December Christmas Countdown

LESS THAN ONE WEEK AWAY!  I will be ever so sad when the holidays are over and the lights are taken down around the city.  How will we get through the dreaded winter months?  I don’t care what you say but the span of January – March is probably one of the least enjoyed times of the year (maybe that’s just me).

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I wouldn’t exactly count today as a day of work. This is simply due to the fact that I will be so hyped up on energy and excitement to fly home, we are having an ugly Christmas sweater party/lunch at work, I am going on a client event to get our nails done and oh, I’m FLYING HOME!  So let’s keep this short and sweet, shall we?

free stuff

Because who could turn away from the word “free”?  I’m truly a pack rat at heart.

IMG_7580Flashback to last Sunday’s NP (November Project) Carols event.  We synchronized our watches to meet up at 3:25pm outside the chaos of Rockefeller Center and then zig-zagged our way through town.  We stopped at Times Square, Bryant Park, Herald Square, Madison Square Park, Union Square, and ended up at Washington Square Park.

Some people loved and took tons of pictures (yes, tourists taking selfies and straight up rolls of photos of us – strange to think we will be etched in someone’s digital memory forever)   But, there were others who edged more on the Scrooge side.  There was even an older man who was quite a grouch and simply yelled “not moving, get out of my way, not moving”. Granted, we were a bit overwhelming as we ran full-force through the streets, but come on, we were screaming Christmas carols. Got to love the city.

IMG_7581Of course, the point of our group is free fitness.  We broke up the run with some carols (even a unique edition of “The 12 Days of Christmas”), burpees, planks, and pushups.

IMG_8775Dynamic Duo, ready to be reunited.  Sarcasm, baking, and exercising here we come.

IMG_8907And looking forward to this guy!  Can you believe he is already 10 years old?? Say it ain’t so.  I miss the Moto so darn much and have to remember to take him on a few walks when I’m home.  Now that he is the solo child in the house, he takes on the spoiled role quite well.  He’s adapted to a double (or even triple) dip and starts the worry brow if this routine is not met on the daily.

Here are some of the other wonderful things I’m looking forward to in the next week:

- wrapping gift upon gift upon gift

- golfing with the family

- baking for our family open house

- hiking the trails in our backyard

- spinning with Meghan

- watching some college football

- drinking all the eggnog possible (recently discovered and currently obsessed with the calorie bomb)  So maybe burning up enough calories from spin class to afford a few glasses on Christmas Eve …

- attending a Los Angeles November Project workout

Well folks, that’s it for a Friday favorites edition.  What are you looking forward to about the holidays?

Four Times the Fun

I’ve never been very good about setting trends, but I am pretty good about following them.  Yes, I guess you could say I’m just like a lemming and would follow the pack right off a cliff.  Well, maybe not that far, but I do love to feel included, but don’t we all?  When I was tagged  by Carrie to fill out this popular survey of late, I knew that it was something I could do.  I do enjoy sharing random facts and tidbits, so while you may have seen this floating around out there, I hope I can provide some random fun.  Who knows, maybe you can connect with a few of my answers :)

Wait, before I begin, I do want to say that I was one of the first kids (that I was aware of) in junior high to start wearing Vans lace-ups.  I bought them because my dad said the red ones were cool and sure enough, a few weeks later, they were all over campus.  #winning as a 7th grader.

1. Four names that people call me, other than my real name

k-fu
kait
katie-b
K or KK

2. Four jobs I have had:

camp counselor (short lived for one summer)
intern — Hulu & Telemundo & my college athletic department
digital sales representative
professional gift wrapper (6″ ribbon curls…dominated)

3. Four movies I have watched (and can quote oh so much) more than once:

The Pink Panther (with Steve Martin)
Kangaroo Jack
Elf
Pitch Perfect (stoked for the sequel!)

4. Four Books I recommend:

Outliers
The Language of Flowers
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series
Me Before You

To be honest I love to read but rarely read books more than once.  While I was browsing through countless lists of top books, I saw that William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying” was on there.  That I did read in high school and wow, it must have some literary success if it’s on there.  We high schoolers did not think it was so hot.

