Amanda’s Blog

Just another Blogs@Baruch weblog

Success Doesn’t Buy Happiness, Happiness Buys Success

             New York is a city of dreams. Just about everyone who has come to live in New York City does so because they are chasing a dream. They all want to have success and with New York’s anything-can-happen atmosphere people are attracted like moths to a flame. Hundreds of people come to the big apple with hopes of making it big. They all want to be successful like the doctors, lawyers, businessmen, and even celebrities who live here. But very few people would consider themselves successful. So then what makes someone successful and how does one know when they have officially “made it”?
           Some are quick to answer that money and fame brings about success. However, we all have heard of the well known phrase: money doesn’t buy happiness, and we incessantly hear various celebrities complain about how they hate feeling like they are under a microscope constantly. Considering that I am neither abundantly wealthy nor am I famous in any sense of the word I cannot really agree or disagree with this; however I have figured out the common denominator to success. The one thing that you must have in order to make it on critical streets of New York City and anywhere else in life is happiness.
People are different, especially in New York. There are no two people who are identical, so the idea of success will vary form person to person. To a dieter passing up the chance to eat a slice of delicious chocolate cake equals success; however in my eyes the same action would be viewed as an epic failure. But the one thing that everyone in the entire world desires is happiness. Everyone craves that harmony between themselves and the lives they lead, and they want success because they feel that it will make them happier. Failing to understand that happiness is what will lead to their success, many people find themselves prisoners of an endless loop, trying to obtain success in order to reach happines.
            When one is happy doors seem to fly open for them. In fact, recently there have been numerous studies preformed on the correlations between success and happiness. And all of the investigations basically have come up with the same findings: happiness is what will lead to your success. “Scientists reviewed 225 studies involving 275,000 people and found that chronically happy people are in general more successful in their personal and professional lives” ( Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside has even dedicated a great deal of her time and efforts to further exploring positive psychology, which deals with how happiness affects your success. When you are happy your mind is open to new opportunities in all aspects of life, a happier more positive outlook is what will lead to your success regardless of who you are.
Its seems like happiness would be the obvious answer to what leads to success, yet so many people over look it. They focus on other attributes such as acquiring money and fame through hard work and a good education. Although these qualities are important the can sometimes lead you to unhappiness. However, if New York can teach you anything its lesson would be that life are meant to be lived and experienced and you can make it by simply living life to the fullest. An important thing to always remember when chasing success is that “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” (Albert Schweitzer


            It is clear to see that blogs have now become one of the most popular forms of information retrieval on the internet.There are blogs on virtually every topic, however the challenge becomes separating the good blogs from the bad. A good blog should be interesting and promote debates among its followers. But first and foremost a good blog should inform you on the topic of your interest. One topic that I have always found intriguing was animals, in particular the treatment of animals. Although there are numerous blogs on this topic, finding a reputable blog that is interesting, informative, unique, and honest can be somewhat difficult. However, when going through searches for blogs about animals it’s virtually impossible not to stumble upon PETA.
             PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is one of the world’s most successful and effective advocacy organizations. PETA has long been an authority on this topic and their style and ideas have been used and reused for many different blogs who hope to follow in PETA’s impressive footsteps. Their blogs are teeming with information and their writers are extremely knowledgeable on the subject of animal rights and the protection of animals. The authors of these blogs dedicate their time and effort to finding out as much information on animals as possible. Unlike some blogs which are just hobbies of their creators, the authors of PETA’s blogs treat it as something more. They have devoted themselves to the rights of animals and their mission is to make people aware of unknown injustices many animals endure.
          PETA definitely has a unique voice. Their blogs are full of loud in-you-face opinions. They are not afraid of stepping on toes and they make sure to get their point across even if they may be a bit overly blunt at times. Although PETA’s brazen style is revered by some it can be viewed as a little too straight forward by others, but there straight forward style is one of the many characteristics that make PETA so unique.
            The design of their page is highly navigate-able, which is another feature I like so much about their website. Some blogs are too boring and can not hold your interest, while other blogs are too busy and you can’t tell what it is you are attempting to do. However, with PETA’s blog they forgo the fancy background and letter coloring and keep it simple. PETA’s design doesn’t distract from their blog which some blogs tend to do, but they do keep it visually stimulating with plenty of pictures. Also conveniently placed links to the right make it easy to find different entries; there are even links to blogs that give you vegetarian recipes.
            Aside from all the other things that make PETA’s blog a good blog, one of its most favorable attributes is what you take away form the blogs. PETA’s blogs are packed with information. They tell you ways you can incorporate their message of love for animals into your everyday life. Their blog raises an awareness of how poorly some animals are treated. It is clear to see that the goal of PETA’s blog to educate people on animals, because they realize that change and improvement begins with knowledge.
            One of the attributes that make blogs so popular is that they never stop growing. New information keeps accumulating especially with all the comments and discussions that are opened up to the public, making a blog like a journey of discovery with friends. PETA’s blog does exactly this with its captivating and bold topics. Although finding a blog that is at the top of its game can be difficult, once you find one it will become one of your most valuable sources for information and entertainment on the topic of your interest.

