Tuesday, April 30, 2013

i hate your guts

I killed a bee yesterday.

WITH MY FACE. Like, my actual face.

Yep, it was my first bug-casualty as a permitted scooter driver. It was not pleasant.

I am certain he was a bee because he landed on my lap and I drove the whole way home with them there, too scared to flick him away because the motorcycle handbook says a distracted driver is a dangerous driver and I'm paranoid like that.

I do understand now, however, the helmet salesman's recommendation of a full face helmet. Full face helmets may be bad for fashion but are great for avoiding bug gut facials.

BUT NOOOO. I ignored his advice and purchased the cuter {but still safe!} three-quarter helmet that allowed me to wear my sunglasses, and as a result I had to drive home with a bug-gut booger spread all across my face.

Tim's reaction? "It's about time!"

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

my life is random. so is this post.

// This past weekend was thie first weekend home in six weeks.: 1)Spontaneous trip to the Bay Area when Dev asked Adri's dad to marry her, 2) Camping, 3) Easter {here, but still hectic}, 4) packing up the cabin and Elisse's Shower, 5) Jen's wedding followed by five days in New York, Phew! It was so good to be home and get stuff done

// I got my motorcycle permit on Good Friday, but due to all the insanity lately (See above), I didn't take the bike (aka scooter) out until this week. Yikes! Since my first time on the scooter this Sunday though, I've been out every day. I started out in deserted parking lots, as you do, and gained enough confidence to venture out on the streets on my second day. The goal is to be taking the scooter to work by Friday! We'll see how that goes. Wish me luck!

// I've taken a bit of a project hiatus (again, see bullet 1) and I can't believe how much it's affected my mood. I need to dig into something! Spring cleaning may be my best bet right now--lots of weekends away from home=very little organization going on. 

// Wedding-related text conversations with my brother are the best. I am beyond stoked for this wedding, you guys; expect to hear about it WAY too often!

// Have you ever seen the show White Collar? I cannot describe how obsessed with this show Tim and I are right now. We're working through Season 3 right not on Netflix. It's especially fun right now after our trip to New York, as the show takes place in Manhattan. It's so fun to see places we just visited on TV!

// Plans are under way for lots of exciting summer fun. Counting the days. 
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Monday, April 22, 2013

NY part 5

Our final full day in New York was not quite as eventful as the rest of our trip, but it was still busy!

Tim had an afternoon meeting in Yonkers, which meant round-trip we were looking at either a $400 cab ride or a $13 train ride.

We took the train.


I speak conductor now. Cool.

One 30 minute train ride from Grand Central Station later, and we were in the cute town of Yonkers! We caught lunch at a bar waiting for Tim's meeting, and ordered the HOTTEST hot wings we've ever experienced. Ever. (and we're pretty well-versed in hot wing fare!) Apparently, New Yorkers don't mess around with their buffalo sauce. It's serious. 

We found out later that they'd made their hottest sauce "extra spicy" for us, because we mentioned that most places tasted like warm BBQ sauce. Extra point for you, Yonkers. My mouth is still bleeding.

After wiping tears and blowing noses (Seriously, the bartender asked me if I was all right), Tim left to go to his meeting. The neighborhood was small, so it was pretty simple to figure out which coffee shop they would choose to meet. I ordered some tea and graded a few papers, all while watching my husband do his thaaaaang. He certainly knows what he's doing!



A pot of tea, a few papers, and a successful meeting later, we headed back to the train station. Sometime in the meeting, though, it had started pouring rain, so it was a mad dash back to the platform! We were grateful for shelter, that's for sure. I regretted my decision to forego pants for a skirt--it had been 75* all week and I got cocky!


Later that night, we knocked an item off of Tim's bucket list: Drinks at a speakeasy.



Middle Branch Speakeasy was seriously THE coolest experience ever. We found the address on Yelp (that site legitimately saved our trip), but it being a speakeasy it was hidden DARN well! No address posted on that sucker. There was a door at the top of some stairs, but of course it was a false entrance. A pair of french "doors" were also false--you entered through a "window" under the stairs. 

Awesome.

A Zoot-Suited older man checked our identification once we were inside (to make sure we weren't cops) and had us wait in a crowded anteroom. After a few minutes, he ushered us upstairs, where we were able to secure a table and drinks. 

