January Life of Late

To say that this year has been uninspiring thus far would be a terrible mistake.  Despite having to spend a majority of my day staring at a computer (hello Excel and Outlook! My bestest of friends), I have already traveled to new places (mostly within New York City), met new friends, visited new restaurants, and just lived in the moment.  Oh, not to mention, applied and received a promotion at work, so that’s pretty nifty.  I’d say that’s an excellent start to 2015, don’t you?

What have I not done?  Well, a sugar cleanse & dry-January (um, seeing as I rarely drink, it wasn’t such a big deal and netted out to drinking 2 days out of the month), worry (too much) about the future, or save the world.  Not too shabby and can all roll over into February.  Yes, even saving the world.  But, there’s more to this city than that.  Grab a cup of tea and stay awhile.  Here’s some of the fun that living in such a unique place like NYC can offer.

IMG_8152Times Square
Now that all the holidays are over, the city is a little bit better to navigate.  Sure, I try to avoid the main tourist traps, but walking through this central hub of lights makes me think I live in a dream.

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Museum of the City of New York
1220 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10029
(Btwn 103/104 on the right side of Central Park)
~ More ~ Visit ~ Exhibits ~

I first read about this museum and the following exhibit in particular in the New York Times news paper.  As a matter of fact, I may have received the article from a grandparent, but I don’t entirely recall.  Anyways, this gem of a museum is hidden on the Upper East Side and not talked about as often as I think it should be.  Sure, it’s not your MET or MOMA, but it has so much history that it’s another fabulous stop on a rainy or snowy day.

The main reason I wanted to go was to see the “Mac Conner: A New York Life” exhibit, which highlighted the works of one of the first “Mad Men.”   Mr. McCauley (“Mac”) Conner (born 1913) was quite influential in the city’s growing publishing industry.   The exhibit will take you on a journey through his Navy publication days and into his hand-painted illustrations for advertising campaigns and women’s magazines (Redbook and McCall’s) created post World War II.

~ Huffington Post Review “Meet One Of The Real ‘Mad Men,’ 1950s Ad Artist Mac Conner” ~

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NOVEMBER PROJECT

IMG_8155Wake up the Sun @ Upper West Side ~ 116th and Morningside Drive

Sure, when my alarm goes off, I don’t always want to get up.  But, when I know that there will be smiling and friendly faces at NP, I know it’s worth it.  I know that starting my day by working out is the best thing that I can do for myself.  A happy (yet slightly tired and wired on coffee and tea) Kaitlin will be much better for the world, just trust me on this.

Some of our other favorite phrases and hashtags are: #weatherproof (we will work out in any weather – rain, snow, sunshine…the latter preferable but rare in these NYC winters), #justshowup #verbal (letting others know that you will be at the workout. it’s called ACCOUNTABILITY!) #positivity #grassrootsgear #wakeupthesun

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IMG_8074For those of you who are still intrigued (or confused…it’s totally ok to be confused) about November Project, I HIGHLY recommend checking this site out and watching this video.

Still trying to figure out why people want to wake up at the crack of dawn and go running around their respective cities?  Read Gabbi’s (Run Now Wine Later) recap of her year at NP-SF and you will know.  It’s just that amazing of an environment and I’m pretty positive that this is how we all feel about our tribes. 

IMG_8080Really though.  How could you not love this view?  Living on the east coast has made me appreciate the value of a sunrise.

IMG_8095ACAI BOWLS + GREEN SMOOTHIES GALORE
Thank goodness for Juice Generation, Liquiteria, and so many other pop-up shops.  Sure, the $8-10 price-range isn’t ideal but a bowl full of nut butter, fruit, and greens sounds like heaven to me.  At least I feel slightly healthy inhaling all those natural sugars and protein.

Also thanks to my planner who gave me a Juice Generation gift card for Christmas, it hasn’t been too terrible for my bank statement.

IMG_8088My terrible habit of having at least three beverages going at a time.  My family (and now roommates) have to deal with me constantly rotating cups and leaving them around the apartment. I may have three-four partially consumed drinks going at a time.  Sometimes I extend them out over a few days (of course putting them in the fridge and such), but they will be consumed. Eventually.

