Dreaming of Sunshine

Today we celebrate the end of the week, the last Friday of March, and the continuation of spring.  Spring is probably my favorite month, but I’m not such a fan of the whole “April showers deal.”  Although, it does bring May flowers along with my birthday, so I can’t complain too much 😉

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Oh what I would give to be running along these waves and soaking up the sunshine.  I think my hair could really use a good bought of sun and maybe some lemon or sun-in.  I’ve never dyed my hair but with all the time I’ve spent in the office and not to mention NYC winter, it’s been getting a bit dark at the roots.  Not that I’m vain or anything, I just love my blonde hair and would like to keep it that way (but without spending huge amounts) Not too difficult to ask.

IMG_5945This wonderful friend of mine has become a pretty close pen-pal and we enjoy sending one another goodies through snail mail.  Usually I send some of my latest and greatest baked goods and she sends me some fabulous treats from Hawaii where she goes to school.  When I arrived home from work and the gym last night I had a box sitting on our doorstep with all of this fabulousness.

IMG_3658OH MY GOODNESS HAWAIIAN OVERLOAD OF LOVE

I’ve always had a love for anything and everything Hawaiian.  My family used to joke that I would just uproot myself and move there but the cost of living and the fact that I’m an ocean away from any family sort of deterred me.  Of course that’s essentially me in NY except 2,000+ miles of land in between me and any family.  Well, I guess I have a cousin on the east coast but we still haven’t met up.

It was brought to my attention that two weeks from this Sunday I will be running my next half marathon.  Um, excuse me?  That crept up on me.  But, no matter because I am beyond excited for my best friends to arrive and spend the weekend exploring my favorite spots and show them my town. 🙂  We may not break any records, but we are going to have a blast and enjoy every moment of our girl’s weekend.

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Any Frozen fans out there?  Found this on Pinterest and was in love.  But really.

Lastly, I’ve been in the market for a pair of sunglasses.  It must be all that summer dreaming and it can’t hurt to start looking early, especially because I’m so picky about how the frames look on my face.  Been blessed with cheekbones and some chipmunk cheeks, which aren’t the best to carry off some of the popular frames (at least in my picky point of view).  I’ve heard of various frames – Ray Ban, Hobie, Kate Spade, etc.  and more recently heard about Warby Parker.

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From what I have researched and seen from some of my coworker’s frames, they are classy, crisp, and fresh. This perfectly fits my style, or what I think is my style.  As a matter of fact, they recently launched a new collection called the “Spectrum Sun Collection” just in time for the sunshine months.

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I’m thinking these would be perfect for lounging on the beach somewhere, no? It exudes spring and summer with flowers, and freshly cut grass (if that exists in the city), and iced coffee.

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These are just a couple examples from Warby Parker because to me, that’s the epitome of spring.  I’m a personal fan of everything Tortoise related, so I’ll be on the hunt to find a store in order to test them out.  What are some of your favorites?

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“I have learned, as a rule of thumb, never to ask whether you can do something. Say, instead, that you are doing it. Then fasten your seat belt. The most remarkable things follow.”
– Julia Cameron

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March Madness

The past couple weeks have been insane – arriving to work around 7:30, juggling too many tasks to count, skipping out on lunch so I could leave the office at a decent hour, etc.  But, it’s nothing to complain about because I love my job.  Or, what is really important is that I love my coworkers and bosses.

Our task is to sit in what we call the “War Room”, check that all the advertisements are functioning, and clicking through to the respective sites.  Because we are working as client service representatives, we have to make sure that all of our clients are satisfied, but this probably means that users are annoyed out of their mind.

I always knew that advertisements were important to a company but I didn’t realize how crucial it is to have people on the other end of the spectrum monitoring the delivery of them.  After 10+ hours of watching basketball and working with clients, I doubt I will ever buy a Subway sandwich (although for other reasons too) or go to Outback or Applebee’s.  I was’t , or  am not that impressed with Old Spice.  I did happen to like the Wheat Thins ads and Allstate’s Mayhem is usually pretty creative.

IMG_3561The typical set-up – computer, tablet, coffee, and oodles of junk food.  I had my fair share of chocolate covered almonds and even chocolate covered pretzels this weekend.

