Giving Thanks ~ 2016

In a perfect world, I would remind myself of things – people, places, events, etc – that I am grateful for on a daily basis.  Whether it’s when I wake up, before bed, on a walk around the city, it’s possible.  Maybe it’s written in my phone or on a piece of paper or even repeated like a mantra as I run, it’s possible.

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Life of Late ~ 11.27.15

For some of you, Black Friday has already been a shopping success.  Bless the souls who have been up and at ’em, fighting the sales and fighting the lines.  I made that mistake once and realized crowds were not my thing.  Funny since I maneuver the subway crowds on a daily basis.

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Anyways, after rolling out of bed – with a stomach still full from last night – my sister, her friend Laura, and I headed out to Runyon Canyon for a little hill workout with NP Los Angeles.  Having grown up in Southern California, I really hadn’t spent much time exploring the local hot spots.  Runyon Canyon and Griffith Park are both known for their hiking trails and so it was neat to see what L.A. has to offer.

IMG_3709^^ Always fun to have a friend with me from my NP_NYC family.  Of course I may be biased but I love the New York tribe so much.

Let’s work in a little bit of reverse manner.  Throwing it back a week, I drove down to visit Meghan in her college habitat and completely forgot about this little thing called traffic.  It took me a good 90 minutes to drive down when it only should have taken 30.  Good job.  Some might think it strange for someone to want to go back and stay in the dorm overnight but that just meant free breakfast and boy do they have an excellent spread.  Putting that college tuition at work. We met up for dinner at Eureka! Burger, grabbed some frozen yogurt from the Southern California famous 21 Choices, and then finished the weekend with a nice hike.

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^^ What we call Instagram vs. Reality.  I love those posts where bloggers share a picture from their social media account and actually explain the level of difficulty it took to get that perfect, swoon or drool worthy shot.  Yes, Meghan does deal with my foodie photography but usually gives me a hard time along the way.

The rest of the weekend was spent playing golf, prepping for the week, and helping the parents cook a good dinner.  On Monday I took an early Equinox spin class, thinking that waking up early would help me beat the LA traffic.  Nope, apparently all of Los Angeles is also up at the crack of dawn and it still took me 80 minutes to travel 22 miles to the LA office, which certainly raised my blood pressure.  Later on in the day I picked up a friend from Santa Monica and we braved the two hour commute back home.  I’m glad we had the time to catch up but I swear, that traffic is just a depressant. If I decide to move back to Southern California, I would try my best to live and work as close together as possible because if I had to drive that commute 1x or 2x per day, I may very well go insane.

Monday was actually my only day of work since I had coordinated my vacation time to align with the holidays…hello extra long weekend!

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^^ Tuesday was filled with all sorts of doctors appointments and lunch with a friend from high school.  We had originally targeted Tender Greens for a nice sandwich but when we saw the line around the corner, we opted for Pasadena’s newest addition – Urth Caffe – instead.  While I usually go for the Spanish Latte or Spanish Granita, I was feeling more of the green tea boba combo.

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Bored Panda ~ “18 Real-Life Locations That Inspired Disney” ~ So you know those times where you walk around a foreign city and you feel like it’s right out of a movie?  Well, turns out these gorgeous locations were the creative inspirations FOR various Disney movies.

I’m full of good clips today.  Sit back and relax 🙂

Ok, I may be a new Bieber fan and James Corden fan.  Watching James drive through Los Angeles with various fans had me cracking up.

The Healthy Maven ~ “Life Without Labels” ~ Another great one.

IMG_3637 ^^ I was finally able to get my friend Laura to test out the free fitness movement with me and on Wednesday we ran NP_LAX’s PR Day, which meant zig-zagging the four levels of the Hollywood Bowl twice, enough to feel the burn in both our legs and throats.  Now I just have to make my way to SF to visit her and test out the SF tribe.  #traaaaaaverbal 😉

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^^ Pasadena’s temperatures were well into the 50’s but one should never turn down a trip to the Ice Cream Lab.

