lifestyle

Unclutter Your Life

I’ve realized in my 21 years of life that I am on the road to becoming a hoarder. Read this article I wrote for my university newspaper, The Pauw Wow on how to avoid being like me. I promise I’m working on changing!

When the snow melts and the breezy air begins to welcome itself, the thought of spring cleaning tends to plague the minds of many. Here are a few tips when getting into the groove of the new season.

First and foremost: if you haven’t used it or worn it in over a year, throw it away.

According to the APA Practice Organization, hoarding is a subtype of obsessive compulsive disorder that is characterized by three core features: the acquisition of a large number of possessions; the failure to discard a large number of possessions; and living in spaces that are sufficiently cluttered as to preclude their intended use.

More often than not, individuals hold onto items for memories and other psychological reasons. The more items you hold onto, as the years go by, the easier it is to want to hold onto everything. This is why organizing and uncluttering your life are necessary.

When asked about her thoughts on spring cleaning, Betty Zhu, said “Why just spring and not every season? You should really clean all year.”

Yes, we all like to think we have impeccable fashion taste, even if you haven’t worn any of the clothes that have sat in your closet for the last three seasons. Ladies and gentlemen, if you have neglected it for the past eight months, it’s safe to say you’re not going to touch it this month. What’s excess is not needed. Repeat this in your head until it becomes your mantra.

We’re going to tackle some of the usual suspects that tend to lead to overcrowding: makeup, clothes, books, etc. According to  an article on the Huffington Post, makeup such as mascara is meant to be replaced every three months or so. Yes, makeup is expensive so it’s understandable why one would want to keep it, but it’s healthier if you don’t.

Grab a big bag and start sifting through clothing to find out what does not fit anymore, what is old, and what you have never worn. Once this is done, put it all in said bag and drop it off to any organization like Goodwill, Veterans of America, or American Red Cross that will take used and gently worn clothing.

Donating clothes rather than throwing them to the garbage is a way of knowing your memories will live on. Most of all, it eliminates space in your drawers or closet and makes room for more.

Miscellaneous items and other small things can pile up quick if you let them and what was once a few hair ties and pens eventually turns into the “junk drawer” which, by the title, suggests that you can do without 95 percent of the items found in the drawer.

The key to minimizing clutter is to set goals for yourself. Write everything you want to accomplish down and tackle the list one item at a time.  A clean living environment and workspace can alleviate the stress clutter can bring.

Travel

Last Night at the Met

When you have someone that agrees to go to the Metropolitan Opera with you I advise that you keep them! Two nights ago I got all dolled up or in other words I put on the nicest dress I own with a good pair of heels and made my way to Lincoln Center with my handsome date.

Going to the opera is definitely an experience everyone should have at least once in their lifetime. My experience was a rather funny one and here’s why:

First and foremost I have to give a general warning to everyone reading. WARNING: Do not and I repeat DO NOT drink a full bottle of water and then a glass of rosé before the performance. To my demise I did both these things and not even ten minutes into the program my bladder was fighting against me. Ladies and gentlemen keep in mind this was my first opera so I was unaware of all the rules you need to abide by. I get up from my seat and leave my coat, wallet, and phone with my date. Trust me if I could have held it in I would have but my bladder plays zero games. Upon exiting the house the usher asks me if I was leaving. I told her I was only going to the restroom and I would be right back. She then tells me she doesn’t know when the next break is for her to let me back in. This puzzled me a little but my urge to pee was too strong so I said it was fine and made my way to the restroom. Once the deed was done I made my way back to the door I exited from and realized there were no handles on it. No way back in. I thought to myself ‘Okay the next break has to be in ten minutes or so’, wrong. I soon found out the intermission was not for another 40 minutes. Not only did I not have a phone to contact Philip (my date) and tell him what had happened but I didn’t even have money to buy a drink!

I feel like things of this nature happen so often in my life that at this point all I do is laugh. I was locked out for the whole 40 minutes and decided to watch the program from the Orchestra floor. On this floor there was a room designated for people like me who were late or locked out too. When intermission finally rolled around I traveled back upstairs and saw a distressed Philip waiting for me. I explained what happened to me and we both laughed it off. After intermission was over we watched the second act of Rigoletto and then left during the next intermission for our dinner reservations. All things considered, it was a fun experience the entire cast was very talented and I feel lucky to have been apart of it. The opera is definitely a good excuse to dress up fancy.

Here are some pictures I took, the Metropolitan Opera House is nothing short of exquisite.

 

Food

Where to Eat This Weekend: Beechwood Cafe

My love for food grows by the day so I know good cuisine when I taste it. Sitting at the corner of Grove and Mercer in downtown Jersey City, you will find Beechwood Cafe. As soon as you walk through the door the staff is very welcoming with warm smiles and offering service.  Warning: this place gets PACKED for brunch.

The first time I went to Beechwood was about two years ago. It was the beginning of the ‘I Spend All My Money on Food’ chapter of my life. The first time around I ordered the  Beechwood waffle for $9 (I highly recommend this dish). The waffle comes with strawberries, bananas, whipped cream, walnuts, and syrup. I always get the berry compote for an extra $2 to give it the cherry on top feel. This is my favorite dish at the cafe so it’s safe to say we know what I ordered the next 6 times I found myself there.

Recently, I’ve decided to be a little more spontaneous and switch up my ordering habits. I tried their bowl of chili and I swear that is what love tastes like. They pack so much flavor in one little bowl. I order tortilla chips on the side as a chip n’ dip situation.

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bowl of chili

I could write about this place all day but that would only get your mouth watering. Wipe up the drool and take a trip for yourself. The atmosphere of the cafe is very trendy and just waiting to be snapped and posted on Instagram. They are located at 290 Grove Street, Jersey City! If my words can’t convince you maybe these photos might help.

