Monday, July 30, 2012

on my weekend in pictures.

another weekend, come and gone. after a few weekends spent with friends, checking things off our to-do list for the summer, we decided to lay low. we went to the lake for lunch, relaxing by the water, before heading off to catch a movie just as the rain started. saturday night we stayed in, making spaghetti and meatballs and watching an old movie, before sleeping in on sunday. it was lazy, unscheduled and totally relaxing - a perfect end to a stressful week. and with that, let's go begin another. only five more days until the next one!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

on breaking the silence.

she's holding a christmas cookie. i like it. via here.
when i was in fifth grade, i was forcibly moved to a separate section of the cafeteria when my class went to eat lunch. permanently.
that was not my proudest moment, fyi.
i think i was being too loud, or causing some sort of ruckus with my classmate, or something of that sort. either way, the two of us got enough warnings that we were assigned to sit far away from our class during lunchtime. the two of us, in a deserted corner of the cafeteria. you know how alcatraz is all by it's lonesome in the san francisco bay? well, we were basically sitting in alcatraz.
while over there, though, we befriended our cafeteria lady, mrs. carpenter. everyone hated mrs. carpenter. she yelled. she whistled. she was curt. of course, as an adult, if i had to manage a cafeteria filled with elementary school children attempting to feed themselves, i'd probably do the same.
but we befriended her in our quiet little corner. she'd check in with us and tell funny stories and generally seemed like the nicest lady. i just really, really liked her.
in my school, once a year, the kids were asked to write a little thank you to their favorite teacher, administrator, etc. just a little note of appreciation. almost everyone wrote one to their teacher, but in fifth grade i had one of the coolest teachers in school. you know, the young, hip one that always drank diet coke. and i knew she would get a hundred letters. so i wrote mine to mrs. carpenter. and the week we had to hand them in, naturally, i got the flu. so my sister took it upon herself to turn mine in, and she brought it to mrs. carpenter. she came home and told me that it was the only one that mrs. carpenter got. and my sister gave it to her, let her read it, and asked her if she wanted to say anything back and that i was sorry i couldn't give it to her myself.
and she said that mrs. carpenter just looked up at her and started crying.
i'm not telling you this story to give myself a pat on the back. rather, i'm telling it to you to serve as a reminder for me. that moment has stayed with me for so long. how under appreciated and disliked people can feel every day. and how they may be totally different people if you got to know them. or took a moment to appreciate them.
i remember at my first job in nyc, how anxious and worn out and disregarded i felt all the time. and i had friends and family who were incredibly kind - encouraging me, supporting me, letting me lean on them. but when a co-worker come up to me, someone i barely knew, and asked me if was ok, i let it all hang out. and my co-worker sat there - listening to me, encouraging me, telling me i was going to be ok.
you see, our friends and family are there to do all of those things. and i'm not saying it's easy for them to support us and listen to us - but they're biased. there's nothing wrong with bias, and there's certainly nothing wrong with feeling like you'll be ok because you have so much support, but for some reason, when it comes from someone with nothing to gain and no obligation - what can i say. you just really feel it. you say to yourself "really? you think about me? really?" you finally, and most importantly, start believing in yourself again.
so that's to serve as my reminder - after giving that feeling to someone and years later receiving it in kind - that sometimes people need our encouragement and our support. it may be a random person at your office, or place of worship, or apartment building. and you know them just enough to say they look good in their new outfit, or they seem like they've really been working hard, or ask them if they're doing ok. at least in nyc, i feel like we keep to ourselves so much. we look straight ahead and we listen to our ipods and we think our co-workers are doing just fine. but you know, every now and then, a random appreciation could mean the world to someone. if there's a reason to break the silence, that should top your list.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

on my weekend in pictures.

i know - a day late and a dollar short! i'm in a busy period with work so my posting may be a bit less for the next few weeks. but it doesn't mean i don't enjoy my weekends! this is our third summer at the track, and true to form it was wonderful. we also had two friends visiting and it was so fun to share the track experience with them. the day was low-key and lazy and it was wonderful watching some beauty in motion. if you ever are in upstate new york for the six weeks the track is open, i highly recommend checking it out. hope you also had some fun horsing around on your weekends! (sorry, i couldn't help myself).