I happen to love sports – playing sports, watching sports, whatever it may be, I’m game. (no pun intended) I guess it’s due to my competitive nature and the fact that I grew up in a household that had ESPN or some tournament – golf, basketball, football, always on.  Wherever the habit  began, it has helped me at work since we are required to watch March Madness.

Oh, and another perk of being in sales?  Client outings.  Last Monday I had the opportunity to attend a client event at Nike Town where we customized our own Nike shoes.  That’s right – your own Nike shoes.

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These are just some of the shoes we could choose from in order to customize our own.  Most people went for the funky styles but I had to stick with my favorite – Nike Frees.  Once you select a shoe and a size, you are able to pick out colors, and then coordinate the design online.

This process is available to anyone online, but only in the store do you get to talk with representatives, try on different sizes, and actually see the color swatches before selecting online.  The last part is extremely helpful because some of the colors appear very differently online than they do in person.

It was a way to “wine and dine” the client (aka agency) and establish good relations with one another before we started working down the line.  I knew that being invited to an outing like this was somewhat of a reward for working hard or really just an incentive to work that much harder in the months, and years, to come.

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Such A New York Weekend

Oh boy, what’s in a weekend?  To lounge around or scuttle through the city like a maniac?  Friday night was much more of a low key night as I didn’t leave the office until 8:30.  I had been working March Madness from 2-7 and of course had to handle some client emails before signing off for the weekend.

From there I decided to wander the mall, because going back to my consumeristic habits, wandering stores and grocery stores is a method of relaxation for me.  The anticipation of something fresh and something new.  The potential to reveal your personality to the world through clothes or food – the opportunities are endless.

Well, I was absorbed in my own lovely phone conversation (this is probably rude to be in a store on the phone, but whatever) when I realized that CWonder had actually closed.  The employees were ever-so-kind and helped me make my purchase and wished me a lovely evening as they re-locked the doors behind me.  Once back at my apartment, I settled down to watch 500 Days of Summer, which was an interesting movie to say the least.  I liked the fact that it wasn’t your typical love story, just because I’ve been in that sort of mood lately.

IMG_3564Saturday started with a warm 4.5 miles along the East River Trail (misleadingly pavement), quick shower, and back to work.  The weather did happen to be warm and gorgeous, so that was the only bummer about being inside from 11:30-5:30.  More on that tomorrow, but it really wasn’t that bad to be in the office.  I was with coworkers I enjoyed, drinking coffee, eating chocolate covered peanut butter pretzels, and watching basketball. Tough life, I know.

IMG_3569Please tell me that every time you see someone in fur, you think “oh that’s so New York.”  Because I certainly do.  Maybe if I’m lucky I’ll pick up a few east coast habits during my stay but I doubt that will ever be a trend that I pick up.

IMG_3570This may not be Europe, but the unique architecture surprises and inspires me every day.

  I’m hoping to pick out a few day trips in the future and adventure outside of Manhattan.  Maybe a hike, a trip to Ben & Jerry’s (ok, that’s more than a short jaunt), or somewhere different.

IMG_3573Night out on Broadway!  Had this musical on my list of ones to see and wasn’t disappointed.  Growing up with these songs on my old school radio made it that much more fun to follow along 🙂

If only I captured the madness of Times Square.  Oh  boy, I’ve totally become a New Yorker – annoyed at the hundreds of tourists blocking my path and stopping suddenly in the middle of the street to take a selfie. But I digress…

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Sunday morning was my absolute favorite – a 9am run through Central Park with Laura and James.  While it was still a bit on the chilly side, it felt so nice gallivanting through the park and not having to worry about the snow or ice.

Our five miles were followed up with a Liege waffle and then a trip to the ever so popular and famous City Bakery (off 18th and 5 Ave).  Laura and I are two peas in a pod with out sweet tooth habits and it is our goal to test out all the glorious hot chocolate in the city.

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More on it’s absolutely deliciousness soon. For now, I’ll leave you with this not-so-great shot, but ever-so-tasty meal.  We spent a solid hour on this ledge, eating, chatting, diving into deep and utterly random bits of our lives, and just plain ‘ol people watching.  We also may have been eyeing the chocolate chip cookies but decided to save that for another trip.  For now, I’m still salivating over the melt-in-your-mouth marshmallows.

