Kate holds a "Tina" playbill in front of the theater

AK Monthly Recap: November 2019

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So that is the month that I left New York. I didn’t know it might be coming this quickly. It didn’t even cross my thoughts till I blurted out, “I’m thinking of moving to Berlin!” to my good friend in Italy this summer time. (Edit: I’m NOT shifting to Berlin. That was simply the primary time I vocalized wanting to go away.)

I like this metropolis a lot. Beyond fiercely. And after so a few years of journey, I nonetheless suppose it’s one of the best place for me personality-wise.

But simply because a spot suits your persona, it doesn’t imply it’s one of the best in each facet. Particularly when it’s one of many priciest cities on the earth. Particularly once you reside in fixed worry of getting hit with enormous medical payments, regardless that you pay by way of the nostril for medical insurance.

I made my peace with leaving New York. And it’s not like I’ll be gone endlessly — I’ll be again pretty typically.

Some of my mates who’ve left New York ran round doing their private bucket record of New York experiences. I didn’t intend to try this as a result of I do know there’s nonetheless time. First for IMM in January, the largest work occasion of the yr for me. And then dropping in each time I can.

Ideally, I’d like to spend 1-2 months per yr in New York. Perhaps October. That’s an ideal month to be round. But till then…journey awaits.


  • New York and White Plains, New York
  • Fairfield, Connecticut
  • Lynn, Reading, Lynnfield, Beverly, Boston, and Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Salem and Portsmouth, New Hampshire
  • Wells, Maine
Kate's sister Sarah runs the New York marathon with a big smile on her face.


A model new redesign on the weblog. Check it out!! Doesn’t it look snazzy? Much extra becoming to who I’m today. I hope you spend a while exploring it.

Cheering on my sister within the New York Marathon. This was her first time operating the New York Marathon and she or he did nice! And I discovered my FAVORITE new spot to observe — in Harlem on Fifth Ave. at 138th St. the place folks enter from the Bronx. There is music blasting and plenty of runners cease to bop for a bit!

A food-filled week in New York. My boyfriend got here to New York (his first go to to the town since 1998!) as I moved out, and we ate at so many nice locations.

Some of the highlights have been lastly consuming at Nobu (INCREDIBLE, and don’t miss the yellowtail with jalapeño or the edamame with choclo), diving into bao and ramen at Momofuku Noodle Bar, having fun with an enormous unfold of bagels and cream cheese on the Russ & Daughters Cafe with our buds the 2FoodTrippers, a stunning porterhouse and corn crême brûlée at Quality Meats, and my favourite classics — tacos at Los Tacos #1, pizza at Joe’s, burgers at Harlem Public, Salty Pimps at Big Gay Ice Cream.

Seeing TINA on Broadway. I acquired the chance to see TINA, the brand new Broadway musical about Tina Turner’s life, as a visitor of the present. I completely LOVED this present! I knew Tina was a survivor, however I had no thought simply how a lot. The music was unbelievable, I liked the costumes, and the whole forged was excellent.

And the actress that performed Tina, Adrienne Warren, was BEYOND wonderful. She was so unbelievable that it took my breath away. How fortunate I used to be to have the ability to see her to carry out reside! I learn that Tina, now blissfully retired, has advised Adrienne that she’s given her her onstage persona. I hope we see her win a Tony subsequent yr.

Also — sitting simply six toes from me on the present was none apart from Jonathan Van Ness! And I by no means acknowledge well-known folks in New York!

Going on a street food tour with Food and Footprints in Jackson Heights, Queens. I extremely suggest getting away from the Pinteresty, well-manicured components of New York, and it is a method to take action — Jackson Heights is house to immigrants from India, Bangladesh, Tibet, Mexico, Colombia, and far more. The meals on this tour was SO good — I can’t wait to return and eat extra of it (particularly Bengali fuchka, which I had by no means heard of earlier than).

