Friday, December 31, 2010

It's the holiday season...

2010 has been quite a year. I haven't been able to do quite as much blogging as in years past. My job has been an especially large part of my life this year, and as I've mentioned, I've been logging some long hours, leaving less time for writing. I hope to focus more on my writing and blogging in the coming year, so stay tuned!

But reflections, smeflections. The holidays are here, and I'm back in Wisconsin enjoying some much needed time away from the city. My family and friends are so important to me, and I'm thrilled to be home.

Happy holidays to one and all!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's the most wonderful time...to be a city dweller

Well, it's the best time of year to be a city dweller, especially in New York. The city is utterly transformed into a beautiful winter wonderland. Sure, the tourists are bound to get under your skin a little, but it's all part of the holiday experience...right?

This year, I was not able to enjoy the festive fun as much as I usually do. I've been putting in some incredibly long hours at the office over the last few months and haven't even made it to Rockefeller Center yet to see the tree.

However, I did come across a beautiful light show in Columbus Circle. It gives Saks a run for its money!







Despite my busy work schedule, Luke and I managed to put up some holiday decor, including this Charlie Brown Christmas Tree I found at Urban Outfitters.

Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!
I had big intentions this year of getting a bigger tree, but alas, the holidays were upon us, and I decided to embrace the teeny tiny tree for one more year! 


Happy holidays, friends and family!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Little Evening Music at Terminal 5

The Walkmen is one of my favorite bands, thanks to KAB who introduced me. They have a sound like no other.

Luke and I went to their show at Terminal 5 on Thursday eve with KAB and hubby SB. In short, they did not disappoint! Five stars for sure. Plus they are amazingly dapper and perform in sweaters. What's not to love?


Take a listen. This guy's got a voice.



Bonus! KAB and I came away with concert Ts.

(image courtesy of The Walkmen)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Giving Thanks (and Making Do!)

Sometimes NYC can be a bit of a struggle with its cramped subways, busy sidewalks and tiny apartments. But we all make do because we love it here, and in the spirit of giving thanks, I'm so thankful that I've been able to live in this city for the last three years.

Once again, Luke and I decided against overpriced holiday travel and opted to prepare our own little Thanksgiving feast. This year, I made stuffing from scratch! 




And pies, of course! Partially from scratch. Still can't bring myself to attempt a homemade crust.


We also realized that we were missing some imperative T-giving items: extra garbage bags and aluminum foil. Braving the parade crowds to reach the corner store wasn't exactly my idea of a good time, but we caught a few glimpses of the Macy's Day Parade floats.


Finally turkey time arrived! Mind you, we have neither the biggest kitchen nor a plethora of serving bowls and utensils. But we didn't let that bring us down. It was delicious!



After our Tgiving-for-two, we headed downtown to Soho for Tgiving-take-two, this time with friends who were also staying in the city. An orphan's Thanksgiving, if you will. Lots of amazing food and more creative uses of pans, counters, tiny stoves and window ledges. Check out Eat Your Chow for the scrumptious summary!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Running New York City

I've lived in New York for just over three years, and I've seen a lot of sights, heard a lot of sounds, and smelled a lot of....questionable odors. As a runner, I hoped that eventually I would run the ING NYC Marathon.

A couple of months ago--on my birthday to be exact--I decided that 2010 was the year! Since I didn't make it in via the ever-elusive lottery, I decided to fundraise for an amazing charity called Team for Kids. Thanks to my family and friends, I raised over $2,600 for programs benefiting underprivileged children in New York City and all over the world.

As I prepared for the race, I racked up hundreds of training miles, including several long weekend runs with my trusty running partner, AM. On race morning, I felt ready, if a little nervous. No matter how much you prepare, it's still 26.2 miles throughout all five boroughs of New York City (see map below).

I may look happy in this photo, but I'm actually pretty terrified.
As part of my Team for Kids perks, I got to ride in a police-escorted bus to the starting line on Staten Island. Just imagine dozens of coach buses being escorted through New York City by dozens of police cars, SUVs and motorcycles. It was a pretty special way to kickstart Race Day.

I arrived on Staten Island (my first time to the fifth borough) and met up with my running partner AM, just in time to get a few stretches in. As we merged into our starting corral, we found ourselves practically standing on top of Jared, the Subway Guy. Several people were taking pictures, so we politely slid out of the way, so as not to end up in the background of someone's souvenir photo.