“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”
– Marie Curie

Friday Highlights when Spring has Sprung

Guuuuuueesss what? IT’S OFFICIALLY SPRING FOLKS!  A great deal has been going on in my neck of the woods.  So much that I’ve been lacking on my blog reading and commenting.  Not the biggest issue in the world but I love connecting with people and even checking in on what others are up to.

IMG_3394Spring means time for BRIGHT COLORS and that means all day every day.  None of this “New York black” nonsense. No, no, no.  This California girl is bringing some bright punch to the northeast

Anyways, I’m making it through the week despite the long hours with March Madness and the fact that my accounts are in full swing.  I think it might be the thrill of the moment and the oodles of coffee my coworkers and I have been consuming.  There have been a few days where I’ve entered the office around 7:30 and a couple days where I’ve left way past 7.  I find it easier to roll out of bed, into the shower, and into the office before the crowd.  This time also allows me to accomplish screenshots, reporting, and various tasks without people bombarding my inbox.

But, since you probably aren’t here to listen to my work life, let’s move onto something more fun. How about some Friday Favorites and some exciting things about spring?

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I’m a special fan of this Alex & Ani bracelet as it reminds me that I am a Taurus child, through and through – bold, brave, and strong.  Astrological signs aren’t for everyone but I find the Taurus fits my personality dead on.  Get to know me and you will agree.

Yes, I am a child of the consumerist movement.  I’ve got a job, I don’t have any kids to care for, thankfully no mortgage to worry about, so right now I’m just living in the moment.  I’m pretty thrifty about my spending – utilizing free meals at the office, finding the deals on manicures ($7? yes please!), and exploring New York by foot.

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I’ve been eyeing this specific jar of nut butter for ages.  Sure, almond butter and coconut sound divine but $12.99?  Ooph, I don’t know if I could spot that (says the girl who goes out and impulse buys a purse) but this is because I pretty much consume an entire jar of nut butter in a week.  I figured with my overtime paycheck I could test out a jar and boy am I hooked.  It’s honestly DELICIOUS and I really need to pace myself.  With banana, with oatmeal, on ice cream, on a spoon.

I’m not much of a binge-TV watcher but I just discovered Sabrina the Teenage Witch on Hulu and oh yes, this will be devoured.  It was one of my favorite shows growing up and I love her sarcasm.

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Speaking of binge watching – I was talking with my friends about being in our 20’s – the routine of going to work, going to the gym, watching tv, going to bed and repeating the process.  Is this fulfilling?  How do we break the monotony or what does it mean to lead a fulfilling life? That’s an entire matter (and oooo blog post possibly) in itself. But let’s keep Friday light.

IMG_3246 Getting excited for a lot more of these days 🙂 So long snow, hello sun.  There’s something about a warm breeze, the sight of people running and walking, the smell of water and the distinct sound of water hitting against the side of the dock or wall that is soothing to me.

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Yeah, that thing about about being a part of the consumerist movement?  It’s a real thing and while money doesn’t always buy happiness, it buys experiences and I think I’ll have quite a lot of experiences with this bright baby.  Doesn’t that blue color just make you smile?

Anyone have any tips for sunglasses?  My last pair bonked out and I’m in the market for a new pair before the warm season really hits.

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“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”
– E. E. Cummings

Barcelona Fun on Bleeker Street

CIMG8211Back when I studied abroad in Barcelona, there was this fabulous sandwich shop called 100 Montaditos.  It’s known for having a list of 100 sandwich options, perfect for any palate.  ~ From chorizo to tuna to melted chocolate ~The prices were cheap, the variety was huge, and it was the perfect place for a snack, meal, or happy hour.  Every Wednesday, all sandwiches were only 1 Euro, so of course it was a no-brainer.

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They serve each plate with a handful of chips, which aren’t always my favorite, but always pair nicely with sandwiches 🙂  When I heard they had introduced 100 Montaditos to lower Manhattan, I knew we had to go.

100 Montaditos
176 Bleecker St
NY, NY 10012

IMG_3367Seating is on a first come first serve basis and if you have the skills to stake out and hover for someone to finish, you will be very happy.   I wish I was still up to speed on my Spanish.  I definitely heard some people chatting it up with the staff in Spanish and possibly even Catalan.  That last part might off, but I did hear some people at the next table talking about Spain and Barcelona as if they were just visiting New York.