5. Four places I have lived:

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Barcelona
Pasadena, CA
England (thanks to Dad’s job when I was a baby!)
New York

6. Four Places I have been:

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Costa Rica
Hawaii (one of my favorite places)
Lisbon, Portugal
Amsterdam

7. Four places I would rather be right now:

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Mammoth Lakes
Hawaii
California
traveling or really anywhere sunny and 75

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8. Four things I don’t eat:

mushrooms
squid, octopus, or anything slimy
olives
persimmons

9. Four of my favorite foods:

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ice cream
any type of nut butter
kale (and pretty much every other vegetable…I.love.vegetables)
sweet potatoes

10. Four TV Shows I watch:

The Mindy Project
Newsroom (so sad it only had three seasons and is over)
Last Man Standing
The Bachelor/Bachelorette (yes, you call it trashy, I call it my Monday night therapy)

11. Four things I am looking forward to next year:

finding ways to explore New York/east coast (possibly a country concert in my future)

visiting my sister in Copenhagen

november project/running more

the unknown.  strange, right?  After so many years of stressing, I’ve started to learn that that’s what life is about, learning to ride the waves

12. Four things I am always saying:

goodness (or gosh)
ah shoot (maybe a little more dramatic or you get the picture)
okie dokie
it’ll all work out

13. Four drinks I order at starbucks:

tall pike roast
grande iced coffee
venti iced passionfruit tea
latte if I’m in the mood to splurge

14. Four of my favorite things to do:

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workout
craft (draw, wrap, sew…old school stuff rules so don’t hate)
explore and travel new places
laugh

15. Four of my favorite memories: 

making it a year in the big apple
trips to Hawaii
living abroad during college (for kicks and giggles, check out my blog here)
the feeling of accomplishment after a running race or long run

Four bloggers I tag:

Brie ~ Lean Clean & Brie
Caitlin ~ Chasing Chels
Laura ~ Sweet & Salty
Brittany ~ Dulce Vie

Now it’s your turn.  Pick a question and fill me in!

Brunching at Hundred Acres

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There’s never a better time to brunch than when you are living or visiting New York.  While “brunch” menus are available at pretty much every restaurant, we have soon learned places to put on our list and others (mostly tourist traps) to avoid.

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Hundred Acres was a spot we  actually discovered through a mini high school reunion.  It turns out there are quite a number of us here from the sunny west coast and by golly, we all happened to be free on one chilly Sunday morning.   What I absolutely love about this restaurant is that the menu is based upon local foods and as a result changes by the season and changes oh so frequently.

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Finding a table for quite a large group can be somewhat of a problem, but if you are willing to get up early (*10:30 cough, cough, not early) then you are in luck!

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While the menu does happen to change, the classics are usually available year round.  Lucky for us, this included the gooey cinnamon rolls.  A bit like a Pillsbury pack warmed up on a skillet and maybe not as ooey and gooey as I had imagined, but just enough to sweeten up the palate.

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soft scrambled eggs,
fall squash, leeks, gruyère cheese,
crème fraîche, chives, cornbread 14

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poached eggs,
cannellini bean & fall squash succotash,
braised mustard greens 14

Watch out for those red buggers as they are hot hot hot!  I mistakenly threw a couple in my mouth and was soon holding back tears.  If you are into spice, I do recommend pairing it with the roasted vegetables.  If that really isn’t your thing, do take head and slide ‘em to the side.

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goat cheese-sage bread pudding,
poached eggs, wilted spinach, lemon butter 15

As you might notice below, the doors are filled with glass panels, letting all the sunlight into the room.  If you are lucky enough to find a spot during the spring and summer months, you may even get to dine with the doors wide open; an opportune time for people watching.

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Hundred Acres
38 MacDougal Street New York 10012 · 212.475.7500

Monday – Friday
Breakfast: 8am – 11am
Lunch: 12 noon – 4pm
Dinner: 5:30 pm-11pm
Happy Hour is from 4pm-7pm

Weekend
Brunch 10:30am – 3pm
Dinner 5:30 pm – 11pm (Sunday 10pm)

Weekending the NY Holiday Way

Welcome back to a lovely Monday morning.  Looks like this was my last full weekend in the city for 2014.  Hard to believe but by the time I fly back after the holidays, it’ll practically be the new year.   I actually lucked out this past weekend because I had a four days off thanks to my works awesome paid vacation schedule.  I had two more days to use or lose so Merry Christmas to me.  Sure, I could have jet-setted on a trip up or down the coast, but sometimes sitting back and soaking up your own city can be just as nice.

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On Friday, I woke up early to attend the special selection November Project location – Borough Hall – out in Brooklyn.  After a quick workout, breakfast with some NP folks, I decided to jog my way back into Manhattan.  Now, how’s this for a picturesque view?  There’s only one other time that I saw the bridge this empty and boy was it a treat to just glide over rather than elbowing my way through tourists.

