Montauk ~ The End of the Line

Ah Montauk.  It’s a part of New York that I had only dreamed about going to – mostly because it’s been built up as this Atlantis-like place in my head.  A beach to beat beaches, so far out of the city that it’s practically a world of its own.   People told me that you really should make friends that have a house in the Hamptons and that it’s THE place to be in the summer, etc., etc.  Well, since finding friends in the city who have those said homes has not been easy and I’m not the type of person to keep saying “one day.”  Carpe diem.

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Sure, I admit that growing up in Southern California has spoiled me in terms of which beaches I like to go to.  The sand and the sea do vary as you go up and down the coast and of course one has to gauge how public or private the beach will be, along with how many thousands of people will be scattered along the water (the hotter the day = the more people you have to fight for space).  While I didn’t spend every single weekend at the beach (probably due to some lovely soccer tournaments and other trips), we did make it a point to go down for a few Sundays.  Boy do I miss those lunches at my grandparent’s house and afternoon on the sand.  I would wander around the coves looking for sea glass and dive in the water to cool off from the hot Southern California sun.

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 Well, a year after arriving in this big city, I decided it was about time to make the trek.  We woke up around 6:30 and took a cab over to Penn Station for the 7:45 LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) train.  With one stop and transfer at Jamaica Station, we were on our way out to the end of Long Island.

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People told me that it takes forever to get to (please people, let’s remember I’m from L.A. aka traffic and we casually take 5 hour trips to visit Mammoth when I’m home) but that it was oh so worth it.  Oh yes INDEED.  I have been to a couple beaches out in Queens and Long Island and even Ocean City, New Jersey, but this felt just like home.  The pristine beaches, the waves, and chill in the water.  It was exactly what I needed on a fine summer afternoon.

IMG_2081We were out on the beach and dipping in and out of the water for a good two hours before it was time for a late lunch.  Of course, it being Montauk, we had to go with the classic lobster roll sandwich.

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^^ Lindsay went for the classic Connecticut roll and while it was tasty, mentioned it fell just below our lobster roll at the Polo Bar and Restaurant.  Hm, good to know Ralph Lauren has his food priorities straight.

FullSizeRender^^ I decided to go rogue since lobster just isn’t my scene.  I’ll do salmon, I’ll do tuna, and I’ll even do crab.  Lobster, clams, oysters, and shrimp I can do without. Hey, makes me an inexpensive date ;)

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To top it off, we stopped by Buddha Berry for a lite refreshing treat.  Five or so flavors of sorbet packed under organic unsweetened coconut, mochi, and dark chocolate chips.  Divine, simply divine.  (maybe if I always get dessert I’m no longer an inexpensive date…)

From there, we walked the mile back to the train and boarded up for the ride back into the city.  Until we meet again Montauk (and I do hope it is soon).

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“Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life of Late ~ 8.28.15

LAST SUMMER FRIDAY OF 2015! Wow.  That went fast.  Of course there have been days where it feels as though the clock will never tick past 5:30, but I honestly can’t believe that it’s already Labor Day next weekend.  The month of August hasn’t been too brutal in terms of temperatures.  I had my fair share of travels, NP workouts, bumps and bruises (hello scar from rollerblading), and it’s almost time for a new month.  While I am sad to see the summer go, simply because the idea of summer stands for sun, time outside, and just overall happiness, I am excited for football, pumpkin season, and quite a few trips that I have in store.

But, that’s still four weeks away.  Until then, we summer on.

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Best days are days spent wandering the local farmer’s markets.  I’ve been a little scared to actually purchase anything – throwback to the time I almost purchased a sandwich-bag-sized-bag for $20 (yeah no).  I stick to Trader Joe’s and the street carts, but still, aren’t the colors gorgeous?

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IMG_7709 Who says I don’t need another plaid or gingham shirt?

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When you find yourself wandering through a new farmer’s market in Rockefeller Center.  These are the days I have to pinch myself and remind myself that I am so darn lucky to live here.

IMG_7711 IMG_7712Welcome to New York.  But really, if you use Challah for french toast, your mind will explode.  It’s quite possibly some of the best french toast I have ever had.

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The Balanced Blonde ~ “Social Media Maven Calli Cholodenko

Women’s Running ~ “7 Laws You Might Be Breaking on Your Run” (ahhhhh guilty of so many of these. oops)

Food 52 ~ “22 Hits From the 90’s” (crazy how accurate these 90’s food trends are!)

Refinery 29 ~ “The Anti-Skinny Jeans You’ll Be Wearing This FallWHITE JEANS IN FOR THE WIN!

