Sunday, October 31, 2010

My weekend

Confession: I didn’t shower today. I never actually got out of pj’s or sweats. And, I wasn’t even sick! Just in need of completely laziness. In my defense, I haven’t seen anyone all day. All three of my roomies are gone for the day.

My weekend consisted of napping after work on Friday and then catching up on my DVR.

Saturday, I got to spend some time with my dear friend, Nichol. Went to the grocery store. Then, spent an evening watching my DVR (again) and going to bed around 11 (pretty early for me in general, let alone on a weekend). I even set up my dinner on a TV tray by my chair for easy dinning.

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Embarrassing, but true. I reminded myself of Mary in The Wedding Planner when she also has dinner on a TV tray. Can’t believe this time last year I was going dancing at Montana’s every weekend and staying out until at least 2 in the morning.

Today, I slept in and got sucked in to The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I am such a sucker for the Real Housewives. I also worked on some homework… but not until 5 at night! Oh well.

Also, can I just say how beautiful the light is just before dusk? It is gorgeous picture weather.

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These don't do it justice at all. I’ve always thought if I ever get professional pictures taken it should be at this time of the day in the soft golden light.

I love weekends like these. Lots of time to just be.

Top Ten: Reasons I hate Halloween


1. How “dark” the day is.
2. Scary costumes.
3. Grossing people out.
4. Making people scream.
5. Asking people for candy.
6. Dressing up.
7. Haunted music playing constantly.
8. Spiders. (this should really be number one).
9. Halloween-themed episodes of my favorite TV shows.
10. The fact that people think I hate Halloween because I am a Christian.

So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book…

Day five. Last day.

I am always sad the days I leave New York. But on the other hand, it is always easier to get on a plane when I am going home. Although, the plane ride home was a bit turbulent for me.

Mom, Dad, and I woke up and went to lunch at The Rockefeller Cafe. We sat and watched the ice skaters. The restaurant overlooks the rink.

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We shopped after lunch. I bought some items for me and my sister at the NBC store and then went to Anthropologie to buy Ashley a sweater and ended up buying things for me as well (including another book).

Afterward, we went back to the hotel to pack. Well, Mom and I packed; Dad stayed longer in New York for work.

I also went for a walk. I needed to somehow say a mental goodbye to the City. I love New York City. It was a great trip!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Not even a sound on the streets of New York, just the beating of my own heart.

Saturday, day four. My last full day in New York.

Met my Mom’s friend, Kim, for lunch at Sarabeth’s. We chose it simply because we passed it when we were at the Park. It looked very cute and then I looked it up online and read it was one of the most famous breakfast places in New York. Ironically, a few days ago, I read on Bethenny Frankel’s twitter that she also recommends Sarabeth’s for brunch in New York. It was a great place and very nice inside.

Afterward, we spent the afternoon on Fifth Avenue. We walked around The Plaza, my second favorite place in New York.


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We went to Tiffany’s, Trump Tower, FAO Schwartz, and the Apple store (has an awesome glass elevator and is open 24 hours a day). I bought a few New Yorker sidewalk pictures (I have about twelve now). Then, my parents went back to the hotel and I walked further down Fifth and went to the Gap, where I bought some clothes. It is always a great and encouraging feeling to walk alone around the City.

We were all exhausted this day, so we went to pizza a few block up from the hotel. It is called Angelo’s and is right next door to the David Letterman’s studio. We wanted something close by and easy, where we could wear tennis shoes and not feel under-dressed. Angelo’s has awesome pizza and we sat right at the window and could watch everyone walk by. Love that seat.

Mom and I went to the Time Warner Center after dinner and Dad went back to the hotel. We had never been to Time Warner Center. It was pretty cool. It is basically a big mall with a Borders (so, I was happy), many high end stores, and a huge Whole Foods on the bottom floor where many locals get their groceries and pre-made meals. 

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It also had beautiful flowers. It was super fun to visit.

