When in Manhattan…Weekend Recap Part 2

…drink Manhattans & be Merry!


Susy and I headed back after the wine store for quick showers/getting ready sessions before meeting up with our dates for the night– My uncle, Rod and his partner, Barry. 


Rod and Barry have lived in NYC for forever, and it is always a treat to see them when I visit.  Rod is also a wahoo, so Susy and I were in good company 🙂 They spoil me probably more than I deserve, and Susy and I visited with them on my last trip in 2009.  Highlight of that trip was a Bruce Willis celeb spotting at the Mandarin.  If my old woman memory serves me right, 2010 trip included A Chorus Line + the Moma (one of my favs!).  All fun memories.  But this time might have taken the cake. 


Out of the two, Barry is a HUGE fan of broadway shows, but this time Rod was equally excited for the show we had planned for the night.  Rock of Ages had just been on tour in Norfolk, and I completely regretted not going after reading the review in the newspaper.  Therefore, I was excited to already have something in mind for my upcoming NYC trip and elated when Rod said he was also interested in seeing that one.  1980’s Sunset Boulevard here we come! 


I snapped this picture before the show, aka before the usher caught me taking pictures and forced me to delete each one of them [or so he thought ;)]  

The show was SO FUN.  Granted, you have to be able to appreciate a super cheesy romanic comedy profiling two wanna-be’s struggling to make it big amidst a wild LA party scene of the 80’s.  The music, costumes, and dancing were stellar.  SO many lights, lots of laughs and a few unpredictable moments (definitely did NOT anticipate the baby’s cameo…oops spoiler).  I won’t give a whole synopsis tonight (Statistics homework still to do, yuck) but you can read about the plot here and definitely check out the soundtrack here.  


And for another unexpected broadway experience: JELLO SHOOTERS at intermission.  Seriously, how fun.  Rather than the classic bar selection, the bars at this show were just as fun as the show itself!  In addition to jello shooters, there were selling wine coolers since they also had their own role in the show (for the record, my earliest memory of wine coolers were my mom’s favorite “fuzzy navels”- literally taste like candy!)  Pretty sure PBR’s were on tap as well. Disclaimer: Rock of Ages isn’t a show to go to if you’re looking for class.  That isn’t to say we didn’t pull it off, jello shooters and all.  Wahoos are always classy 😉

Glad to have gotten a record of that moment.  Totally worth the NYC priced jello shoots, although I might have been able to make a whole batch for that price.  Note to self to do soon, St. Patrick’s day maybe?


Here’s a sneak peak of the finale (taken at another show, not the same actors).  Obviously we sang our lungs out to Don’t Stop Believing (and might has well danced in the aisles)…

…little did we know we would be doing an encore later.  Karaoke was then decided to be a must.


After dinner of course (at 11 p.m.!).  We lucked out and the theater was next door to Sardis, a restaurant that has served Broadway for over 90 years.  It is a legend in itself, but also home to portraits of hundreds of broadway stars, that line its walls.  Slide show here.

Iphone blurriness
Our awesome hosts for the evenings,
Rod (L) and Barry (R)

Since it was so late, I had dinner on the lighter side.  Plus I was craving a salad.  Beets + goat cheese salad and smoked salmon appetizer.  I had almost ordered smoked salmon at brunch but did not, so having it for a late dinner turned out perfectly.  Rod had crab cakes, and Barry enjoyed a manicotti appetizer and a tofu- curry dish with veggies.  Susy almost ordered foie gras, but realized that might be overkill considering the amount of duck she had consumed the day before.  She ended up with the steak tartar, and enjoyed every bit of it.  Such a foodie. [note: Susy and I have the most similar yet the most opposite palates known to man-kind no need to go into super details here, but we’ll leave it at I am obsessed with veggies, she is obsessed with meat, and we share a common passion for french fries, cheese and red wine.  Go figure.] 


Our night had flown by already, and we said goodnight to Rod and Barry before figuring out our plans.  I had a few moments where heading back to the apartment and warm bed sounded rather tempting, but was quickly reminded that I was only in NYC once in a while.  After some quick emotional girl time (aka let’s talk about how we are single and depressed for a second) we snapped out of it and got psyched up for karaoke.  I was also reminded that bars in NYC did not close at 2 a.m.  Boy did I need to channel some inner energy.


