Tag Archives: adventures

I Love LA: Day Five

27 May

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I Love LA: Day Four

26 May

I have to admit, I didn’t do much on Day Four of my LA adventure. Honestly, my feet were still recovering from the self-imposed death march down to Venice Beach so, instead, I decided to chill by the pool with a trashy celeb mag and a diet Dr. Pepper. Pure class.

Later that night, Carter and I met his friend Adam at the Santa Monica mainstay, Father’s Office. Apparently this bar has the best burgers in all of LA. I have to admit, when paired with the sweet potato fries, Father’s Office was definitely in the running.

After Adam left us, we stopped into Renee’s Courtyard Cafe on the way home. The influential late-nineties film Deep Blue Sea was on. You know, the one about the killer sharks. Cinematic genius. We were mesmerized for a good 15 minutes.

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I Love LA: Day Three

25 May

Blisters, headaches, and suntans – I still love LA but, boy, am I tired.

I walked all the way from Wilshire and Ocean in Santa Monica to Winward and Pacific in Venice. That’s just over 2.5 miles… in wedges. Ooofa. No wonder I have dime-sized blisters on the bottoms of my feet. On the bright side, it’s like walking on really painful bubble-wrap.

In other news, I think I found the site of my first tattoo, however, I couldn’t be certain of the location or layout. I think I may have been a bit disoriented by all the resident freaks wandering around like crackhead zombies. New York City weirdos have nothing on the vagabonds of Los Angeles. Where do these people come from?

The journey begins…

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Strawberry Fields Forever

22 Apr

This weekend Carter, Bella, and I took a trip out to Marble Falls.

It had been years since I’d been out to those parts and, I’ve got to admit, I was a little disappointed. For starters, there were no “Falls” to speak of – the Pedernales River was as a dry as a bone; the ghosts of boat docks wobbled in high grass. There was, however, a ton of marble and granite. Everywhere I looked – marble, this, granite, that – enough already with the marble, we get it!

Barren rivers and masonry aside, the real reason we ventured to Marble Falls is because of Sweetberry Farm, otherwise known as the best spot for strawberry-picking in Central Texas. Strawberry’s ain’t your thang? Sweetberry also has onions, potatoes, bouncey dome, a tracto-pull, blackberries (when in season), goats, and donkeys.

The latter, of which, made me a little sad.

Oh, Texas...

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Austin, Officially

13 Apr

I am now, officially, a resident of Austin, Texas!

Thanks to Carter, I was able to pack up most of my worldly possessions into four oversized suitcases and drag them to my new home. I’m so excited that I could almost burst!

Here’s to a fresh start in the Lone Star State!

Momma I'm coming home.

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Easter in Connecticut

8 Apr

Alissa and baby Zariana.

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ET the Extraterrestrial

4 Apr

If Day #1 of my last week in NYC was all about Williamsburg, then Day #2 was largely Lower East Side… and a one-off trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

First order of business was the Tenement Museum, where my roommate Sanaz and I jumped on a 4pm tour called “Hard Times” At this point, it was around 11:30am, so we had some time to kill. Sanaz wanted bubble tea and, after I mentioned a good dumpling place I’d visited a couple of years ago, she was suddenly very hungry. Then we were off, on a mission to find these Chinatown culinary all-stars, zig-zagging through cramped streets and past tiny stores with funny names (ahem, Mei Dick).

After we’d accomplished everything we came for around the Canal/Mott Street area, Sanaz and I made a split-second decision to hop on an Uptown train and spend a couple hours at the Met. What a great idea – especially considering that the museum recently updated its Art of the Arab Lands collection. It might help to know that Sanaz is from Iran and quite knowledgeable regarding the traditional regional designs of Persia.

By 4pm, we were back in the LES and on our tenement tour. By 5pm, we were at Essex Street Market buying produce for the night. By 6pm, we were (literally) limping home. Not sure how I’m going to run and go to the NY Botanical Gardens tomorrow.

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Dine in BK

16 Mar

Dine in BK poster 2012

Daydream Believer

6 Mar

Spring in New York – the sunshine, the crisp air, the wide eyes peeking out from winter burrows – need I say more?

