Life of Late in the Big Apple

What I love about my blog is that these posts can go in every different direction that I chose.  As a result, it follows my stream of consciousness and love for sharing (almost) every single thing that crosses my path in the big city.   There are good times and there will be bad times.  Throughout everything, we make memories and that’s what matters – living life to the fullest in our own unique ways.

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The change in seasons will never get old with this California girl.  I may not be able to stop and smell the roses, but I certainly have to remind myself to slow down and absorb the beauty in the corners of this crowded city.

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Loving my morning workouts with November Project

So here’s the deal. I ran a half marathon in May and got a PR, but also gave myself plantar facitis.  I’m not even sure if one can say they “gave” themself an injury like that.  I guess I caused it?  Anyways, running has been off the books for awhile.

At first I was in denial but I have since come to terms with it and with the help of spinning, hot yoga, and painful massaging, I plan to rehab it back into business. For so long my identity was tied to running and I felt lost without it.  What’s great about November Project is that yes, they are mostly built up of runners, but there are plenty who are plagued with injuries such as mine and so we work out in other ways together.

IMG_7086On Monday I started talking about the Christmas holidays but let’s backtrack a little shall we?  It’s never too early to indulge in some Thanksgiving eats and that’s just what my housemates and I did over the weekend.  We each contributed one of our favorite dishes – Hope’s turkey and fantastic caramel apple pie, my cranberry sauce (healthified of course), Lindsay’s epic mashed potatoes, and Gaia’s superb wine selection.

IMG_6946 Can you believe it’s almost been a full month since the New York marathon (or beginning of November)?  The Monday following the race, I stopped by the upper west side JackRabbit store in order to see Meb Keflezighi (4th place at the NYM and 1st last year in Boston!)  Turns out a good deal of New York thought this would be a good idea too and the line turned out to be a 90 minute adventure.  Sadly my meager lunch hour did allow for this but I did get to give him a solid high-five upon his arrival to the store.

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Monday night Soul Cycle with AWNY

I belong to the Advertising Women of New York and was invited a few weeks back to a special Soul Cycle class.  What a better way to network than by sweating and celebrating with some bubbly?

I told my mom that I will be celebrating every future holiday by treating myself to a spin class and she just laughed.  Ok, she may have been laughing at the fact that I planned out my birthday already…when it’s 6 months away.  I mean, never to early to plan, right?

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Just a little bit of Broadway with my dad.  It’s quite the treat to have family in town because not only do they like to wander Central Park with me, but they also like to see a musical or two and test out some new eateries :)

I loved listening to Idina Menzel’s voice (Frozen fans anyone?) but honestly felt the acting was a little forced and awkward at times.  However, I adored the message behind If/Then – something along the lines of living in the moment and not regretting your decisions.

IMG_6825Putting an egg on a burger = genius and never fails.

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^^ The flowers would be mine and the gorgeous beach scene would be Lindsay’s.  

Have you heard of those “Wine & Paint” classes?  Well, my friend Marnie had the most brilliant idea to host one of our own?  We have a group of friends that gets together every Wednesday for dinner, but this time we decided to spend a Saturday afternoon painting various canvases for the bare walls of her Brooklyn apartment.  Just a group of friends getting together and painting all sorts of scenes definitely is my idea of fun.

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Here we are at Radio City Music Hall for the filming of Michael Buble’s Christmas Special.  What we expected and what we saw were two very different productions, but just as festive and exciting.  What we had expected was the actual show, however we were the crowd-fillers for the filming of the show, which will air in a couple of weeks.  Thus, we were invited to endure multiple takes, a terrible crowd comedian (to get you pumped up), and Michael Buble’s amazing off-screen personality.  All in all, a blast and another reminder that New York really does have it all!

“One day in retrospect the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.”
– Sigmund Freud

Dining at NYC’s Quality Meats

A couple weeks ago, I was lucky enough to have dinner with my dad while he was in town for business.  We actually met up twice – once to see the musical “If/Then” and another for a nice dinner at Quality Meats.  Oh.My.Gosh.  This may have very well been one of my favorite dinners, especially with my dad.  The location we went to was off of 58th, between 5th and 6th avenue and had a very upscale, yet rustic feel about it.  Too many steakhouses end up being too dark to see what’s around you – a little sketchy if you ask me.   Between the wooden tables and tiles on the walls, it was just the way a comfortable steak house should feel.

