A Trip to Governor’s Island

Oh the days that I used to spend walking the streets of Barcelona and traveling around Europe.  History seemed to flow from every nook and cranny, even beyond the confines of the museums.  How there were so many museums, I really don’t know.

Anyhoo, what if I told you that you could find just as many (or maybe a bit less) bits of history right here in New York?  As one of the first and certainly largest melting pots, New York plays host to countless cultures and characters.  There are certain areas of the city that are seasonal and well, only open for a few more weeks.  Rooftop bars are a favorite for my age group and while I did make it to one last week, I was left very unimpressed.  It was for a networking event, so probably not the best choice of locations, but $3 for club soda?  Yeah no.  I’d probably have a better view at the Met or somewhere in Brooklyn and an even better time if that drink was free :)  Any suggestions?

 But really, the history is out there if you look closely enough.  Just the other afternoon, I was walking home from Union Square and saw something about Peter Stuyvesant’s Pear Tree.  Sure it wasn’t the Eiffel Tower but it must have been significant as there was a bronze plaque on the wall commemorating it.  There was another morning where I found Teddy Roosevelt’s birth place as I walked home from Trader Joe’s.  This too had a bronze plaque on the nearby wall and converted museum.

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Another spot on my list of places to go was Governor’s Island.

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Seeing as the east coast is into this whole “season” thing, the island is only open during the summer months – from May 24th – September 28th and I was running out of time. There are tons of programs held every day including various concerts and cultural events held monthly.  We happened to be visiting the very same day s the “Jazz Age Lawn Party“.  While we did not participate that weekend, we loved watching all the folks dressed up in their authentic prohibition outfits.

IMG_5741Goal – find the perfect flapper outfit so that I’m set and ready for next year’s jazz fest or any other event that requires a costume.  That would be a dream come true, but requires some serious thrift store shopping.

IMG_5744 Can you believe how small this island is and yet how much stuff is on it?  I’m sure it was an entirely different picture back in 1776 when it was used in the American Revolutionary War and later as a US Army Post.

IMG_5748My friend Marnie and I taking an obligatory tourist photo :) Why hello Manhattan!

IMG_5751 There she is!  Sweet ‘ol Statue of Liberty.  While I have made the trip to the monument back on our first trip to the city in ’06, I would love to climb to the top of the crown.  One day…

IMG_5752Ready for a blonde moment?  There were a few months when I had no understanding of New York City’s geography.  I thought that Governor’s Island was actually Staten Island.  Oh my friend, far from it.  But good try.

IMG_5772And all that jazz indeed! Just look at the marvelous outfits and picnics set up in the middle of the island.  There were booths selling jewelry, hats, unique cocktails and more.

IMG_5780Of course it wouldn’t be complete without a little bit of dancing, right?  Look at all those gals getting ready to learn the Charleston, Fox Trot and more.

IMG_5783Oh to imagine living in a different time period.

IMG_5787Long gone are the days of guns and fortresses.  Now it’s home to countless parks, playgrounds, and hipster art studios.

IMG_5790 We found ourselves walking in and out of various art shops with homemade t-shirts, cute pieces of jewelry, and various household goods.

New York Magazine’s Take on Governor’s Island

IMG_5798When we grew tired of window-shopping, we went for a stroll on the southern side of the island and found ourselves in the hammock groves.  I couldn’t believe how sitting there felt like we had been transported to some beach along the coast.  It was so quiet and the air felt so clean, a stark contrast to lower Manhattan or Times Square.  But all adventures must come to an end at some point and so it was back to Manhattan, my main island home.

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Governor’s Island
May 24th – September 28th
Accessible via ferry ~

I tend to think that most NYC destinations can be enjoyed year-round, but that might be my California mentality (there is no winter…).  So, with one last official summer weekend to go, take a trip and go explore!

Networking at Its Finest

As my dad always told me at a young age, there is no wrong time to network.  Since I’m coming up on my 1 year post-college job anniversary, I thought I would share some tips and tricks that I’ve acquired over time.

  • My biggest recommendation would be to start talking to people now about their careers, their jobs, their lives, and their interests.  Everyone loves to chat about themselves and even if it takes a bit of poking and prodding, people love to dish out advice.  You honestly never know where people or random opportunities will take you.
  • Start with professors/mentors/people at work.  Ask them to go to coffee or just start chatting it up.  How did they get there, what are they interested in, if they were you (graduating, at their first job, etc) do they have any advice for someone entering/re-entering the work force.
  • Always send a thank you email the same day following a meeting/interview

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  • To make it more personal, send a thank you card.  A hand written note is so unusual these days that you are bound to be remembered.

