Friday, September 30, 2011

How Not to Starve at College - Pumpkin Cheesecake!

Erica Knauss contributes an awesome recipe this week.  Take a look!!!

I grew up in a family that is centered around baking. My grandfather was a cook in the Navy and later on, owned and ran his own bakery with my grandmother. My dad, and his brothers would each take turns working in the bakery when they grew up. My dad was the one who spent the most time there learning all he could which he passed on to me. I grew up baking with my father, and later working as a cook before attending SVA. In the summer of 2010, I shadowed at a bakery, working from 12am-9am. It was fun, despite becoming nocturnal. At some point in my college life I wanted to go to culinary school so I randomly applied one summer and was accepted into the Culinary Institute of America. I didn't go, and continued at SVA with the idea that some point in my future I would be able to do both graphic design and baking. I think I just wanted to feel that, going would always be an option. To compensate I ran a food blog my junior year, with much success. It was sort of my way to get the best of both worlds, art and baking. This year I am moving from my tumblr, to coding my own website, "How To Not Starve In College".  Look out for it this spring! 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thrifty in the City: Avoid the Ick with ZocDoc

Every year the Ick starts to creep it's way through SVA and it's coming...  You know what the Ick is.  It's sniffley, achy, mucousy, coughing, exausting, contagious, disgusting ICK! 

While trying to avoid students' cooties and bathing in Purel, I'm always amazed when I'm talking to you sickly lot that hardly any of you have local doctors.  Every year I watch my poor residents in misery with illness, toothaches, and other unhealthiness because they'll wait to go home to see "their" doctor.  This is just not acceptable of adult women (this means you!).  You should all have local doctors, dentists, and know what your medical and dental insurance are and ALWAYS carry your insurance cards with you.  You never know when an emergency might come up!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Gramercy Resident Kjersti Faret shares her volunteer experience! 

Growing up in suburbia, I always had pets (cats specifically). Moving into the city, into a school dorm, left me living without a cat for the first time in my life. I’ll admit it was sad and strange to actually be alone in a room sometimes without another living creature sitting on my bed. Whilst going through cat withdrawal first semester last year, I found myself in the Union Square Petco. Inside the store, I stumbled upon Kitty Kind, the no-kill and not-for-profit cat shelter and rescue group.

 Finally I asked to volunteer. Anyone can volunteer! Everyone who is apart of Kitty Kind is a volunteer, from the adoption reps to the cleaners. That’s what I do; I’m a cleaner. You’re probably thinking that means cleaning cat’s litter boxes. Yes, it does. But besides that we also give them fresh bedding, feed them, new water, etc. But the best part is being able to play with all the cats. It’s just as important to socialize with them, as it is to take care of them. Since the cats are stuck in the cages all the time, they don’t get many opportunities to play even if they have a cage-mate. So many of the cats are sweet mushes, you know, the ones who just want to cuddle and be loved. There are so many adorable ones who jump into your arms or climb on your shoulders as soon as they can and rub their heads on you and purr. There are a lot of energetic kittens and cats as well who love nothing more than to chase the mouse or even your hand as you clean their cage. Every cat is unique and just waiting to find a forever home and love.

This is the official Kitty Kind website:
If anyone is interested in volunteering, there is always room for more volunteers, or if you would like to adopt or know someone who is looking to adopt, Kitty Kind is a wonderful shelter with many loving cats!   If you want to check out more pictures of cats, and let's face it, who doesn't?!  Click Read More!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Good 'Ole Southern Comfort

They say that the surest way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Coming from a girl that grew up around cowboys with large hearts (and even larger stomaches), I can attest to the basic sentiment of that statement being true. And that basic truth is, we all love food.

Some people love to try new foods, some people really love certain foods, and some of us really enjoy making food. Not only am I from Texas, I'm also Italian. Many a holiday I have spent my time rolling out pasta, taste-testing sauces, or forking raviolis closed. It's a surefire way to bring people together, and it tastes pretty damn good too.

Album Review with RA Kerin!

