A Lot of Food for Little Money

(Try to) take a step inside the miniature-sized Taim Falafel & Smoothie Bar and you’ll find yourself savoring the aroma and trying to hold your drool in as you look at the delicious menu. What’s even more is that Taim, pronounced tie-EEM, is affordable, healthy, and fresh! And even if you’ve never tried Middle Eastern food, you’re going to want to after reading this.

If you don’t know what falafel is, don’t worry! I’ll tell ya! Falafel is a deep-fried ball or patty typically made from ground chickpeas, which means…hello, high protein! Falafel is very commonly eaten in the form of a sandwich, enclosed in a pita usually with other things like hummus, tahini, tabbouleh, Israeli salad, and pickled vegetables. And let me tell you, Taim’s falafel sandwiches are huge, affordable ($5.75) and come in three different flavors.

Attention Health Freaks:
1. Do not be scared away by the words “deep-fried.”
2. Taim is vegan and vegetarian friendly!
3. Taim’s falafel is gluten-free!
4. Taim is also Kosher.

Not only is Taim known for it’s amazing, ginormous falafel sandwiches, but it also makes rich, flavorful smoothies and drinks of things you probably wouldn’t think to blend together. Taim is loved for it’s unique specialty Date-Lime-Banana smoothie, Strawberry-Raspberry-Thai Basil, Pear-Mint- Lemon smoothie, and Ginger-Mint Lemonade. If these don’t sound good to you, your tastebuds will tell you differently. It also serves falafel platters and sides like french fries and babaganoush, an eggplant-based spread, (my favorite).

Taim is located at 222 Waverly Place at 7th Avenue in the West Village. If you’re not usually in that area, be sure to check out Taim Mobile. (Yes, the mouth-watering restaurant has it’s own food truck!)

Seeing a Show at a Price That’s Low

Well, lucky you. You go to school in New York City, the epicenter for all things theater and entertainment. But unlucky for you, you’re also a college student on a budget, which means you don’t have all the money in the world to spend on show after show after show. However, you’re about to feel lucky again when I tell you how you can go to your favorite show for a heavily discounted price, and sometimes, even free!

If you’ve never heard of Student Rush, you’ll want to listen up. Through this organization, students can look up shows or events they want to go to and get heavily discounted prices on tickets, and some are even free! Student Rush offers tickets to shows on and off Broadway, TV Shows, theater shows, comedy shows, museums, and more in New York City. Although this is only open to registered users of Student Rush, registration is free, so there really is no excuse to not take advantage of their glorious deals. Usually the use of these Student Rush tickets require a valid student ID but that should be no problem if you are actually a currently enrolled student and not pretending to live vicariously through your younger sister.

Another great thing about Student Rush is that you don’t have to be in college to take advantage of it. When my friends and I were in high school, we bought tickets through this organization to see Spring Awakening, and lucky we were because that was the last year the show was on Broadway. (After it ended production in New York, it could only been seen on it’s national tour, and the show just ended production in May 2011.) If I recall correctly, we paid just $15 a piece for tickets that were originally priced $75 each.

If you are interested in saving money while having a great time (who isn’t?!), check out StudentRush.org and start planning your next night out!

If You Want to Study Occupy Wall Street, Go to NYU.

According to New York University’s Daily Student Newspaper, Washington Square News, Occupy Wall Street has the power to enrich the minds of it’s students. Beginning in the Spring 2012 semester, NYU will add a course on the movement, offered at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

Professor Lisa Duggan, who will be teaching the undergraduate-level course, explains,

“Occupy Wall Street has done us all the service of illuminating [the fact] that the economy operates within the framework of political, social and cultural conflicts, and not outside them.”

NYU hopes that this class will encourage students to learn more about the economy and Wall Street’s involvement in it. Already lined up as a future guest speaker in the class is Susequehanna University professor Angelique Nixon. As an educator and a member of the People of Color Caucus of OWS, she believes that students should be learning about Occupy Wall Street “to get a better understanding and know about perhaps the largest social movement of the time.” She also thinks that the education about this movement will not stop at NYU, and other universities will begin to offer classes related to Occupy Wall Street.

What do you think about this?

How to Dress Like a Hipster When You’re on a Budget

So you want to be cool, huh? Want to be chill and fashionable and look like a New Yorker? Well, unless you love the Upper East Side prep style (and there’s nothing wrong with that), you might just end up looking like one of the many hipsters you see walk around the streets of the city. (If you’ve never been to New York, be prepared when you visit.) I have talked about American Apparel in Looking Nice at Half the Price, but don’t worry! Here are a few more places to shop in aspiration of looking like a hipster:

1. Urban Outfitters This is a no-brainer for America’s fashion conscious, and some may find it overrated sometimes. But I think Urban always has eccentric items no matter what, so you know what? I don’t care if everyone else shops here. Your style is chiefly based on how you put together your clothes and accessories anyway. I usually don’t buy anything full-price here because it will most likely go on sale at some point and the quality of some brands aren’t always the greatest. They also periodically have sales on already reduced-priced items, from an extra 20-50% off. I prefer the brands Staring at Stars, Silence & Noise, Deena & Ozzy, and Ecote.

