Tips from a Real New Yorker – How to Survive the NYC Subway

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I used to work in the Hilton on 6th avenue and 53rd street. I was a marketing executive for Hilton Grand Vacations. That job exposed me to people from all over the world. While it was not my dream job, I learned that most tourists who visit New York – do zero homework on how to travel around efficiently. The majority of people who travel to New York, think that cabs are best – when actually the subway is. Taxis in New York are often extremely expensive, mostly attributed to the horrific traffic in Manhattan. Secondly, cabs in NYC are notorious for running scams (especially if they know you are a tourist) so I highly suggest taking the subway.

*Click here for more information on how to avoid taxi scams.

While the subway is not perfect, it is still the fastest way to get around the city. Below are my homegrown native tips on how to get around New York City via the NYC subway. You’re welcome.

#1 – Do not stand too close to the platform edge
It’s dangerous. Some nut may pass by and think it proper to push you on the tracks. Yes, I am serious. It is best to wait far behind the lines on the platform. Just do not lean on the wall. It may have been a urinal in its past life.

#2 – Buy a pay per ride MetroCard using a credit/debit card
Metrocard machines are available in any subway station. The safer ones are near the toll booth with an attendant. You can use cash but just keep your eyes open for potential purse snatchers. Also, the machines can act funky at times and spit the cash out. Further, if you use too high of a bill, you may not get your change back. Be careful.

#3 – Use a newer credit/debit card to buy a Metrocard
Those machines get funny if your card strip is old.

#4 – Do check out the map
NYC Subway Map is confusing as hell!  giphy (6)
But here are my quick tips:
Blue lines  runs along 8th Avenue in Manhattan.
Red lines runs along 7th Avenue in Manhattan.
Yellow Lines  runs along Broadway in Manhattan.*N train eventually runs along 2nd Ave.
Orange Lines runs along 6th Avenue in Manhattan.
Green Lines  runs along Lexington Avenue (the east side)in Manhattan.
The #7 train  runs between the avenues along 42nd Street from Grand Central Terminal on the east side of Manhattan to 11th Avenue in Manhattan.  If you take it past Grand Central on the east side, you will end up in Queens which is fine, if you want to take a trip to Citi Field.
S train is a shuttle train on 42 Street that runs between Grand Central Station and Times Square 42nd street.
L train is another crosstown train that runs along 14th Street between 1st Avenue and 8th Avenue.
The J/Z train runs downtown from the financial district to parts of the lower East side of Manhattan. It also runs into Brooklyn.

*The trains run well into Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.  I didn’t touch on outer boroughs because we will be here all day.

**Bonus tip: You can use your Metrocard on the path if you are going between 33rd and Christopher street. It runs along sixth ave on the westside. It’s cheaper. Don’t ride too far though, you may end up in Hoboken.

#5 – Look confident
Do yourself a favor and look like you know where you are going, even when you do not. You will less likely be a target for scammers and robbers.

#6 – Don’t wear touristy stuff outside
Unless you are with a tour guide and I still think it’s a bad idea. Again, bad guys target tourists. That statue of liberty sponge crown may invite unwanted attention.

#7 – Do not make eye contact on the subway
Wear sunglasses if you have to. The crazies or scammers will think it is okay to speak to you.

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#8 – Do wear headphones
But don’t blast music. You need to know what is going on at all times but you want to pretend you don’t hear the subway beggars. Panhandling is illegal in NYC on the subway. If you want to help, donate your travel toiletries from the hotel, food or at a local charity. Local charities will not solicit on the train. They may not take it, but it’s better than pulling out your cash on the train for the world to see.

#9 – Sit in the conductor’s car
The conductor’s car is to the center of the train. Anything crazy happens, you can notify the conductor and they will call the police.

#10 – Avoid squeezing on the train with crowds
These are perfect conditions for pickpockets and low-key sexual predators who like to grope in a crowd.

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#11 – Avoid backpacks
Backpacks are easy access for pickpockets.  Also, they take up space on the train. If you have one make sure it is locked and secure between your legs. Keep your bag in front of you at all times. I use this one when I travel.

#12 – Never sit near the door with electronics out
Unless you want someone to grab it and run, keep electronic devices secure and out of sight at all times.

#13 – Walk to one side of the stairs 
Going up, stick to your left. Going down, stick to your right. There are typically arrows on the stairs if you forget. Or you can just follow the crowd.

#14 – Walk quickly
Do not get in front of the subway doors and stop or risk getting pushed!

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If you think these tips are excessive just to take the train, I found them especially helpful when I traveled to Paris. I researched the subway system in advance and I kept my wits.  Being informed wherever you travel will help to keep you safe. I hope you found this useful. Please like, share, comment and subscribe!

And lastly, welcome to New York!

