Where I Have Been

Oh hey there.  Looks like it’s been a hot minute since I’ve dropped in and I swore I would never be that person to just “check in” buuuuuut here I am.  Where have I been?  Location wise it’s stayed the same – New York/East Coast.  There was an itty bitty trip to California last weekend – my first in 6 months – but more on that later.  The point is that I haven’t been very present on the blog and I’m trying to work out what that means for me.  My job is one of the many million in the world that requires me at a desk underneath fluorescent lights.  While it’s a good environment, it means that I don’t always have the drive to come home and plop down to sit in front of another screen.  I know that I don’t have to apologize for not posting but it was really making me feel guilty.  So, this is me posting to tell myself it’s ok not to post all the time.  🙂

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When Mom and Grandma Come to Town

I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend from Mother Nature to show my mom and grandma about town.  While my mom has actually been out to New York three or four times since I moved here, it was Grandma Nancy’s first trip since the late 80’s (or that’s about what we figured).  I wanted her to see the place that I have called home, the routes that I run, and simply see how the city has changed over the years.

We started out on Thursday night with a late dinner at the Flatiron Eataly.  She had encountered some trouble in Denver with the weather but still made it to Manhattan ready to take on the town.  I had taken Friday off so after a quick (terribly lethargic) run along the East River, it was time to meet them for breakfast and and begin our own walking tour.

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when friends come to town

When friends come to town, you decided to check out all the restaurants and plays that you have had on your list for ages, but just haven’t gotten around to.  You walk all over Manhattan in search of nothing in particular, but just a means of catching up and seeing all the sights. This last weekend I had one of my good college friends, Alexis, fly out from California to spend some time soaking in the amazing east coast fall.  While she arrived in a storm (no literally, there were rainstorms and overcast skies for two days), the sun came out and we managed for two glorious days in the city.

Friday turned out to be surprisingly packed, so I had to scrap the leaving early on-time plan.  Since Alexis is always good at sampling different cuisine, I decided to take her to Jeepney, a Filipino joint in the East Village.  I had been there once before and really decided on it because they served Ube ice cream for dessert, which was one of Alexis’s favorite.

When we had arrived, the hostess said there was supposed to be a 90 minute wait for a table.  Since my hunger levels would have turned to hanger levels in that time frame, we opted for bar seating and may have had more fun in doing so.  There we could watch as the bartender whipped up drink after drink, topped with various orange peel and berry art.  I wasn’t in the mood to drink, but really should have at least asked about their virgin selection.  Those juice combinations would have tasted mighty fine.  Ah well, all the more reason to go back.

IMG_3466 ^^ One great thing about friends, especially good friends, is that they are generally open to ordering and splitting a couple different items.  This means sampling more of the cuisine at half the price and still leaving room for dessert.  Entree #1 Bicol Express {slow-roasted pork shoulder, coconut milk, sili, bagoong sauce, vigan longganisa, pickled chilies and baby bok choy} and a baby pot pie.  Double thumbs up for the bicol express with the savory sauce and tender meat.   I wasn’t as much of a fan of the pot pie or bao buns we sampled, but such is life.

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^^ The real reason we ate there.  Because it’s normal to center a meal around dessert.

On Saturday we slept in (try 9.5 hours of sleep!!! unheard of and evident that my body was still recovering from Monday’s red-eye), I went for a run, and then it was off to explore Manhattan.  I took her down to one of my favorite bagel shops (since Ess-A is no longer close by) Tompkin’s Square Bagels, where we drooled over the selection of sandwiches and spreads.

IMG_3471 ^^ Whole wheat everything w/ cream cheese + lox for her and whole wheat everything with blueberry cream cheese for me.  Deeeeelish and not to mention beyond filling.  Thank goodness we were banking on walking the rest of the day.

IMG_3470  No cookies were purchased on this venture, but it makes me smile when I see black-and-white cookies in every store.  Such a symbol of New York.  The rest of the day was honestly spent walking all around the city and if my FitBit were working and syncing properly with my phone, I would be able to tell you all the steps we took, miles we walked, and calories burned 😉

IMG_8191 IMG_8195 IMG_8201 ^^ Both of us agreed that the west village is where it is at, especially with the quaint looking brownstones and lovely fall leaves.  Alexis was just glad that she could wear a winter coat and dress up for cooler weather since cooler weather is rarely a thing in California.

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Who wants to even guess how much it would cost to live in one of these apartments?  Maybe my life savings?