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We rode in a Pedi cab back to the hotel. A Pedi cab is a bike cab. I was freaking out! How did we expect a little bike to drive two women in a busy city street? Luckily, my Mom was much braver than me! Our “driver” was really interesting and sweet. He moved to NYC from Florida just a few months ago and is trying to become a lawyer. He finished law school and is waiting to hear about if he passed the NY Bar exam. He told us he works the Pedi cab a few days a week, making $150-$200/day and also has a non-paid internship at a law firm. I’ve never met a more interesting driver.

We ended the evening at the hotel bar, again. Why do I love it there so much? It is just fun to sit and chat with my mom over a nice beverage. Am I the only 24-year-old who feels this way about hanging out with her mom? :) I just love her.

Friday, October 29, 2010

…to buy a hat that will turn out to be a mistake - as almost all hats are.

Friday, day three…

Again, Dad went to work this day. Mom and I were so exhausted we slept in. We slept in so late that I woke up before Mom. That is saying something!

I love Central Park, so we attempted to go eat lunch at The Boathouse in the Park (as seen in 27 Dresses). It was beautiful to see, but had an hour wait, and we were pretty hungry, so we left and went searching for food.

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When we left the Park we were at 5th and 90th, which is the most “upper east” I’ve been yet and there are mostly just houses, museums, and churches in that part of town, so we started walking. I admitted how hungry I was and Mom said “let’s just walk and see where fate takes us.” Of course, “fate” – or as Mom and I believe, God – took us to The Episcopal Church of Heavenly Rest. It’s a beautiful church and Mom and I love to step inside them and as we did we found a small cafe. It was part of the church and served quiche and sandwiches and pastries. We had an okay tasting quiche at The Heavily Rest Stop. And so, God provided.

Next, we took a cab to SoHo (close to the Greenwich area we got lost in on Wednesday) to once again try and find the yarn/quilt store. I looked it up online and saw it had moved locations in April. On the way we stopped and picked up Dad from work for the day. Even with the address at hand, we still got lost by about three blocks. But, we found it. I loved it. Mom did too. It was adorable and sweet and the people who worked there were very nice (unusual in The City). The shop is called Purl SoHo (they have a blog too).

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While in SoHo I stopped at my favorite stationary store called Kate’s Paperie. Love that place. Then, we got stuck in SoHo (where Mom bought a hat). Trust me, I am not a happy person when stuck in SoHo. There were no cabs that wanted to give us a ride (they were there, but full, or not willing to drive our direction). I was super grumpy. Stuck in SoHo, three miles from the hotel, and with my parents who were both trying to hail cabs. Finally, a wonderful female cab driver took us “home!” Thank God.

For dinner we went to McCormick and Schmidt's. I got oysters as an appetizer, which was lovely.

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We followed it with more time spent at Rockefeller Center, got cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery (that really weren’t amazing…sorry), and shopped a bit.

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Lastly, Dad and I had a near-midnight snack at the food truck (again). Not quite as good the second time, but still worth it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The shop around the corner

Day two in NYC…

Dad worked on Thursday (which is technically why we were able to go to New York) and Mom and I went to lunch at The Little Owl. I have been wanting to go there since the last time I was in NYC. It is located at the bottom of the Friends’ apartment building (where they filmed the outside shots) and is also the restaurant at the end of the movie No Reservations. Plus, Bethenny Frankel (of the Real Housewives and Bethenny Getting Married) recommended it on Twitter when asked where to eat in NYC.

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It was delicious! I could eat there everyday. We got lost in Greenwich Village finding it, but it was so worth it. It was quaint and beautiful and small. It had about twelve tables and we sat at a corner window table that looked out on a great street of homes. It was the only restaurant/retail place for a couple blocks.

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I just loved the whole atmosphere of the place. Mom and I both had scallop salad and French fries (which were incredible) and dessert, which for some reason I can’t remember right now… that doesn’t seem right.

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Then we got lost for two hours. TWO HOURS. Yep, we went around in a circle TWICE. We were trying to find a quilt and yarn store (more about that later) but couldn’t… even when the cab took us to the right address. But, I did find a great little bookstore and bought two books (of course).