Thursday, July 19, 2012

on race fashion.

and so it begins again this weekend - track season. and sitting around all day watching horses strut their stuff requires a smashing outfit to go along with it. i have to admit - i think the first is my favorite. for me it's effortlessly cool and low-key while still making a statement. unfortunately the dress is almost $4,000. hah! so i guess that's out. the playfulness of the third outfit is also something i like - perhaps i'll have to try wearing leopard print and polka dots in my future. but in reality it's the fourth one that i'll actually be wearing this weekend.
here's to another fabulous and fashionable track season!
The Races at Saratoga
outfit one: sunglasses/dress/sandals
outfit two: sunglasses/dress/heels
outfit three: sunglasses/dress/flats
outfit four: sunglasses/dress/wedges

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

on growing up.

via here.
i was riding the subway to go see some old co-workers last week, when i spotted two girls, probably 17 or 18, sitting across from me, posing for silly self-portraits with one's iphone. they made funny faces, and kissed the camera, and crossed their eyes, and sultrily pouted for the camera. they were the definition of a teenager - yearning to be adults but not yet ready to leave childhood. and i slowly smiled to myself, amused by their theatrics.
then, just like a real new yorker, i teared up on the subway. out of nowhere.
i think part of it was taking heart in seeing teenagers being teenagers - i know, i only saw a glimpse into who these young women were, but that fact that 17-year-old girls still take silly pictures in public, not caring who sees, made me happy.
but i think it mostly came from their presumed innocence. there is much more i know through life experience, and so much more they have yet to discover. each heartache and painful shift in worldview, each success and failure, each pat on the back and disappointment rushed through me. right in that instant, just from watching two strangers. so much you yearn to want to stay the same, to keep your innocence, yet so much you want to grow up and truly feel alive by experiencing all that life has to offer.
i rushed out of the subway at my stop. past the world trade center memorial, past the building where i worked 100-hour week after 100-hour week in my first job in new york, to a waiting glass of white wine. past opportunities and failures and achievements that i never knew at the age of 17 had been waiting for me in downtown manhattan. once at the restaurant i listened to stories of separation and reconciliation in a marriage that had been on the brink, a job that was perfect sullied by a horrible boss, an internal struggle on whether to get married now that gay marriage was legal in new york and an option for a couple. i listened to heartaches, laughs, questions, jokes, sighs of discontent, sighs of content. i nodded, i gave advice where i could. i told my own stories.
the night dwindled and we walked along the twinkling lights of the hudson, heading back to our homes in jersey, long island and, for me, just uptown. and i thought of those girls. how one day they may catch up over a glass of wine, comparing notes on husbands, jobs, life. it doesn't get easier, that's for sure, from when we took silly pictures and worried about getting summer jobs. but we grow up. we learn more than we knew was possible. we accept more and develop compassions we never knew we had. we live more. fuller, richer, deeper. that is how we live. it comes with a price, the process of growing up, but i do think it's worth every bittersweet cent.

Monday, July 16, 2012

on my weekend in pictures.

we had a very new york weekend this time, centered around a day trip to coney island. not only did i get to eat a hot dog and ride the cyclone, a favorite roller coaster, but we also rode a roller coaster where the seats are horses! if i thought my day couldn't get any more perfect, it did, real quick. coney island is a must visit in my book - if not your first time you come to nyc, then the next. it's gotta be on the list. i'll admit it's seedy and has some unsavory characteristics, but it's a classic, it's fun and you get to eat a hot dog at the original nathan's. trust me, it's a must see. after all that fun we laid low - having a quiet pizza dinner with friends, followed by a lazy sunday, complete with a delicious brunch.
so back to work we go - too bad i can't ride a mechanical horse to get there.

Friday, July 13, 2012

on a little story.

via here.
if you don't read e tells tales, i would highly recommend it. her writing, stories, humor - it's all worth your time. and last week she posted about what was going on with her husband's grocery store - a community business for many years that he inherited from his parents.
and, luckily, a little happy news, plus a way to help elizabeth and her students when she starts teaching again in the fall. just a little something to mull about over the weekend, which i hope is wonderful for everyone.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

on venturing south in the kitchen.

i rarely cook food that's not based on an italian recipe. i mean, i'm always about to try my hand at something else and then i remember pesto and it's all over. but this time it was different. i actually gave it a go with this chicken alambre recipe. and was so happy i did (take that pesto!)
i actually found this recipe last fall, and it seemed so easy, and the flavors intrigued me, so i knew i had to give it a shot at some point. 
basic ingredients, including the chicken, except perhaps the chorizo. i had a hard time finding some (i made two different grocery store trips and that's my limit), so i ended up using spicy italian sausage (of course). however my spicy italian sausage didn't crumble in the pan like it's supposed to. major side eye chorizo imitator. major. side. eye.
after sautéing the bacon and chorizo for five minutes, add in the chicken and sauté until it's cooked through. then add the sliced red peppers and red onion. at this stage i cooked everything together for about fifteen to twenty mintues...
...while sipping on a little white wine and cutting the accoutrements - avocado and lime. but if you want sour cream, salsa, tomato, corn - the world is your oyster. or your taco. do your thing girl.
when it was done i wrapped it all up in a whole-wheat tortilla (that makes it healthy, right?) and BAM - flavor explosion.
the sweetness and smokiness from the applewood smoked bacon, the spiciness of the "chorizo", the chicken that was able to absorb all the flavors - accompanied by the caramelized onions, tart lime, cooling avocado and roasted pepper - every bite tasted different. this was the tastiest recipe i had made in a while. i halved the recipe and it was enough for two people and leftovers, so making the whole recipe would easily feed four or five.
and now, of course, i want to make more mexican food! if you have a favorite recipe share it below, and definitely give this one a whirl if you're looking for a tasty weeknight dinner.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

on more of our day in red hook.

