A Spooky Spectacular Day

Ghost, pumpkin, goblins, and chocolate.  Where could you go wrong?  As you can tell, I’m by no means the type of person who is into the super scary and creepy element of Halloween.  I’ll take happy ghosts, candy corn, and Charlie Brown any day.

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The plan today is to dress up as one of the Average Joe’s dodgeball players for November Project, throw together some cute, yet corporate approved costume for work, and head out for a short night on the town as a pair of penguins with my friend Lindsay.  We both grew up eating chili on Halloween (paired with either pigs in a blanket or cornbread), so we will be continuing this tradition on the east coast.  From there, we are hosting a small party with festive drinks and snacks of course.  New York hosts an annual Halloween parade that finishes in the West Village but I’m not so sure I’m ready for full on zombies in my face.  Maybe never.

Yesterday I took the day off (yes it was a paid time off day, not hooky – I would be a nervous wreck if I actually played hooky…too much of a goody two-shoes) and it was wonderful.  Just the time I needed after some long days sitting in front of a computer.  Because my body will not let me sleep in (heaven forbid one would sleep in on a day off…), I took a 7am spin class, wandered my way back through the hoards of people on their way to work and school, and continued my morning by watching the Today Show.

Once the good part of the Today Show was over (#sorrynotsorry I don’t like Kathy Lee & Hoda’s segment), Lindsay and I did some pilates videos off of YouTube and I watched an episode or two of Modern Family.  All of that and it was not yet 12pm.  I was quite impressed with myself.

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I had scheduled a hair appointment for 1 and it was oh so necessary.  Some people are able to go 6 months without a hair cut, but thanks to my thin hair and NY’s harsh water, I was quite overdue for a trim.  Honest to goodness I felt like a new person when I walked out of that salon (not that my hair will ever look or good as it did when the hairdresser did it, but maybe one day I’ll learn).  I treated myself to a Panera “You Pick Two” with squash soup and apple chicken salad, sat on the steps of the New York Public Library for a bit, wandered Barnes & Noble, and then went to see a taping of “Late Night with Seth Myers.”

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Excuse the poor lighting.  Since I didn’t cheer loud enough during the show and subsequently wasn’t given a t-shirt, I had to resort to this as my souvenir.

The rest of the night was spent planning the Halloween festivities, watching Charlie Brown and ABC’s #TGIT lineup.  I absolutely love my housing situation because all four of us love to get together on Thursday nights and binge watch shows together.  It’s totally the type of living I thought I would have in college.

But, today is back to work and as I slave away at my computer (kidding kidding), let’s dream about some of the fun aspects of Halloween or what I’m looking forward to this weekend (or reminiscing)

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Butternut Squash Chili by Cookie + Katie

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Last year’s work costumes at Hulu. They host an annual Huluween party for the clients and we three decided to be the three blind mice.  Maybe not the most politically correct costume but…it happened.

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls by Imma Eat That

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Tagging for this weekend’s NY MARATHON! I’ll be cheering and volunteering with the November Project and hopefully in the next couple of years running the streets of the city!

Tell me, what would be your perfect day off?

Have a fabulous weekend and good luck to all those runners this Sunday!

G’day for Brunch

Slowly but surely I’m eating my way around the island of Manhattan.  This past weekend Lindsay and I traveled out to the west village to brunch at Bluestone Lane.  This gem of a restaurant was not only recommended by a couple of Lindsay’s college friends who also happen to live in the city, but just so happens to be an Australian coffee and food experience.

Apparently Australians know how to brew their coffee.  I wouldn’t know but Lindsay is quite the expert, seeing as she spent almost three months abroad in the world’s sixth largest country (oh just educating the world, one Google fact at a time) ;)

IMG_6267I mean, at first look, how could you not be attracted to the adorable blue chairs and tables?

IMG_6270Most of the tables are set up for parties of two and are somewhat easily converted for parties of 4 or a few more.  We put our name in and decided to wander about the adorable surrounding area for the next 30 or so minutes.  Once the name was called, we were led to the back of the shop where we exited onto a cozy little patio area.  There were about 6 little tables and lights strung across the rafters above.  This was the perfect for such a morning because it shaded us from the blinding sun and bit of chilly fall wind.

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Options, options, options

Avocado Smash paired with tahini, heirloom tomatoes, sprouts, fetta and lemon, topped with delicate poached egg

Buckwheat banana bread toasted and topped with maple mascarpone, blueberries, cacao nibs & crushed pistachios.

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Again, torn between items, I decided to ask the waiter his recommendation on coffee.  Or maybe I just wanted to hear him talk some more.   Either way, I ended up with a Magic, which is similar to a latte but with only three ounces of milk.  Too many lattes wind up with a poor milk:espresso ratio, so this was just right.

If you really are feeling something sweet, I recommend the Aussie Iced Latte (iced cold brew with a heaping scoop of ice cream…oh yes, that’s quite nice)

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I was completely torn between the Collective Granola and Avocado Smash.  True, I could have ordered the combo, but in my heart of hearts, I was leaning towards the sweeter side.