College Prep ~ “Six Things Living in NYC” This gal does have some excellent points – moderation is key, a smile goes a long way, etc.  Plus the #6 happens to be my favorite ;)

The Well Traveled Wife ~ “Leave Each Place Better Than You Find It” – I simply am in love with Emi’s blog.  She has always had a lovely way of documenting her days back in SF and now her and her husband’s travels.  I love how this post is thoughtful and also reflective.  We all share the best of the best on our blogs, but there is so much than what meets the eye.  Check it out and their non-profit!

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Because a little more cold brew and chocolate KIND bar is just what I need on a Friday afternoon.  Energy has been running low lately – possibly due to the lack of sleep and over-exercising (or so my friends and mom say…they are all probably right)

IMG_2003Picnics are so under-rated.  I can’t believe this is only the second picnic I have had all summer (and maybe the last 10 years??).  We had a picnic party (with beyond delicious fruit and brownies/doughnuts…#carboload) for one of our November Project friends who will be traveling the country with his Broadway production.  I think his is a stage manager or something super fancy but to be honest, all the Broadway and theatrical talk goes right over my head.  We will miss you SO MUCH Michael!!!

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Summer vibes + cotton candy clouds ~ Like I said, summer evenings and picnics in the park need to happen way more often or at least as much as possible before fall and winter arrive!

I think it’s human nature to reach a point where we still have things on our summer to-do lists and have to accept the fact that they may not happen this year.  But, instead of looking at what we didn’t accomplish, let’s just be grateful for what was achieved.  Sound good?  I’ll keep y’all as my accountabilibuddies.  As for today, with a November Project Friday workout, long run, and breakfast under my belt, here’s to the weekend and end of August!

Any good plans for the weekend or Labor Day or your summer hurrah?

Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!

Since 1975, this line has been spoken, shouted, and sang every Saturday night at exactly 11:30pm across the country.  Sure, I may not have the ability to stay up this late to watch the show each week, but the network and the show has a soft spot in my heart.  I am a HUGE fan of NBC – always have been – and continue to watch the Today Show and pretty much anything else that airs on the network.  There actually was a time where I dreamed about growing up and working on the Today Show, but I seemed to have missed that road.  Who knows, maybe I’ll end up working for NBC in some capacity during my life but for now, I will live it up by walking through Rockefeller Center and just knowing that I live so close to the genius folks that work there.

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Let’s get some basic facts straight – Saturday Night Live first aired on October 11, 1975 and has run to this day as a late-night live TV sketch show that pokes fun at current culture and politics.  It has been the stage for comedians and brings in all sorts of guests and hosts – from athletes to actors and actresses, politicians, and other musicians.

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Did you know that SNL has run over 780 episodes and after its 40th season concluded in May of 2015, it stands as one of the longest-running network TV programs in the US!* Not only that but it has won 36 Primetime Emmy Awards (156 nominations!!), 2 Peabody Awards, and 3 Writers Guild of America Awards.

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Last week I took a trip down 5th Avenue to the relatively new SNL museum.  I don’t think it’s a permanent feature, so I highly recommend checking it out in the near future!  My other life goal (or goal while living in NYC) is to see Saturday Night Live.  I may have to learn to stay up and watch every single episode so it has more of a sentimental factor if when I actually see it live, but baby steps, right?

Plus, humor is quite possibly the best thing to happen to human kind and it even is beneficial for your health.  Did you know you burn calories while laughing? Ha ha ha.  Ok, moving on.

IMG_7726 The museum takes you through the start of SNL and the week-long process that accumulates with the show live on Saturday night (hence the title…but I hope you already knew that).  I knew that the show was built from scratch on a weekly basis but had NO clue how much effort went into it all.

IMG_7730 There were mini videos with some of the hosts, writers, and even top moments or skits on SNL.  Thank goodness the museum wasn’t too full for a Friday afternoon, because I was cracking up at each video.  No shame at all.

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They also had tons of the props and sets at the museum, some paired with the actual video clips that the props were featured in!

IMG_7732 IMG_7734 ^^ Yes.  Best pair of comedian/actor duo. Enough said.

IMG_7735 ^^ All the amazing costumes that have changed SNL history over the years.  Who knew so much thought went into the production on a week to week basis!  These folks are killer!

IMG_7740 Towards the end of the tour, you got a glimpse at the behind the scenes look of Studio 8H, how people behind the scenes make sure the filming goes (relatively) smoothly, and one last word from Tina Fey.

