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

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

Travel Tuesday – Seattle

When I told people that I was traveling to Seattle for Labor Day, most of them asked “why?”  Well, why not?  This girl doesn’t need a reason to travel 🙂  Seattle has been on my bucket list, even though I had been there a couple different times with my grandparents.   This was more of an adult trip and focused more on the city itself, rather than Washington and the greater Seattle area.

Oh if I shared all the pictures from the trip, this post may go on for far too long.  So I’ll keep it concise and share some of my favorite collages from the first couple days.

~ Day 1 ~
Pike Place Market, The Crumpet Store, The Original Starbucks 

IMG_6013Starting off the day with the typical touristy photo.  I managed to make my trip a friend’s reunion with a college friend (Alexis) and high school friend (Laura).  Mixing friends doesn’t always work out but lucky for me, it did.  Or at least they didn’t tell me otherwise 😉

crumpet shopLaura had one mega request and that was to go to the crumpet shop.  From preserves to green eggs and ham, there’s no wrong way to savor your buttery bread.  If you are in the market for a beverage to pair with your meal, the chai latte is highly recommended.  But off to the market where the food will bring you to your knees.

The Crumpet Shop
1503 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
Mon-Sun 7:30-3:30 (go early as they run out quickly!)

pikes place market

From fruit stands to flowers, honey and samples galore.  The Ellenos samples were absolutely delicious but seeing as I had already eaten two breakfasts, I didn’t need a third.  I could have and probably should have wandered back and forth through these aisles all morning long.  To bad I was on a mission to see all of Seattle and kept us moving right along.  But, we did catch the famous throwing fish folks and of course fulfilled our duty of seeing the original Starbucks.

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My coffee habits have certainly evolved from my first sip in Barcelona almost three years ago, but it is a classic location and one must pay homage to the store that pretty much started it all. (Maybe not coffee itself, but rather creating a dedicated and obsessed following of caffeine junkies)

Now that we had satisfied our hunger and thirst, it was time to learn a little or maybe just soak in the sunshine and sights.

seattle sightsAn underground tour, a trip to the top of the Space Needle, adventures through the Pacific Science Center, or even a music museum.  Don’t forget to show a student ID for some sweet discounts!

IMG_5886Snacks packed from Laura’s SF kitchen to tide us over.  So kind of her to share 🙂

~ DAY 2 ~
University of Washington, Chinatown, Bainbridge Island

Because we happened to be staying near the University of Washington (Go DAWGS!) and seeing as both my grandparents graduated from the U of W, I thought it would be fun to take a trip around the campus.  The last time I visited, I didn’t fully appreciate the grandeur of such a large campus and really only cared about the next gift store and meal location.  Typical child behavior, right?

university of washingtonThis time I actually got to appreciate the grounds and while we didn’t make it all the way around, we did walk along Greek Row so that I could check out the Theta house!  Fun fact – my grandmother is a Theta and so we are theoretically “sisters” (cue tease from mother and real sister…I already hear you two) 😉

All the walking made three girls ready for some lunch and soon we found ourselves in Chinatown.  Our use of Uber (my first time using the service actually) helped to speed up our travel time as people were about to get hangry.

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While Laura fought the brunch goers at the local dim sum restaurant, I found myself with a fresh black milk tea boba.  A drink that used to gross me out completely, tapioca pearls are now one of my favorite guilty pleasures.

Bainbridge Island

Just a hop, skip, and a swim away from the main city is the lovely island of Bainbridge.  Between shopping for perfume to sweet, sweet ice cream scoops (did I hear blackberry and waffle cones??), a ferry ride and small town walk made for the perfect afternoon.

But of course there is more because after all, it was a three (or four) day weekend.  More to come soon …

“Appreciate life as it happens. Moments will soon pass and you will wish you had treasured them more” – unknown

Living and Eating a World of Color

Ladies and gentlemen, this will NOT be your average WIAW.  Today I’m talking about my magical trip to not only Disneyland, but California Adventure.  If you are curious as to what other fun bloggers are eating and writing about, find yourself transported to Jenn’s page at Peas & Crayons.

Thank you for all the support regarding my decision to move back to New York!  This is a big move for me, but more on that later. Continue reading

WIAW #42 – LAST SCU EATS and 3 DAYS!

It’s yet another wonderful Wednesday with Jenn’s link-up and I’d like to share a bit of my favorite eats from Friday.  Why Friday?  Well, you are probably all sick of me counting down the days until graduation but this was THE LAST OFFICIAL DAY OF SCHOOL EATS! I’m not sure if I’m nervous just yet.  I think I’ve enjoyed my time here and have learned more than I could imagine in the past four years, especially last 10 weeks. Continue reading

WIAW #31 – Capstone and Caffeine

GREAT Combo, right?  Well, I think it was at the time but let’s see how that impacts my sleeping patterns 🙂

While I may not have eaten a ton of greens this past week, I did talk about “green” and “sustainable” living in my capstone presentation.  I think that counts two-fold.  For those who may not be familiar with capstone, it’s our business school’s final thesis class.   Continue reading