Taking a croquembouche class on the Brooklyn Brainery. The Brooklyn Brainery is house to all types of fascinating lessons and lectures, and my sister and I signed as much as learn to make a cone-shaped tower of cream puffs! I like that you would be able to at all times study new fascinating abilities in New York.

10 Year Challenge — 2009 vs. 2019!

Some cool work occasions. One factor I’ll miss about dwelling in New York is all of the cool work alternatives. This month I went to a swank launch occasion for ANA, whom I labored with on my Hokkaido journey final yr, that included a live performance by Steve Aoki! But the actual spotlight was attending to have dinner with the Atlantic Canada workforce, who have been all visiting New York, together with those that helped me with my Nova Scotia and Newfoundland journeys this yr. I’m glad you appreciated my Canada content material as a result of it seems to be like I’ll be going again to Atlantic Canada in 2020!

Sending a few of my furnishings to good new houses. While I deliberate to retailer most of my furnishings, I knew I didn’t wish to hold all the things, so I bought a number of of the items. I used to be particularly glad to promote the eating set and low desk to a cool woman who works as an ESL instructor. Other items went to mates. Facebook Marketplace is nice for promoting stuff today!

Spending Thanksgiving with my household. After lacking the vacation a number of years in a row, I’ve been glad to be house for the previous couple of, and this time I acquired to introduce my non-American good friend to the vacation.

Dropping into New Hampshire and Maine. Doing a little bit of tax-free procuring in New Hampshire and naturally having fun with my favourite seafood chowder and scorching lobster roll with butter on the Maine Diner in Wells, Maine.


Moving out. Moving is rarely enjoyable. I’ll spare you the main points. It did make me unhappy to throw away all my Playbills, however a minimum of I wrote this unbelievable publish about Hamilton.

Dealing with the disappointment and guilt of leaving New York. I do know that shifting out is the best determination for me, however I nonetheless really feel terrible about leaving the town. What I most hate is that if I had labored more durable and made extra money, I might afford to maintain a house there whereas touring and dwelling elsewhere. It might be my pied-a-terre that I visited a number of instances a yr. And if I had labored more durable, maybe I’d have been in a position to afford it.

Of course, I now understand how ridiculous that sounds. One factor I realized over time is that there is no such thing as a monetary ceiling — you’ll at all times be hoping for extra, extra, extra, even when it’s wishing you may simply afford to purchase your personal yacht as an alternative of renting them on a regular basis.

Payment woes. Nearly a decade into skilled running a blog and I’m nonetheless struggling to receives a commission in a well timed method. I’m grateful that almost all of my earnings comes from automated funds, however with one-off campaigns it might probably take months to receives a commission, particularly if a authorities group with accompanying pink tape.

And I utterly perceive that it’s exhausting on my shoppers as effectively, who don’t make the foundations, really feel terrible about it, and do one of the best they’ll. And I’m ready for that.

But this month, 4 shoppers delayed my cost or missed my cost utterly. FOUR.

While it’s dangerous lacking one cost, lacking FOUR AT ONCE might be catastrophic for those who don’t have a monetary cushion.

The worst half is that I confirmed and reconfirmed my cost date with one firm that was already late paying me, and the cost by no means went by way of as a result of they forgot to do it. After feeling so pissed off in regards to the different three funds, this one broke me.

I emailed them again explaining that once you don’t pay a freelancer on time for no matter motive, that may typically make the distinction between whether or not or not they’re in a position to pay hire, purchase groceries, or deal with their youngsters’ monetary wants. I acquired an instantaneous apology and a promise to pay me in ten days. That was yesterday. They got here again with “It appears they’re not in the office today” and supplied an additional $300 credit score to make use of on their website as an apology. (EDIT: The cost lastly got here in on December 3!)

This isn’t a tiny firm or perhaps a authorities group — it is a main journey reserving web site you’ve all heard of.

I nonetheless don’t know what to do about this. Yes, you may put penalties in your contracts for not being paid on time, and that’s nice for those who can handle to get them honored — however that also doesn’t remedy the issue of what to do for those who DON’T receives a commission on time. You can’t magically make cash seem.