IMG_8085Just some friends playing Jenga and competing to make the tallest tower.  Ah New York.  You really do have it all.  (Sidenote: we were having such a good time that people around us were highly jealous of our Jenga skills)

IMG_8147Summer Roll  (Tuna,Avocado,Crab,Lettuce,Asparagus,Cucumber and Kaiware Sprouts Shrimp Tempura) … quite the mouthful.  Really.

Lunch at Sushi Zen
108 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036

While some of the perks of my job include taking clients out to lunch and getting our nails done (free mani/pedi? Worth the long hours in excel), this was from lunch with my AWNY (Advertising Women of New York) mentor.  It’s what my dad told me (a younger Kaitlin grudgingly agreed at the time and is now thankful) that it’s all about – networking, networking, networking.

IMG_6557Wouldn’t you know that just across the water and 7 Train, there is this place called Long Island City with some delicious restaurants and recently renovated parks?  Thanks to my previous manager for this tip!

IMG_6527Just a couple of friends playing tourist for the day.  (Notice how Rock Center is not NEARLY as packed as say two months ago during the holidays?)

IMG_8130Because views like this make my day, week, month, and year.

“Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else.”
– Judy Garland

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A Storm Named Juno: The Blizzard that Wasn’t

For a solid 12+ hours on Monday, news channels were blasting reports of a massive storm that was supposedly heading our way.  Subways announced closures, flights and trains were cancelled, and people went ravaging through the grocery stores for every last bit of food as though it were an impending apocalypse.  I never knew the importance of a peanut butter and loaves of bread, until it was swept off the shelves.

I received countless texts and phone calls from friends and family asking about our safety and whether we had food on hand.  I do appreciate all the concern, but honestly was a little skeptical of the weather and if anything would actually happen.  Maybe I’m naive and the next storm is going to slap me in the face.  (But let’s hope not)

Well, it turns out that in Manhattan, storm Juno didn’t live up to all the hype.  Sure, having a no-travel order did help the snow plows.  Sure, putting the subway cars away over night probably avoided them being snowed in.

But, the slow start to the morning left me a tad bit antsy and left me wondering what to do about work.  Let me rephrase that, how to go about my work.  Maybe I’m a bit of a go-getter (or goody-two-shoes), I don’t care.  I’m a type A individual and I love my schedule (maybe too much).  I love having a workout to go to in the morning and set of things to do at my desk in my office.  I love being able to work with people and grab a cup of coffee when we have a spare minute.  Being able to work remotely was pretty much a self-imposed challenge.  I really don’t know what to do with a slower schedule/free-time.

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This is what I woke up to.  Not nearly the footage I had expected from the weather reports but somehow Lindsay and I predicted that it wouldn’t be too bad.  We had skiied in white-outs worse than the weather Manhattan experienced. 

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There were a few fleeting moments where I debated walking the 40+ blocks and avenues to work.  But by the time I got there, who knows if the office would be open or if there would be thaaaaat many emails to answer.  After polling a few of my coworkers and manager, this seemed like a stupid idea.  During my lunch break, I walked over to a local bar where some November Project people were supposed to meet.  Of course it would happen that I was the first and only person to arrive (for three or so hours…again, my luck), so I walked to a local cafe to attempt some reports until my computer died.

I have since decided that the snow and I don’t exactly see eye-to-eye.  It’s fine when I’m working in my office all day and have the ability to run at the gym.  (I understand – first world problems) so I guess I was hoping for something a little bit more dramatic (not wishing any danger or misfortune upon anyone!).  Actually, I’m always pretty skeptical about this concept of snow-day.  Probably because in elementary and high school, we thought some power outage would gift us a day off and free pass.  But, miraculously, the district would pull it together and have some backup generator armed and ready.

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Well, it looks like snow-days are infinitely better when you are a kid, right?  No emails or excel charts to worry about 🙂 

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I ended up taking my “lunch” break later in the afternoon and let’s just say, I should have started the day with a run.  Just being able to break free of my self-imposed stress was glorious.  I ran into a woman dancing along the path, telling everyone who would listen, that it was the most beautiful sunset.  You know, I stopped, took a few pictures, and thought, she is so darn right.  Why do I stress so much about the little things?  Enjoy life a little more.