In comparison to last year’s blizzard, the past few months have been a cakewalk. Heck, New York hasn’t even had any substantial snowfall and it’s supposed to be 65 on Thursday!

Even though I’ll be locked inside an office…I’m still super stoked!

Balloons in a tree

heart shaped box

Awesome Air-Drumming Gone Way Too Long

26 Feb

Notice the sweat accumulate as Carter toils over ‘Sweet Emotion.’

President’s Day

21 Feb

In honor of the presidents, I made a pilgrimage to the windswept fields of TJ Maxx in search of the perfect pillow (and some other things I swear that I needed).

It was a comparatively cold day for New York City, who has endured unseasonably warm weather throughout the now dwindling winter. The store was awash with midday shoppers, the likes of whom I am utterly unfamiliar – Hasidic mothers and mother in-laws, Jersey housewives in sweatpants, a woman in a faux fur vest casually mentioning her nanny. Who were these people? Who was I?

I was a woman on the hunt for a bargain and a bargain I found. I’ll have you know that I walked away from TJ Maxx with two pillows, two shams, two silver frames, a new pair of “designer” shades, a muffin pan, a French press, and a new pair of headphones – all for $100.

Bargain Babe, Merchandise Maven, Low-Price Lucy – take your pick – you can call me what you like.

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Painting Valerie’s

20 Feb

It has been said that only your true friends will help you move for free. I think this adage applies to the painting of one’s Bushwick apartment, as well.

Valerie and I did just that over the course of two days this past weekend. It was like Hurricane Irene all over again!

The fun started at my house on Friday night and then moved to Valerie’s on Saturday and Sunday. By the end of it all – Whitney Houston’s funeral, two rooms and all that crown molding – we were nasty.

Let’s just say we could’ve fried some chicken with the grease off our heads. It was gross, ya’ll.

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Let the games begin!

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My knuckles, swollen like a blow fish.

Real New Yorkers

7 Feb

Why are so many New Yorkers obsessed with being “real New Yorkers?”

This thought entered my mind while watching a promo for the NY1 “Real New Yorker” campaign yesterday. A narrator speaks over photos of different New York street scenes while asking the viewer certain questions: (I’m paraphrasing) “why do you look into oncoming traffic instead of the traffic light before stepping into the crosswalk?”; “how do you know the street vendor umbrellas are garbage?”; “how do you know which subway car will drop you off closest to the exit?” – “you’re a REAL NEW YORKER.”

I understand the angle. NY1 is at once attempting to illustrate it’s longevity while also giving viewers the “secret handshake.” New Yorkers wear this city like a badge and rightfully so. The longer I’ve lived here, however, the more I’ve come to see New York as I would any other city: just a city.

Before I moved to New York I got a lot of chatter about how expensive it is, how hard it is to “make it,” how everyone is rude, how New York is the loneliest city in the world, how it’s a dog-eat-dog world and New York City has the sharpest teeth – the list goes on. What I’ve found? Well, there’s truth in every trite adage but only a little.

As with any megalopolis, New York is going to have slightly stiffer competition than other cities, more expensive options, more people thus more of the ruder variety, and, yes, it can be very lonely. My point is, when I stopped glorifying New York City and saw it stripped naked standing in front of me, I realized that we’re not so different from everybody else – we’re just more concentrated.

Sure, New York is different in the details: I walk everywhere; I look like a pack mule coming home from the grocery store; I have a personal relationship with my cobbler. In many ways, I feel like New Yorkers are closer, more in touch, with their residence just because of simple interaction. There is an energy to this place but there is no magic.

So why are New Yorkers so obsessed with being “real?” Maybe it’s because we know how special this city is. We know how, perhaps, we once glorified the skyscrapers and bustle; how we felt when we first visited; how envious we were of our friends that had already made the leap. We also know the dirty, often stressful realities of living here.

Maybe that’s what they mean by “real.”

Follow Your Bliss

15 Jan

Some times, when you’re feeling really low, the last thing you wanna do is exactly what you need to do.