Last year I had the pleasure of watching Swear and Shake, an indie/folk four-piece from Brooklyn, and it was love at first listen. Their five-track EPExtended Play is what I’ve been playing pretty much non-stop ever since, and I can almost guarantee that no matter what genre of music you find yourself most at home in you will fall in love. It’s got the makings of a great EP; yes, it’s short, but every song packs a sensory punch that leaves you wanting more music from the group (good news, they’re in the middle of recording a full length!)

Even while singing about the darker parts of love, Kari Spieler’s voice manages to be smoky-sweet, strong through every note as the lyrics take you on five separate journeys. On “Johnnie”, she sings of a man’s imperfections and her willingness to love them while the drum playing of Tom Elfante trots along behind her, bass playing of Shaun Savage warming with its deep tones. “Truckstop Flower” features the vocals of guitar player and co-songwriter Adam McHeffey, a perfect compliment to Kari’s warm tone in the upbeat track. They come to a close with “Bones”, my personal favorite, which is an honest and raw track that tugs on your heartstrings from start to finish and leave you wanting more still.

Fans of Mumford & Sons and Arcade Fire are sure to love Swear and Shake. Really anyone with a heart open to soft, sweet, but soulful music will welcome them with open arms. You’re gonna love them. You’re welcome.

Check out Swear and Shake’s track “Johnnie” below.

Gramercy Tea Time!

Look what talented resident Sarah Scafidi made!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Have you been checking out our programs?!

Hey Ladies! We are having a blast this month with our programming! We hope to see more faces at future events but thanks to all the girls who have been coming out! This week we have the Gramercy Gals Society event on Tuesday Night at 9:30pm. We are decorating cupcakes!!!

The Filter is at the same time that night, so if you are planning on going to that, just stop by and grab a snack for the road! Can't wait to see you all on Tuesday! And if you have any program idea's you'd like to suggest, leave a comment on this post or e-mail me at! Us RA's are going to be putting up pictures from our last few events, so check back and keep an eye out for those!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Thrifty in the City: Splurge a little, save a lot!

Here are this week's decadent deals that are a real steal!

Looking Good...

Living Social:, $19 for any shoes, boots, handbag, or jewelry! 

BuyWithMe: $20 gets you an OPI ‘Shatter’ mani-pedi (a $40 value) at Confidence Beauty Salon.

Dining well...

Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of contemporary continental cuisine and one dessert (an $8 value) at Giorgio's of Gramercy (a $48 total value). 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Thrifty in the City: Bored and Broke!

I'm always amazed whenever I hear "I'm so bored!" from my residents.  Mostly because you all have so much work to do, but also because you live in NYC!  There are SO many things you can be doing.  Once I start making suggestions, then I hear the starving student mantra, "But I'm so broke."  Ok, well I have a cure for both.  It won't put anymore money in your pocket, but it certainly won't take any more out and you won't be bored EVER again.

Here is a google calendar that I created of all of the FREE nights, days, events, in the City.  Keep checking it as I'll constantly update it.  You can even add it to your own Google Calendar or iCal line up!

FYI, if you don't use Google Calendar you're seriously missing out, it's like the best thing ever and it's free... get with it people.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Beginnings of the Fire Hat

So, while at Pixar, I found this fire hat near the playroom by the foosball table I often visited. There it was in all it's glory, a shiny red fire hat that a million little kids probably put their stinky little heads on. It needed a new home, so why not bring it to the big apple (presuming this thing didn't have head lice in it). I wore the fire hat my last week in California. I had no shame.

It was bright and red, but it was MINE. Finders Keepers. Then came the airport. The fire hat would not fit in any of my suitcases, and it was around 4 am so I decided to wear it through security. I was obviously really happy...

Thrifty in the City: Deal Shout Out

Awesome Deals for week of September 12

Fun stuff to do in the City
Here are some awesome things to do this weekend and over the next few weeks while the weather is still lovely!
Celebration of Brooklyn Flavor

Buy With Me: Celebration of Brooklyn Flavor
$35 gets you TWO tickets with 6 food tastes each, plus 4 drink tastes each ($70 value), on Sunday, September 18 from 1-6pm. 

Bloomspot: Couture Fashion Week - This weekend! 
General Admission tickets from $24 - $30! 