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What I wish I knew before training for a half marathon

 

So you want to run huh? I know what you are thinking – you not a runner. That however, is far from true. Everyone is a runner! You just have to learn your body. I decided to run because I wanted to change how I looked. Nevertheless, it takes more than running to train for a race. Without further ado, here are my tips:

1) Stretch, stretch and more stretching
Chile, I neglected the heck out of stretching and ended up with shin splints! You do not want to experience that pain. I felt like my legs were on fire and nothing I did helped it! I got plenty of physical therapy to get me through, but it slowed my training. Very well has more suggestions on how to prevent them, but as far as I know, stretching and hydration before a run helps a great deal.

2) Cross train
Races are not run by running alone. You will need to do other training in other to build strength to run. But be careful! You do not want to bulk up, it will only slow you down. Dance, Yoga, Body pump, Pilates, Tai chi and spin are great cross training workouts. Refer to a training calendar (like this one) to aid you in your training plan. Check out your local gym for classes. Remember, don’t increase mileage suddenly as you risk shin splints!

3) Get the right sneaker
I used to think that any sneaker will do, but this will mess you up! We all have gaits when we walk or run. Some of us run more to the outside of our shoes, some to the inside and some wear out our shoes neutrally. Don’t believe me? Grab some old shoes that you own, and look at the bottom. You will see your gait based on the worn out part of your shoe soles. It is imperative, that you buy a sneaker tailored to your needs to avoid injury. Find a proper running shop (I shopped here) and find youself a good sneaker. Best bet, buy a size bigger for running. You don’t want black toenails.
And while we are talking about toenails…

4) Clip your toenails
OMG! I wish someone would have told me that. I decided to increase my mileage one day and my toenails had a little length on it. Well, I bruised the heck out of them! So to avoid unsightly black toes, get them trimmed, will ya?

5) Stay hydrated
I cannot stress how important it is. You do not want to over hydrate before a race. Make sure you drink plenty of water the week before the race and then as needed on the day of. Some sites recommend against having a water pack on your person during the race because it can slow your progress. However, I am a person that needs a sip regularly, so I invested in dolfin pack. It is lightweight backpack. I recommended it because you do not have to depend on hydration stations.

6) Wear compression socks
Unless you want swollen legs with colors! I got some nasty varicose veins from running and I wish someone told me to wear them beforehand. It was unsexy!  Be sure to invest in some good ones (like the ones listed here) as the can work to keep you warm and spread your progress evenly.

7) Speaking of running gear, be sure you stay away from cotton! It can lead to chafing. Lycra is your friend! Otherwise, suffer the consequences.  You want something that is breathable and dries fast.

TJ Maxx and Marshalls are your best friends when it comes to running gear. You can get tops and pants for $15 each. Everything else is so expensive, so why not save some money on running clothes?

8) Avoid chafing
You may want to invest in Body Glide for chafing. Great for bra lines, nipples thighs and anywhere else that make create a fire while running! You will thank me later!

9) Find food that is right for you
Fueling your body before running is important. Some swear on bananas and toast, while others suggest eating nuts or nut butter before running.  But be careful, do what is right for you. Test out small carb snacks before running. Once you find something good, still to it! Last thing you need is runner’s diarrhea. Make sure you eat carbs before running and protein afterward. I like GU and/or sport beans while running. They help manage energy and electrolytes during your run. Others swear by sports drinks. Personally, I do not like them. However, it doesn’t hurt to try it during a practice run and see how it works with you. Check out Runner’s world for meal tips.

*Tip: Stay away from excess fiber, coffee and milk, unless you have before.

10) Invest in a Gym boss  
I know you are thinking, what is that? Gymboss is an interval training tool that will help you with running, rest and recovery periods. It retails at about $20 but if you are cash strapped, you can download the app on your phone. Check it out at: Gymboss.com. Pick it up on Amazon.

Bonus tip: I would look up a local running club. They can give you resources that are invaluable for your run. I learn a lot of these tips via Team In Training, however, they want you run for charity. While running for a cancer cure is great, I found that the goals were a little high for me.


Let me know your thoughts! Please share and subscribe!

Ways to know he is not right for you.

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I know it’s hard dating out there. We date an endless pool of men and it feels like we will never meet “the one”. It’s tough!

Sometimes we meet who we think is Mr. Right. As women, we tend to crush so hard that we don’t always see when he or (she) isn’t right for us. Ignoring these signs can be detrimental in your search for the right person.  Below are my tips on how to avoid men who aren’t a good fit for you – or like my friend Katrina says: “time burglars.”

1. Does he reach out to you? Not just responding to your text on occasion, but does he genuinely reach out to you just to see how you are doing? This shows concern. If he is constantly saying he is too busy for you, that is a signal that you aren’t the one he’s looking for. Move on.