I’ve found that when I focus on the negative – things I don’t have, what I fear, worst case scenarios, etc. – it paralyzes me in the present. In other words, I stop moving forward. For a creative and driven person, this can feel like a death sentence. In moments like these, I often know exactly what I need and it’s probably the last thing that I really want. This means doing something (or a combination of things) that I really love. But why would I have to remind myself to do something that I  love?

Because bad feelings have a tendency to make us short-sighted. We can only focus on the negative present- what is wrong now, what is scaring us now, etc. – instead of thinking about what we want for the future (ie. what we need to do to get happy). For me, this means going for a run, eating well and creating something.

The hardest part of this process? Actually doing it.

Always follow your bliss.

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A trip to Juiceland after a run.

imageLove is greater than fear.

Sunday Treasure

9 Jan

Upon stepping out of my apartment on Sunday afternoon, I found a stack of rather interesting publications strewn across the sidewalk in front of my door.

When I took a bit of a closer look I realized that there were some real treasures in the pile: first edition short stories by Jonathan Lethem, George Saunders and Haruki Murakami, to name a few. You don’t have to have a master’s degree in creative writing (ahem, me!) to know that those puppies are some real finds.

Of course, before I fully committed to pocketing these lovely chapbooks I allowed the paranoid New Yorker inside of me to surface. That means I inspected the delicate pages, one by one, every crevice of these tiny manuscripts for any sign of beast or vermin. Bed bugs, folks.

Laugh it up, but it’s a real concern in the City. Thankfully though, these bad boys were pest-free!

At least, I think…

Photo courtesy of Valerie.

Day at the Museum

8 Jan

I found myself in midtown today after leaving my phone charger at the office last night.

Because of this unlikely occurence, I decided to make a date with Manhattan and visit my favorite place on Central Park West: the American Museum of Natural History. Specifically, the IMAX presentation of Tornado Alley.

Of course, no trip to the AMNH would be complete without a stop in the hall of gemstones and at least one peak at a dinosaur. I also enjoyed the Hall of Biology, the meteor flick and the many, many gift shops.

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An Austin Donder

3 Jan

I miss living in Austin. Especially on crisp, sunny days like today.

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Carter and I in search of coffee and tacos.

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Winter in Austin is like autumn in New York.

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Carter and Maddie.

Texas!

26 Dec

My holiday adventure continues with a week-long stay in Texas!

I got to Mom’s just in time to find this little guy all nestled up in my bed.

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Goldie Locks, er, Chuy.

A Very Austin Weekend

30 Oct

This weekend I flew to my former home of Austin, Texas, for a two-day vacation. I came to see Carter but I had the added bonus of getting to hang with my mom and Anthony - and karaoking the night before.

Being that it was the weekend before Halloween, Austin was abuzz with parties and  zombie bar crawls. Carter and I decided to skip all of these events, save a quick stop by a friend’s pre-Halloween get-together.

Spooky karaoke (that’s a can of whipped cream in my hand, btw). Photo courtesy of Brook.

Mom and Anthony at Hut’s.

Carter and myself, looking very nerdy.

Later that night, costumes ran wild.

The goofiest Dylan and Brenda you’ve ever seen.

Maine Squeeze (Day #4)

19 Oct

On our last full day in Maine, Carter and I explored the nautical wonders of Mount Desert and its surrounding isles.

Our first mission was to find the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, located at the southern tip of Mount Desert Island. Truth be told, I was in search of a lighthouse with a high Halloween factor. That means I wanted an isolated location with dramatic highs and lows – cliffs and towers, ghosts, and tales of madness and love. Bass Harbor was not the place for this. The lighthouse was really cool but I was just expecting something a little taller… and scarier.

Interesting tidbit about the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse? No one head lamp operator lasted for longer than ten years at the location. In fact, most only stayed for a couple of years. Nowadays, the electric lamp doesn’t require a full-on operator and the accompanying house is an office for the Coast Guard.

