August Life of Late

Do you ever have those days where you just feel on top of the world?  My mind starts bouncing at a millions miles a minute, which is mostly due to the pure energy, adrenaline, too much sugar/coffee pulsing through my system, and post-exercise high.  So, all of this will either help me power through the work day or cause severe ADD.  Issues, obviously.

While I really cannot believe that summer is almost to a close, I’m excited for what the fall has in store.  More on that later but for now, I wanted to recap some of what’s been going on in the city for the past few weeks.

AUGUST LIFE OF LATE

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Running around town and seeing all the cool sites with my blends :) My girl – Carrie – was traveling up and down the east coast and was ever so sweet to stop in for a quick jog and sushi/froyo dinner.  Seems to be our ritual :)

IMG_5723Announcement: There is a MICHEAL’s CRAFT STORE NEAR ME! Oh how I miss my arts and crafts.  The only Michael’s I knew of was on the upper west side and that’s a bit far to justify.  However, this little section of the west side is daaaangerous.  In the span of three blocks we have the following: Michael’s crafts, Harmon’s beauty discount store, the Container Store, TJMaxx, Marshall’s, Trader Joe’s, and Bed Bath & Beyond.

IMG_5733Chilling Walking until we have blisters.  My buddy AJ was down from Boston for the weekend and so it was ever so necessary to explore up and down the island.  Most of our items on the checklist have been included in my NYC Summer Explorations Part 1 and upcoming Part 2.

IMG_5768 NOVEMBER PROJECT

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am now a NP-NYC Convert and will rep it wherever I go.  If you haven’t heard all about it from Sarah (Baltimore tribe) or Ali (NYC tribe), you must check it out.  I followed Ali’s posts for awhile and decided to take the plunge.

What do you know?  This lovely Grant Memorial happened to be the location of my first Friday NP workout.  Sure the 5:15 am wake up was killer, but people do it all the time, so it couldn’t be that bad, right?  It was absolutely the most amazing environment and community.  Gone are the days of club soccer teams and high school cross country, where your teammates are your best friends.  Yet, this community feeling and work hard/play hard mentality still exists out there! Healthy living for the win here.

IMG_5772 Thank you November Project for taking and posting some of the most flattering and non-flattering images of our workouts.  But really, the level of photography used can either highlight how much fun you are having in such a picturesque environment (even the streets by the pier) and how unattractive working out can be sometimes.  If only we were like this ridiculously attractive guy running.

Maybe I’ll try taking selfies with all the good-looking people in my next race like this girl did.  Props my friend, props.

IMG_5782One of the best salads I’ve had all summer.
~ Bacon, lettuce, corn, tortilla chips, tomatoes, feta, lemon vinagrette ~

IMG_5792~ Summer Streets ~
For about three weeks in August, NYC shut down motor vehicle traffic on Park Avenue and then opened up the lanes for biking/running/walking/roller-blading.  They had rest stops every 10-15 blocks and even offered free bike and roller blade rentals.

IMG_5798 I was feeling the need for something sweet and stopped by The City Bakery for its famous chocolate chip cookie.  Yes, this is the size of a softball and it was delicious.  Quite rich and heavy on the sugary side, but well worth the $3.50.

IMG_5816 The NP annual “Better than Bedtime” event.  Everyone was to arrive in pairs, although we obviously broke that rule.  My friend Marnie + Tracy + I dressed up as dominoes or a pair of die – pick your fancy.  From there, we all ran the streets of New York for a solid 4 miles.

IMG_5822 Just casual planking in the middle of a NYC street fair.  No big deal

IMG_5796Enjoying Chipotle salads after working out.  Nothing in the world like a bit of Tex-Mex.

IMG_5847 Waking up to work out for this view

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Happy Hour Hopping at the Hudson Hotel 

As you can see, my brain tends to jump back and forth and can sometimes drive my friends insane. My family has gotten used to it and my mom likes to call me Tigger (except for the time I was an Eeyore thanks to high school/college anxiety and stress).  Good to know I’ve bounced back.

How are you spending this lovely summer weekend?

Trip to the Getty Villa

So a few weeks ago, Snapchat sent all of its users a video of the popular attractions in Los Angeles.  Having grown up in Southern California, I was pretty disappointed that I really hadn’t visited any of the “popular” areas except the beach.  Emi from The Well Traveled Wife had a post about being a tourist in her new-ish home and while I’m essentially doing the same thing in New York, I thought it would be perfect to practice in California.  So, with Snapchat and the fear of missing out as my motivating forces, my friend Lindsay and I decided to buckle down and start exploring.

First stop: The Getty Villa

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Located along the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway, the Getty Villa is a museum dedicated to the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria.  The location itself was built by J. Paul Getty and was designed after the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum (say that five times fast).