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My family has always been interested in the food industry and over the years we have been able to test out a number of different and often unique restaurants.  One of my grandfathers actually worked in the food business with Lawry’s Seasonings and was involved with the Prime Rib restaurants, so we tend to gravitate towards the steak and seafood genre of restaurants.

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The big debate always becomes, do we go fish or steak?  Fish for heart health or meat for some iron since I rarely buy it myself?  Well, when the name of the restaurant actually has “meat” in the title, I guess it’s a sign.

IMG_6976Now how unique is that?  Serving bread rolls right in their pan, hot out of the oven.  The buttery flavor reminded me of my grandma’s famous Thanksgiving rolls, mixed with good ‘ol store-bought Hawaiian rolls.

IMG_6992Fig and cheese appetizer, compliments of the chef and enjoyed by yours truly (TFred isn’t so much of a fig fan, which is completely fine by me)

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We splurged with appetizer of crab and avocado.  Normally my dad would order a Caesar salad to start, so I was so proud of him for going rogue and indulging in a little foodie fun.

IMG_6991Now time for the moment every diner is waiting for…MAIN COURSE TIME!  We decided to split the Porterhouse for two with filet +sirloin. Per my request, we asked for the meat on the medium to medium rare side.  Like other steakhouses, one is instructed to order the main course and then a few sides for the table.  We decided upon asparagus and waffle fries, although I could have gone for some Brussels Sprouts and Yorkshire Creamed Spinach.

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Now, we had our fun in trying something new for our appetizer, so I decided we could go with something classic.  Although, all of those ice cream combinations did sound divine, or at least out of the ordinary.

IMG_6990May not the best lighting but oh my gosh, a chocolate molten cake and frozen yogurt is the best way to end one’s night.  I truly had such a fun time with my dad and I loved catching up.  :)

Quality Meats
~ Locations ~ Menus ~
57 West 58th Street
New York, NY 10019
(between 5th and 6th avenue)

When One Lives in New York City

When one lives in New York City, there are endless opportunities.  This includes jobs, places to eat, things to see, places to go, etc.  Sure, we don’t have too much in terms of the “great outdoors”, but if you are creative and willing to try something new, I’m sure you will find something.

It has been so much fun having one of my friends live from home join me out in the Big Apple.  Lindsay and I have made some excellent memories by wandering the parks, shopping along 5th Ave, and testing out some of the top museums.

IMG_7008Always a classic.  Lucky for us, my work offers a corporate discount into the museum, so we can pretty much pop in and out whenever we please.  Although, I keep thinking that Ben Stiller or Robin Williams will show up at some point as if I’m in the “Night of the Museum” series.

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I really should snap a picture every season of this walkway in Central Park.  It’s yet another picturesque place to be when the leaves start to fall and people walk around all bundled up.

IMG_7018 Christmas has arrived at Macy’s!

IMG_7046Veteran’s Day cupcakes by one of the people at my work.  You can find her on Instagram @cupcakesbyjana and see all her mouth-watering and absolutely adorable creations.  I love that she has such a passion for these treats and it’s a fabulous hobby to have!

~ Blog ~ Instagram ~ Pinterest ~

IMG_7068 Nothing like celebrating a Thursday night with a little bit of bubbily (or a lot…).  This was a Champagne tasting class that my roommates and I decided to attend at Chelsea Market.  Champagne happens to be one of my favorite alcoholic beverages and who knew that there were so many different varieties?  From the brut to the rose, and even a Chardonnay :)

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Lindsay, Gaia, and I went to see “Intersteallar” in theaters last week and I have to say, it was amazing.  I can’t even remember the last time I went to an actual movie in the theater, but the expereince was long overdue.  Too often (such as now), I find myself popping in a movie in the background (“You’ve Got Mail” as I type this up) but end up distracted as I blog, clean, craft, or chat with my roommates.

I never was able to see Gravity, so I can’t really compare the two, but this was much better than any other world-ending, civilization at risk types of films.