Couture Fashion Week @ Bloomspot

Zozi: Happy Hour Cruise - Wednesday Night Hudson Trip 
$10 (must be 21 or older), for three hour cruise at sunset around Manhattan, bartenders shake you up a free cocktail, and you can shake on the dance floor on the bottom deck as they'll have a DJ spinning!

Kayaking on the Hudson
Zozi: Skyline on Hudson - After Dark Manhattan Kayak Trip 
$39 gets you a guided 'After Dark' kayak trip.  Leave at twilight, spend 75 minutes cruising the city's shoreline. 

Groupon: Cinema Village 
$12 for Two Movie Tickets and Large Popcorn (Up to $27 Value)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thrifty in the City: Free Yoga Classes!

Molly was sharing with me the other day that she really wanted to start going to yoga classes this year but they can be so expensive.  Yoga is an amazing exercise practice that is great for any fitness level and it's an amazing stress reliever.  It is something that centers you physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.  But a class can cost anywhere from $16 - 30 and they pack the classes in!  That's a bit much in my opinion.   

So after doing a little research, I found out that there are plenty of places around here that offer cheap, if not free classes!  Also, check out those Groupons and other discount sites regularly, they're always offering discounted yoga packages too.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Starting the year off right...

Gramercy kicked off the school year with delicious Tacos on Sunday! So many of you came out and it was so great to meet you! The taco night was hosted by the Gramercy Gals Society which you all learned about from me, RA Molly, at your floor meetings.

To kind of catch you up if you weren't at Taco Night, the GGS has events every other week and we really just get together to hang out, de-stress, talk about classes and enjoy ourselves. Gramercy is a family and this is how we grow a little closer together. Make sure you check our programming calendar and you can TOTALLY make suggestions on what you would like to see as a program. Actually, if you have an idea, leave it in the comments of this post!

Thanks to everyone who came! Wasn't it fun?! Plus...who doesn't like free food? Hope everyone is adjusting well back into Gramercy and enjoy your first week of classes!!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Thrifty in the City: DSW Fashion's Night Out!

Since RA Twig's Tea Party doesn't start until 9 pm, why don't you run down to DSW and do a little shopping first?  Enter to win a $100 gift card, get some free ballet flats, and get 10% off some shoes and handbags!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Thrifty in the City: Deal Shout Out

I am a deal junkie!  I never like to pay full price for anything!  Every morning over my cup of coffee, I read through all the Groupon like sites to see what awesome thing I can do, eat, or see for a fraction of the price. Sometimes I see great deals that I'll pass on to my residents.  Here's today's BEST deals that I think you would love!!


$18 for Two-Person Dinner including Appetizer, Entrees, Dessert, and Lassis (Up to $40 Value). $32 for Four Person Option (Up to $80 Value).

This place is amazing and it's close by, Lexington and 27th!  You can have dinner with all of your roommates for $8 a person!  That's crazy!

$15 for Manicure and Pedicure at Urban Nail Salon ($30 Value). $36 for Spa Manicure and Pedicure and a 10-Minute Foot Massage ($80 Value).

There is nothing like being broke and having a crummy day and then realizing that you have a Mani/Pedi that you haven't used yet!!!  

For $15, you get a basic mani-pedi package (a $30 value), which includes:
  • Mani-pedi
  • Application of polish
  • Two-minute shoulder massage

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Here come the girls!

We had a great move in yesterday!!!

Nearly everyone is here! Welcome to Gramercy girls! Get unpacked and get excited. We have tons of programs planned including a taco party TONIGHT at 7p.m. in the lounge! Keep an eye out for flyers on your bulletin boards and don't forget about your floor meetings on Monday. We can't wait until everyone is here and our Gramercy family is complete!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I lead a double life.

RA/Artist by day, Defender of Gramercy by night.

"I will fight off this trash monster and save Gramercy!"

Friday, September 2, 2011

New to Gramercy...RA Kerin!

Though I am blessed to be a new RA at Gramercy this year, this ain’t my first rodeo. I spent the entirety of my Sophomore Year of Pain, as it has become known in the Illustration department, as an RA on the sixth floor of the George Washington. This is where I took up residence in a space I liked to lovingly call, My Shoebox - for both its shape and sometimes its familiar smell.