The first place we tried was a bust, all private rooms and no common bar area.  Pass. 

But the second place was a WIN.  It probably help that Susy had spent that last weekend there, and was already BFFs with the bouncers. As soon as I walked in, I was hooked.  Basically there are private rooms in the back that you can book and have your friends all together for karoake, but also a huge bar/stage area where anyone can pay $2.00 to sing their dear little hearts out. 


We toasted with Manhattan’s at dinner earlier, and continued the theme at the bar.  Manhattans + my own little twist (lime wedges!)

First up, we put on a performance, cocktails in hand of Don’t Stop Believing. 

Can’t say that I am not embarrassed about the degree of effort I appear to be exerting here, because the performance was definitely sub-par.  But hey, the audience seemed to like it!  They say southerns have hospitality, but New Yorkers sure know how to make a girl feel welcome in a karaoke.  Or they were just laughing at us and wanted us to put on another joke of a show, hah.  Now I am glad there’s no video evidence available.

And much later in the night, we Susy and her new friend Stephanie, belted out Katy Perry’s HOT N COLD.



I was up there for a bit, but they were really into it so I let ’em have it.   


Other adventures for the night included crashing a private party karaoke room (they definitely invited us to join), and making more new friends.  


Luckily we didn’t have to listen to wanna be performers like ourselves with a lack of musical ability the whole night, because Chris Meyer (a fellow Virginian!), and up and coming musician graced us with his renditions of Train’s Drops of Jupiter and Michael Buble’s Home.  SUCH talent, (and pleasant to look at) enough said.  Check out a few of his singles at themyersproject.  Chris will be releasing a single April 20th in NYC, best of luck to him.

Pike + soy milk (& banana!)
and Red-Eye for Susy

After staying out a bit past my normal bedtime, Sunday came way too quick that I would have liked.  I had a nice Starbuck’s walk to get some much needed fresh air…












YUM- love fries w/ skin and burgers w/ pickles.





Then it was dreaded showering/packing time. 
A quick stop at Mikey’s for burgers and fries:

Absolutely loved Mikey’s.  Apparently Susy orders from them all of the time but has never actually eaten there, so it was a first for her too 🙂  It was quite a treat since I only occasionally crave beef burgers!

Check out their shake menu:



 Susy shared some of her Chocolate shake with me but next time I am definitely trying the sesame or avocado one, curiosity was getting to the best of me!




After saying our goodbyes, it was back to the airport and back to VA 😦  My airport adventure didn’t get much more exciting than USA Today, Hunger Games, and Iphone listening.   


Wow, what a lot to pack into a weekend.  Definitely still catching up on my sleep, and hate to admit that I am actually trying to take it easy this upcoming weekend.  TV shopping and relaxing (and most likely some Albemarle Red) in Norfolk, VA.  Doesn’t quite compare to RadioBar but it will do for now 🙂 Summer is right around the corner, and its time to start planning my next adventure: I owe Charlottesville a very overdue visit.  



Update: Can’t believe I forgot to add a link when I originally posted, but ROD is a photographer- He is probably super embarrassed by the amateur quality of my photos, but I must give him a shot-out, check out Rods-Pix.com 







New York State of Mind: Weekend Recap Part 1

It’s fun to leave and fun to come home! 


Left the office @ 2:30 Friday afternoon, and did not step foot into my apartment until after 9 p.m. last night…I was whipped (and still had a baby kitty to pick up). 


However, I packed a TON into those 24+ hours. 


Considering this is about as exciting as my day got today:

note the rubberband ensemble I found 
on my computer when I returned to my
desk


I am glad to have something much more exciting to post about tonight. Because really, the 9-5 lifestyle is certainly not all its hyped up to be.  Must figure out how to work less/make more money ASAP.

Here goes NYC Adventures 2012 part one. 