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Later we returned to Rockefeller Center.

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I went to The American Girl store. I love visiting there! Makes me feel like I’m seven again with my little Samantha doll (which has now been “archived” by American Girl). The store even has a doll hospital and hair salon. And, a hook to hang your doll in the restroom, an over share, I know, but adorable. The whole store is just so cute.

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Later that evening we met my parents’ friend, Van, for dinner at another new place called Ruby Foo’s in Times Square. It was very fun and tasty. Also was great to meet Van.

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Afterward, my Mom and I went to a musical on Broadway (Dad went back to the hotel… he’s not much of a play person). We saw In The Heights and it was GREAT. Jordin Sparks, the former American Idol winner, was one of the stars, which I didn’t know beforehand. Her voice was awesome.

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On the walk home we ate off a food truck… yep. A food truck on the streets of NYC…. without a menu. But, there is always a long line in the evenings and Dad always mentions trying it, so Mom and I did. It was pretty good. A bowl of lamb, rice, mystery meat, lettuce, and a white sauce, that the guy in front of us recommended. It was pretty good, but then again, everything tastes better after 10pm.

Mom and I ended the night at the hotel bar, which is one of my favorite parts of NYC with Mom.

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Thursday was the day I would repeat from start to finish again and again. It was pretty perfect.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Don’t you just love New York in the Fall?

This time last week I was finishing day one in New York City.

It was so nice to be back in NYC. We landed on a red eye at 5am and as soon as we got to the hotel I showered and went to sleep. My Mom, Dad, and I then woke up and headed out for lunch at Serendipity.

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As is custom, we split a frozen hot chocolate. Amazing.

Then we went to Bloomingdale’s across the street.

We rode in a carriage around Central Park, one of my favorite places ever. It is so beautiful and I was able to see things I had never seen before, including the skating rink and a carousel.

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We took a red bus tour to see more of the city. I took a ton of pictures on my iPhone.

We got off at the stop for Ground Zero because in all my trips to NY I have never seen it. Ground Zero doesn’t look like much, but we did find this little church called St. Paul’s and it became a shelter for tired firemen and relief workers during the rescue effort after the attacks. There are benches where the firemen slept and people still use the church as a living memorial, sending signs and posters thanking the church and rescue workers for their efforts after 9/11. It is also the church President George Washington attended.

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We ended the evening with dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant, Il Corso (on 55th between 5th and 6th).

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I love it there. They moved locations across the street because they needed a bigger facility, which is great because it means they are doing well and every time I visit I wonder if they’ve closed.

It was a packed first day and definitely set the tone for the rest of our trip.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Flights and Philippians

I am leaving on a jet plane for New York tonight. I love New York City, but I hate to fly. I have major anxiety about planes and airports. It isn't so much the trapped feeling or the spread of germs or the lack of trust I sometimes have in humanity, it is the falling from the sky or crashing on (or off) the runway that makes me paralyzed with fear. 

I am asking you to pray for traveling mercies for me. All day there have been beautiful reminders and wisdom about faith, and I feel that the Lord has sent me those today because of my flight tonight. He is an amazing God. He is why I don't believe in coincidence.
So, here is the verse I will be focused on when in flight:

Philippians 4:5-9 
The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Can you have too much fun?

I don’t think so.

But you can exhaust yourself and that is what has happened today.

I have spent the last three evenings with lovely friends. I miss the days when I used to be so social I had to plan each night out. And that was only about a year ago. Life is much better now, but I don’t go out as often.

Thursday I spent the evening with my best friend Nikki and my sister. We sat and chatted everything wedding (she is recently engaged) and life for three and half hours. It was perfection. I don’t get to see Nikki often enough. Love her.

Friday I went to a pampered chef party with my friends. Not sure when I became the age where going to pampered chef parties are fun, but they really are! And any chance to see some of my favorite people is a good time.

Then, Saturday, yesterday, I spent the ENTIRE day at Disneyland with my aunts, cousin, and sister.


