The Day Zero Project: Update

On October 6, 2010 I created a list of 101 things that I hoped to complete in 1001 days or three years. This is called the Day Zero Project, which I was turned onto by a fellow blogger/social media diva, Amanda Marsh (who I must say stuck to it a lot better than I did.) That was almost exactly two and a half years ago. It is now March 2013. I realize now that unless a miracle happens, some things are just impossible to complete by the due date.  Let’s take a look at how I’ve accomplished.

My List

  1. Learn basic Italian. Sto imparando l’italiano! Non lo parlo molto bene, ma posso leggiare e capitare i revisiti italiani un po’! Actually, I am traveling to Italy for ten days next month. Let’s see, perhaps I will actually be able to truthfully claim this one. I can read it and write a little…
  2. Learn to make soap
  3. Get involved in a political campaign
  4. Learn how to create my own website. Since you’re reading this, I think you can draw your own conclusion. PHP and JavaScript are a different story.
  5. Save for a down payment on a condominium or co-op. Almost there. I realized after thinking about this that I should not be in a rush. I actually set my goal to have a place by age thirty, which I will turn in exactly 4 weeks.
  6. Maintain a healthy romantic relationship that lasts over a year
  7. Lose 15 lbs. Yeah, ok! Well, I was a tad heavier than I’d originally thought, so I could say I lost 15 lbs. However, I still have about 15-20 lbs. to go to reach my ideal weight (what my Dr. says is healthy.) I’ll save the exact details. ; )
  8. Sing a Spanish Shakira song in front of a crowd
  9. Stay in a resort I went to Catlonia Riviera Maya between Cancún and Tulum shortly after my birthday in 2011.Was the water turquoise? Yes. Was the food and drink included? Yup. Did it look like the pictures? Oh, yeah. But I discovered something unexpected: I hate resorts! I grew up very working-class/blue-collar and was never into frills. I got very bored and realized I had to walk a mile+ to the highway to leave the resort. I figured out how to use a collectivo (group fixed fare taxi) and travel like the locals. I went to Tulum and Playa del Carmen, big touristy places. But local taxi driver took me to a part of the beach in Tulum where few tourists were and I caught a bus for a two-hour ride to the colonial city of Valladolid. I also ventured out to Cozumel via ferry. Hostels and cheap hotels are it for me!
  10. Buy a couch Ah, but it’s from Target. See #51.
  11. Buy a desk I didn’t have to buy it; somebody was giving it away in the basement of my building. Ditto for #48.
  12. Acquire one week’s worth of formal business attire I am a frequent buyer at Express and have given Banana Republic and the Gap a whirl.
  13. Buy the proverbial “little black dress” I bought one for my 29th birthday and wore it.
  14. Charge at least one person in exchange for one of my skills or talents I sold a few items on Zazzle, but I’m still not quite satisfied. Check out my store:
  15. Throw a party
  16. Buy an external hard drive
  17. Buy a “real” camera (not point and shoot) This is a very sad story (well, not really.) Shortly after declaring this one of my goals, I bought a Nikon D3100 DSLR. It was awkward at first, but I quickly made it work for me and got some great photos. My speciality, as you know, is flowers. You can see my creations on the design of this website. I shot lots of Bronx photos and brought it to Ireland with me. In August 2012 I left for a Panama/Colombia trip. I lived in Colombia, but I had never really seen Panama outside of the airport.  I am a very whimsical traveler, but I wanted to visit Bocas del Toro, where a grad school buddy of mine is from. It was no lie: the starfish were really bigger than my head, the water was crystal clear, you could see crabs, clownfish, mangroves, and monkeys in the palm trees. I must have taken hundreds of pictures. Enter Isla Bastimentos and Wizard Beach. I was forewarned that there were robbers on the narrow, muddy trails that led to the beach. As a New Yorker, I like to think I am hypervigilant. There was only one bather. Even so, I found a tree, and hid my items, including my purse containing my iPhone, my camera, my glasses, and towel in it. After five minutes I realized the water was very rough and I could get very hurt as the current was strong. I went back to the tree. All that was left was my towel. I made a police reports and went to the Embassy, but all in vain. Now I am back to square one. I would have almost preferred that they stole the camera and left the memory chip, damn it!