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Cool ambience, sure, but I’m sure you are more interested in the goods.  Well, the prices are some of the best in the city, seeing as you can’t get a drink and dinner for under $20 elsewhere.  We ordered a number of sandwiches, fries, beer for Laura, and sangria for myself and Quinn and managed to come out with plenty of change in our pockets.

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A menu that can put any restaurant to shame.  Ok, not exactly that good, but for some cheap bar food, I was highly impressed.  You know, I think this particular menu might beat Barcelona’s WAY out of the park.

IMG_3379Estrella – the beer of Barcelona

IMG_3376_FotorAfter a long day of work, this hit the spot perfectly.

91 – caprese – serrano ham, mozzarella, fresh tomato & pesto on ciabatta

58 – chorizo, manchego cheese, fresh tomato, and arugula

62 – chistorra (basque style chorizo sausage), cream cheese & crispy onions

69 – brie, arugula, crispy onion, honey mustard on wheat roll

IMG_3378My two wonderful dining partners, open for any sort of adventure and totally ok with candid photos.  My favorite type of pictures 🙂

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“It’s fun to get together and have something good to eat at least once a day. That’s what human life is all about – enjoying things.” – Julia Child

Marvelous March By Numbers

Life is funny.  We move through the hustle and bustle, worrying about whether we will get the perfect job, have the perfect relationship, live out those perfect lives that we expect to have.  Rarely do we sit and think about how lucky we are and how life is pretty darn good.

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Sure, there are ups and downs and life throws us curve balls but it’s how we react that matters. I discovered yet another article with quotes or notes about living out life to the max. I’d love to make my own list of life lessons but will probably have to spend some time brainstorming 🙂  With that mentality, I’ll jump into some memorable and marvelous moments from the past week.

A note on taking positive action. – “Don’t sit back and let things happen to you.  Go out and happen to things.  You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.  Stop saying “I wish” and start saying “I will.”  Turn your cant’s into cans and your dreams into plans.”

4.5 – Miles ran on Saturday around lower Manhattan.  I love being able to explore the different areas (east river –> Houston Street –> SOHO –> Highline), see people out and about, and stumble across some hidden gems.

IMG_3403Doesn’t this look like the epitome of New York?  I swear, after watching all those  movies and TV shows set in Manhattan, I thought every apartment would look like this.

28 – Days until the next race, which happens to be a half marathon with my girl friends.  Let’s just say this will not be a PR by any standards.  I have not been training adequately due to my funky legs, possible shin splints, and the lovely snow.

1 – Tasty dinner out with my dad last week.  While he was in town for a mere 24 hours, we were able to connect for a steak dinner.  Let’s just say we went with his favorites but I will always know how to order – medium rare 🙂 I win this one Dad. IMG_3341

20 – Degrees difference between Saturday and Sunday.  I’ve been totally fine with all the snow and cold but please don’t tease me with these temps only to take them away.

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Spring weather means it’s time to return to my weekend routine of Farmer’s Market browsing and sampling 🙂

2 – Meals I ate out and ate solo.  Most of my friends were busy this weekend and I decided it wasn’t worth moping and sitting in my room.  There were restaurants I wanted to try and figured why not.  One was Momofuku Noodle Bar, a crowd favorite and oh-so-crowded, but just right for a single diner such as myself.

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Green Tea Slushy ($4 for a shot glass size practically but absolutely delicious)IMG_3444
This may not be entirely photogenic, but the Momofuku noodle bowl (noodles, egg, pork shoulder) was an excellent option. They are also known for their steamed buns, but I’ll save those for another time. 

Countless – Signs of spring! With spring officially arriving on Thursday, I am beyond excited for the warmer weather and blooming flowers.

4 – Ways in which I pampered myself on Sunday.  Between spending a few hours in the gym (only because the classes were so awkwardly spread out) to brunch in Brooklyn.  From finding a cheap nail salon to finally getting a hair cut. Oh you wouldn’t believe the difference a simple hair cut or trim makes.  I have the pleasure of living with thin hair, so waiting 11 weeks to get a hair cut, while curling and blow-drying the life out of it, probably wasn’t the best decision.  Oh well 🙂

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“Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different.”
– Katherine Mansfield