All in all, I am very glad that no one was hurt or stranded, and there was no extreme damage from Blizzard Juno.  It was a unique opportunity to work from home and I definitely learned a little more about myself.  This includes the need to put a schedule together, the need to work out in the morning so that I’m not going stir-crazy, and the need to hide any nut butter jar or snacks because if they are around, I will eat them in the name of anxiety/boredom.  When in doubt, just avoid snowstorms. 😉  Good plan.

So here’s to the first mega snowfall of 2015.

NYC ~ A Trip with my California Girls

I have to say, I find it quite funny that a majority of my friends located here in New York, either went to school in California or are originally from California.  But more on that later.  This post highlights the adventures from last week with two of my pals whom I have known since elementary school!

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Lindsay (on the left) actually has lived with me for some time, but it was a treat to see Laura (on the right) who happened to be working from her company’s NYC office this week!  The likelihood of us all located in the same place is much higher when that place is New York versus our Southern California hometown.  Strange, right?

PARTY ONE ~ MLK DAY

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Since we all had Monday off, we were able to spend more time together and explore a couple of new places around the city.  I woke up and walked twenty or so blocks to Laura’s hotel, where I waited in a local Starbucks and read the paper.  You know, I have always told myself that I would sit in a cafe and read the paper on a weekly basis but obviously I spend too much time running around that it never happens.

Once we were all ready to go, we headed north along 5th Avenue, popping into various stores and just browsing the windows of others.

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St. Patrick’s Cathedral
5th Avenue, New York, NY 10022

The cathedral (like many other places in New York) looks so much better without all the scaffolding surrounding it.  I still have yet to attend one of its services or even duck my head inside to see what it’s like.  Even though Lindsay and I have found a good church that we enjoy, it would be neat to attend a service at the cathedral.  After all, you seem to get a deeper experience when you attend a service in such a renown and decorated building.  I sure felt that way when I was abroad and attended mass in the Cathedrale Notre-Dame in Paris.

IMG_8118A trip along 5th Avenue is not complete without a trip to Tiffany’s.  It’s quite a treat to walk into the flagship store and browse all the gorgeous jewelry and beautiful blue boxes but no treats for me on this trip.  I’m saving up to visit my sister abroad and have been doing an excellent job so far.

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Walking through Central Park and the zoo (fun fact: I wanted to be an animal trainer when I was little.  A dolphin trainer in particular.  I would braid hair and train dolphins at a resort in Hawaii.  I’m sure my parents are much happier that I grew out of that phase)

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A trip to Lily Pulitzer

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Jumped on the 7 train to ride under the East River into Long Island City

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Tuk Tuk
49-06 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, NY 11101

There we went to Tuk Tuk, which my manager had highly recommended for lunch.  I’m usually not the biggest fan of Thai, but I think it has to do with the fact that I order the most random combinations of food, not meant to be paired together. Like the time I ordered a vegan hot dog at Pink’s Hot Dogs in LA because I was trying to be healthy.  Yeah, no.  You just don’t do that.  But anyways, I’ve started asking waiters and waitresses about their favorites and what they suggest I order.  I’ve had infinity more success this way.

Not only was the food supposed to be super tasty, but they have a great lunch special, which meant we paid only around $7-9 for our meal.  Brilliant!

IMG_6539Thai iced tea + Pad Gra-Prow
(Stir-fried with a chili basil sauce with basil, onion and bell pepper)

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The recently developed area has an amazing stretch of parks, open space, and place for dogs to frolic and play.  We met up with my manager and her dog Brodie and had a blast watching the pups chase one another.

The rest of the night was spent at our apartment watching the Bachelor.  Oh Farmer Chris.

PART TWO ~ FRIDAY NIGHT

We really didn’t have a chance to hang out the rest of the week but were able to have one last night of fun on Friday.  What’s better on a Friday night than grabbing dinner and dessert with your friends? Forget clubbing, just give me chocolate. 😉 But really.

That morning, I woke up to attend the November Project workout at Morningside park.  Despite the long run and trek with my backpack, it was worth it.  Always is.  Ten hours later and it was time to meet up with Lindsay and Laura for dinner at Kipseys, a relaxed and somewhat contemporary American restaurant on 2nd avenue.

438 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10010
~ General ~ Menu ~ Delivery ~

I started off with a fruity glass of sangria, spilt a very delicious (don’t let the terrible iPhone picture convince you otherwise) appetizer of brussels sprouts and pancetta, and pondered over the options for dinner.