2. Housing Works This is one of the best thrift shops you’ll probably ever go to. Housing Works is a non-profit charity whose profits go to New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS. It also happen to have great deals on everything from apparel to books to home goods. (Someone I know bought a brand new Marc Jacobs bag for just $55 and Prada Shoes for $125.) With student ID, students get 20% off their purchase on Tuesdays! Brand name or no name, its up to you what you choose to buy, but you do not want to not miss out on the great deals this sweet thrift shop has to offer. In addition to purchasing it’s items, you should also think about donating your clothing, shoes, books, artwork, jewelry, or housewares. Sharing is caring!

3. ASOS ASOS is a British online retailer for men and women. It offers a wide array of hipster-y fashionable brands, but some of it’s prices tend to be a bit higher than what you might be looking to spend, so I suggest checking out it’s sale section: Women, Men. To see trends and outfits exhibited on the site, go to it’s Outfit & Looks page. To buy and sell new, pre-owned, and vintage clothing, go to ASOS’ Marketplace.

Dressing like a hipster isn’t just in what you wear; it’s how you wear it, often adding much-needed accessories to create the hipster look. For example, you can wear a white t-shirt with a plaid shirt and skinny jeans and think that’s hipster. Or you can wear that outfit with a fedora, an infinity scarf, a pair of oxfords or Jeffrey Campbell Spike Litas, and a piercing or two or five… and Voila! You’re dressed like a hipster.

What Should Your Future Salary Be?

I just love New York Magazine. It provides me with everything I want to know about New York City, from restaurants to entertainment to politics to fashion. It even has a separate section online for shopping, apart from fashion. How lovely! The writing style is intellectual yet approachable, and if you have a sense of humor, you’ll be sure to catch onto the that of the magazine, as well. Whenever I decide to spend my own money on a magazine subscription and stop mooching off my parents’ regularly delivered issues, New York Magazine will be on the top of my list.

Another thing I love about the publication is their quirky little features, such as it the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Cost-of-Living Calculator, which is actually looks somewhat like a game.

Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Cost-of-Living Calculator, NYMag.com

I answered the various questions relating to my lifestyle in “the next 10 years” (I pretended it was going to be the next 15-20 years because I’m only 20 now!). Thanks to good ol’ NY Mag, I now know that I need to earn $1 million to live the life I aspire to have one day in New York City. Can you beat me?

The Cost of… “Living in New York”

As made clear by my previous posts, New York’s cost of living is considerably higher than essentially any place in America. However, the cost of actually living in New York City also must be discussed. In Moving to Manhattan, I explained the differences in rents among the city and to touch upon it a bit more…

Some families choose to sacrifice what they could have in other towns to live in New York. I know a family of 4 living in a one-bedroom apartment. Now, they do live in the heart of the West Village, a dream of many, but I’m sure people usually think the parents would at least want their own bedroom. This family has been doing this since their kids were born, now 8 and 11 years old, and they seem to be perfectly satisfied with their lifestyle. The bedroom consists of a full or queen size bed (I can’t remember which one) for the parents and a bunk bed for the boy and girl.

I don’t know what they rent is, but this is quite the sacrifice to make to live in one of the nation’s most sought-after neighborhoods. They could probably settle for a small house in the surroundings suburbs or get a less expensive, bigger place in a different neighborhood or even borough. I just wonder what will happen when the kids get older and want to bring home their girlfriends/boyfriends… Uh oh.

How Far Does a New York Dollar Go? [Part II]

(This post continues off of my previous one, How Far Does a New York Dollar Go? [Part I].)

If you’re seeking to live a well-off lifestyle in New York City when you get older, you better plan to have a very well paying job and marry rich. (This goes for guys and girls.) A New York Times article called “You Try to Live on 500K in This Town” explains just how expensive New York can be. After calculating costs of private school, mortgage, nanny, and co-op maintenance fees, the article states, “We are already at $269,000, and we haven’t even gotten to taxes yet.” Now, the expense listed in this article may seem a tad excessive to some, but to many in New York, these things are parts of the lifestyle they are accustomed to.

The Value of a New York Dollar

New York’s high cost of living is partially due to it’s low dollar value. In a New York Magazine article, “The Value of a New York Dollar,” the New York dollar was stated as being worth only 76 cents. That measly amount was calculated back in 2006, was when the article was published. Because of a number of factors, including regulations and zoning, housing caused the dollar’s value to drop 14 cents. Taxes drag its value down 5.6 cents, while basic costs like the higher prices in New York, decrease it even more by 4.4 cents. These are all further explained in the article, as well as the difference in lifestyle costs and wages.