The starting gun sounded, and we were off! I'll spare you the mile-by-mile details, but I will say that the first mile is completely uphill on the Verrazano Bridge, but our legs were so fresh at the beginning that we didn't even notice the climb. Plus, the second mile was completely downhill! It was unbelievable to run over the bridge, helicopters hovering above us. This was the moment I'd been waiting for...for years!

The rest of the race went quite smoothly, especially since we had so many people around the city cheering us on. AM's friends were at mile 7 in Brooklyn; my parents and Luke were at mile 8, 17..5, and just before the finish line; AM's parents were at mile 12; and lots of our friends were spread out perfectly along 1st Ave (miles 16-18).






The race wasn't always pretty, especially the last stretch up 5th Ave. But we finished together and in one piece!

I'm asking for my Clif bloks here--not requesting a photo. Trust me.


I was so excited to see Luke and my parents at the end. I couldn't wait to tell them about all the crazy stuff we saw. The fans and spectators were absolutely amazing!


I was especially thrilled that my parents were able to fly in from Wisconsin for the race. It really meant a lot to see them throughout the course and to know that they were behind me every step of the way.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Black Tie & Red Lipstick

Over the weekend, Luke and I attended our first black tie event. The fundraiser was held at the Museum of Modern Art and benefited Catholic Big Sisters Big Brothers, an amazing non-profit organization offering services and programs for girls, boys and families in New York City.

We had a fabulous evening and ran into a bunch of friends we hadn't seen in a while. Bonus! I even won my first silent auction item: a beautiful Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress!

(image courtesy of dvf.com)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Welcome back, Kotter!

Time for a little journey home to good ole Wisconsin. It was amazing to drive back through Madison, especially during one of the best times of the year--late summer.

This shot, atop Observatory drive, is thisclose to my dorm.

Beautiful city.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Vacation Part Five: Chicago

The last leg of the whirlwind vacation brought us back to our Midwest roots. We received a warm welcome in Chicago from Luke's sister and her boyfriend.

Speaking of warm..the late summer weather was so beautiful, we could have easily mistaken it for Cali weather. Sunny, slight breeze and not a cloud in the sky.



We enjoyed a relaxing weekend with our Chicago counterparts, which is just what we needed after a week of traveling and sight-seeing.
So where to next summer??

Vacation Part Four: The City of Angels

What trip to California would be complete without a stop in Los Angeles? We arrived in the City of Angels on Wednesday and made our way through traffic from LAX to our friends' apartment in West Hollywood. They so generously let us crash in their extra bedroom.

Sunny LA is beautiful year round, but the weather was particularly cooperative during our stay. First stop: Santa Monica. Luke had never been, and it's truly one of my favorite places on earth. So relaxed, peaceful...and clean. Basically the polar opposite of New York.

We went to the newly opened Santa Monica Place for lunch and were pleasantly surprised by the food court which even boasted ocean views!
Ahh, hello, vacay.

After soaking in some rays in Santa Moncia, we ventured out to Malibu. It's a hike, for sure, but definitely worth it. A huge class/summer camp was at the beach on a field trip. (Side note: when I went to summer camp, I'm pretty sure we collected sticks, leaves and rocks and made 'nature collages' with glitter glue.)

On our way back to West Hollywood, we stopped in Beverly Hills for Sprinkles cupcakes. Hooray! I certainly wasn't surprised by the line, but it moved much slower than any NYC cupcake line. I'll attribute it to the laaaid-back Cali lifestyle. With my mind on my cupcakes and my cupcakes on my mind.

The cupcakes were every bit worth the wait!

Next stop: The Griffith Observatory. It was a quiet afternoon and the views were beautiful.



Downtown. Pretty clear day for LA, yes?

Someday, I hope to hike these trails! They would make for a griller of a workout.

Sun sets on yet another beautiful day in California.



Vacation Part Three: Highway 1 and San Simeon

On Tuesday, we woke up early to drive to Hearst Castle in San Simeon. It's only about 90 miles from Monterey, but we knew the trip would definitely take longer than expected. For one, the road winds up and down cliffs, around twists and turns. Thankfully, Luke is a skilled driver, and we had a trusty Prius for the trip.




We also took several pit stops along the way.



The air was intoxicating. The salty, fresh smell of the ocean combined with the strong pine scent from the hillside trees. We had our windows rolled down almost the entire time.





We eventually made it to San Simeon. We hopped on a bus that slowly made its way up the mountain, and we arrived at Hearst Castle.






We thoroughly enjoyed the tour and made our way back down the mountainside. It was time to drive back, this time up the coast.
 

We stayed in Carmel and explored Pebble Beach for several hours. We watched the sun set slowly over the ocean.




It was truly one of the best days of my life.