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Again, the iPhone has failed me to capture the tastiness of the event, but believe me when I say the trio combo of sides was absolutely fabulous and a clutch price point.  For $12, I was able to get mac & cheese, spinach, and sweet potato fries.  Lindsay had also ordered mac & cheese for $8 and I’m pretty sure it came out to be the same size.

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Originally we had planned to test out a speakeasy – Please Don’t Tell – but decided otherwise when we realized that we hadn’t made a reservation and miscalculated the location (it’s near Tompkin’s Square Park NOT Union Square).  So, we made a reservation at Max Brenner’s Chocolate Shop for dessert and spent the next 45 minutes wandering Nordstrom Rack.

Did you know that we New Yorkers do not have an actual Nordstrom’s?  Preposterous, I know.  Sure there is Bloomingdales and Saks and Macy’s and all that jazz.  Maybe it’s another sign that west coast = best coast.

Max Brenner’s
841 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
~ Home ~ Locations ~ Chocolate Bar ~ Menu ~

IMG_8164While they serve actual meals as well, I would recommend this spot for dessert.  It’s seriously like walking into a world of pure imagination (yes…Willy Wonka for the win).

IMG_8168Both Laura and Lindsay had visited Max Brenner, either here in New York or out in Australia, so I deferred to them on what to order.  The hot chocolate is a must, so we ordered one for the table.We also ended up ordering three different desserts so that we could sample a little bit of everything.  Thank goodness my friends love to share because it’s oodles more fun to order a few dishes and get a taste of everything rather than be stuck with one option.

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~ Churros ~ The Works 1/2 Dessert Pizza ~ Strawberry/Chocolate Crepe ~

This ultimately put me in a sugar/food/chocolate coma and left me with the following thoughts:

Oh my goodness, this is like out of Willy Wonka.  Hm, what to order.  I’m a bit overwhelmed.  So much to order. This is so exciting!  (Food arrives)  We dive in like a pack of wolves.  Just kidding (maybe).  I’m sure any guy would swoon. 😉

(Still working on the food)  Thank goodness we didn’t go here for dinner.  Hm, we are all slowing down.  Do I still like chocolate?  Must finish.  Clean plate club.  Oh boy, this is going to hurt tomorrow.  Shoot, this hurts now.  Ok, almost there.  Wow, never eating chocolate or sweets or sugar again.  I’ll start a juice cleanse, yes good idea.  (Meanwhile get a text from our other friends in the city asking to meet up for hot chocolate the next day)  Ok maybe no juice cleanse just yet.  Oh boy, this feels like a hangover.  So worth it.

We stuck around for a bit, said our goodbyes, and then called it quits for the night.

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Always a California Girl

As I live on the east coast, it’s hard not to get caught up in the bright lights and the big city charm.  There is always something to do, parks to run through, people to see, museums and monuments to explore, and food to be consumed.  I would love to spend more time on the east coast exploring, but for the time, I’m also quite content in the city itself.

Every day that I live here, I meet more and more unique individuals.  People who have lived in the same building for sixty years and people who recently moved to pursue acting.  A majority of New York is made up of us transplants, people looking to accomplish something or prove something or find a better life in the concrete jungle.

It’s strange because a part of me knows that I will never truly be a New Yorker.  Since the unwritten requirement is about 7-10 years, I doubt that will ever happen.  Sure, I’ve learned how to walk the walk (no really, I walk fast and I mean business) but I like to think that I’ve still kept up the Southern California charm – say hi to people, strike up conversations, and don’t be too rude.  I’ve got 20+ years of history with that Golden State and there’s just something about talking to people about the beloved (or hated) freeway system, going from the beaches to the mountains, and 70F winters.

These are also times in our lives to push our comfort zones and adjust our expectations.  This is the time to just live.  Don’t make too many plans that you miss out on what’s around you.  Stop scrolling through Instagram to see what you are missing out on and instead, just go out and do you.  Find what makes you happy and stick with it.

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Good Online Reads of Late

About time to share some of my favorite articles of late

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“20 Resolutions for 20-Somethings” (Sometimes Always Never Blogsome of my favorites below

* Get out of bad relationships & pursue relationships that fill you up – Supposedly when you find your future spouse, you just know.  Well, finding those good friends can feel somewhat the same.  They accept your best (and maybe your not so great) qualities and embrace your quirks.

