Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy 2010!

I hope everyone has a happy and healthy new year!

To ring in 2010, enjoy this video mash-up of the Top 25 songs of 2009. It's pretty awesome.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Healthy Holiday Season

Hi friends,

As the holidays approach, we all know that we need to keep our eating in check. It's easier said than done, but my key strategy this year is to fill up on healthy fibrous foods and then enjoy a few nibbles of the sweet treats. I was successful over Thanksgiving, and I'm going to do my best through the holiday season.

But another important element that is so easy to forget is staying active. Fortunately for me, I do not have a choice, as my Walt Disney World Half Marathon is fast approaching. (I'm insanely competitive with myself and want to beat last year's time, which means I have been grinding through workouts six days a week.) Although it is a busy time of year, I cannot begin to tell you how much these workouts have been therapeutic for me. I encourage you to stay active, even if you are pressed for time.

I found this video on another blog that I follow, and it demonstrates a decent, quick workout. I would add push-ups, tri-cep dips, and crunches for the complete package. It is especially useful for those who are traveling or on-the-go.

For anyone braving the elements these days, check out these helpful tips from Coach Jenny and Runner's World. I've used something similar to the STABILicers, and while they are a tad funky and take some getting used to, they definitely work and will keep you safe on snow and ice. No more excuses, people!

Happy Holidays!

Friday, November 13, 2009

For Your Consideration: Cupcake Edition

It's Friday! How are your challenges going this week?

Take a listen to this interesting and entertaining clip from NPR about the calories in the ever-popular NYC baked good: the cupcake!

Bonus: He also talks about the lengthy - and suspenseful - process of tabulating the calories in Per Se's infamous nine course meal ($275). Wait until you hear how many calories are in this gourmet feast.

On that note, here's a link to Hungry Girl's recipe for vanilla cupcakes! !

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veterans Day

I'd like to send out a big thank you to all of the men and women serving this country. It is one of the bravest and most selfless things one could do.

Please please please click on this link - it will brighten your day!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!

On Thursday, I went to Carnegie Hall with Luke and Molly to watch this week's episode of NPR's Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! - "the oddly informative news quiz". It was fantastic!

We purchased tickets in the nosebleeds, keeping in mind that usually we listen to the show on the radio anyway, so what does it matter if we can see them very well.

After climbing six flights of stairs, we arrived at our seats. Molly said that we were up so high that the stage and its furniture looked like a dollhouse. Very true.

Despite the seats, the show itself was phenomenal! After listening to the show for a while now, it was really fun to see everyone in person - Peter Sagal, Carl Kassel, Mo Rocca, Paula Poundstone, and Adam Felber. The show is now available online - take a listen! Guaranteed laughs!

They also have a fantastic blog, which I highly recommend. The unbelievable stories that they track down are just that...unbelievable! Only NPR could convince me of their authenticity:

I cannot wait wait for their next trip back to NYC!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's not summer without...

...Peach Cobbler!

I'm making it for the first time tonight! My co-worker, Molly, is coming over, and we are going to follow Paula Deen's recipe. We don't have self-rising flour, so I'll keep you posted if the "just add baking soda and salt" trick works.

I haven't baked in the new apartment yet. Fingers crossed there are no disasters!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I'm back!

Dear friends,

I'm alive! I'm well! It's time to blog.

It's been the busiest summer of my life. A European Getaway. A wedding. A new apartment.



Back in late June, Luke and I escaped the hectic city life for a European vacation. Over the course of 11 days, we visited Prague, Vienna, Venice, and Rome. It was a whirlwind! Here are some of my favorite pictures.

Just about to depart! My backpack only weighed 25lbs-- packed!

Prague, Old Town
Prague Castle in the background
Vienna, in front of the Parliament Building
Venice! One of the most beautiful cities in the world (if not, the most??)
Venice, The Grand Canal.
Rome, St. Peter's Square
Rome, The Colosseum

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ciao amici!