Arrived from my flight to LaGuardia and booked it to a taxi.  Headed over the FDR with no traffic and found myself on the steps of Susy’s penthouse by 7 p.m.  After a glass RR (red wine, our fav obviously) and a smorgsboard of leftover roasted duck, foie gras + chocolate fudge cookies [all homemade at Susy’s school, the French Culinary institute] we played around with the idea of going out for dinner/drinks but both admitted we would much rather make ourselves at home with Wedding Crashers and our favorite company! 


Dinner ended up consisting of the before-mentioned bites + chia seed pudding for something sweet.  And maybe another glass of wine.  No complaints here.

Susy’s dog Beau cuddled with us on the couch, and was begging for wine.
Like mother like puppy?
 

Woke up early Saturday and lazily browsed cook books (the apartment of two culinary school grads = FABULOUS reading material) until we went out for some sunshine + walking.  The wind made slightly unbearable but we braved it for a while at least. 


The earliest brunch reservations we could score were for 2 p.m., so we showered, made a quick Starbucks stop to hold us over and stopped in for way affordable manicures and pedicure.  New York may be quite the sticker shock for most things, but I have to say you can definitely find more higher quality, lower priced salons than in Virginia. 


Next up was brunch Balthazaar.  This is a well-known French eatery in NYC, that had been recommended to me by a friend I met while traveling, and one that Susy had actually always wanted to try.  Sold.  Nothing beats exploring something new with your city host! 


wine out of glass bottles is a nice touch

Unfortunately BOTH of us were starving by the time we got there, and savored our meals before snapping pics.  We went traditional, Eggs Benny for Sus and Eggs Florentine for me.  Because I loveee cheese and spinach and because Susy loveees Hollandaise+eggs.  For that matter, she probably could’ve written the sauce lesson for culinary school, sauces are definitely one of her specialties, the more butter the better! Oops, slight digression.

So satisfied, post meal.
Raw Bar
Large scale mirror picture, which reflection of bar in the background.
Can you spot two happy girls?

The day had turned into a warm-in-the-sun kinda day, but the clouds had set in by mid-afternoon.  As I mentioned briefly above, Susy is at the tail end of her culinary school experience at FCI, the French Culinary Institute.  Lucky for me, she is able to access their kitchens during all business hours, even though she only takes classes M-F.  She had to stop to pick up her knives to take to be sharpened, so was able to give me my own personal tour!  Incredible, and a lot more industrial than I had inspected, especially since the school operates a restaurant of their own on the first floor of the building.  The top five floors (yes FIVE) are full of class rooms, teaching kitchens, pantries, auditoriums, locker rooms and portraits of super famous CHEFS! Here are a few behind the scenes shots:

Behind the scenes @ L’Ecole
Pastry Studio, my favorite is the plain white one
with the ruffles.
Example of FCI Classroom- More stainless steel than I
have EVER seen at one time (except for maybe in an 
operating room? weird.)
Cookbook library- of course the nerd in me LOVED
this part.
FCI Pantry.  AKA the bottomless (free) grocery store for
the students.  Unlimited truffles? Yes please.
wall of handprints of famous Chefs- took this one for my
friends at Goodwin Creek Farm and Bakery

Six flights of stairs later, I could safely say I had gotten a first class tour of FCI.  Best of luck to you on your final exam on Friday, Susy!


To continue our “my-life-resolves-around-food” day, we headed to the Meatpacking district to swing through Chelsea market.  Chelsea Market is home to Food Network Studios, but also a plethora of food stores, bakeries, eateries, cafes and the like.  We dropped off her knives to be sharpened, and killed at least forty minutes strolling through shops like these:

So many shops! [too many people!]
Enough Nutella to feed and ARMY.  At $35.00 jar a jar, its a deal!
Homemade Ravioli = on my list of things to do. 
LOVE white dishes.  Would PIN this picture if I did the whole Pinterest thing. 
SURPRISE! We stumbled upon the wine store (pun intended).
We missed tastings by two minutes.  Boo. 

But of course we wouldn’t let a small timing mishap get to us.  Since our evening plans didn’t start until 8 p.m., we grabbed Susy’s newly sharpened knives (in a fancy bag by the way, no we were not traipsing through the streets of NYC with brandished knives, although I admit I felt a bit safer once it got dark knowing we had a 7in dagger tucked under her arm), and headed home with one pit stop in mind.