IMG_8211^^ Since we had eaten our bagels around brunch time, we skipped out on a full lunch meal and decided to regroup, warm our hands, and charge my phone inside a Starbucks. This happened to be my FIRST red cup of the season (despite the changing temps, I have always gone for the good ‘ol iced cold brew) and don’t see what all the controversy is about.  Anyways, a new favorite combo >> skim peppermint mocha with only 2 pumps peppermint and make it extra hot 🙂

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Got to love me some Snoopy and Macy’s 🙂 Avoiding some of the chaos, we made our way through Herald Square (NOT my favorite place in town) and up to Bryant Park where the ice skating rink and holiday shops are already open for business.  Luckily for us we managed to take a picture right before the sun set, then continued to walk around and decide on a place for dinner.  Oh if we weren’t planning to go eat a full meal later, I would have taken to buying a snack or two from the vendors because the smells were so inviting.

IMG_8216 IMG_8217 ^^ I still don’t know what that delectable concoction is/was but I will make it my goal to get someone to go back to Bryant Park with me and split one before the holiday season is over.

IMG_8220^^ Not the best quality photo buuuuuut we ate ETHIOPIAN FOOD!  I have never been to an Ethiopian restaurant and was actually baffled at the selection on the menu.  I let Alexis do the deciding and we ended up with a meat combo and veggie combo, all atop this spongey pancake.  They don’t even provide utensils and the trick is to use the pancake in order to scoop up the toppings.

So.darn.tasty and I have to say, it’s pretty cool to explore the different cuisines in the city.  After all, that is something NYC is known for and I tend to stick to my Chipotle and Bareburger.  Once we had digested a bit more, we set off in search of the musical theatre by Lincoln Center.

IMG_8222Though this is a true classic, I had never seen it, not even the movie, so this was quite the treat!  We had picked up tickets at the TKTS booth by South Street (lower Manhattan) so the tickets were 50% off and right near the orchestra!  Originally we had tried to see “An American in Paris”, but all the Saturday tickets had been sold.  Anyways, who knew they had broadway productions outside of Times Square and at Lincoln Center?  (Don’t answer that.  That may have just been me…)

IMG_3472 Since we were watching the musical at Lincoln Center, we decided to drop by Magnolia’s to complete a day of eats with a little sweet banana pudding.  Because when in Rome New York, right? I probably should stop using that excuse since I live here and work right by a Magnolias.  Or not.

“Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity.” – Khalil Gibran

Family Time in NYC

IT’S OFFICIALLY THE HOLIDAYS!  No, I’m talking about full-blown Christmas cheer going on.  For some reason it just doesn’t make sense until Thanksgiving is finished.  So, now that it’s December 1st, let the games begin.  On another note, I’m sure I’ll get around to this posting thing again but for now, a little photo-dump of what’s been happening pre/during/post Thanksgiving.

My mom traveled out for a weekend at the beginning of Thanksgiving break (ah the good ‘ol days when we had a week off!!).  It was quite nice for me because I took Monday off in order to explore with her and as a result, only had 1.5 work days before the feasting festivities began.  With Thursday and Friday off, I could get used to the two-ish day work weeks.  Dream on 😉

We started the weekend lunching with our family friends at Alice’s Tea Cup

IMG_6298Everyone was drooling over the idea of chocolate chip salted caramel and of course blueberry lemon is also a classic combo.  Do the calories count if it’s vegan 😉 Just kidding, I would eat it all the same

alice tea cup sconesWe started off by splitting a chicken sandwich and finished up on the sweet side with a pot of tea + two scone combo.  The basil + goat cheese was thrown in by accident and while it wasn’t my favorite, it would be good alongside a winter soup (maybe just avoid the strawberry jam)

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Filling our time with walks through Central Park & the new extension of the Highline Park on the westside of the city

IMG_6314Splitting sandwiches & salads ~ If only they had Chop’t on the west coast …

IMG_6315I spy some holiday cheer

IMG_6320Sweet treat at Magnolia’s Bakery (Rockefeller Center) before our matinee musical.  My mom has yet to sample the banana pudding but of course our arrival at Magnolia’s was not great as all the small sizes were sold out by 2pm.

IMG_7186Quite possibly one of the best musicals I have seen.  Both “Kinky Boots” & “Book of Mormon” are on the top of my list, but the unexpected plot and humor of “A Gentleman’s Guide” surely wins out for the musicals I have seen with my mom.

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Later on Sunday night, we met up with my roommates and a couple friends for dinner at the Todd English Food Hall (basement of the Plaza Hotel)

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^^ Madre and me 🙂

Laura and I posing with Eloise for one year reunion.  She even thought ahead and wore the same coat as last year!

