Long Time, No Read…

Is anybody out there? …

I repeat…is anybody out there?



Ha.  It’s been a long, long while, but just wanted to pop in to say heyyyyyyyyyyyyy!  Oh, and to give you the link to an essay I wrote, which was featured on HelloGiggles today.  Hooray!  Very excited about that.

And just so you know, I miss you guys like candy…or candaaaaaaaaay (insert Mandy Moore’s twangy voice.)

I promise I’ll be talking to you soon!





How To Find Out If You Still ‘Got It’…

The title of this post might be slightly misleading.  Don’t let it fool you.  This isn’t much of a how-to guide at all, but rather my own personal story.  I hope you find it funny…

It all started one random Tuesday morning.  I showered, ate breakfast, and dressed for work.  I put on my black skinny jeans, black high-top Converse sneakers, a crew neck cream-colored sweater, and rhinestone button earrings.  Once I was ready, I grabbed my Kindle, and rushed out the door to get to the subway.

After a few stops, I settled into a seat on the train and began to read.  Not long after, a group of high schooler’s, all of them clad in plaid uniforms, hopped on the train, and began to converse loudly.  I tried my best to read, but the kids’ voices were boisterous and distracting.  Soon the lady sitting next to me got up and moved, and in her place, a gangly, freckled-faced boy with wavy brown hair sat down.  He was no more than fifteen or sixteen tops.  I continued to read (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) and I felt as though he was reading over my shoulder (I really hate when people do that, by the way.)  I ignored it, but after some time he quietly uttered, “Hey,” under his breath.

At first I assumed he wasn’t talking to me, so I continued to read (I was at the part where Sam stands up in the car while listening to Landslide by Fleetwood Mac.)

“Hey,” he said again, this time louder.

I raised my eyebrows and looked at him.  “Hi,” I said.

“What are you reading?”

“The Perks of being a Wallflower.”  And with that, I went back to reading.  (By this time Charlie was talking about Aunt Helen.)

“What school do you go to?”

I took note of his penny loafers, navy blue stock, uniform pants, and tried not to laugh.  This kid thinks I’m in high school?  I asked myself.  Wait.  This kid thinks I’m in high school.  Awesome.  I thought.

“What school do you go to?” he asked again.  “Saint Ann’s?”

I considered letting it go on, but he was so sincere that I felt a little bad.  “No, I go to college actually…and I’m 29…almost 30…and married.”

“You are not.”

“Yes,” I insisted.  “I’m afraid I am.”

“No, you’re not.  C’mon what school do you go to?  I’m not gonna stalk you or anything.”

“I’m serious.”  I showed him my ring to prove it.  “See,” I said.  “I can show you my driver’s license, too, if you want.”

“No, that’s ok,” he said, convinced now.  He stood up, and flung his backpack over one shoulder.  “Nice meeting you…,” he mumbled.

A few minutes later it was time for me to get off the train.  As I walked to work, I couldn’t help but laugh.  I looked down at my Converse shoes, and realized that maybe I was dressed kind of young.  I mean, I am young, but not sixteen.  Still, it made me smile, and inspired me to promptly put a status update on Facebook.

In other news, my dad has edited my name in his phone-book to “Mrs. Robinson.”

And that my friends is the story of how I found out- I still got it.

~The End.

The Woes of Being a Short Person…

This past weekend I went to a concert with my very tall friend, Reagan.  We went to see Morrissey at Terminal 5 in NYC.  One of the reasons I was so excited about this concert was that it was a small venue and standing room only, which meant a great view and an opportunity to get close to the stage.  So, why is Reagan’s height significant to this story you ask?  It’s simple.  She could see and I could not, because well, I’m short.

Sure the music was great, and Morrissey can still sing like he did in the 80’s, but I might as well have been listening to him on my iPod, because I couldn’t see a thing.  Nada.  Not even a little bit.  You know what I think is funny?  (You short people will hopefully identify, and appreciate this) All of the tallest men in the whole damn joint were somehow strategically placed in front of me!  Why, Why, Why does that always happen?