IMG_3647 ^^ For the past two years, I have spent Thanksgiving across the coast in the chilly Northeast.  While it was a great experience to be away from home, build a little character, I really missed some of those traditions.  My favorite? The morning ritual of running around town, burning up an appetite for that afternoon.  Since I decided to warm up with my sister and her friend (both college athetles), this was destined to be my view.

IMG_3651 ^^ They were nice enough to humor me and agree to a picture.  Because if there wasn’t a picture, it didn’t happen.  Right?  I tried my best to keep up with them but that was a very long shot for three miles.  Still, I wasn’t too bummed with my effort, a 7:22 average for 3 miles and a total of 5 or so miles for the day with the warmup, cool-down and various gallivanting.

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^^ Connecting with a couple of Thetas.  Siissssssters 😉  (cue jokes from both my mother and sister, I’m sure)

Breakfast (pumpkin waffles made by Meghan and batter by Trader Joes) + Thanksgiving Day Parade + lounging around + food prep and next thing you know, it’s time for TURKEY!

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^^ stuffed for days but possibly ready for round two tonight {coconut sugar cranberry sauce, broiled carrots, rolls, mashers, brown butter sweet potato mash, brussels sprouts w/ pancetta, turkey, gravy, and sourdough stuffing}

IMG_3674 ^^ If we weren’t full enough, we had three pies for 9 people.  My favorite was the chocolate pecan but since it was Thanksgiving, I was obligated to eat some of the pumpkin pie.  Ok, maybe the pumpkin pie was tied for my favorite.  Or the Talenti pumpkin gelato.  Or all of the above.  With full stomachs, we fell asleep to the sound of the first Star Wars movie and there you go, back to the beginning.

Boy, it was great to be home for Thanksgiving.

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Life of Late ~ 11.20.15

Get this. I’m home again.  In California.  Sort of seems surreal to be honest since this is my first Thanksgiving at home in a few years.  Some people think it’s silly to travel so much around the holidays, but hey, it’s one word – “family”.  Sure, I could be using this time to travel to places outside the United States and make the most of the fact that I’m halfway there (hello direct flights to Europe), but there’s time and place for that.  I do however happen to have a bit of a travel itch and have been trying to set a plan for 2016 and of course consider the important things like budget and days off.  For now, I’ll be enjoying some west coast love.

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^^ Being home means I don’t get to see these lovely ladies and my New York NP crew. Alas, there’s always NP_LAX.  Also, We looooooove our Lululemon shorts.  Even in the fall.  Even when it’s raining.  Especially when they are on sale in the We Made Too Much section.

IMG_3449^^ What we at November Project call the bounce.  Because every workout requires a mighty good warm-up. Safety first, right?

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^^ Updated view of the park.  So long to those harvest leaves and (almost) hello to bare branches.

IMG_3429 ^^ Throwing it back to that good ‘ol casual style.  You know, I probably will wear sweats more often while I am home than I do in New York. That is because my house is built like an igloo (meaning one wears layers upon layers to stay warmish) and my apartment has central heating (blessing and a curse) so we just walk around dressed as if it is summer.

IMG_3461 ^^ Why hello Jo Malone.  The Columbus Circle mall just opened a fine and fresh scent shop and if I’m not careful, I’ll be spending a good deal of my lunch breaks there.  Or in Whole Foods.  Or Williams Sonoma.  Or JCrew.  Basically a mall that has too much good stuff.

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^^ With the holidays comes the return of the gorgeous star decor inside the mall.  I haven’t seen a full on musical production just yet, but I’m sure we’ll catch a glimpse after the Thanksgiving holiday.  I know it’s not Macy’s Christmas Spectacular, but I do recommend checking it out if you are in the area 🙂

Mashable ~ “35 Career Goals” ~ Know your strengths, weaknesses, when to say no, and just know you.  Too often we start to say things about ourselves that aren’t true (are we detail-oriented or do we just want to be detail-oriented?)  Pick a side project, get involved, learn how to delegate and try something that scares you. 