Hands down the most high-tech, saavy wine store ever.  Total Wine needs to get into the game on this one.  

Basically wine-tasting with computerized pourers. 



 Make your selection, and it auto dispenses your taste of choice.
Just like a fountain drink, but bet
We ❤ Pinot Noir.
Don’t forget to rinse between tastings.  Kidding, who has time for that.
I am however I fan of this sink and the tiling behind it.
White cake.
White dishes.
White wall.
I think I found my theme for the day.  


Wine tasting concluded our exhausting day time activities.  We headed home to relax, refreshen up and prep for a night out on the town. 

I hate to leave this post at a cliff hanger, but its a bit past my weeknight bedtime.  Stay tuned for some of this:



  



Flyin’ High

Writing a post on my iPhone the airport mid-travel? Perfect. and I never thought I would ever use the words air[port], travel, and perfect in the same sentence (or paragraph, whatever). To be honest, I am a get-in-the-car-and-drive kind of girl, but will tolerate air travel only when I have to. Aka when I’m heading alone for a city not known for it free parking and balmy weather. I don’t like waiting around, being in confined spaces with strangers, and having to share my personal space infringed upon for extended period of time. Oh and there’s the forced socialization when I’m super into my book. Of course I’m polite, but there’s only so many hints one can give to Chatty Cathys.

But to be honest, today, things are going quite smoothly despite a 30 min (thus far) delay due to who knows what (that is, surprisingly not related to the tornado warning here in Norfolk, strange?)

I printed my BP last night, packed my car this AM and arrived at ORF with exactly an hour to my flight. Passed through security with no problems, and even got a laugh out of a friendly TSAA agent who noticed I was sporting Christmas socks.

Well for that matter, maybe his laugh was actually at ME for taking a picture of my socks (stupid iPhone shutter sound ruined any chance in nonchalantly snappin’ pics in line)

After appropriately relieving myself I was in dire need of refilling the Dasani bottle I had chugged in line before the “no liquids” barrier. Since I can’t stand the whole hold the bottle steadily under the water fountain while it fills up at the pace of a snail because I can’t hold it steadily enough, I mosied on into Starbucks and asked (politely) if they wouldn’t mind refilling my bottle. I was given a slightly confused look when I didn’t continue to order anything (had already reached my 2 cup a day limit). Then I explained that I had Starbucks yesterday and was even a registered GOLD card owner 😉 That seemed to do the trick, and I promptly found my refilled water waiting for me on the baristas finished drinks counter…like it was actually a grande no whip soy skinny cinnamon latte. Gotta love impeccable service.

So now I am now sitting in Starbucks Norfolk airport-style, enjoying my refilled bottle of water just steps away from my flight. Flying’ highly if you ask me!!

Afterthought/food for thought: As a regular customer, Should I feel guilty about taking advantage of Starbucks’ services just this once without being a “paying customer”? I think not, corporate America, but maybe I’m off this time.

UPDATE: after the above writing about my glorious afternoon I realized I was at the wrong ORF-LGA gate, oopps and we’re still delayed, leaving an hour late. I am getting some good newspaper reading in, however, and words with friending it of course @Aunt Christine and Courtney

Fabulous (Family) Friday

Like I warned when I published my first post, I am not entirely sure the direction my passion for blogging is heading, but I do know that I am [so-far] thoroughly enjoying this open space for thinking, pictures and KITing **KIT= Keep(ing) in touch!  Despite the last two entries being about food, I don’t intend to have a “Foodblog.”  I would prefer a “live life to the fullest blog,” but not 100% sure what that is entailing quite yet.  For now, I do have a How to Live in Norfolk page coming though!

I do have a few fun posts in the works (and exciting weekend travel plans) but thought I would shoot out a mid-day-what-is-on-my-mind post.  Just because I can and I have absolutely no idea who will read this.

First, I HAD to share my lunch for today.  I knew I would be indulging a lot this weekend, so I packed some veggies and fiber to make me feel nourished and full for the day before I got out of town.  (side bar also was in need of veggies after those quesadilla’s + Marg I had @ Luna Maya, last night, YUM- quesadilla’s were actually vegan, but more on that later!)