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Yes, I understand that this (and sometimes all of November Project) is a bit intense, but it is awesome.   My mom told me that I looked like I was a part of “Orange is the New Black”.  Thanks but no.  She redeemed herself when she told me that she had watched a few of the NP videos and told me that she understood why I loved it so much – it’s so “me”.  I guess this statement only makes sense to those of you who know me in person, but the ability to put all your emotions and energy out there, to work out with people who enjoy it just as much (if not more) as you – it’s a dream come true.

 “Excellence is not an act but a habit. The things you do the most are the things you will do the best.” – Marva Collins

Back in Blogging Business

Annnnnnd I’m back after a short blogging hiatus.  Lots and lots has been happening in the past months – nothing news-breaking, but still enough to make me take a little break from my good ‘ol date sessions with my Mac computer.   Really, I have started to realize that it is tough to manage it all – social life, work life, exercise, blogging, etc.  Talk about becoming an adult, right?  Well, enough of that jibber-jabber, let’s move onto what’s more exciting – holiday festivities in the city!

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Too early for Christmas festivities? Tough because this city is almost in full swing.  Decorations have been adorned on the stores of Fifth Avenue, Starbucks had its holiday drink happy hour, and lights are popping up on every corner.  Not to mention all the advertisements on TV and there are so many Christmas movies on Netflix.  I would say we started watching the Hallmark Holiday Channel or better yet, ABC Family’s Christmas marathon, but we are sans cable, so that’s for another year.

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However, on Sunday we found ourselves in possession (legally aka we purchased) of holiday bowls from Crate & Barrel.  I mean, doesn’t it make you smile to think of eating breakfast oats or maybe a dinner salad or soup in this cute bowl?

Sidenote – right before we walked in, we saw Mario Batali! First famous person sighting in New York and I’ve lived here for an entire year!  We were actually more obsessed with his adorable dog (I’m thinking labra-doodle?) but then someone noticed the fact that this man was wearing orange Crocks, a very signature Mario look and we put two and two together.

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A little successful shopping at LOFT, Trader Joe’s, and a pair of earrings from St. Mark’s, it was time to rest back at the apartment.  For anyone starting out at their first apartment (or even college dorm room), you will understand how difficult it is to make the room your own and make it feel just like home.  We have finally been able to do that with our thrifty IKEA shopping (props to my roommate Gaia!), the gifting of one comfortable couch, candles, and basic TV channels.  Just having the ability to wake up and watch a little bit of the TODAY Show or football on the weekend, it’s perfect.

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So, that all being said, there is nothing better than spending your Sunday with Christmas with the Kranks.  Tim Allen is just too darn funny and with a chill in the air, the temperature in the 30′s, watching a movie sounded like just the right idea.

How do you like to spend your Sundays?  Are you getting ready for the holidays yet?

Thoughts for those Mid-20′s

Another round up of random thoughts and bits of advice for those of you in your 20′s and any point of your life

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“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
– Theodore Seuss Giesel

  • First impressions matter, but never lose sight of who you are.  You will make more friends (the real kind who will do anything for you) with your true personality rather than trying to be someone else.

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“29 People on the Hardest Things they Had to Learn In Their 20s” (Thought Catalog)

That feeling that you can do anything in the world.  You can eat what you want, say what you want, and be who you want.  Ok, the last part is true forever, but the first two points will certainly bite you in the rear (literally and figuratively)

  • Humility – Learn what it means to be wrong and make mistakes. Defining what is important to you in terms of friends, work/life balance, work, etc.  The searching is tough and you may feel that you are the only one struggling to figure this out.  Don’t worry, we are all there with you.  Some just have it figured out faster or are excellent at hiding their insecurities.

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  • Health – I can’t say it enough.  Appreciate your body for what it can do and not what it can’t.  (If only I could listen to my own advice…)  Eat good to feel good ~ make sure to get enough sleep ~ drink plenty of water.
  • Perseverance - Everyone makes mistakes and everyone will fail in life.  If you are normal, it will happen more than once.  Just pick yourself up and keep moving.

(Tips from Arjuna Perkin)

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  • Even the worst job you will ever work at has something to teach you – so stop complaining and pay attention” (Thea Pilarczyk)
  • Network, network, network.  You never know who you will meet and where potential opportunities will lead you.