Throughout the concert, I became accustomed to watching other people’s faces around me for their reactions, because I couldn’t see anything myself.  Occasionally the crowd would “Ooooh” or “Ahhhhh” and I just had to assume something really cool was happening.  The most exciting part of the concert was when Morrissey sang the lyrics, “Close your eyes and think of someone you physically admire,” in his Bri-ish accent and followed it up with ripping his shirt off like He-Man.  The only reason I know this happened was because my tall friend who could see, turned to me and squealed, “Oh my God, Sar, he just ripped his shirt off!  That was crazy!”  I had to judge by her reaction of shock, then laughter, and then glee that she was thoroughly entertained by his antics, and that it was the highlight of her experience.  However, I did not see any of it.

At one point I blindly held my camera up in the air, set the zoom mode all the way up, and took a pretty decent picture.  In fact, I didn’t realize how good it was until I got home and saw for myself.  Geez, the lengths short people have to go to, to see what’s going on!

Not bad, huh? What can I say, I make the best of my circumstances.

On a side note, I left with a cool souvenir.  I bought myself a t-shirt with Morrissey in a barber’s chair, getting that signature ‘do of his.  How fitting for my profession!  Although I didn’t buy one, they were also selling tote bags that said “Shoplifters of the World Unite.”  Ha!  I thought that was quite cheeky and clever (forgive me for the British slang, but I’m going with a theme here…)

If I learned anything from this experience it’s that next time I go to see one of my favorite artists live, I will invest in some really, really good seats or skip the “standing room only” shenanigans all together, because it was kind of the pits.

Can any of you short people out there identify with this?

~The End

I’m In A New York State Of Mind…

Have you ever noticed how many delusional people exist to this world?  I’ve always said that New York is a sort of Mecca for people with unrealistic expectations, and the kind of place where it’s okay to dream really big.  In fact, you can’t not be a dreamer and survive in New York.  Just think of the teeny, tiny apartments that cost thousands of dollars a month to live in, and all the inconveniences that go along with New York living; having multiple roommates so that you can cover rent, grocery stores that are miles away, five and six-story walk ups, schlepping heavy laundry for blocks in the dead of winter.  Why would anyone go through all this?  It’s simple.  Because there is no greater place to make big things happen in your life than New York City.  Period.  I guarantee every person you pass on a bustling, taxi-honking street has some sort of dream or expectation about being in New York.  Whether it’s to star in a Broadway show someday, become chief editor of the New York Times, hit it big in the corporate world, become a famous blogger, become a famous fashion designer, publish a best-selling novel, write a screenplay that will win you an Oscar, etc. etc…And I should know, because as you may have already guessed, a few of my biggest dreams were mixed in there.  You see, this massive fool’s paradise is probably why I love New York so much to begin with, because let’s face it, I’m a little delusional, too.

You’ve heard the old adage about New York:  “If I can make it there (insert robust drum beat here) I’ll make it anywhere.  It’s up to you, New York, New York.”

Obviously this guy made it in New York…just look at him.

Everyone has also heard the success stories about making it big in New York, but the one thing nobody ever seems to talk about, are the thousands of people who come here year after year who don’t make it.  They’re the people who New York eats up and spits out.  They’re the same people who once got goosebumps while listening to those Frank Sinatra lyrics, but can no longer bear to hear the song.  They are those that slowly fade into the distance or simply “go back home” eventually.

My pondering on the subject started last night on my subway ride home from work.  There was this early twenty-something-year-old girl sitting nearby on an extremely crowded, yet surprisingly quiet rush hour train.  Her friend was standing in front of her and they were sharing an iPod as they listened to music.  Suddenly at the top of her lungs she decided to act out an entire scene from what I presumed was Mary Poppin’s, complete with both male and female roles (including an astonishingly bad imitation of some sort of British accent.)  She totally got her wish; every person in the subway car stopped what they were doing to stare.  Her routine climaxed when she impersonated a crash, which highlighted her ability to do sound effects as well.  Her male friend, a seemingly sweet and quiet type, stood there looking slightly embarrassed by the spectacle, but remained supportive as he said, “That was amazing.”  She replied, “I know, acting out the scene in its entirety is part of the process I go through before a big audition.”