IMG_7745 IMG_7747 ^^ Because a little bit of Bruno Mars and “Uptown Funk” is what you need for a Friday afternoon (or any point of the day)

IMG_7748 ^^ Comedian after comedian after comedian.  So many of the greats have made their debut or start in the industry here in New York City.

IMG_7749 IMG_7750 ^^ A look at the Weekend Update Desk (sans photo at the desk, as that would have cost $20). Yeah….no.  I’m still obsessed with the one clip with Seth Myers about Kelloggs dropping Phelps because of his drug use and said photo.

And of course a museum visit isn’t complete without a trip to the gift shop!

IMG_7751 IMG_7752 IMG_7755 ^^ Ah the Californians.  We aren’t all like the characters but we do love to chat about oru commutes.  That being said, I know I’ll be happy to be back in California someday, but those commute – oof – not pleasant.

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SNL The Exhibition
417 5th Ave, New York, NY 10016

” ‘SNL’ is this part of American culture with a certain timelessness to it.” – Thomas Bangalter

A Night Out at the Polo Bar, NYC

Tucked along 5th avenue, around from the Ralph Lauren headquarters store, you will find the exclusive and oh so refined Polo Bar and Restaurant.  This posh bar is only open to guests who have a dining reservation – a reservation that may take up to a month to make.  Sure, there are rules for restaurants in the city that require all members of your party to be present in order to make a standing reservation, but none that have rules such as this.

To be completely honest, I had only recently discovered this bar thanks to a friend’s pictures on Instagram.  This friend happens to work as a designer at Ralph Lauren and took a few friends out to dine and of course documented the event.  (I mean, if it’s not on IG, it didn’t happen, right?)  Anyways, as I wrote it on my New York and East Coast bucket list and thought nothing more of it.  Knowing me, I would have forgotten to read into the rules about reservations and would have just showed up at the front door only to be turned away.

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Well, a few weeks later and I was in luck when another November Project friend offered me her reservation.  I was sad that she couldn’t attend and promised to document the entire experience.  I sure do owe her a drink or somehow get her back in there because it was truly a treat!

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I decided to invite my friend Lindsay to tag along as she would totally get a kick out of the atmosphere and chic dining experience.  She too is from California and we are bound and determined to experience everything that the city and the east coast has to offer.

When we arrived, we were greeted by two “bouncers” at the front door.  I use quotes because it was pretty much a host and hostess but doing the job of bouncers, checking ID’s and probably eyeing you up and down to make sure you wouldn’t make a spectacle of yourself or the restaurant.  Just kidding, they were probably only checking for reservations.

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Anyways, once we submitted the name on the reservation, we entered into the bar and were greeted by bartenders mixing cocktails and decked out in Polo plaid ties.

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^^ Drinks are certainly on the pricier side, but this being New York and a swanky Ralph Lauren restaurant, I guess I would expect nothing less.  My Blackberry Cobbler (Botanica Spiritvs Gin, Cassis, Blackberry, Pineapple – $20) and Linsday’s Rosé Royale (Provence Rosé, Champagne, Royal Combier, Grapefruit – $20)

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Even if you arrive extra early, you probably won’t be called to dine until your reservation is ready.  This is probably best to keep things nice and orderly and allowed us to people-watch from the bar.  Also, even though we had arrived at 7:30, the bar did not start to pick up steam until 8 or so when we were escorted downstairs for our reservation.

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The dining room itself is located downstairs from the 36-seat bar/lounge area and filled with 132 seats.  The ambience reminded me of a very refined version of the Tam-O-Shanter in Los Angeles (a Lawry’s restaurant and one of the oldest in L.A.) with the plaid and cozy ambience.  It is decked from floor to ceiling with elaborate wood floors, real life polo mallets, helmets, and saddles on the walls, and endless pictures of horses.

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For this being an exclusive dining location, I found no trace of snobbery or snootiness from the diners or staff.  It was truly one of the nicest dining experiences I have had out in some time and makes me look at New York in a different light.

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^^ Of course we would indulge in the butter provided alongside warm popovers topped with Gruyère cheese

IMG_1927 ^^ Pigs in a Blanket as an appetizer, a dish that throws me back to my childhood days.

IMG_1928 ^^ For dinner we decided to split the Maine Lobster Roll (on Toasted Brioche Bun with Old Bay Shoestring Potatoes $32).  Delicious is all I have to say.