One Way to Improve New York: Follow Trends

          I love New York. It is such an interesting city. In New York something is always happening, no matter what time it may be. However as great as NYC is, it is far from being perfect. There are so many different things that should be improved in this busy city that picking just one issue is somewhat difficult. But one of New York’s biggest and most apparent problems is its pollution.

          New York isn’t known for its greenery or efflorescent flora. New York is associated with tall industrial buildings, taxi cabs and traffic, and hundreds of people on crowded streets, and in a city like this pollution is inevitable. However, with global warming becoming an increasingly popular topic of discussion among newspapers and blogs, being environmentally conscious is now in style. With ads everywhere and a constant increase of various celebrity endorsements commanding you to “Go Green”, people are now beginning to shy away from flashy gas guzzling vehicles and embrace flashy fuel efficient hybrids. Even fashion trends have “gone green”, with reusable shopping totes and recycled clothing made from a hemp-bamboo mix that undoubtedly cost more than your “un-green” clothes.

          This newer “green” trend is unquestionably healthier than a few of the older trends New York has fell victim to, yet in order to better the environment you don’t need to buy a new wardrobe, or car. Sometimes throughout all the hustle and bustle and constant trend setting and following, New York seems to forget about simplicity. New York’s atmosphere can be bettered by simple everyday actions such as actually throwing away trash in the proper receptacles and choosing to walk or take public transportation instead of driving. Also unplugging electronics that are not in use and turning of lights when no one is in the room can help the environment. In a city with a population of over 8 million people, if everyone decided to follow these few simple steps, pollution would be reduced by over 50%. Hopefully this trend will be a lasting change instead of the latest fleeting fad.

A Slice of Apple

            New York is famous for its vast array of food choices, and with so many different kinds of food in one city, finding something to eat doesn’t pose much of a challenge. However, even with the multitude of choices NYC has to offer, Pizza is arguably one of the top food choices for New Yorkers and tourists alike. In fact, in the phone book, Pizza is the only food that has its own category, instead of simply being listed under the generic heading “restaurants” (Miller, “American Pie.”). Pizza was first created in Naples, Italy and was considered to be the food of the poorer citizens. But since its introduction to the United States, pizza is no longer considered to be the food of the lower class. Just about everyone has enjoyed a slice of pizza at one point or another in their lives. Pizza is the quintessential food of the true New Yorker.
            New York City has its own beat, a unique rhythm that is unlike anywhere else in the entire world, so of course, New Yorkers demand a food staple that can keep up with their busy life styles. When you are on the go and demand something quick and easy, you pick up a slice of pizza. Board meetings and overtime workers typically depend on some form of delivery food to satiate their hunger and keep them focused on the task ahead of them, and pizza is usually their preferred choice. Unlike other foods, such as Chinese take-outs, which can disrupt meetings with excessive sprints to the lavatory if it doesn’t sit well with you, pizza is a safe choice for almost all.  
               Besides being a fast and easy choice for on-the-go people, another characteristic that makes pizza so appealing to the masses is its variety. With such a varied assortment of pizzas, even the most finicky of eaters can find something they like. Like New York, Pizza has something for everyone. Taking that first bite of a hot, or sometimes cold, slice of pizza is a mouthwatering experience that can be described with many different words such as scrumptious delicious, and without overlooking simplicity, yummy. However two words that have never been associated with pizza is hard work, but maybe it should be. Very few people stop to think exactly how that slice of pizza they are enjoying came to be.