Lettuce, half a can of tuna (for protein), roasted Acorn Squash, and leftover Moe’s salsa/blackbeans.  This picture doesn’t truly do the meal justice, but I think squash and beans are such a fabulous combination!  sauteed spinach would be a delish compliment.

PS I hate to admit how often I eat lunch at my desk…however, it gives me the time to let my food digest while I surf/try to upload the above picture 10 times to make it fit, not fun, but what would this be all about if I wasn’t learning??

Second, I have been super contemplative about my grandparents for a variety of reasons last week and this week.  Just thought I would share some recent pictures of them, as I have been reflecting on how grateful I am to still have all my grandparents alive and generally well.  I would truly not be the person I am today without their inspiration, encouragement, guidance and influence.  Reflecting on their lives and accomplishments reminds me that I have HUGE shoes to fill in order to leave my own legacy as they have done.

T. Parker, Host Jr., my father’s father.  Was a wahoo at one point, avid sailor and golfer, lifelong resident of Newport News, community leader and President of his father’s and our family business for decades.

Janet P. Host, my father’s mother, with her dog Hannah.  She lives in Gloucester, VA but was formerly from Newport News and lived in Smithfield.  She is lover of all animals, and has an incredible passion for gardening, decorating and cooking.  For years she worked in the antique business (Swan Tavern Antiques) with her brother, David Peebles.

Finally, my mother’s parents, Renate and Joachim Steinert (and their children and grandchildren).  They have an incredible story of coming to the US with nearly nothing except the clothes on their backs from East Germany in the early 1960s. They are also passionate about sailing and traveling, having seen more of the world than I might ever see.  Oma and Opa, as I call them, worked for many years in banking and engineering, respectively, and are now able to enjoy a comfortable retirement in Florida while they continue to travel.  They have both instilled a permanent sense of responsibility and dedication to hard work in me through their stories and experiences.

I hope to share more of my family life at a later point, but for now, let this serve as a simple reminder to remember and appreciate your roots, no matter where your relatives may be!

Goooood Morning!!!

Needed to start off today with a little reminder of those little things I am SO grateful for today:

  • surprise emails awaiting my arrival to the office
  • 70 degrees and sunny weather, in February.
  • plentiful fruit in my refrigerator + oats for breakfast
  • Mandisa’s wake up music (semi-happy go lucky, brace yourself)
  • running buddies @Cait
  • Cville best friends @Sharon
  • catch up time + mom + red wine last night
  • making travel plans
  • kickball teams and BFFs
  • Getting-out-town-for-the-weekend! [tomorrow] @Susy

Back on the Bandwagon

Does anyone ever have those days/weeks where they feel like their life is spiraling out of control?? I think everyone has those indicators in life that make them step back and say hold up, I need to get back on track. AKA last night I had Jimmy Johns for dinner, and at least a pound (not really) of peanut butter/kashi/coconut milk goodness. And I didn’t even work out! Maybe hormones are to blame, but seriously, I woke up this morning telling myself to just hop back on. However, that is always easier said then done.

In an effort to give myself a little boost, I think I will share tried and true ways that I motivate myself to get back to moderation:

  1. Take a break from SUGAR- I swear sugar has drug like effects on my body. While I generally limit my sugar intake by choosing agave or stevia over the pearly white stuff, it sometimes has the effect of creeping back into my body, especially by way of too many M&Ms/girl scout cookies at work, or a flood of sugar cookies/chocolate last week for V-Day. and then I start feeling like I am on a roller-coaster of energy and sluggishness. So when you feel out of control of what you are putting into your body, I swear sugar is a good place to start. Take a break for 24 hours first and see how it goes 🙂
  2. Get some fresh air- Proper nutrition and eating goes hand in hand with exercise. Unfortunately, as we start down a downward spiral of poor eating, often our exercise patterns fall out of wack as well. As I sneak an extra said cookie here and there, I gradually move any motivation to work out at night. But even so, the best thing I can do for myself is go for a walk. Often, as soon as I get moving I am motivated to step up my pace to that of my routine run!
  3. Remind yourself why your healthful behaviors are important to you. Questions that can be asked include: How do I feel when I am treating my body with the greatest care possible? How are the decisions I am making today going to affect me in the future? The most important thing to remember is to not beat yourself up over “falling off the bandwagon.” We are humans facing different levels of stress, hormone fluctuations, and other health issues unbeknownst to us!