IMG_7530I thought it would be nice to walk through the city and see all the festive decorations and lights.  Walking through Macy’s, Bryant Park, and 5th Avenue, may have made me regret this decision.  But, in the spirit of the holiday, it was fun to see all the shiny and sparkly decorations.

IMG_7543^^ How’s this for some patriotic cheer?  You go Bryant Park!

IMG_7546 Do not be fooled by this picture.  I swear everyone and their mother (no really, lots of families out there) was trying to get the most artsy angle. I also think that every tourist in the city had made their way to Rock Center because it was a gridlock from every direction.  In the 13-14 months that I have lived here, I don’t think I have ever seen that many people in one spot.  Ever.

IMG_7549 Lindsay’s family was in town this weekend and were kind enough to let me tag along to a few dinners and Sunday brunch. They are quite the foodies and love Mario Batali, so snagging a reservation at Babbo was practically a dream come true.  (Lindsay actually went in person to make the reservation a month ago!)

Babbo
110 Waverly Place
New York, NY 10011
212.777.0303

The meal itself was honestly divine.  I normally enjoy narrating through pictures, but sadly the lighting didn’t allow for a full meal recap.  So, we’ll go old-school with a little written narration with some help from the Babbo menu.

We each started out with a special cocktail (spiced rum for myself) and a hearty slice of sourdough bread.   For the main meal, I ordered the beef carpaccio with white truffle sauce and arugula.  Apparently this is more of an appetizer, so a side of brussels sprouts and pancetta helped fill me up.  All of the portions are relatively small (at least on the American standards), so while we were quite full, we were able to manage a tiny bit of dessert.

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^^ What a festive looking sight.  Only a few hours earlier, this park was filled with hundreds of people protesting.  Fascinating how the city can change in a blink of an eye (or maybe just a couple of hours and 10 degrees)

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On Sunday, I decided to wake up and go swimming at my local gym before meeting Lindsay and crew at the Boathouse for brunch.  This lovely shot above is how I like the streets to look.  None of that jam-packed tourist action.  Dream on Kaitlin, dream on.

IMG_7558 Doesn’t it just look darling?  We arrived around 9am on the dot for the 9:30 opening.  While there were quite a few dog owners sipping their coffee out front, there weren’t too many waiting in line for the dining room.  We practically waltzed right in when the doors opened and were seated right in front of the water.

IMG_7561 ^^ One can never go wrong with the eggs florentine.  I even asked for a side of jam (typical of me and my love for condiments) and was presented with a trio of sweet options.  Lesson – all you have to do is ask. :)

IMG_7564 From there, we walked north to visit the Guggenheim and the current Zero exhibit.  No real explanation here as I’m not quite sure how to interpret modern art.  While I don’t really enjoy abstract art fan (no offense or digs to those who are – it’s just not my cup of tea), I did thoroughly enjoy the architecture.  Actually, I happen to be reading a book about Frank Lloyd Wright (and his affairs  but besides the point), so it’s also a bit thematic, don’t you agree?

Back to the apartment for some rest and relaxation, food prep for the week, and packing for home; all while watching “White Christmas”. Hope everyone has a fabulous Monday and rest of the week.  Power on!

December Life of Late

I’m sure you have heard that New York is simply amazing during this time of year.  Well, that’s no lie and we are in FULL BLOWN holiday cheer.  We even received the first official beautiful snow (at least by books) on Wednesday.  It was a bit gnarly during the day but since I was inside the office, it looked just like a snowglobe.

IMG_7399The Plaza would of course go above and beyond.  I would expect nothing less of the 5th avenue historical spot.  That along with all the ritzy-glitzy stores like Tiffany’s and Henri Bendel and more.

IMG_7404A new fashion accessory purchased to hopefully improve my foot injury.  Curse you plantar faciitis and curse getting older.  Alas, the oh so attractive boot does seem to be helping.  First day running (super slow and steady) was back at Wednesday’s November Project and I didn’t have too many problems!

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Because ice cream at any point of the year is necessary.  Now it’s just essential to stay with the season.  I may have picked up Haagen-Dazs’ rendition of Peppermint Bark Ice Cream and definitely give it two thumbs up.

IMG_7421When I’m (my lovely foot) still not 100%, there’s the injury deck.  There we make up our own quirky workout or implement one of the many fun Deck of Card Workouts going around.  Curious what it’s about?  Download the app (Let’s WOD) and make up your own exercise for each card suite.  Let the fun begin :)

IMG_7456 The simply instagram photo I post at a Food 52 Holiday Pop Up Shop, which results in the highest number of “likes” I’ve ever received and a number of random followers.  Go figure.