It was a lot of fun! We laughed and went on a lot of rides, ate yummy food, and cried a bit about missing Grandma. Then I got extremely tired and pretty grumpy because I was so exhausted after walking all day and being out so much this week.

So today, I am lying in bed with a sort of cold. I have to get better because I am going to New York soon and I can’t miss work for a sick day before then. So, I am taking a “sick day” today. On a Sunday. And, to be honest, it almost feels like a treat. It is cloudy and a bit rainy outside, quiet in the apartment, and I have loads of TV to watch on my DVR. What could be better? It is how I wish I could spend every Sunday.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hallelujah the miners are free!


The miners are all safe! All 33 of them! And, the rescue workers are safe. No one is down in the mine any longer. I am so happy. I watched the footage all day at work (in between actual work, of course). I smiled all day too. There is nothing sweeter than seeing loved one reunite.

Still can't fathom what life was like for those men. Still can't believe they survived 69 days underground - 17 of which they weren't sure anyone knew they were alive. Still can't comprehend how they kept such high spirits.

They certainly had a lot of faith, which I think was key to their hope. They were all wearing t-shirts that in English translated as "Thank you, Lord." on the front side and on the back quoted Psalm 95: 4 - 6

In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the LORD our Maker...

This whole thing is such a miracle.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Chilean miners: Rescued


I’m watching the miners be rescued right now. The third one just got lifted out. It is such a happy miracle. It is a rescue that is uniting the world. This is a moment of history that is fun and special to be a part of.

It just makes me think about the psychology assignment of this whole thing. I am fascinated wondering what these men discussed underground for 70 days. What did they talk about? How did they bond? Who did they bond with? How did they keep hope? Did they have major arguments? Did they make friends for life? Do they want to be miners still? What did they think about? Who did they think about? Did they re-evaluate their lives and the people in them?

Clearly, I used to be a journalist for a short while.

Also, what did they think about in the rescue tube for 20 minutes on the way up?

It’s interesting to me because I never want to be in that situation, yet I am always fascinated by these kinds of scenarios, planned or accidental, where strangers or casual friends are forced to live together 24/7. I guess part of me is almost envious because it is an experience that only those men can completely understand. It is a bond they will always share. It was a time that can never fully be explained.

The real miracle of the miners is that they are all still alive. They survived 70 days underground after an unexpected accident. And, they are still smiling in the pictures taken when they were trapped. SMILING. That is a miracle. It is incredible they learned to survive together and thrive and exercise and laugh and work together. There was even debate among them about the rescue because many wanted to be the last to leave. How incredible is that? It just shows the power of the human spirit. The power of selflessness, love, support, and friendship.

I pray for their recovery after this rescue and for their transition back to their normal life that can probably never feel normal again.

Giving it to God

(Note: I so admire bloggers who can be vulnerable and honest with their lives on their blog, so until I get nervous and take this down, this is me today...)

I have been thinking of this verse lately. 
  
My mind has been heavy with my own demons. Everyone’s got them. Or maybe you’d rather me say everyone’s got problems. Or as my mom always said, “all God’s children got problems.” Or maybe I should say we all have our own bad habits, or baggage, or struggles… the list could go on… and on…
  
So that is where you find me this week. I am filled with struggles in my own head. Struggles that make me feel sick to my stomach and depressed and confused and fearful. I am stuck with some major OCD this week and am trying desperately to climb out of that dark hole where all obsessive compulsive thoughts are stuck on repeat. (Suggestions welcome).
  
But last night, in the midst of my anxious and obsessive state, lying in bed begging sleep to come and relax my mind, I was given the memory of this verse: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” It brought me some focus. It centered me. Actually, it did not center me – the Lord did. He is the one who strengths me when I am weak. Who has grace on me. Who can heal all the craziness running control in my head.
  
So I tried. I tried to think about things that were lovely and true and praiseworthy. It helped enough to fall asleep and to wake up this morning without my very first thought being the gross stuff (that was the second thought today). When I am in these OCD stretches the only real thing to do is pray and wait and breathe and try to change the TV station in my brain. It will get better. It comes from too much stress and too many hormones and who knows what else (genes maybe?), but when it is here it seems like I have lost control.
  