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^^ Last step, dessert of course!! The reservation had originally been made for a birthday, so we played along with the celebration and agreed upon the coffee ice cream with dark chocolate shortbread cookies. (I’m not sure if “Ralph’s Coffee” was included but they didn’t ask or offer, so I guess that may be an add-on)

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Lindsay and I discovered that this was the first formal dinner we had paid for by ourselves.  Sure, we probably looked like we were on a date of our own, especially by spitting the entree and dessert, but who cares because dining at the Polo Bar and Restaurant was completely worth it! Plus, let’s be honest, the people dining in the restaurant most likely run in different circles than she and I do.  The likelihood that we will ever meet them again?  Slim to none.  So carpe diem!

The Polo Bar
1 E. 55th St.
(212)207-8562
~ Cocktails ~ Dinner ~ Dessert ~
~~ Grubstreet Review ~~

“The world is open to us and each day is an occasion to reinvent ourselves” – Ralph Lauren

Equinox – My Home Away From Home + Free Pass for Readers!

It’s no surprise that I have fallen in love with Equinox.  If you have been around the blog for awhile or know me well, I love to work out.  As a matter of fact, besides my college gym, I didn’t think that I would be one to sign up and pay for a gym.  You have the roads outside and a bike if need be.  But let me take a step back in my gym-fitness journey.  When I moved back in 2013, I decided to bite the bullet and signed up for 24 Hour Fitness.  There were three locations in the city, one of which was close to my work at the time (and a decent walk from my apartment) and the second was later close (closer) to work and served as a good shower spot after November Project workouts.

I mainly utilized the gym for its classes, fell in love with my schedule – a 30/60/90 class on Wednesday nights, a spin class with an epic playlist, a Saturday morning bootcamp class, etc.  I made some friends (mostly surface level, but still – for a girl who didn’t know a soul in the city, this was progress) by going to the same classes week after week, and even joining a group on Tuesday and Thursday nights for TRX training.  The showers were decent and it meant that even with a crowded apartment, I rarely had to worry about waiting for a shower (if I timed it correctly).  I even found that the midtown location had an indoor lap pool!  Nothing like the Rose Bowl lap pool in Pasadena or my college pool at Santa Clara, but for the city, it was a nice find.

Well, things worked out for awhile, but it started to become a hassle when I would have to travel uptown to workout, downtown to shower and out to the west side for work.  Even worse was when NP worked out on the west side, then back to the east to shower, and back to the west for work.  (noting that this are first world problems and I give full credit and props to people making much longer and strenuous commutes).  It was a slight hassle, but doable.

You might be wondering where I’m going with this.  How does a shower and commute have to do with a gym membership.  Well, hold tight.

Back around late March and early April, I started asking my friends at work if they wanted to go to lunch.  They kept deferring my invitation, saying that they were actually going to work out at lunch.  What?  A group of people who like to use their lunch out to do more than sit?  Sign me up!

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No really.  I decided to bite the bullet and sign up for an Equinox membership.  Turns out it wasn’t much more than my 24 Hour membership and had oodles more locations (including one in my building!!), fresh and fluffy towels galore, chilled towels for during/post workouts, and an endless array of classes to choose from.

Yes, the classes.  This is pretty much the BEST part of Equinox.  I took my fare share of classes at 24 Hour Fitness and sampled out Class Pass for a month or so.  There is no comparison.  The level of teachers, the facilities, and the wide range of options is UNBELIEVABLE.  Seriously though.  I have my Equinox App set to my three favorite locations – Greenwich Village, 19th Street, and Columbus Circle, and have a tough time decided each week which classes I want to take and which classes I’ll have to miss.  I even tested out the Pasadena location when I was home back in July.

From spin to barre burn and pilates and Metcon.  No joke, it is a class enthusiast’s dream.  I’ve narrowed down some of my favorites and settled into a routine – spin and barre burn on Mondays, a fabulous yoga class on Thursdays, and so on.

This might sound obsessive but let’s refer back to the top.  I like to workout, it’s my personal “me” time, and it gets me in a good mood.  You want a happy Kaitlin, right?  No, I rarely cancel plans to work out, so all is good in the neighborhood.  (no canceling of plans unless it means raging until all hours of the morning, forcing me to either not sleep much or force me to miss my morning class…that’s where I draw the line.  I deem that as normal, some may think that’s just missing out on all the good times you can have when you’re young.  Agree to disagree)

I’m all about that “free fitness” but sometimes you just need to pamper yourself a little.  You only have one life, make it a good one.  So, if you made it to the end, here’s a free-trial for all the California Endless Summer readers!!