We had ordered our free tickets online the week before, which happened to be a clutch move.  The attendants won’t actually allow your car to enter until you hand these over. 

Because Mr. Getty had accumulated so many wonderful artifacts and pieces of art, the museum soon had to split between this location and the larger Getty Center campus near Brentwood.

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We couldn’t have asked for a lovelier day by the water.  While you can’t see it from this shot, the ocean is just a hop, skip, and a jump away.  To be precise, one would have an excellent view on that balcony.

IMG_5537Can you possibly imagine all the work that went into the design and creation of such mosaics?

IMG_5544There are multiple floors in which you are able to roam; from paintings to sculptures, artifacts, to replicas, they have it all.  I would highly recommend taking one of the free tours offered.  Then again, wandering at your own pace is always an excellent option :)

Getty Villa 2  Artifacts on the premise date from 6,500 BC to 400 AD. The statues can be found in many of the rooms as well as in some of the gardens.  I honestly could not get enough of the mosaics and of course had to re-post one of my favorites.

Getty Villa 3

The Getty Villa
17985 Pacific Coast Highway
Pacific Palisades, California

 Hours Wed-Mon (10am-5pm) ~ Parking $15

Of course a trip to the west side isn’t complete without a stop in Santa Monica.  Lucky for us, Lindsay’s sister lives just by the Promenade, so we had prime parking :)

After some window shopping (better for my pocket book anyway), we headed down to the Lowes Hotel for a quick seaside drink, followed by dinner at the hotel’s Ocean & Vine.   I have to say, the bread basket was out of this world.  Seriously, the array of pretzel bread to sourdough rolls and even slices of warm sun-dried tomato, was delicious.  While there were no pictures of the first or second courses, I was able to squeeze in a few shots of my favorite part – the dessert.

~ Hazelnut Crunch Brownie Cake ~ The Beach Berry CocktailFireside Baked S’mores ~

Santa Monica~ Lowe’s Hotel ~ Ocean & Vine ~
1700 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Southern Grub in NYC

We’re all aware that New York’s got it all.  From the melting pot ethnic flavors of Indian, Chinese, and Italian food to the all the delicious diners and good ‘ol American grub.  I’m bound and determined to taste it all and with some help of my friends (usually pointing me/us in the right directions or flat out ordering for me), it will be accomplished.

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Hearing rave reviews from another friend, we decided to make Hill Country our next stop.  This joint located off Broadway and 26th (closer to the west side and 6th Ave) is more of a homage to Texas BBQ restaurant.  Something I learned quite quickly from my friend Sam was that BBQ is not the same in every part of the south.  You may shaking your head and thinking “duh” but it’s quite an easy aspect to overlook.  No my friends, part of the south, be it Texas, Kansas, Tennessee, etc., has its own specialty.   (ASK SAM FOR EXAMPLES)

Vegans and vegetarians beware.  This post includes some mouth-watering beef, brisket, and pork products.

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Tips Before You Saddle’ Up:
* Hostess will request that the entire (or good majority) of the party be present
* Meat portions are sold by the pound (1/4, 1/2, 1, etc)
* Your best (most enjoyable) option would be to order family style
* Each person handed a meal ticket, which is used when you walk up to order

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We came as a party of three and just decided to use one ticket to order and split the check that way.  If you are so inclined to order individual portions, feel free to use your own meal ticket.

IMG_5360 Once seated, the waitress will gather drink orders and deposit mason jars filled with tasty NYC still water.  With the large wooden tables, a welcoming and casual feel about, and the smell of BBQ wafting, we were off to a good start.

IMG_5362It was off to the meat station because I had been volunteered to gather the food.  Actually, to clarify, I volunteered but immediately regretted the offer as I had to choose between two types of brisket and deal with multiple other first world food problems.

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We ended up with 1/2 lb “lean” brisket (solid but a bit dry…possibly tastier with the “moist” aka more fat), 1/4 chicken (chicken only sold by the parts rather than weight), and 4 spare ribs (tasty but a bit chewy…not as good as the ribs my mom makes in the oven but that’s apples to oranges)

IMG_5364~ SIDES & MORE ~
Longhorn cheddar mac & cheese** highly recommend
Bowl of red chili
Confetti cole slaw
Sweet potato bourbon mash
Beer braised cowboy pinto beans
Braised collards w/ bacon** highly recommend
Cool as a cucumber salad

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On Tuesdays they offer the unique of opportunity of ordering an entire hog.  Not hungry or gutsy enough? Don’t worry, neither am I so there are plenty of other selections.