i said i would tell you more about red hook and here it is! if you're a new yorker it's a neat part of the city to check out, and if you're a tourist tired of the crowds and looking for something off the beaten path, this is for you, too.
now i know we talked about brooklyn crab already, but i again wanted to point out how awesome it is again - you can even see lady liberty from across the river! a great place to relax, especially on a summer day.
red hook is old school brooklyn, probably because it's so hard to get to. brian and i take the ikea ferry from lower manhattan to get there - which is actually quite pleasant on a nice summer day. once you're there you'll see it's still a neighborhood in transition - broken sidewalks, abandoned warehouses, and old school pubs. no hipsters or suits for miles. it's quiet during the day and you really feel like you're in a different city. the main street - van brunt - has a lot of the restaurants and shops you might find interesting.
after we've had a bite to eat, or played a round of cornhole, we usually wander up into carroll gardens and clinton hill to take a subway back, two other truly lovely brooklyn neighborhoods with old italian restaurants and leafy trees and brownstone after brownstone. this is also a fun way for us to explore more of red hook - we stumbled upon a peaceful park (empty in red hook while it would have been packed to the gills in manhattan), before seeing our favorite sandwich shop's first and only other location. it started way back in 1922, and was founded by an italian immigrant who found it hard to get steady work at the docks in red hook. since then it has served the best sandwiches in nyc ever (according to me at least). unfortunately the store was closed for vacation otherwise i would have to stopped in for a bite or two. (here's a great little article on the history of the place).
as wandered out of red hook we got one last glimpse of old brooklyn. their local fire station, which had been there since the 1800's, had a plaque that explained how the firehouse used to run in the old days - they were paid 10 cents an hour, worked two week shifts, and got three hours off every day to go see their family.
they may not be paid ten cents anymore, but i think they're still as dedicated.
check out red hook next time you're here (or if you live here!) it's a unique part of the city that can't be missed.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

on my {extended} weekend {in virginia} in pictures.

oh virginia. such a wonderful, beautiful, perfect state (can you tell i'm biased? ;) i got back yesterday morning after a canceled flight on sunday kept me there one more night, the only hiccup in the trip. myself and brian went down to the old dominion to visit my parents, like we do every fourth of july. we lay by the pool, read books, go wine tasting, grill out on the porch and make s'mores. pretty much what we do every year. coming from new york city it feels like a different world, and i miss the mountains, and the pool, and my family quite a bit. if you've never been to virginia, i of course recommend it - it's relaxing, beautiful, and there's plenty to do.
i hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and a great weekend - and if you're a reader in virginia, i'm jealous!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

on a fashionable fourth of july.

here in america we're about to celebrate the nation's birthday tomorrow - and that means a whole lot of red, white and blue. my favorite part about summer is wearing white - specifically white dresses - so i embrace the holiday wholeheartedly. if i could, i would live my whole summer in a white dress. below is everything from fancy, to casual, to pure on americana. which one do you like best?
Red, White and Blue Fashion

outfit 1: ring/dress/wedges
outfit 3: necklace/dress/boots

for those of you that celebrate the holiday - happy fourth of july! i'm headed home to virginia, but i'm hoping to post once or twice while i'm home. have a wonderful holiday and a wonderful week!

Monday, July 2, 2012

on my weekend in pictures.

we had another lovely weekend, albeit hot one like the rest of the east coast. we went back to red hook (which we also checked out last fall) and i'll have more to say about it tomorrow - but as predicted, i fell in love with it all over again. we went to check out a new place that had opened - brooklyn crab. it's on the water and has cornhole and (soon to come) mini-golf. we played a few rounds of cornhole, drank a couple of margaritas, and enjoyed the view and the breeze when we sat down for lunch. after that we took a long walk back to the subway, checking out other brooklyn neighborhoods, stopping to rest in parks, and ending with a refreshing drink before heading back into manhattan. saturday night was spent in the company of a good friend - drinking wine, eating pasta, and enjoying some summer fruit. we laid low on sunday after all that excitement and now are just waiting for the fourth of july, when we head home to virginia. hope you enjoyed your weekend - and stayed cool!
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