  18. Obtain a job that I truly love
  19. Make one close female friend
  20. Visit at least one new city in the United States
  21. Go to a concert
  22. Get a manicure
  23. Create a “book” with my songs, poems, and photos in it
  24. Obtain a credit score of 800+
  25. Become friends with someone I dislike or don’t understand
  26. Have a group of friends
  27. Learn how to cook five of my favorite dishes Tostones, arepas, maduros, bistec, chicken parm, and more. I really got into cooking last year.
  28. Go fishing
  29. Don’t complain about anything for a week
  30. Make over $50,000/year
  31. Learn to play a song on the guitar or piano
  32. Make a list of my favorite songs
  33. Have a psychic reading
  34. Go apple picking
  35. Eliminate all clothing that does not currently fit
  36. Drive a car on a highway FDR on Christmas Eve 2011.
  37. Answer the “Questions That Will Free Your Mind”
  38. Actively blog at least once a week for one month
  39. Go to the Caribbean
  40. Renew my driver’s license
  41. See a financial counselor
  42. Go a month without buying anything that isn’t a necessity
  43. Try 5 new cocktails
  44. Read a book every month
  45. Try ethnic foods from 5 different  (new) countries
  46. Start an IRA and/or 401(k)
  47. Fix my two front teeth
  48. Buy a filing cabinet
  49. Get a job that utilizes my Master’s degree
  50. Get my credit limit extended
  51. Replace all my Target furniture with “real” furniture
  52. Donate money to charity
  53. Learn how to salsa
  54. Remove all my things from my Mom’s house
  55. Get a real Gucci bag
  56. Go to Wave Hill
  57. Eat at City Island
  58. Go to Mexico
  59. Go to Guatemala
  60. Go to the botanical gardens I’m a member of New York Botanical Garden going on two years now!
  61. Hike on the Croton Aqueduct Trail
  62. Go to Boston
  63. Clean out my closet
  64. Create a financial budget plan LearnVe$t is the best tool ever!
  65. Write and compose songs
  66. Go on an unplanned flight Bogotá – Montería and  Bocas del Toro – Panama City.
  67. Visit one new state
  68. Go vegetarian for two weeks
  69. Go to a harvest festival
  70. Visit five new neighborhoods in NYC
  71. Shop at a farmer’s market
  72. Buy a homeless person a meal
  73. Give up candy and dessert for a week
  74. Go to a OB-GYN
  75. Watch a sunset
  76. Buy new laptop
  77. Go to 10 restaurants I’ve never eaten in before
  78. Make a list of things that make me happy
  79. Listen to 10 albums by artists I’ve not listened to before
  80. Write on 10 creative writing prompts
  81. Have a picnic
  82. Create a list of recipes
  83. Do the bridge tour in NYC (Williamsburg, Manhattan, and Brooklyn Bridge)
  84. Spend a day in Coney Island
  85. Write letters to people who changed my life
  86. Do nice things for people without telling them
  87. Make a list of things I want to do before I die
  88. Watch five movies that I’ve always wanted to see
  89. Send something to PostSecret
  90. Go to the Jersey Shore
  91. Do something for a person that has made a difference in my life
  92. Get involved in my community I definitely am! Check out Bronx Movers and Shakers, my creation.
  93. Send in a photograph to a contest
  94. Go on an overnight trip with a friend
  95. Go kayaking or canoeing
  96. Connect and meet with an old friend
  97. Have dinner at a fancy restaurant
  98. Surprise someone with flowers
  99. Take a cooking and baking class
  100. Be 100% honest for a day I did this in November 2010…and *honestly*? I don’t know if I would suggest this. Maybe it was not the brightest idea. It sounded good at the time…
  101. Do my own taxes Two years in a  row, baby! Unless I become a millionaire, I acnnot ever see myself giving my hard earned money away to H & R Block again.

What would you add to your bucket list of things to accomplish in the next three years? 5 years? Ten years? Lifetime? Springpad and Pinterest are also good for creating bucket lists and vision boards.