IMG_5369~ WEEKLY SPECIALS ~

Monday - All you can eat (5pm-10pm) – $22/pp and $15/kids

Tuesday – Whole Hog & Twang Karaoke (singing starts at 8:30pm)

The Pitmaster ($27) – 1/4 lb “Lean” brisket, 1 pork spare rib, 1 HC hot link, 1/2 chicken, 2 Good Eatin’ sides

Wednesday – Chili rubbed wings – $11/lb

Thursday – Sunday – Short ribs cooked long and slow – $29/lb

Kid’s Menu $7 (although I might try to order this…I could pass for 10, right?) – 1/8 market chicken, Longhorn cheddar mac & cheese or green bean casserole & chocolate chunk cookie

IMG_5370If you are looking for some nighttime activity, check out their live bands that play weekly.

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There’s something comforting about having classic old-fashioned bottles of soda.  Not a fan of soda?  How about a classic cocktail made up in a mason jar?

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If you possibly left an inch of space for a sweet treat, look no further than some southern classics.  From the famous Texas Blue Bell ice cream to banana pudding, seasonal crisps to a few different cookies and brownies.  I even spotted a mega cookie for $2 and while it would have been a steal, I couldn’t fathom eating one more bite.  We’ll just have to save dessert for course #1 next trip ;)

Hill Country BBQ
~ Menu ~ Locations ~ Music ~
30 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10010

California Mountain Summer Bliss Part 2

Time to share some more pictures from my summer trip to the California mountains.  We spent about three days in Mammoth itself – hiking, biking, running, and reading.  There was an afternoon of bowling and a trip to Roberto’s for dinner.

IMG_5612Kodiak Cakes Waffle Mix thanks to my 2014 BlendSwag.  We put it to the test and while it’s packed with protein, it didn’t taste like any of that gritty protein powder!  I tested my luck with the Kodiak Cakes Waffle Mix.  This stuff is protein packed and yet still tastes delicious!

IMG_5613 Look at that delicious California fruit!

IMG_5614Someone looks ready for an afternoon of biking.  This nutty girl ran 11 miles earlier in the day!  Ok, dedicated rather than nutty as she is mid-training for cross country.

We spent a few hours along the Uptown-Downtown trail, which passes both Twin Lakes & Lake Mary

IMG_5616Arriving at the midway point of our ride – Horseshoe Lake – Sadly it’s at its lowest point yet!  Notice all the remaining water rings?

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TFred is dressed for the part – biking shirt, gloves, clip shoes.  About ready to crush the rest of the ride.

IMG_5618Driving from Mammoth to Yosemite’s White Wolf with a stop at the Whoa Neli Deli in Lee Vining.

IMG_5620 IMG_5624 Packed inside the Tioga Pass Gas Mart, there is a little gourmet food spot to satisfy one’s hunger.  Sure you can pick and choose a few candy bars or pack up some camping necessities, but how about some home cooked grub?

IMG_5626It’s pretty much your typical diner fare with some hefty omlettes and pancakes the size of your face.  Just the right amount of fuel before hiking the afternoon away.

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Into the park we go!  A short trip to White Wolf campground before driving onto Groveland for our rafting trip.

IMG_5632“Oh it’s just an easy 8 mile hike” … suuuure.  Nothing is ever that flat ;)

IMG_5635 Despite the fire, those are some pretty gorgeous views.

IMG_5636There’s nothing like finishing a hike with an ice cream sandwich.  This San Francisco classic was just what we needed for the 6-easy turned 8-moderate/strenuous hike in Yosemite.  Oatmeal cookie with vanilla ice cream and covered in chocolate.  We totally could handle the distance, just were a bit taken aback when the route changed halfway through the hike.

One day I hope to hike Half Dome, but it requires a few more logistics and planning ahead.

Have you been to Yosemite or Mammoth?  What’s your favorite part of hiking?

NYC Summer Discoveries Part 1

When you live in a city, it’s not uncommon to wander the streets and stumble across shops and eateries you have never heard of.  Of course there are also places you seek out just because everyone else is talking about them.   I’ve made it my goal to merge my identity as a tourist with becoming a full-fledged NYC local.  Let’s give it a whirl.

~ Summer 2014 ~

Happy Bones
394 Broome St, New York, NY 10013
Mon – Fri / 7:30am – 7pm. Sat – Sun / 8am – 7pm

Happy Bones

Certainly worth the splurge for a strong latte (iced latte in the warmer months).  Since I did indeed visit on a summer morning, it was not ideal temperature to order a Flat White.  I’ll just have to make my way back when the leaves start to change.

IMG_5683A walk through Central Park.  This could be done all day every day.  You have the SE corner by the Fairmont Plaza and the Central Park Zoo, a corner that is inhabited by countless tourists.  The farther you edge into the park is where all the action and beauty really is at. From the Boathouse to the Alice in Wonderland Statue and every trail, baseball field, and playground in between.