* Stop hating your body  ~ Just like life, you only have one body so treat it well.  Lots of veggies, protein, and sweet treat every now and then will do the body and soul well.

* Explore your city

* Break free of social media and be present – Facebook, email, and Instagram will be there in a couple hours.  There’s no need to have your nose buried in your phone for all hours of the day.  You may very well ruin relationships by doing this, so beware.

* Keeping Perspective with life – Check out Katie Kempner’s blog — fittingly called Perspectives with Katie — which highlights women’s path to finding balance in life.

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“What Deleting  A Person From Social Media Really Means” (Elite Daily) – Just another way of breaking free from bad relationships and living in the moment.  There will be people who come in and out of your lives but that doesn’t mean you have to let them define who you are or who you want to be.

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“Work Life Balance is Going to Be Dead” (LinkedIn)

Are you working to live or living to work?  Is there a happy medium?  Oh isn’t that the golden questions my friends.  How much of our lives are based upon what we want to do rather than what we think we should do or what we think others want us to do?

This article discusses the idea of creating a work life balance or rather work life integration.  Like many others, I would love to merge my passions in life with the work I do on a daily basis.  The problem is, how long do I have to wait to do this?  Sure, it may not be my first job out of college, or even my second.  But those jobs have helped me learn key skills and helped expose me to other jobs and opportunities.

There are days where I stay for 9 to 10 hours to finish my work.  There are days where I leave right at 5:30 in order to have dinner with my friends.  I make sure that I have enough social time to keep me motivated and happy, but enough focus at work to make a good impression and gain the respect of my peers and bosses.  If you aren’t happy with your life, don’t complain because you have just as much ability to change it as you do to sit and complain.  Remember, you have just this one life, make it count.

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Tuesday Truths – A 2015 First

Truth is that life has been a bit crazy.  I may not nose-deep in homework and I’m not running a family, but there’s a lot of life-pondering right now.  I float between thinking about the future and living in the moment.  I balance my life and my interests against those of society.  I stream through social media to see what’s going on in the world and of course pair it against my own life.  Typical 20-year old right here.

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Truth is…I’m studying book after book about fun places to explore in New York City.  I’m looking for ways to give back.  I’m looking for more ways to soak in the east coast charm.

Truth is…I don’t fill my nights with educational documentaries (except one on the Eagles band, which was AWESOME) or long novels, but rather college football (well until next year) and Netflix binges of “Heart of Dixie”.  Slightly obsessed.

IMG_7976Truth is…I miss this guy.  Who wouldn’t?

Truth is…I don’t always like staring at the computer at all at the end of the day.   My type of work requires me to be glued to the screen and sadly that’s where our industry and generations are going.  So I have to thank posts like Nutty About Health’s that remind me to get up and MOVE!

Sit Less, Stand More: Your Health Depends On It

Sitting Is the Smoking of Our Generation

Sitting All Day Is Really, Really Bad For You (Infographic)

Truth is…I miss blogging.  I miss the creative outlet and sharing the sights and sounds of the city.  I find myself dictating posts to myself as I run or walk to the gym.  I stumble upon an article or podcast and am hit with a wave of inspiration.  Now if I could extend the day by a few hours (and pretty much figure out how to become Superwoman)

Truth is…I do love my apartment, roommates, and location in the city.  We have finally decorated our apartment to feel like home away from home.  We usually have shows that we watch together and some nights we even make dinner together.  It’s sort of a different experience from college and is lots of fun.

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Truth is…I’m proud of myself for running in 17F this last weekend.  It was my first long run/race in a long while and I felt strong.  Maybe it wasn’t a PR but hey, it was a personal best in such frigid temperatures.  Oh, and while I took a rare selfie with earbuds, my phone died five minutes into the 10k.

IMG_8003Let me introduce the full on dairy, gluten, meat lovers post-race breakfast.  Not to mention 4 or 5 cups of diner coffee. Goes against all diets out there but well worth it. 

Truth is…I think I might start an Etsy account.  I’m working my way I make my own personal photo cards and think it might be a neat outlet.  I’m not looking to make a profit (yet) but it would be a neat outlet and good business experience.

Truth is…life isn’t that bad so get out there and seize the day!

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