Traveling Through Post Christmas Blues

Has anyone else been feeling some of the post-Christmas blues? We spend 30 days+ in anticipation of the holidays and with one 24-hour swoop, it’s over with. In hopes of avoiding these blues for a few more days, my family took a quick trip to San Diego.

IMG_8025

San Diego is one of those top Southern California hot spots that all the tourists flock to.  Funny enough, I have only been one or two times in my life, so it was definitely time to take another visit.  From the zoo to the beaches, the Gaslamp district to the Wild Animal Park and Legoland.

IMG_6391IMG_6394

Plenty of time for exploring and dining in the Gaslamp District on Friday night ~ Dinner at the Blind Burro and while we didn’t take a trip to the sweet Ghiradelli shop (besides a free sample), I’m a sucker for diner interiors and neat looking signage.

IMG_6398

On Saturday morning, we took a quick trip down to the Courtyard’s workout room before breakfast and then heading off to the zoo.

IMG_6402IMG_6403Just mom and dad making the most of the free maps. It’s almost like Disneyland; you need to strategize the park in order to see everything.

IMG_6446

IMG_8048IMG_6411We started with the bus tour and were able to get a full view of the park.  I highly recommend this route because you can decide which areas to hit up before all the crowds begin.

sd zoo xmas 2014How would you feel to be stared at all day every day? If only we had an animal perspective – things would get interesting for sure.

IMG_6472Sometimes I feel like we should have this written outside our office cubicles.

sd zoo xmas 2014 - 2

That afternoon, we met up with my grandparents and made our way to Qualcomm Stadium. Normally home of the San Diego Chargers, Qualcomm was playing host to the University of Southern California and Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl.

usc holiday bowl - sd 2014

The $100/ticket picnic option ~ celebrating our nation with the American flag salute ~ probably the best marching band I know of ~ a very very close game … too close for comfort

IMG_7767

I have to hand it to my dad because he was quite the trooper for driving up and down the coast from Santa Barbara to the sunny, but chilly, San Diego. People always expect California to be nice and warm, but I have to say, the 40F did not prove this point.   I decided to dress as if it was 70 and sunny, so that was just some wishful thinking.

FLYING BACK TO NYC

The only thing helping me get through this flight (written a couple of days ago) is lunch from Lemonade (one of my favorite places in Pasadena), my podcast Serial, Guardians of the Galaxy, Frozen, and Trader Joe’s chai tea.

IMG_6479

Leaving home was tough but I know that my life and current home is back in New York. There’s oh so much to look forward to in the week and year ahead and now it’s just about making the most of the moment and enjoying what life has to offer.

Advertisements

Mele Kalikimaka

Wishing you a very MERRY CHRISTMAS from our house to yours!

IMG_8828 “Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” – Calvin Coolidge

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_christmas.html#hqAuzpB7O80qU5Sb.99

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).

IMG_7460

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:

IMG_3593

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

6. Four Places I have been:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

7. Four places I would rather be right now:

IMG_5057

Mammoth Lakes
Hawaii
California
traveling or really anywhere sunny and 75

P6241222 edit

8. Four things I don’t eat:

mushrooms
squid, octopus, or anything slimy
olives
persimmons

9. Four of my favorite foods:

CIMG8222

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:

IMG_4467

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

IMG_6292

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.

IMG_6282

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.

IMG_6283

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!

IMG_6287

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.

IMG_6290

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

IMG_6288

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.

IMG_6289

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.

IMG_6291

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.

IMG_7520

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.

IMG_7553

^^ 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)

IMG_7555

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!