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Lindsay selected the Quinoa Porridge

IMG_6275The Shaved Ham Sandwich (pickles, dijon mustard, gruyere)

Completely caffeinated and satisfied for the time being, we were soon on our way.  What a lovely way to start a Sunday, don’t you agree?

Bluestone Collective Cafe
55 Greenwich Ave. – New York NY 10014
(corner of Perry Street)

HOURS:
Monday – Sunday
7:30am – 7pm

Bluestone Coffee Shops
Midtown EastFinancial DistrictBryant Park (coming soon)

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“Food is essential to life, therefore make it good” – S. Truett Cathy

October Favorites of Late

T – G – I – F! Boy oh boy it’s been a long week and I’m beyond excited for the weekend.  Not too much traveling to do but I do have a friend coming to town and an oh-so-special surprise event on Sunday.  My friend Lindsay scored us some tickets to the Michael Buble Christmas special at THE Radio City Music Hall.  Nothing like a little Christmas cheer in October to get you going ;)

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#worktospend

Having been to Costa Rica (an also obsessed with the color turquoise), I was all over the pura vida and ocean minded vibe bottle.  Not to mention, this fancy schmancy MIZU stainless steel container is 100% BPA free and 100% recyclable. #Winning

I guess companies do benefit from posting pictures on Instagram.  They get my money.  People, this is why I have to delete shopping emails from my mailbox immediately or hide my credit card as I browse through the array of online goodies.  Sorry if that makes me sound like one of those people from TLC’s Hoarders show.

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Dancing the night away at the B.B.King Blues Club in Times Square.  A group of November Project people had invited me to celebrate the end of their marathon training (and successful Chicago-race) and well, what else would I be doing on a Wednesday night? YOLO.

IMG_6740November Project workouts

Wall sits + making friends?  Ah those exercises throw me back to freshman year volleyball.  Nothing like shaking legs and random selfies to start your Friday

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Post (or pre) workout snacks

These chia bars are quite on the rage and if you don’t mind having to pick out some of the little buggers out of your teeth (make sure to check a mirror before chatting it up with your coworkers), then I highly recommend!

I actually started hearing about chia a few years ago when I read Born to Run.  These seeds are filled to the brim with omega-3 fatty acids, fiber (help reduce inflammation!), antioxidants, and help regulate blood sugar.  A mouthful in more ways than one if you ask me!

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#worktospend

Yes, this happened and yes, this hashtag is used a lot.  I was looking for a bag that zips and is large enough to fit my lunch, workout clothes, and normal purse goodies.  Oh,and not completely as bulky as the backpack I normally lug around.  I mean, the backpack totally works but I was looking for something cuter for the days I go out after work and don’t want to feel like a complete pack mule in the bar or restaurant.  Yeah, I found a bag just for that purpose.  Thank goodness for overtime.

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Last weekend my friends Naomi, Lindsay, and I went to Central Park to participate in the American Cancer Society’s “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walk.  While my company had a team walking, we decided to break free from the crowd and keep things at a brisk pace.  With chillier fall weather, we had to keep California selves from freezing (melodramatic, I know…Lindsay and Naomi are in for a treat with their first east coast winter) ;)

We ended up at Homegoods on the upper west side and I later ended the afternoon with a session of hot yoga.   Just the perfect way to spend a Sunday!

“What is important is to keep learning, to enjoy challenge, and to tolerate ambiguity. In the end there are no certain answers.”
– Matina Horner

Travels to Boston Part 2

Honestly, there’s no better way to share memories than through pictures, right?  Growing up, we would have scrapbooks of everything we did – from soccer seasons to family trips to those awkward first day of school pictures.  Here we are again with some Boston fun and a continuation of my trip to the NE a few weeks ago.

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BOSTON COMMONS

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With the leaves changing, the ducks quacking, and people walking all around.

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Free tea?  Yes please! Especially when Pure Leaf donates $1 to support their goal of delivering 100,000 pound of fresh fruit and veggies to communities in need.

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The second day of our Boston trip started out with some rain, but that didn’t stop us from exploring it top to bottom.  First stop was the Boston Commons (why not make it once a day?) and then a quick brunch with our friend AJ before he went to study for his medical exams. Yes, the guy is still studying, what a champ.

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We may not be ready for the rain and snow, but you can’t really change Mother Nature.  Just making the most of it by the park.

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Of course I found the ducks.

IMG_6201One of the best burritos – filled with rice, beans, pork, and plantains!  A combination I never would have put together but totally worked in our favor.

IMG_6205We ended the night with a quick walk-by of Fenway Park.  What a beast of a stadium!  I can only imagine the hype and chaos that occurs after every game and definitely after the last world series.  Hopefully I’ll get out to a game next season but for now, it’s rooting time for the Royals. (Sorry, even four years in SF Bay can’t make me a Giants fan…Dodgers for life)

IMG_4043We didn’t get a tour of the stadium this time, but here’s a little throwback love.