Kate wears a blue and white patterned scarf, available from Speakeasy.

Most Popular Blog Post

Best Gifts for Travelers — Updated with my favourite issues I’ve found in 2019, together with a brand new blue Speakeasy scarf!

Other Blog Posts

Two Weeks within the Caucasus: Travel Itinerary for Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan — I at all times wished to go to the three international locations within the Caucasus, however I had no thought how to slot in Svaneti and hold it below two weeks. Good information — it’s potential! This is how you are able to do it.

What’s It Like to Travel Armenia Today? — If you’re on the lookout for an up-and-coming off-the-beaten-path vacation spot, I extremely suggest Armenia. Here’s all the things it is advisable know to plan your journey.

Most Popular Photo on Instagram

I form of fell off Instagram this month, however this picture from my session in Florence did effectively! For extra reside updates from my travels, follow me on Instagram at @adventurouskate.

What I Listened to This Month

I’ve gotten into a brand new podcast — American Girls. It’s all in regards to the American Girl books! I grew up studying these books voraciously and it’s been enjoyable to revisit them from the angle of at present. The podcast is completed by two ladies of their early thirties who grew as much as be historians.

Right now I’ve listened to podcasts in regards to the Felicity episodes (who knew folks have been being classist to Jiggy Nye as a result of he labored in a commerce that smelled dangerous?). Coming up subsequent is Josefina, and as her character was added as I used to be outgrowing the books, I’ll have to do a fast refresh earlier than I hear. SO excited for the Addy podcasts — nothing tops the badassery of escaping slavery as a toddler.

What I Watched This Month

Finally I watched Fleabag. WHAT A SHOW. I can’t imagine it took me so lengthy to get into it, as there are solely twelve 25-minute episodes in the entire sequence!

Fleabag, created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, tells the story of a thirty-something British lady who’s having quite a lot of intercourse, having a household who doesn’t perceive her, coping with her greatest good friend’s dying, and barely financially holding onto the cafe they ran collectively. Despite that detrimental premise, the present is hilarious and really actual, a glimpse into the loneliness we are able to carry into maturity.

So I believed the primary season was good — then I watched the second season and IT WAS SO GOOD I PRACTICALLY SCREAMED THROUGH THE WHOLE THING. Absolutely watch this one. It’s on Amazon.

A platter of smoke salmon, onions, capers, tomatoes, and cream cheese.
Bagels and Lox at Russ and Daughters Cafe

What I Read This Month

This month I broke my document! My earlier document for books learn was 72 inside one yr. I’m now as much as 76 and simply obtained 4 off the library waitlist on the identical time, so I’ve acquired a methods to go! This was an ideal month of studying.

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays by Alexander Chee (2018) — This assortment of essays by novelist Alexander Chee focuses on writing and id and the function that they play with one another. Before you’re ever in a position to write conclusively about your life, you’ll want to look at your life carefully and make peace with who you might be. Starting from a teenage summer time spent in Mexico and attaining fluency in Spanish, he tells tales of his life that introduced him to the place he’s at present, all of them with theme of rising up a queer biracial Korean-American.

After coming throughout his Vulture column about “writing the other,” I used to be entranced by Chee’s writing and borrowed his newest e book from the library. What a beautiful learn — considered one of my favorites from 2019. I discover that almost all essay collections are a blended bag of robust and weak choices, however it is a uncommon exception (as are Lindy West’s Shrill and Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist). I believe each budding author ought to learn this e book — it’s full of worthwhile classes and touches you on the identical time. I wish to write about my life the best way Chee does.

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman (2018) — They are the couple you want you have been mates with. They’re hilarious, they’ve performed iconic characters, they’ve been companions on-screen and off. They’re artists. And she’s twelve years older than him. But what precisely makes this couple tick? Told in back-and-forth banter, they share tales from their childhoods by way of the current day, exhibiting what shapes them as a pair. I listened to this as an audiobook and would solely suggest listening as an audiobook as a result of the format doesn’t work as effectively for print.

