friends. It's an episode from the second season - when I was still in college and the lives of the six Friends seemed so adult and exotic - where three of them have money and good jobs and the other three are stressed out. It all culminates at a dinner to celebrate Monica's new job when they are out at an expensive restaurant and the three poor Friends order a side salad, and a couple of appetizers amongst them while the three well-employed Friends order steaks and lobsters and wine and when the bill arrives, Ross and Chandler divide it by five (it's Monica's dinner so she doesn't have to pay is the idea). And the poor Friends freak out. Because they ordered shit meals that were the only things they could afford on the menu, not realizing they would be expected to subsidize fillet Mignon and lobsters.

We've all been there, right? Out for a birthday dinner with more affluent friends. And, of course, you want to chip in. And, of course, everyone thinks that whatever money they have is not much money. No matter how much they make. But there is a reality to these things, beyond one's own perception. And dropping $20 on brunch seems like a lot of money for an unemployed gal right now ...

Saturday, April 4, 2009


How much rejection can one person take? It's just so much.

Of course, in an economy like this, getting laid off from one's job is nothing personal. But it's hard to not take it that way.

And every little rejection, every non-answer to a job application, every time you feel like an offer of assistance is fruitless ... it just adds up to rejection. To feelings of rejection, anyhow. And it's hard to not take it personally.

Your friends who have been there will tell you not to take it personally. Your former co-workers will remind you of what a hard worker you are. If they are still at the company, they will tell you how much things stink without you. Everyone will tell you that it's not you - it's the company/economy/etc ...

Sound familiar? "It's not you ... it's me".

I'm coming to the anniversary of an "It's not you ... it's me" conversation. And I'm unemployed due to an "It's not you ... it's the business" conversation. And, in my head I know that both those things are true. I know that the relationship wouldn't have worked out well (and A sent me a link to a horoscope site that basically said it was doomed from the start). Doesn't mean the "it's not you ... it's me" conversation didn't send me into a tail spin for a very long time. As for the job ... things were tumultuous right before I was laid off (one of the owners was very verbally abusive to me and to most of the rest of the staff) and I had been putting feelers out for something better, but I was still taken completely by surprise when the "it's not you ..." conversation happened. Even if I know I will, eventually, find something better.

At times like this, the unemployed gal just wants a little ego boost. A little pick me up. Something/someone to make her feel like there's a reason to get out of bed in the morning. There are a ton of blogs out there about being single in NYC. There are a ton of blogs out there about being unemployed right now. I'm not trying to combine the two - but they're both facts of my life ... and it'll come up from time to time.

Thanks for reading/following ... it takes a little bit of the sting out of the daily rejection ...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Guest Blogger; Part Four

Matt's just sent me an update on his job hunt:

Has my dignity bottomed out? Not just yet. Check this:

(This is from that lame site called oDesk that demanded I pass a skills test before I be allowed to apply for anything.)

"Our company is looking for people over 18
years old to write reviews for some of the webs
most popular dating and (adult websites).

As a writer for us you will be given free, unlimited
access to several websites. You
will be required to visit each site and write reviews
based on quality of content and other
criteria specific to each project.

Compensation varies per project.

If you are interested in this opportunity please
email us.."

I really doubt that the reviews will really be of "dating" sites, so much as they'll be of that particular brand of classy portal specializing in such erudite subjects as midgets, fisting, and barnyard "friendships." Or perhaps combinations of the three. I'll pass.

And, I really hate when people screw up the use of apostrophes, i.e.: "some of the webs most popular" Come on people, is it really that difficult to differentiate between the plural and the possessive? That's what, 8th grade English class? Or, perhaps they've been so busy perusing the web's most popular adult sites that the blindness that afflicts those who engage in the activity accompanying the frequenting of those sites has already begun to set in. That was a really wordy way to say they've gone blind from spanking it too much, just like my said would happen.


OK. Here's the thing. I want things. I really want things. I am a girl who likes to shop. I am a girl who loves clothes. And fashion. And most of all ... oh my goodness ... shoes! I have always loved shoes. There is no telling when it began. My mother, who does not love shoes in the way that I love shoes (and barely comprehends it), is pretty sure I came out of the womb that way. I definitely recall absolutely needing a pair of blue ankle strap clogs in 1980. I was in first grade. They were beautiful (Thank you, Nana).

So, with unemployment on me ... and trying to be so good with my money - eating out less, if at all. Going to bars almost never. Graciously accepting drinks from employed friends. Cooking. And, most importantly, refraining from shopping. And I have been so very good. I have skipped sample sales. I have not bought new jeans (though loads of my friends say I should ask the ex for his fancy discount to get a new pair). I didn't buy new rain boots, though mine are too big and I trip over my own two feet if I walk too far in them. I let winter arrive without new sweaters.

But another season is upon us. And I am in need of summer clothes. I promise you, this is not just an itch that needs scratching. This is for real. I need sandals. I will not lie. I am not a huge fan of sandals, but ... sometimes ... they are necessary. In the summer time ... the go with jeans and short shorts (I have plenty of those!) and sundresses and maxi dresses ... A good neutral sandal can go a long way. And I need a pair.

Those of you who know me may say, "Come now, MatchGirl. You have plenty of shoes. How can you possibly need sandals?!"

OK. I hear you. I see where you're coming from. I do have loads and loads of shoes. Some that I barely wear. But, I am not saying I need boots or sneakers or ballet flats or espadrilles or towering heels. I have those things. Sure, I find ones that I like. I see ones that I may want. But need? No. But I do need sandals. (Or, I will when the cold, wet, grey weather goes away).

I found a pair that I really like at Hayden-Harnett. (Where there is another pair of amazing wedges that I do not need, but might be lusting after). Here's the thing - they may be a little pricey. But they are a local business, based out of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I like to be a localvore. In this economy, it's more and more important to me. Sorry. A tangent, I know.

HH is having a sample sale right now - I avoided it, and after reading the reviews on Racked, I'm glad that I did. But the Racked review also had a link to an online sample sale where, it just so happens, there are a handful of shoes - in sample sizes - on there. And there are these amazing sandals. I love them. I think they will go with everything. They're a final sale, so I'm not sure if I should order them. But ... local gal that I am ... I'm thinking of going over the the shop (blocks away) and seeing if a 5 will work out. The comments on the site say that they run big, and I'm a 5 1/2, so ... it's worth a shot.

Um ... if anyone wants to talk me out of it ... do it soon!!!

Business Plan?

Today, my friends, was a productive day. A good day. I feel a little sleepy from just one too many shots at the Rabbit last night - and the fact that it has been grey and rainy (and cold! Isn't it March that's supposed to come in like a lion, not April?) all day has not made my mind wake up. But my meeting with A certainly did.

We are crafty gals, A and I. We have been throwing around the idea, for a while now, of doing something together. We have a similar aesthetic. We like the same things. While we are different, stylistically, I think we're pretty much on the same page. And we were both laid off from the same company within a couple of months of each other (they kept her on through Fashion Week and then wanted her to stay, but not to pay her ...). So, we're going into business. Woo-hoo.

Not anything brick and mortar. Not anything that requires too much of an initial investment. But something that will give us purpose. And maybe a little extra cash ...

And, when you're an unemployed gal, with the economy what it is ... anything that can bring in a little extra cash is not so bad ...