The menu was full of surprises too! Not only did they have pages and pages of specialty cocktails, they had a selection called "Bartender's Choice". Essentially, you give them an idea of the kind of drink you tend to enjoy (type of alcohol, sweet/savory/spicy/dry, etc) and their bartender aka mixologist will make your choice for you (if it wasn't to your taste, they'd give you something else). Tim was so impressed with the drink they selected for him that he had the bartender write the "recipe" down for future use. Awesome! I picked one of their menu drinks, and I wish I had written that recipe down too.


It was DARRRK in there--all the better to steer clear of the prohibition cops!

We followed up those fabulous cocktails with Thai food from V{iV}. It was such a girly place, and surprisingly deserted for 9:30 on a Thursday in New York. We were the only patrons! It was delish, though, and surprisingly authentic for such a "glam" venue.



We left our little midtown apartment the next morning early. We had a plane in Jersey to catch! 

 
Bye, tiny apartment located above a Plastic Surgery office! // Bye, Tuscany Hotel across the street!
On the bus to Newark Airport

In all, it was a fabulous trip. Lots of unexpected setbacks and hurdles, lots of adventure, and very little sleep (These two californians are NOT used to city life!). Until next time, NYC. It's been real.

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how engaging!


Before I post my fifth (!) and final recap of our NYC trip, I had to pop in and exclaim my excitement: my darling "baby" brother who I love ever so dearly is ENGAGED! YAY!


Our impromptu "He said YES!" party after brother got her father's permission to propose. Poor guy was so tired!

He had planned  to propose awhile ago but unbeknownst to him the jeweler needed a few weeks weeks to get the ring {rather than the two days max he was told earlier}. He didn't discover this until after a 20 hour round trip to ask her parents for permission to marry him. Family and friends had to keep their mouths shut for three weeks as the ring took its merry time getting to him.

BUT NO LONGER! I am so excited to soon welcome a new sister into the family. Let the planning begin!

photo received from brother right after finally picking up the ringgggg // looks way better on her finger, amirite? 
Engagement announcement: "Ultimate dibs" Aren't they adorable?


Saturday, April 20, 2013

NYC Part 4

The afternoon on our third day in NYC, we walked up through Upper East Side and Central Park. The first thing we did was bust out a pastry in front of Tiffany's, because um hellooooo? It's iconic. They decked the entire BUILDING out for The Great Gatsby, which was pretty awesome. Not only was the first floor and all windows Gatsby themed, but they put giant chandelier and pearl decals all over th entire outside of the building too! Spectacular.
After exploring Tiffany's for awhile, we checked off one of the #1 things on my NYC bucket list: cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar!
 
Momofuku (or Milk, either name is fine) is an OMGG bakery with a few locations all over Manhattan. (Not planning a trip to Manhattan anytime soon? Williams & Sonoma recently started carrying their cookie mixes!). They're so nondescript and hard to miss--we walked past it twice before I noticed the tiny "Momofuku" peach on the doors and the sign next to it. We ordered a few of their specialty cookies (Compost, blueberries and cream, and peanut butter) and took them with us to Central Park.
 
The Compost Cookie was by far the BEST (cookie with butterscotch, chocolate chips, corn flakes, potato chips, coffee, and pretzels omgggggggggggg), but we tried the blueberries and cream and peanut butter too. We took 'em to Central Park, where we got the stink eye from Tim's new friend :)
No food was shared, don't worry; Mr. Squirrel was a cheeky bugger and has clearly learned that tourists=food!
By this point, the sun was beginning to set, so we wandered awhile through the park enjoying the fresh air and green!!! Just a few days and I'd really started to miss seeing wide sweeping "nature". 
Central Park Zoo
 
I couldn't believe the cherry blossoms in Central Park!! Absolutely gorgeous. Santa Barbara, blossoms are in full bloom for about a week, then we never see them again.

Continuing our wandering, we briefly revisited Rockefeller Center. Of course we stopped by the NBC Studios, where the show "30 Rock" takes place. Everything was closed by this point, but it was still cool to see it and pretend.
We also quickly walked through Times Square and were so overwhelmed and starving by this point that we abandoned it and headed out to find food.
 
We ended up at the Grill in Bryant park, which was DELICIOUS.
We ordered the lamb tacos as an appetizer and they were SO TEENY TINY that we couldn't even believe it! They were delicious though. It was here that Tim ordered his first Manhattan in Manhattan and we basked in the stereotypicality.