I really wish my story ended here, but unfortunately it didn’t.  When she was done with the show tune extravaganza, she moved on to Nicki Minaj, so that we all could see that she was a gal of many talents, including rapping.  She rapped the entire song of “Super Bass” and also sang the hook as loud and as tone-deaf as her voice could carry her.  All the while, her friend stood there, ear phone in one ear, trying his best to look carefree, even though his cheeks had turned a slight shade of pink from embarrassment.  She paid no attention and was thoroughly engrossed in her rap, when she suddenly stopped and stated the following: “I watch every interview I can find of Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj, and do you wanna know what all of them have in common?

Girl’s Friend:  “What?”

Girl:  They both say that they like to impersonate characters every day of their lives, because it makes life more interesting, and because they love standing out.  Isn’t that just like me?

Girl’s Friend:  Totally.

Girl:  (smug) I guess that must mean I am going to be famous someday, too.

Girl’s Friend:  Yup.

Just as this conversation wrapped up, it was time for me to hop off the subway.  On my walk home I couldn’t help but envision all the rude awakenings that I was sure this girl was going to get, and I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for her, too.  I guess I could see some of my younger self in her…Untainted confidence, hopefulness, and even though she was extremely annoying to me after a long day at work, I could still admire something about her.  She believed in herself.  Wholeheartedly.  I had to give her credit for that.

Maybe not everyone makes it in New York, and maybe some people do eventually fade into the dust, but I guess everyone has to figure it out on their own.  Still, I hope someday I can say that I made it…really made it…in New York.

~The End.

Photos by Pinterest.

How Sarah Got Her Groove Back.

So, Matt and I finally made it back to New York.  We are settling in quite nicely, and I have wasted no time getting back into the swing of things.  Like, work for instance.  We only got back last Friday, but I couldn’t wait to get back to my job.

As some of you know, before Matt and I moved to Grenada so he could attend medical school, I worked as a hair stylist in the city for years.  One of the hardest things about living overseas was not being able to work.  Because jobs are scarce in Grenada, Americans are not allowed to legally work, so I was left to my own devices, which usually included me doing hair cuts in our teeny apartment for other medical students.  It actually became a pretty lucrative business, if you ask me, and I managed to keep up my skills as best I could while away for two years.

Now that I’m back in New York, New York, the city that never sleeps, the place where dreams are made…and broken, I was eager to get my groove back, and start wielding those scissors (not violently, just cutting hair) again.

New York, New York...Ain't nowhere else like it...

So, I kind of thought I was going to go back to my old routine, without skipping a beat…you know just pop back in where I left off?  But I must confess, I skipped a beat, or a few beats for that matter.

The night before my first day back at work, I couldn’t sleep.  I tossed and turned, having nightmares of over sleeping and being late for work.  When my alarm finally went off at 5:30 AM I felt like I hadn’t slept a wink.  I got out of bed like a zombie, hurried up and got ready, and managed to down a cup of coffee before Matt drove me to the train that takes me into the city for work.

While buying my ticket for the train, I fumbled, as three people impatiently waited behind me for the train that was to arrive in three minutes.  Suddenly I felt like the “out of towners” that I used to get so fed up with back when I was in my New York groove.  Back then, if someone was in front of me that didn’t know exactly what to select of the touch screen to buy their ticket, I would mumble something under my breath to hurry them along, and then grunt something like, “Tourists,” as I scoffed away, coffee in hand, scarf thrown around my neck.  P.S.  I am sorry to any of the people I did this, too.  Just know that I got pay back yesterday, and I totally deserved it.

When I got off the train, I walked up to the little coffee stand on the street, where I used to order my uj, a small coffee with vanilla coffee cream.

Look at all those delish treats...

However, much to my chagrin, the coffee man who used to know me so well, didn’t so much as blink my way.  I was really hoping for one of those custard-filled donuts that he used to so kindly give me for free back when I was a New Yorker, but yesterday I got nothin.’

When I walked into work, I immediately saw some of my peeps, and things quickly started to turn around.  It was so good to see some of my old friends, and everyone was so welcoming.  Before I knew it, I had a client, and it was time to start doing some hair.

Let me just tell you, I only had four clients yesterday, but by the time I was finished I felt like I had run a marathon (not that I would know what that feels like).  I was so absolutely exhausted, that it took me all night, and all of today to recover.  The pure exhaustion took me back to the days when I was first doing hair in New York, and how I would go home at night and just crash, sometimes still in my work clothes.