              The dream of many new comers to the big apple is to be able to make something of themselves, and in 1895, Gennaro Lombardi arrived form Italy with this exact dream (Miller, American Pie). This poor Italian immigrant was the first man to introduce pizza to the United States, and what better way to do so than in the trend-setting streets of New York? This man came to America with nothing but a dream and ended up fathering a cultural phenomenon. Tourists from all over the world come to New York City and need to have that iconic slice of authentic New York Style pizza. Although it is world famous, New York style pizza would not be so amazing if the people making it didn’t work twice as hard as the people craving it.
               Having worked in a pizzeria for some time, I can attest to the fact that it is no easy job. Working in a pizzeria requires diligence, the ability to multitask, and the ability to perform under pressure. The employees of New York’s pizzerias mostly consist of some teenagers and other people who are not opposed to working hard. Although pizza orders don’t start arriving till around noon, pizzeria workers can begin working around six in the morning depending on what their positions are. Some preparations are even made the day before.

              Most teenagers who work in pizzerias arrive around noon because their job is usually delivering the pizza, which depending on their mode of transportation can be a difficult task. A slightly more challenging position is the cashier, whose job is slow at times and then extremely fast pace and hectic at others.  The cashier is forced to deal with the crowds of ravenous, and sometimes cranky and impatient, customers. The cashier must also put in all the orders as quickly as possible and do it all with a smile and a good attitude.
              As difficult as the job of a cashier may be, the hardest worker in a pizzeria is without a doubt the people who actually make those appetizing pies.  Although they are not really considered chefs, I feel that they are just as hard working if not more than the chefs in those fancy restaurants. Most chefs in pizzerias begin working there because they need to support their families. But if you ask about their pizza backgrounds you might be surprised to find that most have fathers or uncles who have been cooks and mothers or aunts who make pizza at home. Just about all of the cooks in pizzerias do not possess much education, or have various degrees from culinary institutes, but they all take great pride in their work. And many of the chefs in pizzerias are more than willing to share their secret pizza recipes with you, and are only too happy to show off their skills.

               Like the cashiers and the delivery boys, the chefs spend hours at a time on their feet, however, unlike the cashiers and the delivery boys they must also stand in front of a 450 degree oven while making pies for hundreds of hungry customers, catering to each individual need and making special slices for those who want there pizzas with special toppings or cooked in a certain way. The cooks at pizzerias are also prone to burns while working with those monstrous ovens. These workers must also arrive hours earlier to prepare the pizzas for the day.
            Watching a chef at a pizzeria is like watching a line of factory workers all rolled into one body. He rolls the dough, adds the sauce, the cheese, and then toppings with such skillfulness it truly is amazing to watch. Some cooks can even get fancy with the dough and toss it high in the air, but those moves are usually saved for competitions because tossing dough too much creates overly dry pizza. The pizza is a direct representation of the chef’s skills. And if made correctly, the fresh warm golden brown crust with the zesty tomato sauce and hot melted cheese on top should produce a memorable taste experience that will keep the customer coming back for more.
            I doubt there is anyone that will question the hard work ethic of all those involved in the pizzeria business, like New York the pizzeria business if full of hard working people who are hoping to better themselves. But what really makes pizza the quintessential food of New York is the fact that it began from humble beginnings and grew into something much more. Every New Yorker is trying to build themselves up and make it to the top. They yearn to make life struggles worth while and to feel as though they have finally accomplished something. This is the true essence of New York. Especially now with the economic recession, no one is unfamiliar with tough, difficult times. Living is expensive and pizza is a cheap and easy answer to help lighten the financial burden of delicious meal that you don’t have to take time out of your busy life to make yourself. Since pizza is also iconic of a good time, it can serve as comfort to those who may be feeling a little down.
            Pizza is the quintessential food of New York City. It is readily available, easy to afford, and well-known. Pizza is the most popular food offered in NYC, next to burgers and hot dogs from the corner vendors. It captures the New York spirit the most because it began with one dream. Everyone is working towards a goal and trying to make it in their own way. For those people who need to eat on the run, pizza is there for them, quickly and simply obtained, so they can continue on trying to strive for something that makes them matter and stand out. Gennaro Lombardi did it when he came to New York all those years ago and with nothing but an idea and a dream; he ended up changing the way people looked at foods not only in New York, but throughout the United States.