The day got even more nautical when we arrived at the Sea Princess dock in Seal Harbor for a two-hour tour of the surrounding fjard and islands. This included the remote Cranberry Islands, one of which is home to the majestic Bear Island Lighthouse. Bear Island is also where we spotted our first bald eagle. Throughout the course of the tour we went on to see two more bald eagles, three seals, and countless loons and eiders. The Sea Princess even docked on Great Cranberry Island, a tiny islet on which about 75 permanent residents currently live. There are twelve students at the school and a rotating cast of teachers that boat in daily. Amazing!

Lobster traps.

Bass Harbor Head Light.

Man overboard.

Woods.

Bird key.

The Sea Princess.

Now that’s a real lighthouse! The Bear Island Lighthouse.

Sailing in the fjard.

The very remote Cranberry Island.

Maine Squeeze (Day #3)

18 Oct

The day began with a drive up to Cadillac Mountain to be among the first few to watch the sunrise stateside. That is to say, the top of the mountain is the first place the sun touches the United States every morning. It was magical.

After nearly freezing our butts off at the top of the world, we headed to the sand bar at low tide. There, I collected (even more) rocks and shells as souvenirs. From the sand bar, we were off to Acadia to see Jordan Pond and hike up to the Jordan Cliffs. Along the way, we spotted plenty of flora and even a little fauna. Namely, a very cute chipmunk.

Sunrise at Cadillac Mountain.

Carter on the sand bar.

Collecting shells.

Our B&B.

Acadia.

Foliage.

Alvin.

On our way to the top.

The view: Jordan Pond.

Maine Squeeze (Day #2)

17 Oct

Our second day in Bar Harbor began with breakfast at the Holland Inn, one of the best B&B’s in town.

The Holland’s innkeeper Evin doubles as a chef, I think, and was so helpful with her activity suggestions. She even recommended a short running route around Bar Harbor, which nearly killed me, as well as some of the best places to hike. Hiking would come the next day because that wee run around the village really wore us out – I never knew Bar Harbor was such a challenging run!

Our day ended with a lobster dinner at Galyn’s, followed by an easy walk on the Shore Path.

Random street shot. Strangers were so nice in Bar Harbor!

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Great Danes!

 

 

imageThe first of many lobster meals.

…And blueberry meals.

Along the Shore Path.

Maine Squeeze (Day #1)

16 Oct

It has been said that the more northern one travels inMaine, the more layers of time one peels back.

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from this “Vacationland,” aside from its lobster and purported beauty. What I found was not only a bevy of natural wonderment but also some of the nicest people and most delicious food. Speaking of which, Carter and I ate so much lobster and crab that I feared we would wake with claws and antennae.

Our first day in Maine was spent driving up the coastal highway 1, which spans antiquated fishing villages to LL Bean outlets and oversized chicken barns. By the time we made it to Bar Harbor it was nearly 6pm – just enough time to wash up, grab an utterly delicious meal at the local Cafe This Way, and head to Fort Knox for some Halloween fun.

What we instead experienced was a militarized ghost “hunt” in which fatigue-clad “hunters” led us through the darkened, moist bowels of the old fort. These people were pure wacky, with their provocative spirit commands, “ghost boxes,” and group hysteria. Carter wanted to bail about ten minutes in but I was afraid that we wouldn’t be able to find our way out. That meant we suffered through the entire 1.5 hours of the adventure – laughing and rolling our eyes and avoiding ghostly contact.

Carter in Portland, on the hunt for food.

On the road to Bar Harbor.

This was the only whale we saw.

Fort Knox observatory during the day time.

Stepping back in time…

On our way to the ghost hunt.

 Carter and the militant ghost hunter.

Totally over the experience.

To Maine!

15 Oct

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MAINE-cation Commencing!

13 Oct

It’s all happening!

My long-awaited Maine-cation has arrived like a ship in the night and Bar Harbor awaits as the lighthouse. C’mon, I have to make a schlocky nautical simile if I’m talking about Maine!

Just between you and me, I think this is going to be the best trip ever. Not only will I hike my brains out at Acadia, but I’ll also gorge on lobster, hunt for ghosts at Fort Knox, and sort out every lighthouse along Route 1. And all before retiring to a quaint B&B!