The Muse ~ “13 ‘Crazy’ Interview Questions That Awesome Companies Will Ask” ~ Well, if that’s any indication of the complexity of the applications, I’m not sure if I’m ready for the likes of Google or Apple just yet.  Let me also say that my answer to one of the Tournament of Roses Court questions – what’s your favorite class? – was “lunch”.  Yeah that’s a real winner Kaitlin.  Obviously didn’t get asked back and probably got an eye roll and talking to from my mom.  What can I say?  I’m a keeper. 

Elle ~ “The Case Against Career Ambition

Ali on the Run ~ Just her blog in general makes me happy.  I’m slightly biased since we share a birthday.  Naw, she’s just real and it’s amazing.

The College Prepster ~ “4 Ways to Break Your Digital Addiction” ~ Boy, isn’t this one true.  Let’s just say that my phone is at 49% by noon most days.  More often than not, I feel like stranded without my phone.  No means of getting in touch, scheduling with others or even my own schedule (sad but I live through my iCalendar), etc.  But then there is another part of me that feels relieved.  As if I don’t have to respond to anything and it’s a way of saying get out and do something different.  There are many times that I think to myself (while scrolling through some stupid app while watching TV), that I’m wasting my brainpower.  Isn’t that sad?  People used to read books and educate themselves or learn a new skill.  I sit and scroll and swipe and respond to things.  I’ll probably add something related to this in my 2016 resolutions but for now, I’ll just try to be more mindful. 

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^^ Thanks Coach Brian for being an epic runner who can not only run a marathon, but have enough energy and stamina to run around the water coolers taking pictures of all of us and then go off and chase down whoever he was running with or pacing.  That’s what we call #beastmode.

Dinners with friends are hands down the best.  Especially when you get to eat at places like The Cellar – a restaurant in Beecher’s Cheese Place.

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^^ world’s best mac & cheese + kale & red peppers mac + harvest flatbread

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^^ PUMPKIN PUMPKIN PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE.  Seasonal selections for the win.

Volunteering for work means catching glimpses of Neil Patrick Harris, Taylor Schilling (aka Piper), Sharon Stone, Kathy Griffin (who is actually hilarious), Common, Kelly Ripa (tiny tiny thing), Chris Noth (Mr. Big), Zachary Quinto, and my favorite –  Anderson Cooper.  It also means listening to stories about individuals like you and me, making big changes in the world and giving back way beyond belief.  I’m talking about CNN Heroes, which will be broadcast on Sunday December 6th at 8pm ET.  I highly highly recommend watching this.  You might need a box of tissues as well.

Buzzfeed ~ “13 Reasons Thanksgiving is Not a Holiday for the Weak” ~ TRUTH

IMG_3420Have a fabulous weekend, enjoy the week of the turkey, and share your love and thanks near and wide!

Giving Thanks in NYC

Well it’s sure been awhile since I shared a full day of eats but how about a little bit of what I ate on Thanksgiving?  Thanks for Jenn’s link-up where we can drool over everyone’s Thanksgiving meals yet again.

Since I have been traveling over the past few years, there really isn’t anything that would make the day “normal” for me.  Not to mention, a “normal” Thanksgiving from my childhood includes a 5k in 70F weather.  Hm, after arriving in a snowstorm and waking up to a bed of snow in a small lake community, I doubt that was going to happen. Ah well, maybe next year.

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Yep, this is far from what a Southern California Thanksgiving looks like.  My roommate, Gaia, and I traveled through Wednesday’s storm out of the city and into a small New Jersey town for the holiday.  But, with a little luck, good timing, and four-wheel drive, we made it safe and sound.

IMG_7297Truth be told, I get a bit nervous when I stay over in someone else’s home.  This is simply because I love to work out in the morning and I don’t always know the protocol on making noise as I jump around or unlocking the door to go for a run.  Problems, problems, problems.  Since I’m still trying to rest my foot, running outside wasn’t even an option (not to mention I didn’t bring any snow-stable running gear).

So with a quick workout (thanks to the WOD deck of cards app) + Coffee + Thanksgiving Day Parade = Perfection.

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Here we have Anna and Gaia (Gaia’s my roommate), both of whom are from Italy!  We were staying at Gaia’s family friend’s house and it was Anna’s first Thanksgiving.  Hopefully we didn’t disappoint (or shock) her.