History and Legends of Pizza

My New York Hero

          My New York hero is very different from most heroes. My hero is not someone who is very powerful or famous. My hero doesn’t risk her life everyday and she has never been forced to fight or overcome some adversity. But by the age of 17 she has helped me in more ways than even she knows. My New York Hero is my younger sister.

          When we were younger I never really liked my sister, I didn’t want to be around her or spend time with her, even though she always seemed to want to spend time with me. She even used to try and talk my parents out of punishing me when I did something I wasn’t supposed to, which was fairly often. But my sister and I have now become closer, and we talk to each other about almost everything.
          I remember when we used to fight my parents would tell me that one day I would realize my sister will be the one person who will always be in my life no matter what. Although at the time I thought they were wrong, I now see that they were right. My sister has been there for me even when everyone else in the world seems to be letting me down. I can recall the exact moment when I saw my sister as the hero she truly was. Once I had gotten into some trouble and everyone was either too busy or reluctant to help, even my own parents were unwilling to help me out of the situation I was in because they felt that leaving me to deal with it on my own would “teach me a lesson”. However my sister would not leave my side. It was at that moment that I knew she would always be there for me, and I promised myself that I would always be there for her.

          Sometimes I feel like I should have been the younger sister, and I often wonder if I am as helpful to her as she is to me. When I was told to write about my New York hero I couldn’t really decide who to write about. There are so many brave people who share the streets of New York with us that it is so difficult to choose just one person who is a true hero to all. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that even though she isn’t a hero to all, my sister is my hero. She is willing to put not only me, but others that she loves before herself. She is thoughtful, and kind, and even though she has her flaws I know that I will always be able to turn to her.

Lady New York

                                                  “Give me your tired, your poor,
                                                    Your huddled masses yearning to the free”
                                                  -Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus, 1883

          When thinking of New York, one cannot help but have certain images come to mind. For example, the Empire State Building, Broadway, Times square, and maybe even Taxis just to name a few. But none of these images better represent New York than the Statue of Liberty. She connects over half the population of all of America to the infamous city that never sleeps. When immigrants from all over the world began arriving to America seeking a better way of life, The Statue of Liberty and New York were both right there to greet the weary travelers. And eventually many tourists, as well as New Yorkers, pay Lady Liberty a visit because of the profound connection they feel towards her.

          She stands 46 meters tall, with broken shackles at her feet, serving as a colossal reminder to all who see her that this is the land of the free. This majestic woman has seen the tired ancestors of millions of Americans, and since 1886 she has been one of the first glimpses of America for immigrants from all over the world as they entered the New York harbor, seeking a new way of life. The Statue of Liberty has looked down upon the fallen and destitute offering a simple promise. She has stood watching over the dark harbor never lowering her emblematic torch. As a result she has been embedded into the minds of millions as a symbol of freedom, acceptance, hope, and new beginnings linking millions of Americans to New York with her powerful message.

          New York has long been one of the most popular destinations for people trying to reach their dreams, whether it is becoming a business executive, model, or doctor. A popular saying commonly linked with New York is, “Anything can happen”, and the Statue of Liberty is one of the many things that contributes to New York’s “All is possible” atmosphere, because it too represents change and following your dreams. All of the people who arrived in America came with one main purpose: to change their lives for the better. They all had dreams which they hoped they would be able to achieve. Similar to the big apple with its ever-changing fashions, buildings, and streets, the statue represents all the changes these travelers hoped for as they embarked on a journey to improve their unfulfilling lives. Like the immigrants who came to America years ago, people are drawn to New York as their ancestors were drawn to America, because of its promise.

          Another one of New York’s most alluring features has been its ambiance of diversity. New York City is irrefutably, one of the most multifarious places in the United States, and rightfully so, especially with a population totaling well over 8 million people. The Statue of Liberty is quintessential New York because, parallel to the big apple, the Statue of Liberty has no exclusions, all people are welcome. If New York had a synonym it would be the magnificent statue herself. Like New York she welcomes all, whether they are poor, rich, week, strong, timid, or bold. Besides being one of the most nationally recognizable symbols, she also is partially responsible for the giant melting pot that is New York City. In fact, in 1984 it was recognized as a world heritage site.