I believed this could primarily be about learn how to have an excellent relationship along with your partner, nevertheless it’s a lot greater than that — I discovered it most helpful to listen to about how Mullally and Offerman make artwork a serious a part of their lives. While each entertainers, they’re concerned in so many various areas — from singing to comedy, woodworking to performing. And not all of them make cash — some are completed purely for pleasure. I liked listening to their views on their artwork (one other of my favorites that does that is Steve Martin’s Born Standing Up).

Something else I appreciated was how they talked about how they tried to have youngsters, it didn’t occur, they determined to be proud of the life that they had, and identified that that they had lives filled with artwork that they by no means might have completed if that they had had kids.

So Close to Being the Shit, Y’all Don’t Even Know by Retta (2018) — Best recognized for taking part in Donna on Parks and Recreation (and tweeting prolifically about all the things) — Retta is a comic turned actress who made it massive as a plus-sized black lady in Hollywood. From rising up poor in Newark to immigrant Liberian dad and mom to getting accepted to Duke and finally shifting into stand-up comedy, she shares her journey and its most memorable moments.

Retta is hilarious — and I had no thought she was a stand-up comedian earlier than getting forged on Parks and Rec! This was an ideal e book to hearken to as an audiobook, as listening to it in her voice makes it one million instances higher. There have been plenty of tales in how she made it in Hollywood, how she lived as a comic touring school campuses — oh, and the memorable time that KFC ran out of rooster.

Finally — Retta is a big Hamilton obsessive. The last chapter is all in regards to the musical and the way she turned one of many largest Hamilton superfans, even attending to turn out to be mates Lin-Manuel Miranda and the unique forged! If you’re a Hamilton fan within the least, it is advisable learn this chapter.

High Achiever: The Incredible True Story of One Addict’s Double Life by Tiffany Jenkins (2019) — This memoir opens in jail, the place 22-year-old Tiffany Jenkins is spending 120 days after committing 20 felonies as the results of her habit to opiates. She talks in regards to the days resulting in her “shocking” crimes of stealing from her cop boyfriend and his household, then the times in rehab and dealing towards beginning her life over.

I believed this e book was horrible. I get pleasure from habit memoirs, and after I noticed the title, I assumed it might be a couple of straight-A scholar turning to tablets to get into an Ivy League school and it snowballed. Not in any respect — she was only a occasion drug person who stored upping the ante. Worst of all, she has ZERO self-reflection to this present day not least as a result of she commits 20 felonies, together with STEALING GUNS FROM HER COP BOYFRIEND AND SELLING THEM TO DRUG DEALERS, and doesn’t acknowledge that her 120-day sentence (!!) is paltry for what she did, when if she have been black she’d be 20 years minimal.

The solely factor this e book is nice for is entering into the thoughts of an addict — utterly egocentric, rationalizing all the things, with out accountability. THAT is effective in itself.

A bowl of ramen with noodles, pork belly, bamboo, and an egg yolk at Momofuku Noodle Bar.
Ramen at Momofuku Noodle Bar

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (2019) — Elwood Curtis is an adolescent rising up in segregated Tallahassee, Florida. He works exhausting, stays out of hassle, and is ready to attend a black school when a mistake will get him despatched to Nickel Academy, a juvenile reformatory the place boys are abused, sexually assaulted, and even murdered behind the scenes. While Elwood tries to stay optimistic and invoke the spirit of Dr. King, his good friend Turner is extra pessimistic. The novel relies on an actual juvenile reformatory in Florida that operated for greater than a century.

Colson Whitehead is considered one of my favourite authors, and The Underground Railroad was my favourite e book of 2017. While I appreciated this e book, and realized how effectively written it was, and the way essential of a narrative it was to inform, it simply didn’t do it for me personally. I really feel just like the narrative didn’t construct in a method I wished to, however maybe that was intentional — the lengthy, sluggish dread was like what the boys confronted all through their stays at Nickel Academy.