There was some snacking that occurred throughout our preparation but I was trying (and trying hard) to save up for the big meal. I may have overdone it here because once I finished dinner, I don’t think I could move.

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Not a bad Thanksgiving view (~3pm).  We had woken up to a snowy morning but by afternoon, the skies had parted.  I bet this lake is gorgeous in the summer! Since I’m quite the spring/summer child, that’s immediately where my mind goes to – warm weather.  I would much rather prefer sitting outside in the warm sun rather than chilly air. 🙂

IMG_7327 Food was prepped all throughout the day and by 4pm we were ready to chow down.  This was the first time I had ever had stuffing that was cooked inside the turkey and yes, I know it may not be as sanitary but boy was it tasty!  It’s safe to say that the stuffing + kale side dish had my heart.

I was so thankful for Gaia’s family friends to open their home to all of us.  It’s not the same as being at home, but it’s a new experience for the record books.

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Gobble Gobble Gobble Whoops

Sure, sure, everyone is probably tired of reading about Thanksgiving and Turkey festivities, but I’m not; at least not until this post is finished 🙂 Last week on Jenn’s edition of WIAW, a number of bloggers shared what they would be having.   I’ve decided to share a photodump of what I did indulge in and what I did do over the past few days.  Simply because I can.

I’ve said it before, but this past Thanksgiving was a little different since 1) I was on the East Coast and 2) I wasn’t with my actual family.  I was with family friends, people I’ve known since I was born, so I guess you could say I was with family.  Honestly the mini break was exactly what I needed – no stress, nothing to do, just run, rest, eat, and watch football all weekend long.  The one thing I did miss terribly was our annual town turkey trot.  It’s an easy 5k and serves as a mini-reunion for people in town.  I used to run it with my cross country team, those who had made varsity sporting personalized felt capes, and in recent years have run with chased after my sister.  I guess you could say Thanksgiving morning is my favorite holiday – 5k with the fam, breakfast out with teammates or waffles back at home as we watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade, then lots of moseying around the house (in t-shirt and shorts mind you…it’s normally 65 or 70F).

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Arrived around 5 to the Philly Train Station.  I wasn’t planning on getting picked up until 6 or later, so when I saw pumpkin ice cream, it was a match made in heaven.  Might as well get the week started right.

Here’s something strange…we actually partook in family breakfasts.  Usually when I’m home it’s a free-for-all, but here we sat down to enjoy fluffy quiche and pumpkin french toast, oatmeal pancakes, and eggs and fruit salad the last.  I was also a fan of the homemade kale smoothies and homemade granola that greeted us each morning. 🙂

IMG_1470_Fotor_CollageYeah, the bottom right isn’t exactly breakfast, but we sure enjoyed our fair share of pie and pumpkin/vanilla ice cream.  You know, I think I enjoyed Ben & Jerry’s rendition of pumpkin ice cream over Trader Joe’s.  Though I do adore TJ’s, it was a bit sugary (gasp…shocker for this girl’s sweet tooth) and lacked the gingersnap bits.

Last but not least, the FEAST my friends.  IMG_1470_Fotor_Collage

I did not run as much as I would have thought, simply because my body still feels exhausted.  I’m not sure if this has to do with the race last weekend or maybe I’m just a little tuckered out or I’m just being a whimp.  Anyhoo, a few days off felt nice and I didn’t feel too guilty about it.  #success

We did balance the weekend off with a TON of football – crystal clear picture, awesome endings (Auburn v. Alabama anyone?), and a more than comfortable couch.  I like to think I fit right in and considered myself one of the siblings, making myself at home 🙂 It honestly was the perfect way to spend a weekend.

What was your favorite part of the Thanksgiving weekend?

“Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for truth.”
– Benjamin Disraeli

THANKSGIVING 2012 Edition

This was one of the best Thanksgivings yet! Turkey Trot 5k, casual waffles, family dinner (including some old home videos…let’s make fun of Kaitlin as a baby), what could be better?

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