2. When you speak to this guy, does he ask you about your interests? Does he seem interested in your life? This is huge, because this means he’s interested in learning about you. A man who talks about himself without asking important questions about you, is only interested in his himself. He may be a narcissist or worse – a sociopath. Run.

3. Does he remember the things you tell him? We’re not only speaking of your birthday (although that is super important) but simple things, like what color you like, or your favorite flower, or TV show? The little things are important.

4. Did you have a rough time recently? Was he there for you or was it a struggle to get him to help? Or did he disappear altogether? Pay attention! If he is scarce when you need him, let him stay that way. No one needs fairweather man or friend for that matter.

5. Does he support you? Does he build you up? Or does he criticize you at every turn? If you don’t feel good about this man and how he treats you, listen to your intuition. You are no one’s emotional (or physical) punching bag. Usually physical abuse stems from emotional abuse. If this guy is making you feel bad and/or disrespecting you or your time, he is testing your boundaries. He wants to see how far he can go. Do yourself a favor, leave.

6. What about your core values? Do you want kids and he doesn’t? Does he want live in the city forever and you have suburbian dreams? Do you agree on religion? These are things that can end up killing your relationship in the long run. If you cannot agree on these things, he may not be right for you.

7. Is he emotionally available to you?  Ladies, you don’t want a man who is emotionally unavailable. Trust me, I have been there and bought the ugly tee-shirt. I wear that tee-shirt to bed. This man will not open up to you. He shows you only what he wants you to see. You’re always trying to learn about this man and he keeps curbing you when you get too close.  That means he is emotionally unavailable -at least he is to you.  LET. HIM. GO.

8. Can you stand to have a real conversation with him or does everything just lead to sex? Is this someone who you can share your innermost thoughts and dreams with? If not, then you may want to reconsider your relationship with this person. They need to be your friend first.

9. Does he use you? Does he only show up when he wants to get laid or wants to get paid? If so, show that playa to the door!

10. Finally, does your gut or your loved ones (for some of you who ignore your gut) tell you that this dude is not right? My momma always said “love is blind but the neighbors ain’t!” Family and friends can see issues with a relationship often before you can. Take what they have to say into account.

Side note: I used to have nightmares about my ex. I knew deep down he was cheating but did not want to face it. He lied almost about everything. My subconscious kept telling me he was off and it was correct. When I broke up with him, I stopped having nightmares about our relationship. Listen to your gut. If you think something is wrong, it most likely is.

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Tips on how to survive Valentine’s day when you are single.

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I consider myself an expert on being single. I have been single a lot. Valentine’s day is tough, because it seems like everyone is paired off, while you’re not. If you aren’t careful, you could end up ready to slit your own throat by the end of day.  So what’s a girl to do to survive?

1) Remind yourself that you aren’t the only single person. When we’re depressed, we tend to get self-centered and think we’re the only person suffering.  The reality is: they’re so many of us going through the same thing. Which leads me to my next tip…

2) Have a girl’s day. Invite your single friends over for a day of snacks, music and/or chick flicks.  Nothing like catching up with your friends over a glass of wine or two…Or four.

3) No single girlfriends? Create your own spa day. Spend sometime relaxing in a spa or at home with your favorite spa treatments. Taking care of yourself reminds you of how beautiful and valuable you are. I take a baths with a glasses of wine, peaches and my favorite music. Works for me.

4) Cook for your family. I make big meals for my family. It reminds me how blessed I am. It gives me a chance to bless others, which takes the focus off of my single woman misery.

5) Go to the gym! I am all for the Yoga and/or working out. A great way to feel awesome about yourself! If you go to the gym, you might meet a hot guy or two.

6) Work on some projects that you’ve been putting off. We all have goals we’ve put aside for whatever reason. Use Valentine’s day to pick them up again. A sense of accomplishment is a confidence booster.

Here are some don’ts:

1) Avoid all media! No TV unless you have DVR, and for goodness sake No social media! All of your friends will be posting their gifts online! Others will have memes that may make you feel worse:

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Mean memes alone can send anyone in an ice cream tank instantly. Especially if you are not emotionally ready! If you have to uninstall your apps for one day, do it!

2) If have an ex on your social media timeline, there is no time like the present to boot him off! I’m sure you don’t want to see him with his new squeeze, unless you plan on shooting yourself right after. Which leads me to my next point…

3) Don’t contact your ex! Everyone has a man (or woman) who they have been pining over. If he or she has moved on, you must pretend to as well. Don’t sell the rest of your self-worth out on Valentine’s day.

3) Keep pictures of past loves out of sight. Don’t make he or she your screen saver. Save yourself some grief.

4) If you cannot be positive, stay to yourself! If your friends are in relationships, they rather not hear your bah humbug! Let them enjoy their time.

Tip: Remember don’t let one day ruin your self-confidence. You’re a whole person without someone. If I helped you today, please feel free to share!