Day 3 was a fantastic success. Lots checked off the NYC bucket list :)
Lastly, I canNOT get over how gorgeous Grand Central Station and the Chrysler Building are, and how even more beautiful they are lit up at night. And they can both be seen at once! Fabulous; can't capture this much beauty on an iphone.
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Friday, April 19, 2013

NYC part 3: things I learned on my day alone downtown

Behind? Here's Part 1, Part 2.
On our third day in NYC, Tim had a meeting out in New Jersey so I was left alone to fend for myself. Oh darn. Get ready for photo overload.

(You'd better believe I'd been scoping out places to revisit the day before!)

 
 
Polka-dots are totally a thing, right?


I visited all the places I knew Tim would HATE to go through with me--the 3-story H&M, Fishs Eddy, Kate Spade NY (obviously), and what seemed to be a hundred vintage shops and boutiques. Of course I picked up a couple things while I was there!
 
In all, I walked about 50 blocks down 5th Avenue, then the same back up Broadway and Madison Avenue. Lots of fun places to shop there! Some things I learned while I was out:

:: HOW have I waited so long to have gelato?!? I picked the best place and time to have it for the first time, though :)
:: "Walk" and "don't walk" signs are just suggestions. Rarely anyone follows them, least of all taxis or seasoned New Yorkers. I felt like such a dork waiting for the light to change... I just nestled myself deep into the middle of a large group crossing the street, and did just fine.
:: Cute jewelry is best found on street vendor tables. Their junk is the same stuff as the junk you'll find in Pink or Rainbow but its much cheaper. And the street vendors are nicer than the store salesgirls, lets be honest.
:: New Yorkers are FEARLESS.
:: Everyone and their grandmother smokes, it seems. You forget stuff like that living in California!
:: Lemonade makes a perfect thirst-quencher when you forget to drink water all day. Nanoosh's on Madison is a great place to get it. While you're at it, you might as well order their Tahini Hummus plate (GIGANTIC and only about 7 bucks) because oh yeah, gelato was all you'd had for lunch.
::(learned from Tim) get comfortable using the subway. A trip that cost $270 in cab fare was nine bucks by train. Live and learn.

By the time Tim returned from Jersey, I was a seasoned New Yorker. Or at least a little bit more salty :)

NYC part 2

See Part 1 here!
Our second day of "work-cation" (our first full day in New York) was spent exploring the city/dropping off packets for Tim's potential clients. Our apartment was in Midtown, conveniently located near the majority of his stops, and since the weather was so nice, we decided to walk the circuit.
 
We picked up paninis at a little cafe somewhere near Grand Central Station and started our adventure. In addition to midtown, we also hit Koreatown, Chelsea, the Flatiron district, the diamond district, Rockefeller Center and bits and pieces of the garment district (not exactly in that order). PHEW! It was a long day of walking, but we were able to see the sights along the way and I got to stop into a few vintage shops while Tim was talking to clients. Not too shabby!
We have a picture of the Flatiron district in our Bedroom! So cool to see it in person.
Not all of it was work-related, though. We made a stop into the New York Public Library and I got to pretend to be Carrie Bradshaw running up those stairs (although let's be honest, I'm much more of a Charlotte).
We explored Grand Central station (neat until you reach the tracks, then it's unbearably hot and stuffy). We walked around Rockefeller center (under construction), St. Pat's Cathedral (under restoration), and both Madison and Washington Square parks. I think in all we ended up walking 200 city blocks that day--dress shoes were a bad choice, Timmy boy!
 
St. Patrick's Cathedral
 
Madison Square Park
After the "work day" was done, we popped into Peter Dillon's Pub for drinks. The place was really low-key and filled with businessmen just getting off work to blow off some steam; i think i was the only girl there. The bartender was an old Irishman (all the good ones are, don't you find?) and he was fun to chat with. Good choice all around.
We hit an Italian place called Saluté! for dinner. We had had an early lunch so we were starving by 6:30... And were of course the first ones in the restaurant for dinner. And we were worried we wouldn't get a reservation! It was decent but nothing to write home about, but we used a coupon we found on Yelp and saved $20, so I didn't really feel too bad about it haha. Moral of the story: always visit Yelp in a new city--the reviews and photos are helpful and you could save a few bucks!

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