While riding the train home yesterday, I began to marvel at the stamina I used to have. Around the time I left for Grenada, I could work non-stop for nine hours, and not feel a thing.  I could work a busy Saturday, then go home and go out to dinner with Matt, watch a movie, then go shopping, etc, etc.  I was like a fine-tuned machine!  I think it’s safe to say, I wasn’t a machine yesterday.  I was more like a car that needed some jumper cables.

Despite my elderly-esque exhaustion today, I really feel like I got my groove back yesterday.  I survived my first day back to work, after not working for two whole years, and I didn’t get eaten alive.

And any real New Yorker knows that’s an accomplishment.

~The End.

Photos by elizabeth-aboutnewyork.blogspot.com and pinterest.

Shall We Brunch?

There is something so divine about brunching, isn’t there?  When I’m in New York, one of my very favorite things to do on a Sunday afternoon is to go to brunch, and to order my uj of a goat cheese, tomato, and basil omelet, a spicy (non-alchy) bloody mary, a cup of coffee with full fat half and half and two splenda’s, and a homemade muffin to pick at on the side.  That’s what I usually order at my favorite brunch joint, Isabella’s, anyway…

So, lately I’ve felt a little melancholy about my old brunching days, and just a little reflective about NYC in general.  Since I’ve been in Grenada, this time of year has been the hardest for me, because you don’t really know me, if you don’t know about my love for the fall in New York.  I mean, there’s a reason why they’ve made movies called Autumn in New York.  It makes me sad every time I think about another fall season going by that I’m missing.  There is just something about drinking a non-fat extra hot chai latte, while traipsing around  Central Park and looking at the beautiful changing leaves.  In my opinion, it’s just the most gorgeous time of year, and as a friend and I once dubbed it: the most amazingly awesome weather for fashion ever (hence the perfect time to sport a t-shirt and a scarf, a skirt and cute riding boots, a dress with a light fall jacket, etc.)

Can't you see why I love it so?

So, when I was invited over by a friend of mine for brunch at her apartment, it came at the perfect time and when I needed it the most.  I took my invitation to the brunch very seriously and baked a homemade pumpkin bread from scratch.  It was raining while I was baking, and for a minute, the spicy smell of the bread made me feel like it was really fall weather out, and not the 100 degrees that it really was.

I honestly looked forward to my little event with the girls all weekend, and when it came time, it was just so much fun to do something different for a change.  It can get pretty monotonous around here, so it was fun to shake things up a bit.

We had good conversation…

FYI: This conversation was definitely not as serious as it seems to be...

We had a delish spread of treats…

Yes, the watermelon is yellow here...Weird, huh?

Delish egg fritata, watermelon, blueberry bran muffin, pumpkin bread, and a mimosa to top it off right...

A cute little puppy for company, too…

Chewy was so ready for his close up...

Wouldn’t be complete without a little girl talk…

A little gossiping never hurt anyone...okay, so that's not true, but let's face it, sometimes it's needed.

It was a fun morning, and definitely did the trick in making me miss New York a wee bit less.  However, when I walked outside after my lovely get together, and I felt the heat beating down on my shoulders, I realized there was unfortunately nothing that could make me miss my favorite season in New York less…except for maybe New York itself.

~The End

Central Park photo by stephaniefrost.net

Part 1: Stories from the Good Ship Lollipop


When I was 11 years old, I had just finished the national tour with Les Miz for two years as Young Cosette, and after that, I found myself struggling to get acting jobs.  I was at that awkward age when you’re not really a kid, but not a teenager either. A struggling actress already at the age of 11?  How special.  It always seemed normal to me, though.  I had acted for so long at that point, that the in’s and out of showbiz were nothing new to me.  I was accustomed to being treated like an adult, and it never bothered me that I was not a normal kid like all my friends at school.  I distinctly remember not wanting to be normal. I can remember receiving very candid criticism from casting directors at a very young age, and I learned to take the kind of critique that most people don’t experience until they’re starting their first jobs out of college.  I was this little pseudo adult in a child’s body, dealing with real adults, in a very grown up showbiz world.

My dream was to be just like the childhood star Shirley Temple, but even Shirley Temple struggled to get work once she reached adolescence.

Me on the right as Young Cosette. Yes, that is dirt all over my face.