I like to merge my outside hobby of photography with work and make up my own photo greeting cards.  It’s fun to take pictures of all the places to which I travel and use them as thank you notes, birthday cards, or “just because” snail mail.  What’s also nice about this is that I can personalize the note even further by picking out the perfect picture.  Maybe the recipient likes to hike – send a picture of the mountains.  Or if they are dying for a vacation to the tropics, send a card with a hibiscus.  You get the picture ;)

  • If you receive a business card, jot down notes on it after your meeting/interview.  Maybe what you learned about the person, facts you can use in your thank you letter or the next time you see them (“I enjoyed meeting you this afternoon and really appreciated your advice on making the most in college” or “tips on how to get involved in the healthy living community” or “tall, has two daughters, interested in triathlons”, etc)

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  • Browse through LinkedIn contacts.  Even search people at companies/industries you might be interested in.  Feel free to send them a message or connect on LinkedIn.  Also most companies have their emails as (first.last@company.com)
  • Get involved and try to become a yes person.  It’s tough with the schedules we like to keep but having an open mind will again open you up to more than you could have imagined.  I’ve even found that blogging has had that impact and in the past year, I’ve connected with more people and opportunities (even the small ones) than I could have predicted!

With that, I leave you to your networking.  Any other tips for mixing and mingling?

“We strain to renew our capacity for wonder, to shock ourselves into astonishment once again.” – Shana Alexander

NYC Summer Discoveries Part 2

After drafting and posting part 1 of my marvelous NYC Summer Adventures, I realized there was no turning back and a part 2 was absolutely necessary.  Goodness knows there is enough in the city to fill my time and the space on my camera.

Brunch  @ Freeman’s 

In New York, we like to brunch.  It’s not as much of a meal as it is an activity or an art form. When you ask people what their plans for the weekend are, they generally will be brunching on Saturday or Sunday or maybe even both days.  Having been here for almost a year, one would think I would know where to go around the city.  Well, it is true that I’ve walked pretty much every street in Manhattan, yet I don’t always go out to eat.  That being said, I’ve drafted a list of restaurants to hit up, hopefully over the span of my stay in NYC.

Freeman’s was a recommendation from my manager and oh such a goodie.  It’s hidden between Bowery and Chrystie and opens around 10.  I highly recommend getting there on the early side because once the clock strikes 11, be prepared to wait for your seat.

The interior is quite quaint, or rather on the hipster side of decorating.  As always, I wavered between savory and sweet for my breakfast (brunch) entree and ended up with the skillet eggs (eggs, bacon, spinach, and Gruyere).  Oh how absolutely delicious it was!  No regrets indeed.

Freemans BrunchFreemans
191 Chrystie St, New York, NY 10002
(Off Rivington btwn Bowery & Chrystie)
www.freemansrestaurant.com/

If you have brunched properly, you will be absolutely stuffed and in dire need of a walk.  Take a stroll heading north and soon you will find yourself immersed in Washington Square Park.  From those soaking up the sun to dueling jazz bands, it’s quite a sight.

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Washington Square Park
(~Avenue of the Americas/4th & NYU’s main campus)

One of the 1,900 public parks in the city and located in Greenwich village.  It’s most known for the Washington Arch (1892), where people come to gather and celebrate nonconformity.

IMG_5722If it’s a rather warm day, you might be able to sit and rest as you soak your feet in the fountain.  No swimming allowed, although I did spot a few kids trying to break or twist the rules on that one. Not sure I would want to know what was in the water but that’s just me…

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Now I know this isn’t the most strategic of itineraries since I’ll have you take the subway up to the Upper East Side, so these are just ideas of places to visit :) Also, if you happen to live in the city and have an unlimited pass, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Off to the Guggenheim Museum for a bit of art and cultural education.  If for nothing else, check out the amazing architecture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

The Guggenheim Museum 
1071 5th Ave (5th Ave btwn 88th and 89th)
Hours: 10am-5:45 (Sat until 7:45) & Thursday closed

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The Guggenheim ~ Home to some of the finest art around (next to the Met of course).  From Impressionist to Post-Impressionist, early Modern to contemporary art, the Guggenheim seems to have it all.

Of course, as I mentioned above, if you only see the exterior and interior of the building, you’ve been enlightened by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright’s talent.

IMG_5691So on to more food.  Pick a restaurant, any restaurant.  Maybe even arrive during one of the two Restaurant Weeks.  There you can indulge in a three course meal at some of the best spots in town without breaking the bank!

What marvelous things have you been up to?

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