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Life of Late ~ 8.21.15

Has this been a rough week for you?  I know it shouldn’t be given that we are nearing the end of August and it’s summer, which means not a lot of work happens and people are savoring the last of their vacations.  Boy, those were the days when we had free time but always took it for granted.  I’m feeling a little bit of the city itch, not much to explore in terms of trails and hikes, but that’s ok because in a couple short weeks, I’ll be traveling down to Charleston for some good time exploring.  Yes, I know it’s more of city than mountains, but a change of scenery is always a good thing.

You know there are days where I spent at least an hour on LinkedIn.  It could be considered professional stalking, but really it’s just me curious about how everyone got to where they are today.  I always am fascinated about different companies and professions, which is helpful when I still don’t know what my “dream job” would be.  Something surrounded by a good product (maybe in the health and wellness industry) and something with a great team dynamic. Thoughts for a Type A or ESFJ personalities?

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^^ Maybe I need to get involved in this adult coloring book trend and chill out.  Or maybe conversely, find a few more projects to get involved in.

IMG_1844^^ Somewhat blurry but somewhat gastronomically divine.  Trader Joe’s pizza dough + figs + prosciutto + ricotta = game changer.

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^^ Sometimes walking around the streets of Manhattan leaves me perplexed.  Why did someone create this on their apartment building?

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^^ Hilarious take on the Manhattan subway map (you might need to zoom in to see the text)

My Domaine ~ “12 Things You Should Do Every Time You Travel

Elite Daily ~ “The Normal Girl: What Happens When You’re Neither ‘Crazy’ Nor ‘Basic’ “(Truth)

Buzzfeed ~ Dog A Day Daily Newsletters (DONE!)

Business Insider ~ “The 14 Smartest Purchases to Make in Your 20’s” (new experiences, investments, and a laptop CHECK!  A good mattress and my own insurance…ooph)

Ad Age ~ “Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte: Now with Real Pumpkin Spice(And now I’m officially excited about fall.  Sure, this may be a little more sugar than I need to start my morning but hey, with real pumpkin and now Starbuck’s coconut milk, I’d say this PSL is going to be my go-to weekend coffee treat!)

Ad Age ~ “Snapchat Discover is Averaging Just 2.5 Ads a Day (How many of you use Snapchat?  It’s a fascinating and quickly emerging product and I’m curious to watch its growth.  Our society is obsessed with sharing pretty much every moment of their life.  I fall between wanting to document everything and then trying to stay away from social media as a means of technology detoxing.  I have to say, while it’s fun to create a Snapchat story, it sure does drain my iPhone 5C battery.)

IMG_1801 Riddle me this.  I love to work out and I love to craft.  Neither of those things will really get me a full time job because let’s face it – I will never be an elite status athlete (nor do I really want the pressures to compete) and there are far too many niches being filled already in the craft industry.  Thanks to Pinterest and Etsy, there are so many crafts being offered to make and sell!

IMG_1799IMG_1795^^ What you will find just walking around Manhattan

IMG_1772^^ Last Saturday marked my 1 year NP-versary or anniversary of going to November Project in the city!  What’s funny to me is when I arrived on this day – all the way on the upper upper west side – I did not know a single person.  Today I can pretty much name off all the people in the above picture.  I’m pretty sure we were celebrating the engagement of one of the NPers, hence everyone holding up the ring hand.  Good times.

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^^ Brunch at Sweet Chick (mostly drawn to the shirts that are spun off the Los Angeles Dodgers logo).  Hope always goes for the classic fried chicken + waffles, but I went with the sweet route, berry waffle topped with ricotta…mmmmmmm

IMG_1797^^ I think we didn’t actually eat until 1:30 or 2, but eggs and a waffle were more than necessary on this Sunday afternoon.  Breakfast food is always acceptable, no matter what time of day.  Also waffles > pancakes (even if all the health articles tell you otherwise)

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^^ Wandering around SOHO waiting for our brunch reservation.  Oh, you know, that way-too-expensive-hipster-SOHO-style

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^^ On Wednesday I decided to test out the land of rollerblading.  My friend and I walked into the skate store and I’m sure were a hilarious sight for the sales associates.  Well, point of the story is that I’m glad I tried something new – sometimes I feel like I am acting way beyond my years and getting too situated or sedentary.  But, I’m also glad that I’m old enough to never really have to do this again.  This was my face for a solid hour and a half and the last hill around 80th on the west side was not my friend.  End of story.

With that, I’m hoping to run this weekend, go to dinner at a new (for me) Indian restaurant in the east village, and maybe check out a museum or two.

What are your plans for the weekend?