Trip to Beantown

A couple weeks back, Lindsay and I had the chance to travel and visit Boston or Beantown as it’s called by some.  I was quite unaware of the popular nickname, which actually dates back to Boston’s trade involvement with molasses and ultimately creation of Boston Baked Beans.  But, you can find more about that on Wikipedia, so for now, a look at fall travels up the coast :)

  I had only visited once before, about 8 years back, and Lindsay had never made it to the historical town.  Since I was able to take Friday off, we boarded the Megabus on Thursday night and made the 4ish hour drive north.

BOSTON TRAVELS

IMG_6639Even though we didn’t arrive at our friend’s place until about midnight, I decided to wake up early for a Friday November Project workout.  I guess you could say I’m addicted to the NP community seeing as I arrange my travel in order to attend a local November Project workout.

Boston is actually home to the original November Project group, started by two crew athletes at Northeastern.  Yes, it’s an odd name and obviously extends beyond the month of November. Anyways, NP Boston has three epic workouts – Destination Deck on Mondays (location changes every week), Harvard stadium stairs on Wednesdays, and killer hills on Friday.

IMG_6654After about 3 hills I came to the realization that I am so not in hill-running shape.  Back in high school (and even college), hills were just a breeze.  My home town is built up of them but oh boy, New York is a different story.

IMG_6667Ran some hills, ate some breakfast out, met some great people.  Good times.

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Since our friend lives slightly outside of the main city, we took a short “T” ride into Cambridge and set off to explore the historic Harvard campus.  I loved riding the public transport and seeing all the sites of the city but I didn’t realize how different Boston is from New York City.  I guess over 13 months in the hustle and bustle will help change my perspective of pace, so I definitely thought Boston was slower.

Harvard CampusWe decided against any formal tour and instead wandered the grounds, gazing at the amazing architecture, and changing colors of the trees.  We even saw the massive crowds around the library, central grounds, and statue with the gold foot.  What I do remember from my first trip to Boston (where we did take a tour) is that the foot is definitely not gold from people rubbing it, but more like some frat boy fun.  I’ll leave you with that image…

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IMG_6166But enough education for one morning.  We left the crowds of tourists far behind and took a “T” ride to Newbury Street for shopping!

IMG_6178What’s a trip to Boston without shopping?

~ the upscale boutiques of Newbury Street ~ Copley Place ~ Charles Street ~ and The Shops at Prudential Center in the Back Bay ~

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I’m pretty sure we managed to walk in and out of every store along Newbury Street and get this – we didn’t purchase one thing!  How’s that for self control?  For some reason we just weren’t feeling any of it.  Good call for my bank account :)

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So no major purchases were made, but we definitely had to check out one of the most popular chocolate stores in town.  L.A. Burdicks was the way to go after reading The Well Traveled Wife’s list of Boston Things to Do & See.

Turns out I had already been to L.A. Burdicks, just the New York location.  It wasn’t nearly as delicious as City Bakery but warmed us up on a chilly fall afternoon.   More to come on this marvelous fall adventure.

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We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment.” – Hilaire Belloc

Welcome Back Fall

Goodness me.  Where have I been?  Absorbed in life, travel, and work.  I didn’t realize how much time (and energy) I’ve been spending at work.  Sure I’m sitting at a desk, staring at a computer for 8-10 hours a day, but still, the emotional and mental drain is still there.  Just the other day I either forgot to set my alarm or accidentally turned it off (both are likely) and subsequently woke up at 8, made it out the door by 8:09 and at work by 8:45 (thank you MTA delays).

I told myself I wouldn’t be one of those bloggers to just pop in to say hi.  But I miss it.  I miss the connections, the rambles (though you may not miss them :) ), and the stories I can share.

I’ve been out to Boston, all over Manhattan, and practically frozen to my work desk.  During my little hiatus, I started to realized the importance of balance.  There were days where I wanted to blog, but disconnecting from technology felt so much better.  While I’m regrouping my bearings on this blog space, here’s some favorites from my current home base.

IMG_6360Good morning from Washington Square.  Another November Project adventure at lovely 6:28 in the morning.  Why 6:28?  I really don’t know. But it works.

IMG_4274_Fotor_CollageLaura convinced me to sample two of her top spots in the Union Square area.  First stop a bodega with cheap yet delicious smoothies.  Next stop?  Bread, sweet bread. Bread’s Bakery is a great spot for a baguette, tartine, or maybe variety of cookies to satisfy your sweet tooth.  

Alice’s Tea Cup
102 W 73rd St, New York, NY 10023

IMG_6330This was one of the top places on my lists of eateries to go to. Their scones are apparently phenomenal – the pumpkin scones out of this world.  While Lindsay and I made the trip in early fall, it wasn’t quite time enough for pumpkin, so I’ll have to visit once more.

IMG_6329Lindsay went with a selection of scones and I ordered the house granola with fruit and plain yogurt.  Both Lindsay and I ordered our own pot of tea, although we could have easily split one.  Come to think of it, we could have ordered the scone selection + one pot of tea and would have been just dandy.

Also, don’t get mixed up between their two stores as the Upper West Side is the entirely decked-out location and the one to go to.  People arrive in packs so it’s best to arrive early with everyone in your party.

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More recaps to come and some other random tidbits :) Ah it’s good to be back.

“There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.”
– Freya Stark