Dear friends,

Before Luke and I depart on our European Adventure, I wanted to give a brief recap of the wonderful time I had this past weekend in Wisconsin.

I arrived in Appleton very late on Friday evening, despite the fact that my flight was supposed to arrive at 1p. Factor in a few tornado warnings, flash floods, and cancelled flights, and you have my journey home. My dad came to my rescue (how appropriate for Father's Day) by driving all the way to Chicago to pick me up, and we made it home safely.

Unfortunately, my luggage did not make it, so Saturday morning came very early, as I had to do some quick shopping before my brother's fiance, Nelle's bridal shower. We had a lovely day! Lots of yummy food and good conversation.

On Sunday, we celebrated two occasions: Father's Day and my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary! It was such a joyous day!! I couldn't have asked for better company: my entire family on my mom's side was able to attend. We got some great pics, thanks to my uncle Gil. (Check out his website for some more amazing photos!

Congrats to the happy couple! My grandparents celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary :)

My brother, Matt, and his fiance, Nelle

Luke and me

Grandparents and the grandkids (L to R: Jake, my younger brother; Ben, one of my older brothers; me; Matt, my other older brother; Grandma; Grandpa; Melissa, one of my cousins; Adam, her younger brother; Rachel, her twin sister; Tim, my cousin; Chris, his younger sister)
My family! (L to R: Nelle; Matt; Tara (Ben's wife); Ben; Dad; Mom; Luke; me; Jake)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

This time, next week...

...Luke and I will be en route to Europe!

Our backpacks arrived today!!!!!! In a word: gigantic. All the more room to carry souvenirs!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Spotted: Obama!!

Last weekend, Luke and I went for a walk on Saturday. For the record, I had been napping, and he kept asking if I wanted to get outside since it was so nice. I figured my sleepy self could handle a walk. Boy, am I glad I got my lazy bones off the couch!

We went outside and was about to cross the West Side Highway to walk by the Hudson River when a police officer yelled at us. "Stay Back! I said, STAY BACK." Umm... we had no clue what she was talking about, so we backed up with the others, and didn't cross the street. She marched off in a huff, and we stayed put. Come to find out, President Obama's motorcade was coming through soon, and they had to block off the street. The motorcade stops for no one, including pedestrians.

So we waited...and we waited. Two "test runs" came through with a few police vehicles and SUVs. Then after approximately 15 minutes of waiting, the motorcade arrived. Had to have been more than 100 vehicles. It was CRAZY. I snapped a few pics on my iphone, but trust me, these photos do not do any justice for how large it was. (side note: I'm sure this guy, who's in every photo, would be real happy to know he's on someone's blog for all the word to see. Sorry, buddy, but you did ruin almost every photo, except for the most important one.)

Motorcycles. I didn't count them, but there were probably about 30.

Funny thing happened when this guy pulled up. A few moments after he stopped in front of us, a lady behind me says "Oh, the Prince is in town. I wonder if this is for him." And the cop looks at her and says: "Ma'am, this is for the President. The President of the United States." He meant business.

Finally the moment we were waiting for! Obama! If you look closely (or zoom), there is someone sitting with a white shirt in the back window. Now, it very well could be someone else, but Obama has been known to ride without his suit jacket on. Had to have been him!

More vehicles and ambulances, etc.

The last cars came through..

Even though we had to wait quite a long time, it was an amazing encounter!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Finger painting

Jorge Columbo drew this week's cover for The New Yorker on his iPhone. See below and prepare to be amazed.

For the full article:

Monday, May 18, 2009

Meeting a children's book icon

One of my all-time favorite books from my childhood was Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. I don't think I was terribly cranky as a child, but let's be honest: we all had (and still have) our Alexander days.

Today, I had the pleasure of meeting Judith Viorst, the author of the Alexander books! She was in the S&S offices for a meet & greet.