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
– Mark Twain

Boston’s Freedom Trail

What better way to explore a town you are visiting than by walking around?  Well, if you happen to find yourself in the northeast, you are in for a treat.  Boston’s Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile path, takes you along 16 different historical sites, past countless museums, and other cultural sites.  If you are looking for a city wide tour, I recommend picking up a ticket for a hop-on and hop-off bus, but I find that walking or running the streets gives you a more in-depth look at it all.

A few weeks ago, my friend Lindsay and I happened to be traveling to the Beantown and of course on the day we had planned to walk the Freedom Trail, it was raining cats and dogs.  After finishing brunch and wandering a few stores, the rain started to ease up.  We decided to check out Boston Commons in hopes that the sun would shine through.  Slowly but surely we found ourselves at the start of the trail and the rest is history.  Really though…

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The tour itself (self-guided or guided) starts at the visitor center in Boston Commons and travels along a noticeable brick path. Here you can pick up pamphlets, maps, and other guides of things to do in the city.  You can even take a tour by a guide dressed in historically themed garb if you are so inclined.

 Note: there is another visitor center at Faneuil Hall where you can select a tour.

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Stop #1
Beacon Hill – Black Heritage Trail – Otis House Museum

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King’s Chapel – Historic Burying Grounds – Park Street Church

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 The idea for the trail was created by a local  journalist William Schofield back in the 1950s.  When it was finally created in 1953, almost 40,000 started walking the trail each year.

IMG_6230Because in our society, placing a popular chain steak house within a historic monument (or area) is totally normal.  Just dining alongside Paul Revere’s grave – no big deal.  Here you pass along the Old South Meeting House and Old State House before arriving at Faneuil Hall.

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Faneuil Hall – a marketplace and meeting spot that has been around since 1742.  It has even been the spot for many famous speeches by Samuel Adams, James Otis, and others that supported independence from Great Britain.

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Quincy Market – a tour in itself.  This place is stacked with eateries and I guess you could call it Boston’s food court.  There are some classics such as chowder (shall I say “chowda”?) and lobster rolls, as well as good ‘ol ice cream and pizza.  This could certainly serve as a nice lunch spot and on a nice afternoon, there are plenty of places to sit outside and soak up the sun.  The ground was still a bit damp and the air a bit chilly, so we weren’t as lucky, but still lots of fun to people watch.

The path winds in and around the North End, where you will soon find yourself in the Italian district and if you are still hungry, I highly recommend picking up a cannoli from the well-known Mike’s Pastry shop.  We saw person after person heading back towards the center of town with a white box that read Mike’s Pastry and knew we had to give it a shot.

IMG_6238Don’t be alarmed by the length of the line.  They know how to turn customers over and make those customers happy – or at least their stomachs happy.  

IMG_6246Hungry enough to fill an entire box?  How about some to take home?  Nope, we decided to eat ours then and there.  Plus as a couple of gals from California, we were trying to be green and reduce waste ;)

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I selected the double chocolate flavor while Lindsay went with cookies and cream.  Hands down – best cannoli ever.  I’m just salivating as I think about the sweet ricotta and crunchy pastry dough.   Sweet tooth satisfied and it’s time to continue along the trail.

IMG_6252Old North Church past the grand ‘ol Paul Revere statue and the Revere household

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As you continue along the Charlestown Bridge, check out all view over the Inner Harbor

IMG_6255 Sun starting to set over the Zakim/Bunker Hill Bridge

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The most adorable houses leading up to Monument Square and Bunker Hill, which means you have made it to the end!

Bunker Hill was the first mega-conflict between the British and Patriot forces during the American Revolutionary War.

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As we headed back on the trail towards the North End, we stopped by the USS Constitution.  The ship was closed for a private event, but we were still able to watch the nightly ceremony where guns are fired off of the ship at dusk.  If you happen to be in the area and don’t mind waiting outside the gates, it is one beautiful way to watch the sunset.

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The Freedom Trail
~ Sites ~ Map ~ Tour ~

“The traveler sees what he sees.  The tourist sees what he has come to see.” G.K. Chesterson