IMG_7471 Walks through Central Park may not be the same as running through CP, but they are just as refreshing and who can turn down a view like this?  Fun side note – this was taken as Lindsay and I walked 50+ blocks while carrying our new rug from Home Goods.  $14 delivery fee?  Psh yeah right.

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Best part of the work day.  Of course I have two days off this week (WINNING!) so I didn’t get to open those days but more fun on Monday.

IMG_7494 A cookie party for the ages.  We are quite fortunate to have such amazing friends and have the opportunity to celebrate an evening like this.  Everyone make one (or two) of their favorites and we brought them to snack and swap.  I went with the peppermint pinwheels (featured ^^ alongside Lindsay’s Eggnog Cheesecake Bars) and Christmas Crack.  Oh that last one is a bit addicting (hence the name but I swear it’s all safe) :) Recipe rendition to come soon.

IMG_7505Blurry but so much friend love.  It’s funny how a majority of us are from California or went to school in California and ended up on this crazy east coast.  All about the experiences my friends – carpe diem.

“Your life becomes the thing you have decided it shall be.”
– Raymond Charles Barker

Thursday Throwbacks

I could probably sit and go through my old scrapbooks and old pictures for hours upon hours.  True, getting too caught up in the past isn’t such a great thing, but there is some joy to re-living memories. I think that is why I have so much fun posting throwbacks on Instagram.  Hey, if I’m willing to push it and break the unwritten rules of IG, I post a flashback on Friday.

IMG_7506 Here’s a little gem my grandma found and sent me ^^  Just me and my dad.  He’s one of my biggest fans, business and life advisors, and my best soccer coach (sorry for all the chaos I caused on and off the field ;) )

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Back in 2006 (just the start of sophomore year! yikes!) and biking through Mammoth Lakes.  I was trying to be a cool kid and wanted a skater helmet, not a biking helmet.

CIMG3320When we were cast off for a week in Mexico.  Just kidding.  We took a week to study Spanish and live with a host family.  While we weren’t exactly fluent upon our return, we definitely grew in other ways.

What I also love about reliving memories is that it reminds you of the good and bad times.  Sure, social media and pictures enable us to portray our lives in a certain manner, but it’s not always sunshine and daisies.  Even when you are completely annoyed, you will probably (99% of the time) still be smiling for that camera.  There is rarely a time we would purposely reveal the worst parts of ourselves or the worst pictures. (except before the creation of digital cameras and you were stuck with those pictures)

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^^ Because memories like this happen.  Let’s just say I was being a complete teenager and annoyed. Thanks to whoever snapped this gem.

So reliving these memories gives you and opportunity to think about how you were feeling – maybe happy, maybe sad –  but in the end, it probably ended up being a good time, right?  Feel where I’m going with this?

But what’s fun about throwbacks is that there is so much more than just personal memories.  How about the social and fashion trends of the past?  Oh just you wait…

Remember when … jelly sandals were a big thing?  For some reason, I find myself searching for them when I walk through DSW.  Who knows, maybe like (almost) every other fashion trend, they’ll make another entrance.

Remember when … We thought that graduating elementary school was a HUGE deal and that our lives and friendships would forever be changed? Ok, it was and they did but to think of what is going on in my life now and the world now in comparison.  Wow.

Remember when … The best part of high school dances was … … … hmmmm. You fill in the blank on this one.  I loved getting dressed up (and still do!) but the stress of hoping to be asked or ask in a creative manner, yeah 1st world problems indeed.

Remember when … There wasn’t such a thing as eating paleo or whole 30 or cross fit?  I didn’t even think about body image until I was in middle school.  Of course middle school through college were just joyous/continual discussions about it.  My theory now?  Eat good, feel good (thanks to Catherine and many other’s ideas) and work out for you and your health, not to fit some media expectation of “normal”.  There is no such thing as normal.

Remember when … We didn’t have iPhones or iPods or a constant stream of emails in our inbox?  People walked the streets without their noses buried deep in their handheld devices, there wasn’t the dread of arriving at the office with hundreds of unread emails, and you didn’t have to jump to respond to every single beep, buze, text, email, and alert.  Alas, it’s the benefit and cost of evolving technology.

Remember when … Beanie Babies or Gelly Roll pens/mechanical pencil collections or coloring inside the lines were the big conversations on campus? Maybe just my elementary school campus, but still.  Arguments occurred over these things.

Just to leave you with one more :)

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“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”  ― L.M. Montgomery