I can't wait to see her upcoming book with S&S, due out in Fall 2010.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mr. Bob Uecker, ladies and gentlemen

As much as I love Bob Uecker, my favorite part of this video is Dave, who is busting a gut. I've never seen him laugh this hard!

Friday, May 8, 2009

I don't know about you guys..

...but I pretty much thought Strega Nona was the bomb-diggity when I was younger. A couple weeks ago, I found a copy of the original book "Strega Nona" in paperback on our free shelf at work. What did I find today? None other than a Strega Nona doll!

I hope you've read it! If not, check out Wikipedia for a summary. She means biz-ness.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Let's face it..

...we could all use a little pick-me-up on this Monday morning (esp if you're in NY where it's gray and rainy).

A rambunctious little gibbon just cannot resist teasing two tiger cubs. I saw a longer version of this video on National Geographic last night, so it's definitely legit and takes place in the wild. This shorter clip has hilarious sound effects.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Fun weekend with my visitor!

Last weekend, my mom came to visit! It was the first time she had been here since last summer, and fortunately, our weather was very summer-esque

After she arrived on Friday afternoon, we went to pick up our race packets at the Race Expo for the More Half Marathon. The expo was fairly impressive - lots of great samples and good booths. I was thrilled to meet Kathrine Switzer--the first woman to  finish the Boston Marathon. In 1967, only men were allowed to run it. She registered for the race as "K. Switzer" and on race day, her participation in the race became infamous when a race official tried to physically pull her off the course. Her boyfriend stepped in, and pushed the race official away and she finished the race! I heard about her story in the movie, The Spirit of the Marathon.  Needless to say, it was such a pleasure to meet her! 

My mom bought me her book, Marathon Woman, and I cannot wait to read it! 

We also met up with my new friend, Laura, who was also running the half marathon - her first one ever! I found out that her running partner was no longer able to participate in the race, so we decided to meet up with her on race morning so that she wouldn't have to go it alone. 

After the expo, we went home and met up with Luke. The three of us headed to the W. Village for dinner at Mercadito Grove, a new favorite! We shared several small plates, including the guacamole sampler with three different varieties: traditional, mango, and pineapple. We also got steak (carne) and pork (pastor) tacos and flautas. All three plates were amazing, but the steak tacos were probably my favorite. A final note: their margaritas are the best in the city, in my opinion (and Luke's). A must must must. 

The next day, my mom and I woke up relatively early (at least for me!) and went to the farmer's market in Union Square. We picked up some amazing apples, including Mutsu's and Winesap's, both of which I had never tried. We also got homemade maple candy and an apple loaf. I'll be making return trips all summer long. 

Afterwards, we moseyed our way up to Madison Square Park to get in line at Shake Shack for lunch. SS is infamous for its long line that wraps its way around the park. Since it was nearing 80* on a Saturday afternoon, the line was....long. We waited for 45 minutes, but it was well worth the wait. We spent much of the time whispering about the guy's shirt in front of us. See below...look closely. 

We determined, after the fact, that this shirt probably costs like $200 or something. 

Luke met up with us for lunch, and we came to the conclusion that it was extremely similar to Culvers in WI - they even sell custard w/ a flavor of the day. So delish!! 

Afterwards, we cruised up to midtown and walked off our lunch on 5th Ave. Later, we made our way back downtown for dinner in Little Italy. We called it a night fairly early since we had the race the next morning. 

On Sunday, we woke up *bright and early* at 5:45am. We got to the subway around 6:30 and were on the Upper East Side by 7:00 to meet Laura. The three of us made our way to the park, and it was already really warm. Upon arriving at the race, we heard that they had canceled the full marathon and placed a 3 hour time limit on the half marathon, due to the forecasted high temperatures. We separated from Laura at the start, because we knew she would be running faster than our more relaxed pace. 