          Although the Statue of Liberty and New York may mean different things for different people, one of its most prominent and strongest features is its symbol of freedom, which was expressed through the broken shackles around the statue’s feet. It is almost impossible for people to describe the Statue of Liberty without the word freedom coming up, and for many, New York is a place where you are free to be yourself. Both the statue and New York embody freedom. There is even a tablet in the statue’s right hand with July IV MDCCLXXVI inscribed on it, which says July 4th, 1776, the year of American independence. When looking at the Statue of Liberty thoughts of liberty and democracy arise. Lady Liberty serves as an incessant reminder, for all who look upon her, that they are free to pursue their hearts desire.

          The Statue of Liberty invites you into the land she silently stands watch over, the world she is guardian for, but says nothing. Instead she leaves liberty and freedom in the hands of those who seek it, and acceptance and understanding for those who crave it. So silent and stoic, the Statue of Liberty is there, day and night, keeping constant vigil over the millions of dreamers who grasp the heartstrings of hope. She stands as an unwavering reminder of endless opportunity and limitless dreams to wake to. Lady Liberty has seen all those who have contributed to the delectable melting pot of New York, a tasteful blend of hundreds of unique cultures each standing out in its own way on the stretches of New York streets.

Lady Liberty (1st paragraph)


When thinking of New York, one cannot help but have certain images flow through their thoughts. For example, the Empire State Building, Broadway, Times Square, and maybe even those hit and run taxis just to name a few. But none of these images better represent New York than the Statue of Liberty. She connects over half the population of all of America to New York. When immigrants form all over the world began arriving to America seeking a better way of life, The Statue of Liberty and New York were right there to greet the weary travelers. In fact, many tourists, as well as New Yorkers, eventually pay Lady Liberty a visit because of the connection they feel towards her.

Frozen Grand Central

Frozen Grand Central

So basically in this video a bunch of people freeze in Grand Central for 5 minutes. When I saw this video I thought it was really funny mostly because of the expressions on everyone’s faces. One of my favorite parts in this video is when this guy walks up to a girl that is frozen and pushes/pokes her to see whats wrong with her. Another one of my favorite moments is towards the end of the video, someone says “That was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen, I thought it was only me who was seeing for a little while.”