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I love comparing the two pictures and seeing how far we have come in one year.  On the left, we had only really known each other for a short time. Maybe I’m reading into it, but we look a bit more timid and not nearly as close as we do on the right.  That’s what countless hours of exploring and running will do to people.  A year later and we are much better acquainted and much better friends. 🙂

IMG_6322Tiffany’s looking mighty fine with its holiday decor

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We took a quick trip through Bloomingdales and while we did not leave with any shopping bags, we did leave with a scrumptious (and should I mention FREE) red velvet cookie. (Note: the wrapper is edible…mind blown)  Bloomingdales and Cool Haus were pairing up for some social media holiday cheer.  Yes, I do have quite a lot of food pictures but what can I say?  I like to walk, shop, and eat. 🙂

“The secret to being happy is accepting where you are in life and making the most out of every day” – curiano.com

Life of Late in the Big Apple

What I love about my blog is that these posts can go in every different direction that I chose.  As a result, it follows my stream of consciousness and love for sharing (almost) every single thing that crosses my path in the big city.   There are good times and there will be bad times.  Throughout everything, we make memories and that’s what matters – living life to the fullest in our own unique ways.

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The change in seasons will never get old with this California girl.  I may not be able to stop and smell the roses, but I certainly have to remind myself to slow down and absorb the beauty in the corners of this crowded city.

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Loving my morning workouts with November Project

So here’s the deal. I ran a half marathon in May and got a PR, but also gave myself plantar facitis.  I’m not even sure if one can say they “gave” themself an injury like that.  I guess I caused it?  Anyways, running has been off the books for awhile.

At first I was in denial but I have since come to terms with it and with the help of spinning, hot yoga, and painful massaging, I plan to rehab it back into business. For so long my identity was tied to running and I felt lost without it.  What’s great about November Project is that yes, they are mostly built up of runners, but there are plenty who are plagued with injuries such as mine and so we work out in other ways together.

IMG_7086On Monday I started talking about the Christmas holidays but let’s backtrack a little shall we?  It’s never too early to indulge in some Thanksgiving eats and that’s just what my housemates and I did over the weekend.  We each contributed one of our favorite dishes – Hope’s turkey and fantastic caramel apple pie, my cranberry sauce (healthified of course), Lindsay’s epic mashed potatoes, and Gaia’s superb wine selection.

IMG_6946 Can you believe it’s almost been a full month since the New York marathon (or beginning of November)?  The Monday following the race, I stopped by the upper west side JackRabbit store in order to see Meb Keflezighi (4th place at the NYM and 1st last year in Boston!)  Turns out a good deal of New York thought this would be a good idea too and the line turned out to be a 90 minute adventure.  Sadly my meager lunch hour did allow for this but I did get to give him a solid high-five upon his arrival to the store.

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Monday night Soul Cycle with AWNY

I belong to the Advertising Women of New York and was invited a few weeks back to a special Soul Cycle class.  What a better way to network than by sweating and celebrating with some bubbly?

I told my mom that I will be celebrating every future holiday by treating myself to a spin class and she just laughed.  Ok, she may have been laughing at the fact that I planned out my birthday already…when it’s 6 months away.  I mean, never to early to plan, right?

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Just a little bit of Broadway with my dad.  It’s quite the treat to have family in town because not only do they like to wander Central Park with me, but they also like to see a musical or two and test out some new eateries 🙂

I loved listening to Idina Menzel’s voice (Frozen fans anyone?) but honestly felt the acting was a little forced and awkward at times.  However, I adored the message behind If/Then – something along the lines of living in the moment and not regretting your decisions.

IMG_6825Putting an egg on a burger = genius and never fails.

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^^ The flowers would be mine and the gorgeous beach scene would be Lindsay’s.  

Have you heard of those “Wine & Paint” classes?  Well, my friend Marnie had the most brilliant idea to host one of our own?  We have a group of friends that gets together every Wednesday for dinner, but this time we decided to spend a Saturday afternoon painting various canvases for the bare walls of her Brooklyn apartment.  Just a group of friends getting together and painting all sorts of scenes definitely is my idea of fun.

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Here we are at Radio City Music Hall for the filming of Michael Buble’s Christmas Special.  What we expected and what we saw were two very different productions, but just as festive and exciting.  What we had expected was the actual show, however we were the crowd-fillers for the filming of the show, which will air in a couple of weeks.  Thus, we were invited to endure multiple takes, a terrible crowd comedian (to get you pumped up), and Michael Buble’s amazing off-screen personality.  All in all, a blast and another reminder that New York really does have it all!

“One day in retrospect the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.”
– Sigmund Freud

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