Maine is beautiful. Maine in October is magical. Just you wait and see.

Bar Harbor, ME

It’s A Witch Hunt!

1 Oct

On Saturday Alissa and I rode our broomsticks to Salem, Mass., for a good old-fashioned witch-hunt.

What did we find? Mostly rain, some witch-themed hen parties, and a handful of old men with thick Massachusetts accents (“chowda!”). Our first stop in Salem wasn’t actually in Salem at all but in the neighboring town of Beverly, which happens to house the Anchor Pub & Grille. During my extensive (internet) research last week, I discovered that the Anchor makes one of the best clam chowders in the area. The pub also has the distinction of refusing to accept any out-of-state IDs, which sort of made me feel like a criminal.

After chowing down on tha chowda and other bay-food, Alissa and I drove into Salem proper and let the witch-hunting commence. That basically means that we wandered from site to site snapping photos of anything vaguely witch- or warlock-related, while making horrendous puns along the way (“Witch You Were Here”).

Being as it was the first day of October, we delighted in the multitude of horrendous Halloween-inspired decorations on almost everything. From two-headed babies to sexy fangs to hex candles and done-up tarot card readers, Salem was a veritable cornucopia of SCARE.

I’ll be good to wait another ten years for my fourth return.

imageOur trusted steed.

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Quick stop for coffee and then we were off.

imageJust inside Lexington, MA.

Crazy gourds at the House of Seven Gables.

I’ve been here three times now.

Salem Harbor.

We agreed to purchase only one item.

Alissa was a turtle, I was a cordial.

Then we went to the place with the best clam chowder in Salem.

…And they wouldn’t accept our out-of-state IDs.

I assume all of these people were from Massachusetts, then?

We still got the clam chowder, even though we could drink.

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Totally delicious. Even inspired a drawing from yours truly. (That’s a witch, not a man in a sombrero.)

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Hex candles.

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This is what a real witch looks like.

imageScience has proven, no human being would stack books like this.

imageWitch bottles.

imageWitch wedding.

 

imageDumb Halloween.

imageTwins.

imageSexy fangs.

imageWitch you were there!

Official Autumn 2011 List

26 Sep

This year’s new and improved list of  autumn activities includes all the club-bangers from 2010 - except way awesomer and extreme.

As far as I’m concerned, last year was Halloween amateur hour. It ain’t even October and I’m already crossing activities off my list. This weekend, I’m headed up to Connecticut for a bi-annual visit with Alissa. We’re planning another one of our paranormal adventures, this time with a drive up to Salem, Mass., for the day. I first visited Salem in 1999 with my Dad and again in 2002 with the performance group “The Women of Ill Repute: Refute.”

I’m currently crafting an itinerary, which is sure to include Nathaniel Hawthorne, cemeteries, hanging trees, witch-hunts, and maybe even some clam chowder.

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Autumnal Tidings

20 Sep

Any one with ears, eyes, and a (runny) nose can tell that autumn is in the air.

If you recall, fall is my favorite season. I plan to pack this season with just as many fun activities as last year. Between a Maine-cation and the bevy of NYC-area things to do, Autumn 2011 is sure to be legendary.

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MAINEcation!

14 Sep

As a belated birthday present to myself, I’m taking off to Maine for a few days in mid-October – Bar Harbor, to be precise.

I’ve been told that Maine is beautiful for a multitude of reasons though, most specifically, for the kaleidescopic foliage of Acadia National Park, the marine life of Mount Desert Island, a bevy of quaint coastal communities, historic lighthouses and, of course, the hallowed lobster. This adventure will mark my first real vacation since venturing to Gettysburg last year.  

The sojourn will begin and end in Portland, with 300+ miles of coastline in between. Let the MAINEcation commence!

Ride 2 Recovery

11 Sep

To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, this weekend I worked on a project that documented Ride 2 Recovery.

I met some amazing people and, what’s more, heard their amazingly heroic stories, of which I’ve never been more inspired.

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