Between work and my RA responsibilities, my shoebox and I became pretty well acquainted. Spending a year at the George Washington did give me something I didn’t have any of before - Experience. A lot of it. I was surprised how much I could encounter, learn, and push myself in the span of one year. There were days when I felt on top of the world, and others where I was merely a lifeless heap upon my boss’ desk. And others where I stormed through the hallways in search of the jerk that ruined my fancy music-oriented bulletin board, all of which helped me realize how much I truly love what I do. It was a wonderful experience that I will take with me wherever I go.

Still, I wanted more. Maybe not more, but definitely something different. I wanted an experience that allowed me to get to know residents better; dare I say I was in search of a family away from family? Growing up in a massive family, and then moving to an isolated building where I spent most time working on my own terms, was the residence-hall-equivalent of culture shock. I wanted people who would be there for me, to quote Mean Girls with, have people to cry to when the Illustration department would inevitably beat me to a pulp, and even read my blog entries.

And so I moved to Gramercy! I’m sure you can imagine my excitement upon knowing that my new home would be a beautiful building with high ceilings and wood floors overlooking the illustrious Gramercy Park. I have an unhealthy love of organization and shelving and now I can display all of my cute little James Jean postcards in frames and my vinyl resin red ray gun, that I may or may not have purchased at four in the morning for fifty dollars, on tiny little ledges in the windows.

(Clearly the face of a futuristic assassin. Pew, m*therf*ckers.)

I take that back. What I am most excited about is the fact that being a part of Team Gramercy is like coming home and realizing you had a family you didn’t know existed. The ladies that make up the staff you are all going to know (and love) are some of the most wonderful, sweet, bad-ass individuals I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Not to mention that I’m moving into a hall full of awesome chicks with a million different talents, personalities and stories that I’m really stoked on getting to know and see and make members of my family. You do not have a choice in that, by the way. I am going to unconditionally love all of you whether you like it or not and if this sounds like a threat then we’re already off to a great start.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Howdy Y'all... I'm RA Twig!

I suppose the best place to start with these things is at the beginning. My name is Twig.

Wait, let me do this properly. My 'real' name is Hannah Nicole Capra. I like to go by the name Twig, just because I can, and you're more apt to remember it. It's in fact a childhood nickname gleaned from the pages Faeries. My eight-year-old mind understood that real names mean nothing in comparison to the names we give ourselves. I think this is especially true today...and I’m sure that Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta would agree.

Now we'll skip through the middle section. (I'll condense it for you and tell you it's a montage of growing up in Texas, taking lots of pictures, and doing country stuff, like driving a tractor) You don't really need to see all that, not today at least. So after skipping down memory lane, we've arrived at our present moment, in New York City, at the School of Visual Arts. I'm a photo major (makes sense now, right?) and I'm a first year RA at the Gramercy Residence. Being the baby of my own family, it's fairly natural to accept that role in the House of Gramercy. Everyone here is really great though, not like my siblings at all. Cue video of my brother and sister getting into she the scapegoat. Anyways, I'm really excited to be here, albeit here is very far from where I'm from.

Being a Texan in New York is fairly entertaining. Apart from always being asked if 'everything really is bigger in Texas,' and always being responsible for that whole Bush thing, I've come to love the preconceptions that North Easterners have about my lovely state and its inhabitants. No, we don't all ride horses to school. No, we don't all drive trucks. No, we don't all think we should secede from the Union and become a country again (although that does sound cool, then I could be a foreign exchange student)! However, we do say “y'all,” and it is completely proper. Seriously. You all. Y'all. Which is more fun to say? That's right. Come to the dark side, y'all.

Prior to calling NYC home, my roots were planted in the red dirt of Abilene. For those of you unfamiliar with at's located in Texas (kinda goes along with everything I've been saying). It's a long way from New York, and has been my home for the past eighteen years. Abilene boasts 318 churches in the phonebook, and is the proverbial buckle of the Bible Belt. It was a good place to grow up in, but not the easiest place to stretch your wings (and don't even think about wearing black lipstick in public).Growing up in the country was much more entertaining than Hollywood will have you believe.