The Highline
Around 23rd and 10th Avenue
~ Walking ~ Running ~ Eating ~ People Watching ~ Relaxing ~

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My friend Laura and I usually hit this spot around 7am when there is practically no one around.  I actually prefer the peace and quiet of the place during this time over the hustle and bustle of tourists.  Not only is it quiet, but it’s quite difficult to run when there are that many people around.  However, the benefit to arriving later in the day is that there are pop-up eateries such as Blue Bottle Coffee and People’s Pop’s.

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Once finished with your shaved ice or gourmet fresh fruit popsicle, head out to the west side highway and walk along the Hudson.  There’s one pier, closer to Battery Park, that offers a free half hour of kayaking in the Hudson!

IMG_5717 On a warm afternoon, this is the perfect place to run, walk, bike, and even sunbathe. (Can you tell I’m really into the running and walking?) There are patches of grass to sit on, tennis courts to use, jungle gyms, and even a golf driving range.

IMG_5715Within an hour we have seen the Freedom Tower and dropped into the 9/11 Memorial to pay our respects.   This must have been the 3rd or 4th time since I have seen the memorials and I still am in awe every time.  This time however, the surrounding barriers had been lowered and we were able to enter the grounds without the long lines or obtaining tickets ahead of time.  I have yet to see the museum itself, but need a solid 3-4 hours to do so.

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Momofuku Noodle Bar
171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

Ready for a snack or maybe even dinner?  Momofuku Noodle Bar is one of my favorite touristy places in the East Village.  I’ve bounced between the momofuku ramen {pork belly, pork shoulder, poached egg} and chilled spicy noodles {sichuan sausage, spinach, cashews}.  No joke, you better be ready for your mouth to light on fire.

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Take a walk or subway ride up to Bryant Park for some Thursday night yoga, a movie in the park on Monday, or simply a casual game with your friends.

IMG_5730The game section is located on the south end of the park (closer to Le Pain) and they have pretty much every childhood game you could imagine!  We found ourselves thoroughly entertained by Scattergories for almost 2 hours!

By then, it is probably late afternoon or early evening.  If you are interested in gelato, check out the Talenti pop-up shop at Bryant Park.  However, for a more authentic New York experience, take a trip back down to SOHO and check out Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream.

Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream
2 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

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It’s almost like a mini-trip down memory lane (if I lived during the time of soda shops and creameries).  I’ll certainly have to invest in a large sundae, maybe even the “Good Morning Vietnam” in honor of the wonderful Robin Williams.  But really, the name of a product is often the most crucial selling point (right behind the ingredients) and they seem to have it all figured out.

With that, it’s time for bed or another walk about town to check out the night life :)

“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.” ― Tom Wolfe

California Mountain Summer Bliss Part 1

Back in the day we used to make scrapbooks so we could look at pictures and remember the good times we had.  Since I don’t have all my crafting supplies back east with me, posting here is the next best thing.  Well, it might be better because I get to share all the California love with you :)  Here’s a little look at some of our Mammoth Mountain favorites from last month.

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Schat’s is a MUST and if you can’t make it to Mammoth, there’s also one in Bishop.  I remember the days that my grandparents would always bring back a medley of donuts for us kids.  Their bread is above par and I highly recommend the sourdough, wheat, and oh the cheesy loaf.  If you happen to be there in the winter, pair the cheesy loaf with some spaghetti and it makes for a divine post-ski dinner.

There’s even a cafe in the back if you are up for a sit-down kind of deal.

IMG_5580 Checking out the samples and surveying our options

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Meghan the head chef for the night grilling up some personalized pizzas.  This was a first for me and if I had a grill in NYC, it would happen weekly!

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Simply pick up some dough from Trader Joe’s, brush with olive oil and pop on the grill for a hot second (seriously).  Flip, allow the dough to bubble, add some sauce and toppings, close the lid, and viola, dinner is served!

IMG_5585Kaitlin’s meals are never complete without a scoop of ice cream.  And this is why you will not see me on the cover of Fitness magazine.  No matter how much I exercise, I can’t seem to cut out my sweet tooth habit.

But anyways, Jeni’s is definitely the way to go if you are willing to make the splurge.  Even better if you can find a 50% discount like we did!

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OH MY DEER! Wildlife alongside our trail!  She was interested in what we had brought for lunch.  I don’t think she would have liked the peanut butter rolls I had packed, but one never knows.

IMG_5599 Oh John Muir, what a guy.  I really would have loved to see the land from his perspective and then compare it to how drastically it has changed.

IMG_5603Our epic hike to a hidden lake past Convict lake was interrupted by a freak rainstorm.  Of all the time I have spent in Mammoth, I’ve never encountered such weather.  Luckily we were only 3-4 miles away (yeah really “only”) and it was a short trip down the mountain.

IMG_5611 From hiking in the clouds to running in the clear air.  I can never get enough Mammoth in the summertime.  It’s actually one of my favorite places to be and while I do love it in the winter, nothing beats moving around in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt in the great outdoors.

IMG_5527More marvelous Mammoth memories to come…