Bronx Meeting of the Minds for Social Media Week

Last night in the Melrose section of the South Bronx a small crowd formed at PeaceLove, a small independent cafe owned by longtime Mott Haven resident, Darada David. This is Social Media Week and instead of trekking to Manhattan for events, Bronxites got to enjoy a panel of the borough’s most well-known and respected media presences right in their own neighborhood.

From 7 to 9 PM, panelists spoke about how they broke into social media, about current events and issues in the Bronx before answering questions from audience members. Moderated by journalist/blogger/photographer Clarisel Gonzalez, the panel included Gary Axelbank, host/senior producer of BronxTalk, a popular borough-based talk show on BronxNet, Mike Callender of Bronx Media and host of the internet-based radio station Soul of the Bronx, blogger Nicole Perrino of Bronx Mama, and Melrose’s own unofficial mayor, Ed Garcia Conde, social media consultant, blogger, and creator of the site Welcome2Melrose.

Gary Axelbank, a Bronxite who lives in the same building where he was raised, called social media “a movement of social change” that is “not gonna happen on CNN or NBC.” Axelbank expressed his frustration that the Bronx, a borough “twice as large as Boston” did not have the sort of media networks that other cities of that size have in place. Of the Bronx, which includes the poorest congressional district in the United States, Axelbank argues that the borough suffers from “poverty of information…poverty is not only about money”. You can watch his show, BronxTalk on Monday nights at 9 PM.

Mike Callender, who grew up in the nearby Paterson projects, who has a 20+ year career in computer technology, is the creator of Bronx Media. He is a social media consultant, web designer, and has an internet-based radio station, Soul of the Bronx, all which serves his purpose of putting the Bronx on the map in the technology world and changing the borough’s marred perception. In his travels, when he tells strangers that he is from the Bronx, “…the South Bronx…the reaction’s always negative”, he gripes. He uses his sense of humor to deflect the negativity regarding his hometown from other New Yorkers,”When there’s a tidal wave, we’re the only one that’s connected to mainland.” he jokes. He loves the Bronx and has no intentions of leaving. “I’ll never move outside the Bronx. I love the Bronx and this is where I’m staying,” he proudly proclaims.

Nicole Perrino, a native to Queens, moved to the Bronx several years ago and was disappointed that there were so few publications and webpages dedicated to mothers here. She would crawl the web fruitlessly in her pursuits to find any one website that encompassed events, venues, and services for mothers with young children, a young mom herself. That’s when BronxMama was born. Since creating the blog, Perrino has gotten so much good press that she was recently approached to help with the foundation of the Bronx Children’s Museum, to which she happily obliged. You can also read Nicole’s work on Baller Status.

Ed Garcia Conde, whose moniker is “the Mayer of Melrose”, is a handsome young man in his thirties. Garcia was raised just down the block from the PeaceLove Cafe and knows the neighborhood’s history like the back of his hand. A real estate appraiser by day, by night he is an active blogger and social media guru, sharing his neighborhood’s best kept secrets on his blog, He recalls the time he googled his South Bronx neighborhood and the result with the most hits was a Wikipedia page with, “nothing positive…just pictures of burnt buildings from twenty years ago. It infuriated me,” he says. To him Melrose, the only LEED-certified neighborhood in New York State, has a “small town feeling” and is “one of the greatest neighborhoods in the city.” After reading his blog, one may began to agree with him.

A surprise guest, Joe Hirsch of the CUNY Grad School of Journalism was in the audience. He and his colleagues cover Bronx Community Districts 1 and 2 (Mott Haven, Melrose, Longwood, and Hunt’s Point) in their newspapers  Mott Haven Herald and Hunts Point Express. “We’re hyper-local,” he says when asked if they cover news outside of those neighborhoods. “We’re a bit of a fossil: a print newspaper,”, he said, comparing his medium of choice to the panelists, who rely heavily on the internet to dispense their information.

Everyone would agree that the energy, enthusiasm, and mutual love of the Bronx was electric. For more information on tonight’s event and future events, follow Clarisel Gonzalez’s blog, Bronx Latino.

Check out this New York Daily News press release on the event:
Bronx Social Media Week.