Thankfully, I do not need to control. I can give it to God. And I did. Again and again and again. He is a patient God and is willing to hear me ask for healing and peace too many times to count.
  
I am humbled by His grace and cling to His truth. Not only daily, but every moment on days like these.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Top Ten: New York Trip

Things I am looking forward to...



1. Sitting in Central Park.
2. Spending quality time with my parents.
3. Seeing The Plaza.
4. Going to a Broadway show (this time, In The Heights).
5. Eating yummy food.
6. Walking around Grenwich Village.
7. Staying in a nice hotel.
8. Feeling the magic that is NYC.
9. Staring into the buildings at night when all the lights are on and you can imagine who the people are who live there or work there.
10. (Hopefully) visiting my favorite house (see above photo).

Happiness is...


Chatting on Facebook about The Real Housewives with my cousins.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

More notes on the weekend…

I have been thinking about the 40 hour work week a lot. In other countries work is less important than here is the US. Other countries seem to understand the work and life balance. They get that life is made up of relationships and relaxation and pursuing happiness. In Spain, for example, they have siestas every day for a couple hours where people can go home and nap and enjoy a fabulous lunch before heading back to work.

I wish that we could get paid our 40 hour work week salary at 32 hours a week of time. I am sure we would get the same amount of work done with 8 hours less in the office. I would even work 10 hours a day just to have Fridays off (or even Mondays).

Don’t you think this country is missing the life and work balance? When people list what is important to them they never start with “work” or being “productive” first. No, they start with family, friends, even pets. We always wish we could change our priorities but financially can’t… hence, my new work week hours suggestion. On people’s death beds no one says “I wish I had spent more time at the office.”

The only other way to change this? Self-employment. In an ideal world I would work from my computer. Heck, in my ideal world I would work from my laptop and get paid to blog, or follow blogs, or review media or pop culture, or write a column for a magazine. I would work from my laptop wherever I am – my apartment, vacation, the beach, anywhere.

Maybe someday.

Weekend reality

So I thought a lot about my weekend wish list this weekend as I went about doing things. Not only did I try to follow my wishes for the weekend, but some items were added to it as well…

Here is how my weekend actually played out.

Friday:

Saw The Social Network with Teri.
The Social Network is AMAZING. Go see it. Seriously. Go see it. I really hope it is nominatedat Oscar season, especially for adapted screen play by Aaron Sorkin. He is a genius. Even the first scene is classic Sorkin. Gosh I love him. The movie was excellent and the acting superb. Made me want to give Mark Zuckerman a hug. See the movie and tell me what you think.

Saturday:

Coffee with Nichol.
So needed. Every time we hang out I feel more balanced, centered, encouraged, and inspired. Love her.

Grocery store.

Went to another movie and saw Life As We Know It.
I know it sounds incredibly lame, but I loved it! It was a GREAT romantic comedy. Plus, there was an adorable baby in practically every scene. It was just so good. One of the best rom-coms I've seen in a while.

Old Navy, where I spent too much money buying clothes for NYC.

Barnes and Noble, where I spent too much money. Period. Bought W magazine, complete collection of Winnie the Pooh, Women Food and God, and a children’s book called Dear George Clooney Please Marry My Mom.

Sunday:

Slept in.

Caught up a little on DVR. Watched four episodes. Found a new show I now love: Blue Bloods. Excellent. A crime show with a family dynamics story line and I am all about family dynamics.

Swept and mopped the floors.

Vacuum.

Cleaned my bathroom.

Three loads of laundry.

Talked on the phone with two of my high school besties (am I too old to say besties?) friends, Amy and Sara.

Dinner with my sister – so nice to spend time with her (she was gone most of the weekend with sorority stuff).

Ending Sunday by reading blogs and watching more DVR’d shows and talking with my mom (read this weekend’s blog entry from her because I love it).

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Celebrity dreams

Last night I dreamed about Angelina and Brad. Ridiculous, I know.


Also, today I bought a kids' book called "Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mom."

(photo found here).