Uncategorized

WORD on the Street

Check out this profile I wrote on WORD bookstore!

The Dirt on Jersey City

Word Courtesy: WORD Jersey City

By Briana Benitez, Class of 2017

WORD on the street is there’s a popular bookstore that sits on Newark Avenue in downtown Jersey City. The name of this particular place happens to be WORD, which makes it a literal WORD on the street.

The bookstore in independently owned with two locations: one in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and the other in Jersey City.

“I’ve been working here for about nine months now.  It’s better than any job I’ve ever had,” states WORD employee Melody Osorio.

WORD has been open since March of 2007 in Brooklyn and December of 2013 in Jersey City. The Jersey City location is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. Their main goal is to provide a welcoming space for the community.

For more information, watch here:

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This Week’s Binge: 13 Reasons Why

When I was in high school I read a book titled, “Th1rteen R3asons Why” written by Jay Asher. From as far back as I can remember I’ve always had my head stuck in a book. Reading for me provides an escape from reality it allows me to dive right into the setting of a novel and become apart of the world of words. I’ve always pretended to be a fly on the wall or an additional character in whatever I am reading. I’m always a little taken back when individuals discourage reading. I get it though, we all have difference cups of tea!

Even now at 21 years old Asher’s novel still remains on my list of favorites. I was a bit skeptical when hearing of Netflix’s adaptation of the book, “13 Reasons Why”. Central to both the novel and Netflix series is that Clay Jensen receives a set of 13 tapes two weeks after classmate and secret crush, Hannah Baker, commits suicide. Each of the tapes tells the one reason (and person) responsible for her suicide. Clay must listen to all the tapes to find out why he is one of the reasons Hannah killed herself.

While no movie or series could ever capture the true essence of a book, I do enjoy watching Netflix’s adaptation. There are notable differences between the novel and the series. Let’s see if you can pick up on them!  It’s always entertaining to see something that was once words come to life on screen.

I’m currently on episode eight of the series with just five more episodes left. Hopefully creator Brian Yorkey and executive producer Selena Gomez do not disappoint in the final stretch of the series.

(The series has a total of 13 episodes that run at one hour each. A half day of binging!)

Read it. Watch it. Let me know how YOU feel.

Thoughts

It’s OK Not to Have Life Figured Out Yet

Dear Youth,

If I have one more person ask me “What are you doing after you graduate?” I think I might reply with: What are YOU doing after I graduate????

I currently work three part-time jobs on top of going to school full time. It’s safe to say I am a busy bee. My life right now is work and school. This is going to be a mini rant here so bear with me.

Everyone and I mean everyone in this entire world works at their own pace. I’m not saying that I don’t have any plans after I graduate but is it completely insane to NOT have a job lined up?! Just because Jane Doe has a job offer at XYZ Company does not mean that you and I are any less on the right path. As we all work at our own pace we all have different plans. Expecting a person to have their life figured out with a plan set in stone at the age of 21 is ludicrous. In a sense it’s forcing you to believe you’re typingdoing something wrong and it creates unnecessary and unwanted anxiety.

My aspiration in life is to become a novelist and I know I will get there (at my own pace). I genuinely love the look of confusion I get when I tell people I am an English major and Journalism minor. News flash: I love books people and as you can tell from reading this I have a strong love for writing. I am sorry if you are personally offended that I am choosing to follow the route of what I love opposed to the route of money. For all of you out there struggling with the same societal concept that you have to have your life figured by your early twenties you are not alone! I am here to tell you it’s OK. Take a deep breath. You are not alone and we are going to figure this thing (life) out.

With Care,

Briana Marie Benitez

Food

Piggin’ Out at Hamiltion Pork

Calling all meat lovers: If you have love for barbecue look no further than restaurant, Hamilton Pork, to suffice all your pork needs.

Brothers, Michael and John Gondevas opened the barbecue spot in February 2016 just celebrating its year anniversary. But before the eatery was even an idea, the duo opened the Jersey City restaurant Hamilton Inn in April 2010.

“Business is great we are very busy. We’re both from here [New Jersey]. We’re very fortunate that it is so good and we wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Gondevas.

The eatery’s exterior greets customers with a neon pig and smiling hostess, followed by an interior setting completely unique to them. To the left of the entrance is the bar, but not just any bar as it is carved out of a shipping container. If you are having a hard time visualizing that think of the Baltimore docks from “The Wire.”

Hanging on the wall to the right is a large American flag that draws the eye to the exposed brick walls to complete the ambiance.

walldecor 

I have a strong love for barbecue so I was a little overwhelmed when I saw the variety of mouth-watering items on the menu including brisket, pulled pork, pork ribs, pork belly and baby back ribs. I went with the pulled pork ($10) and a side of French fries ($6). As for drinks, I ordered the “Bees Knees,” which is a mix of mezcal, lemon juice, maraschino, and ginger ale a balanced blend of citrus and tequila.

Their dessert menu includes a churro ice cream sandwich, which I need to try the next time I visit. When the table in front of mine ordered it, it really was love at first sight.

The food is brought out to you on a tray with a slab of meat on the left, red pickled onions, and whatever side you choose. They supply a hearty portion size so make sure you visit on an empty stomach.

The array of flavors present in the pulled pork made me eager to try what the rest of the menu has to offer. Hamilton Pork also serves guest brunch Sunday through Monday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m..

They are conveniently located steps away from Hamilton Park at 247 10th St. in Jersey City, so you can walk off the pounds of food you just consumed without feeling too guilty. To conclude, I was very impressed with the restaurant. The combination of quality food with the level exceptional service makes for a wonderful dining experience.

Even if you are not huge of barbecue, I encourage you to try Hamilton Porkthey just might win you over.