The race started a few minutes after 8:00 and we knew it was going to be a hot day. Going into the race, we were really hoping to take it easy and walk whenever we wanted to. Unfortunately, with the 3 hour time limit, we didn't want to get swept and not get a medal, so we tried to keep a good pace. The hills in the north part of Central Park were not pleasant, especially since neither of us had done any hill work prior to the race. There was plenty of gatorade, water, and people cheering us on. Sadly, we saw several ambulances picking up runners who were affected by the heat. We were happy to finish in one piece and get our medals! 

Afterwards, we made our way back downtown to the apartment. (I pity our fellow passengers on the subway.) The afternoon was somewhat of a blur. I think we ordered food from Lennys, and I napped for a couple hours. I woke up around 6p and we went and enjoyed a phenomenal BBQ dinner at Heartland Brewery at the South Street Seaport. It was still beautiful outside - felt like warm summer night in August. We couldn't believe it was April! 

My mom left early on Monday morning, and I was sad to see her go. We had such an amazing weekend doing all the fun, non-touristy things that New York has to offer.  Can't wait for my parents to visit this summer! 

Thursday, April 30, 2009

I'm alive!

Hi friends,

I've been remiss - sorry! I will post a longer entry about this past weekend with my special visitor - my mom! Lots of fun details to share!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A cool Tuesday night at the new Yankee Stadium

Right before I left work last night, Luke emailed me and said that he got two free luxury suite tickets for the Yankees game from work. He asked if I was interested. UM YES?!

We arrived at Yankee Stadium in the second inning, but the crowds were still bustling outside. I managed to get this pic before we went in.

As we entered the turnstiles, we were told that we could go in a special VIP entrance. Oo la la! We were taken to our seats in the largest elevator I've ever seen. The suite was indeed luxurious. Catered salads. Free beverages, including imported beer and wine. Fortunately, I got a hot dog, which is really all I cared about. They even had this fancy smancy little hot plated surface that toasted the buns.

The seats were phenomenal - I think we were a little spoiled at our first outing in the new Yankee Stadium.

Luke's enjoying a Miller Lite, a little throwback to good times at Miller Park.

I'm in the white sweater, most likely munching on a cookie. :)

Bonus: the Yankees won!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sunday afternoon stroll

Sunday turned out to be such a beautiful day. Rain was in the forecast, but as you can see below, the weather couldn't have been more perfect. We were on a pier around Canal St. 

Luke's looking at the Statue of Liberty


Statue of Liberty, from a distance

Uptown and a view of the Empire State Building

Yummy in my tummy

I don't remember the last time I had a real cheeseburger and fries. Seriously. To celebrate the warm weather on Friday night, Luke and I ventured to Rare, one of my fave burger joints in the city. I drank a Sam Adams Cherry Wheat and munched on this amazing fry basket appetizer before our delicious burgers arrived.

Three kinds of fries: cottage fries (aka waffle fries); shoestring fries; sweet potato fries

Four kinds of dipping sauces, in addition to ketchup: Chipotle aioli, Garlic-flavored, Maple-flavored; and Sweet BBQ. My fave - of course - were the sweet potato fries with maple dipping sauce.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Happy Hour at Boat Basin

Since the weather was so gorgeous yesterday, a bunch of us decided to celebrate after work at Boat Basin. It opened for the season on Thursday, and fortunately, it wasn't too busy. Here are a few pics from the night. 

Patti, Meghana, and me. Early in the evening while it was still warm!
The sun set on the Hudson
Molly, our happy hour organizer, brought this adorable blanket which was a lifesaver for me!
We had a fab evening!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Meeting Hungry Girl!

My friend, Kim, and I went to meet Lisa Lillien, creator of the Hungry Girl website and author of Hungry Girl 200 under 200. We both love her website and read her daily emails religiously. She was just as cute in person as her cartoon on the website!

Lisa was on Good Morning America this morning!
Check it out:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Brunch

Luke arrived home from his vacation, and I greeted him with a yummy Easter brunch. I made my mom's swiss and bacon quiche and Giada's blueberry ricotta pancakes with honey syrup. Both were equally delicious!!

Happy (belated) Easter!