Thoughtful Walking

In New York there are two kinds of people: the New Yorker and the tourist. In the jungle that is Manhattan, a tourist would do well to stay out of a New Yorker’s way, in particular a busy one, because they have no time to spare and they will not think twice about a good shove. In New York it is easy to get caught up, and dragged by the street walkers of the city. Like and impregnable tide they demand that you go with the flow, because going against the crowd is futile and as in typical American fashion, the majority rules. Even though it can be a bit dangerous at times, walking in Manhattan is an experience that has been highly underrated, an adventure unlike any other.
Walking promotes honesty and thought, and if nothing else New York is honest. We know what we are, and we are not afraid to admit what we are not. As your feet pound the hard concrete beneath you, there is some unexplainable force that compels you to examine yourself. You reminisce on the past, contemplate the present, and plan the future. When it’s just you and the sidewalk your mind tends to wander because there is no judgment, or fear of being wrong. You contemplate your life and the lives of others. There is no holding back thought when you while, as a result you are more honest with yourself.
One of my favorite places to walk is on 42nd street. Emerging from the catacombs of the infamous New York City subway on the 42nd street and Bryant Park station, you are immediately thrown into the atmosphere that is New York, greeted by the hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps. You instantly become entranced by the potent odors of the unscrupulous vendor-foods that are sure to lead you astray from the latest fad diet, which has become so popular on the New York beat. Also this particular piece of pavement provides just the right amount of nature and people. You are not swarmed by a sea of tourist but you still manage to see your fair share of those camera wielding, building ogling people, who will no doubt ask you to take a picture for them. This street connects me to all the places I want to go and to all the things I want to do. It is my connection to entertainment, the arts, shopping and of course food. To me it doesn’t get anymore New York than that.
It is walking down this strip that I do some of my best thinking. I think mostly about my past, mainly the decisions that I have made and how they affect my life now. I find it funny how a huge disaster can often be traced back to one little moment. Like a butterfly effect, sometimes you can pinpoint the moment where things went wrong. While strolling along, I notice a woman holding a faint smile as she walks. I assume that, like me, she is thinking about past memories. Her eyes are looking straight ahead, but I can tell she is focusing on something else, something better. She is so deep in thought that she doesn’t seem to notice the blaring horns of taxis or the stream of obscenities that can be heard off in the distance. The candor of her smile is refreshing, and so rare to see, especially with the frowns that seem to be permanently etched on people’s faces due to the so-called failing economy.
As I continue my journey I can smell the sweetened roasted nuts being sold by the vendor. There is a family huddled around the big grey metal set up with smiles of anticipation and hunger on their faces, they purchase a bag of the sweetened goodies. The aroma is mouthwatering, and makes me wish that I wasn’t border-line broke. The fragrance is like a friend, familiar and comforting. It reminds me of two summers ago. That was the summer I spent shopping throughout various parts of New York. Although I did manage to get a few things at a nominal price, I made a huge dent in my wallet, which I am still trying to recovering from. I have now become the smiling woman as I recall the past events of my previous summers. I try not to smile too broadly, but walking New York can do that to you. It is capable of invoking memories that can make you burst out laughing or cringe with shame and embarrassment.
During my walk I also fantasize about my future, as many others do. I wonder what will happen to me, what will I be like in a few years, will my life be good or will it be full of hardships? Some people are scared of what the future may bring. I have heard it said that the end of the world is coming soon, and that our entire planet will be destroyed by global warning, however I find that hard to believe, especially while walking in one of the most liveliest places in Manhattan. I pass by a woman with a somewhat callous look on her face. I purposely try to avoid getting in her way. She appeared to be in a rush and I did not want to be the one to postpone her arrival to wherever her destination was. Another woman, with a frayed brown hat on, was walking slightly ahead of me and she didn’t seem to care that the frowning woman was in a rush. As the two nearly collided the frowning woman gave the woman with the hat a look which could only be described as the “look of death”. But with a brusque mumbled apology from the woman with the hat life went on. If what the crazy prolix preachers say on the train is true and the end of the world as we know it is upon us, it makes you think that maybe time and thought should be spent in more productive ways than being angry.
As I continue walking I notice man with his ipod on. I could tell he was completely into his music because he was practically dancing on the street. His brazen red scarf against his mute grey coat seemed to frame his inimitable character. He was in his own little world not caring what others thought. He didn’t seem to be worried about the grim future of the world that seemed to be nearing. He was just focused on the present moment.
That is how it should be. Although dwelling on the past can you assist you in making future decisions, it can also draw you away from the situation at hand. And harping to much on the future, something that hasn’t even happened yet and has no definite certainty of happening at all, can be profoundly exhausting. Focusing on the current situations in your life allows you to prioritize what is truly important to you, and that is precisely what walking allows you to do.
Some people chose to walk because they’re tired of paying those pretty pennies at the gas pumps, while others walk to better serve the environment, but maybe they’re actually serving themselves. Besides the obvious health benefits, we walk so that we can be honest with ourselves. We walk so that we can let our guard down, and just be who we are. In thought we can not be accused of the hypocrisy which we sometimes allow ourselves to take part in. Walking allows us to be free to think and learn things we never knew about ourselves. So perhaps walking doesn’t only promote honesty and thought, maybe it also promotes knowledge, the knowledge of oneself.

Hello world!


This is my first official blog … exciting!!! Any who, a little about me, my name is Amanda, but for the past 4 years of my life people have called me by my last name, Braga. I’ve grown used to this, but now in college people are starting to use Amanda again, which is a little weird for me to hear. I have lived in Brooklyn, NY my entire life. In fact, I have lived in the exact same house my entire life too! At times I wish that lived somewhere else, like maybe a larger house where the weather is always warm. However, I know that if I ever had the opportunity to do this I would probably chose to stay in my little house in Brooklyn because that’s the place I call home, and I could honestly never picture myself living anywhere but in New York.