We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories that are Funny, Complicated, and True by Gabrielle Union (2017) — Gabrielle Union is a type of dependable actresses who has been exhibiting up because you have been an adolescent. In this e book, she shares tales from her life — essays on fame and race, protecting the racism and colorism she faces in Hollywood; all of the tea on her first disastrous marriage and the way she discovered love with Dwyane Wade; and the way she survived a horrific rape throughout a theft at a retailer the place she labored as an adolescent.

Count me an enormous Gabrielle Union fan now — much more so as a result of she’s elevating hell at NBC about Simon Cowell being allowed to smoke all over the place and the present rejecting proficient black youngsters in favor of “people America can get behind.” I additionally appreciated that she talked in regards to the racism and white-centrism of Friends when she performed one of many two black love pursuits ever on the present’s decade-long run (and she or he identified that the 2 of them had the identical plot — Joey and Ross preventing over them). I actually loved this e book and suggest listening to it on audio.

The Witches Are Coming by Lindy West (2019) — “Yes, this is a witch hunt. I’m a witch and I’m hunting you,” wrote Lindy West in her New York Times column, additional galvanizing the anger wrought by the #MeToo motion. Built on her final assortment, Shrill (which has since been become a GREAT Hulu sequence), these essays study trendy misogyny, social media manipulation, and the way these have coalesced in life below Trump.

West is considered one of my endlessly favourite writers, and I’ll at all times cease what I’m doing to learn her work. And these essays are nice — precisely what you’re going to get (I notably loved “Is Adam Sandler Funny?” and the essay set at a weird GOOP conference). That mentioned…I hate to say this, nevertheless it all felt so acquainted. I don’t know if I used to be anticipating one thing new and totally different from her penning this time round. That mentioned, nonetheless among the best essayists round.

I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gillum Segal (2019) — In this Young Adult novel, two women from two totally different backgrounds navigate an emergency collectively. Campbell, a white woman new to her college, and Lena, a black woman who is aware of the town just like the again of her hand, are thrust into hazard when a race riot erupts at their highschool and later takes over the encompassing neighborhoods. Knowing nothing about one another and having preconceived notions about one another, they’re compelled to work collectively to flee the violence.

This was a fast, simply devourable learn and I do know it is going to be well-liked with youngsters all over the place. The e book notably advantages from having two authors, one black and one white, and having every of them writing the narrator of their very own background. It’s thrilling and goes to locations you don’t anticipate — and, uncommon for American books, it leaves some points unresolved on the finish. I appreciated that. Definitely value a learn if yow will discover it or seize it out of your library.

People gathered on a cobblestone square at Nuremberg Christmas Markets, surrounded by booths selling Christmas crafts.

Coming Up in December 2019

Christmas markets in Europe — and Cuba!! I’m going again to Prague for 12 days this December, and I’ll undoubtedly be heading two hours north to Dresden, Germany, house to among the best Christmas markets on the earth (if not THE greatest). I’m curious to see the way it compares with Nuremberg’s legendary market.

I like Christmas in Europe — it’s precisely how I believe Christmas must be. It’s all about going out with mates, having fun with mulled wine and scrumptious meals, and wandering the totally different markets. There’s no strain to do something however get pleasure from your self, and it’s far much less shopping-driven and child-focused than Christmas in America.

I’ll even be trying out Prague’s Christmas markets, and if there’s time, I would take a look at one other Czech metropolis like Brno or Český Krumlov.

I’ll be spending Christmas and many of the month with household in Massachusetts. (And if I’ve time, I would head as much as New Hampshire to attend a political occasion or two.)

Then in late December, I fly right down to CUBA! Brand new nation for me — #83. I’ll be spending every week largely in Havana with a little bit of Viñales. (Yes, you may go to Cuba as an American. My friend Norbert has a comprehensive guide.) I’m excited to lastly go to this intriguing island.

While Cuba’s web has improved in recent times, I don’t anticipate being on-line a lot. I’ll in all probability resurface on January four in Mexico.

What did you rise up to in November? Share away!

Sara Lassiter

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