I am certainly in need of some encouragement (today and every day!) so will try to remember the following:

  • I feel confident, in control and energized when I am taking care of my body.
  • I am more productive when I have my meals and workouts planned.
  • I sleep better when I am taking care of my body.
  • When I feel more confident, I am happier and more relaxed, and am therefore a better friend, daughter, sister and co-worker!

so while I may feel like this right now:

With this sticky note on my forehead…

I should be feeling like this in no time 🙂

Nesting

Over the next few weeks, I cannot WAIT to show the world pictures my apartment.  Moving into my first (own) apartment has been the a highlight of post-college life thus far (I mean besides landing my first big girl job, duh.)

My step-mom calls it “Nesting.”  I call it peace and quiet.  Nothing beats coming home to a place that I call my own.  My furniture, my music, my bed, my clothes, my time…and my mess [of course] on occasion 🙂  My apartment has literally become an outlet for my creative juices.  I have really developed an interest in decorating, furniture arranging, picture hanging and even the occasional DIY project.  Obviously, doing the majority of these things in the comfort of my own time means everything isn’t always perfect, aka more a few times it has been pointed out to me that pictures are crooked.  but WHATEVER, if you want something done do it yourself, right?  So no,  I will not be offended if you notice a picture that is is slightly off.  It’s not your computer screen, its definitely my hanging job 😉

Here’s a sneak peak at my humble abode NEST (more pictures with diagrams, descriptions to come later +++ a look at design ideas/projects I am playing around with!)

Living Room (aka formal sitting room, yes I am probably the only 20ish year old without a TV in her living room but I LOVE it.  more on why later)

(yuck, apologies for the darkness here- see post#1 re: only own an iphone camera and still learning to use my Mac…)
Kitchen- redone after moving in (without an increase in rent, WOOP)

Bedroom- speaks for itself?

And that concludes the sneak peak for this evening’s viewing pleasure.  Pictures of bathroom, dining room, “bonus” room, foyer and hall way to come later.

BUT OF COURSE, how could I forget one last (most important) part of apartment life.  Yes, by “bonus” room I do indeed mean an extra bedroom, and by extra bedroom I do mean space for my roommate…

…space for her litter box and sunbathing that is!

That’s quite a close-up for her. (she would be SO embarrassed if the above was her cyber-space introduction)

Let’s post another just to get her at a better angle:

Oops, wrong picture, NOT her best angle.  (she is really killing me now).   She hates it when I point out that she’s got a little junk her in trunk.  We just tell her she’s big boned, with a baby head!

A little dark, but the best I can capture on photo booth right now.  Everyone say HI MAIA! Purfect.

No worries, she’s a huge part of my young twenty something (single) apartment life and will be back in subsequent posts.  Until next time, good night!

Cheers!

So I can’t believe this is actually happening.  I am doing it, I am jumping on the blog bandwagon, for a variety of reasons. No, I don’t have a strict set of guidelines for how to be happy, I don’t have twenty pounds to lose, and I am not having my mid-twenties life crisis (yet).  I also do not have a fancy camera (my iphone will have to suffice) or a super exciting/exotic/glamorous life to write about (or plans for one…yet).
What I do know, and have learned (kicking and screaming) is that life is quite the journey.  It is a combination of inputs and outputs, that when all put together create a beautiful master piece.  I am not sure where I am coming from, or headed, for that matter, but I do know that I am most happiness when I appreciate the little things in life.  In all seriousness, enjoying the “little things” has allowed me to get the most out of every day, or at least aggregately get enough out of the week to keep on rollin’ into the next. 
I hope that this blank slate in cyberspace becomes a way for me to keep in touch with those I have met along my life’s journey thus far, and a medium through which to share my everyday challenges and celebrations. 
They say you are only as young as you feel, and I hope that I can capture the feelings I have as a young (single) twenty something in order to relive them for years to come.