NY, New York, 1994.  Some apartment somewhere in Manhattan:

I’m wearing my favorite pea green dress, with pea green tights, with a pea green cardigan,  pointy toe brown ankle riding boots, and a matching beret (because hats were my signature.)  All from Gap Kids, naturally.  I have been sent by my agent to visit a dialect coach, so that I can polish up on my English accent for my Secret Garden callback.  It’s for a replacement for the part of Mary Lennox in the Broadway production.  I have wanted this part so bad for the last year, and I have listened to the soundtrack in my Walkman for months and months.  I really want this part.  Bad.

I am sitting on an old, musty smelling loveseat in a smoke-filled room somewhere in Manhattan.  My parents are waiting for me outside, my dialect coach is shuffling around some papers while a ciggy hangs out of her mouth, and I am taking inventory of the room.  She has headshots of different kids she’s trained before me wallpapering her apartment.  I am looking at them, and wondering which of the kids got the roles in whatever they had auditioned for, and which kids did not.  I am searching the wall, which at the time resembles the Great Wall of China to my 11-year-old perspective, trying to look for some clue, when I see a little girl that catches my eye.  All the pictures are in black and white (because that’s how they did headshots in the 90’s), but I can still tell that the little girl in the picture I am looking at, is blond.  I think she is really pretty, and I decide that this b*tch has got style.  She is wearing an open jean jacket, with her hair pulled half up and half down.  Classy broad.  I scan for her name.  Laura Bell Bundy.  Hmmmm.  Who is she?  Well, whoever she is, I decide that whatever she was auditioning for, she probably got it, because she is pretty, and because I like her jean jacket.  Just as I am about to drift farther into my own thoughts, I am abruptly halted by the dialect coach, who from here on out I will refer to as That Old Wench.  Please take note, that I do not mean “wench” as in the Old English sort of way when they speak about fair maidens.  I mean wench, in the most unflattering way possible. Ok, thanks.

Don't ask me how I found this picture...

So, my daydreams are interrupted as That Old Wench is suddenly standing right in front of me.  She is short and stout and resembles the kinds of Humpty Dumpty.

She says, “Well well, little girl what are we working on today?”  She is speaking to me in an English accent, but I know she is not of the likes of the English, and that she is indeed American, because I had listened to her speak to my parents before they left me to wait outside.  So, naturally I am confused.

“Well, I am working on my audition for The Secret Garden,” I manage to spit out.

“And?  And?????”  That Old Wench demands.

“And I really want to get the part,”  I finally concluded relieved and satisfied with my answer.

That Old Wench looks me up and down and pulls another ciggy from her pocket, lights it, and slowly saunters to the couch opposite to me, plops down, and says in a very cavalier way, “When I speak to you in an English accent, I expect you to speak back to me in the same way.”

“Okay,” I say in my American accent.  Wait, thats not it, “Okay,” I correct myself in an English accent.  She looks somewhat pleased with me.  Wow, she’s a gem (<–sarcasm.)

She looks me up and down again, “You know, plenty of kids come in here, and sit right where you’re sitting, and before they even open their mouths, I can tell if they are gonna get the part,” she boasts.

For some reason I find this very intimidating…Wait what am I talking about?!  Of course I find it intimidating, I’m 11 years old.  I really don’t say anything to her at all, but I smile and nod nervously.

She looks at me plainly and says, “You, little girl, just don’t have the sparkle I am sad to say.”

Well, eff you too, lady.  Okay, that’s not what I said…or thought.  I was 11, but I am sure I thought something to that effect as she attempted to squash my dreams.  It’s okay, even at 11, I could take care of myself.

“Really?”  I said in my English accent, “That’s not what I’ve heard,” I said without skipping a beat.

To be continued….

Photos courtesy of stars-portraits.com and laurabellbundyfans.com

The absolute and final word in driver’s licenses…

A week after I got married I took the real plunge.  I went to change my name.  Officially.  Legally.  I always thought that when it was time to change my name I would be thrilled.  I had lived with Barkoff for 28 years, and endured a childhood, and even sometimes adulthood, of mild teasing, and creative nicknames for the name Barkoff.  It was anywhere from your typical “Barky” (dance teacher in dance class for at least 8-9 years), “Barkoff” (never Sarah, just Barkoff all throughout high school), “Barks” (my academic advisor just this past year. <–No, I am not joking), and the latest “Beazle” (my mother-in-law coined the phrase, and now whole the fam calls me it, but that one I actually like.)  The point is, you would think I would be excited to get rid of Barkoff, and embrace my new last name, which was going to be Palma.  Palma is such an upgrade from Barkoff (Sorry Dad), right?!  Well, I was excited at the prospect of my new last name, but I knew it would feel weird to adjust to it.  Matt (husband) luckily was very understanding about it, and even told me I didn’t have to do change it right away.  However, when we went to deposit our checks from the wedding, we were told there were new restrictions since 9/11.  If our checks were written out to Matthew Palma and Sarah Palma, then they could only be deposited if Sarah Palma was the name on my account.  Therefore, I had to change my name legally to do so.  Changing my name on a new drivers license was the quickest and easiest way to do that, so off to the DMV we went.

By the time we got there I was ready to do it, but still a little nervous.  Right off the bat when we walked in I had to sign a little card that would be my signature on my new license with my new last name.  Wait, I never even practiced writing the “P” in Palma. Yes, I think I actually said something to that effect out loud, because the woman behind the desk looked at me like I was a total moron.  Oopsies.  Awkward.  I signed the dumb card, got my little number, and waited for my turn.

While filling out my paperwork, I got a rather brilliant idea!


I’ll give myself two middle names!  Freaking genius level! That way, I wouldn’t be completely parting with my former identity, I would just be parting with it halfsies. And halfsies I could toooootally live with.  Hooray.  So, it was settled.  My legal name would be Sarah Elizabeth Barkoff Palma.  No, not Barkoff-(slash) Palma.  Sarah Elizabeth Barkoff (def no slash) Palma, and Elizabeth Barkoff would be my new middle name.  Perf. My number flashed on the neon screen, and I was up.  I was still feeling very pleased with myself. In fact, so pleased that it gave me a little pep to my step as I approached the clerk. However, my pep was no sooner squashed.  As I approached the woman behind the desk, feeling ever so confident, I couldn’t help but notice that she was not smiling back at me.  I searched her face for a little smile?  No, not even a little smile.  Yep, we’ve got a full on scowling broad on our hands here. I began to feel self-conscious as she was reading over my paperwork.  I saw her eyes scan the part which I had previously been so triumphant about (genius idea of two middle names), and then go back.  Oh Lordy.  Please don’t go back.  Please don’t got back.  Yep, she going back.  Ugh.

“What’s this here Miss?”  She had a bit of Judge Judy (when she is on her period) type attitude going on.

Yeah, you know that look…

I tried to act really casual, “Yes, whats the problem?”  I even tried out a little perturbed-ness in my voice to scare her off.

She wasn’t amused.  Or scared.  At all. She rolled her eyes at me and said, “Right here Miss, whats this here, two middle names? Elizabeth Barkoff? What is that?”  By now she just hated me.

“Oh, I just thought that I could have two middles names, and it wouldn’t be a big deal. You know what I mean?” I searched my brain for further references to support my claim, then I actually said out loud, “You know, like Nicole Richie‘s kids, don’t they have about 10 middle names?” This followed by somewhat hysterical laughter, until it died down to a low-toned quiver. So awkward.  Okay, normally I wouldn’t be so moronic, but I got nervous.  And when I get nervous sh*t seems to spew out of my mouth profusely.

She just looked at me and said, “We don’t do that here in New York,” with a heavy emphasis on the NEW YORK. P.S. And with complete disdain.  P.P.S.  And with a huge evil smile on her face.

“Okay, well I just thought I’d try,” I tried to add as bubbly as possible, “I am just adjusting to having a new last name.”

“Well, you’ll get over it,” she said matter of factly as she sent me packing.

And that was it.  The final word in drivers licenses with a new last name.

What a betch.

Then, as I walked away I heard her turn to the guy in the next station and say (in between evil laughs of BWAHHHH-HAHAHA-BWAHHHHHHHH-HAHAHA (<—-Although I could have just been imagining that part), “Can you believe the winners we’ve had here today?!”  P.S. With a heavy emphasis and sarcastic tone on the word “winners.”

I walked out of the DMV with my new last name and without my pride.

But yes, I did get over it.