Sunday, November 29, 2009

Races and Turkeys and Reunions, Oh My...

Thanksgiving has never been one of my favorite holidays but this year definitely turned a corner and may creep to the forefront on the "Favorite Holidays" list (if I kept one).  Great things about the past 5 days:

1. Got to go home and see my family and the puppies!  
That would be Chloe :)  My little girl!! (except she kinda looks creepy here eek)

2. I got to run my first race with my dad at the Ridgefield Turkey Trot. It was only a 5K but a little hangover and CT hills made this much more difficult than I was used to...

Chloe again! She loves the camera ...

3. Baking for Thanksgiving. I'm definitely not a chef but I do love to bake and this year I tried to add a slightly healthier touch to the pumpkin pie with a spelt crust. 

I did make a pumpkin pie but also managed to burn it and now refuse to post evidence of my baking blunder it on this site. I did get an oven burn on my arm as proof though!

4. Thanksgiving Meal!! 

Yeaaa that would be my plate.. there was no skimping on the dinner that night. I loaded up with turkey and gravy, my grandma's cranberries, a mushroom/hazelnut/barley stuffing, green bean casserole, veggies with a maple syrup and pecan dressing, and a sweet potato (which I threw in the microwave for 3 minutes prior to the meal because we had been too lazy to make mashed sweet potatoes during the day). It was aweeesomeeee.  Not unexpectedly the post-Thanksgiving meal nap was in full effect with my visitor Mal and I curled up on the couch watching The Ugly Truth :)

5. My 5 year high school reunion!! 
I can't even tell you how many times we have taken photos just like this one and its so funny to go back and see how much we've all changed. This are my best girls from high school catching up before heading over to our five year high school reunion! It was so great to see and catch up with people who I haven't seen in years, and just to hang out with good friends at an open bar ;) no complaints here! 

I hope everyone else had as great a break as I did!

Next thing post-thanksgiving to get excited about: i can start listening to xmas music!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fueling a Thirst for Knowledge...and Hunger

My grandma has been bragging for months now about her special privileges at the Metropolitan Museum of Art since she is a member. Basically, she gets to eat in the Trustees Dining Room (whoo whoo). So to celebrate her VIP status, my mom and I got to have a great brunch with her today! It's embarrassing to admit that I had not been to the MET yet and I have lived in the city for almost a year and a half. Clearly I need to educate myself more on historical things in the city. Unfortunately, I'm reeeeally not a museum person. I just don't get how people walk around and look at artifacts and trinkets from centuries ago.  I did like the Photography exhibit though :)

When we finally got up to the Trustees Dining Room, it was so nice! With a gorgeous view overlooking the park and open tables, and people dressed up in blazers and women in scarves and heels for sunday tea. I kinda felt like I was surrounded by old money..or something. Or I just like making stories up about people I see :)  
Like the avid blogger I am trying to be, I took photos of all the food, despite the man at the table next to us who my mom mentioned was very amused when I whipped out my camera for each course.

Complimentary mimosas and bread basket :)

Crab cake salad appetizer

Some pate concoction - the stuff never looks appetizing to me

I opted for the garden salad app. and the dressing was really good!

I got the vegetarian crepes for my entree with a squash and sweet potato puree and filling. It was delicious!!

The Bass

The gourmet rendition of eggs benedict

And of course...dessert!! I instituted the rule that no one could get the same thing. There was a chocolate torte, sorbet and berries, and a cheesecake. 

It just looked so pretty :)
Both the chocolate and the cheesecake were super rich and heavy, which I didn't really like. But my sorbet and fruit was just perfect, light and refreshing!
Overall it was a great brunch with three generations of lovely women :)

Flashing Room

Last night a huge group of us bought tickets to go and see 2 AM Club perform live at Union Hall in Brooklyn. This band is really good! They were signed about a year ago and are performing at concerts all over the US. I've been to two pretty low key concerts before tonight, and even without knowing the music (at first) they seriously know how to pump up an audience! We finally made it to Union Hall and this bar is a.w.e.s.o.m.e. There are book shelfs and couches and fireplaces right when you walk in. And then...drum roll please..

A bocce court!! How ridiculous. I was loving it. 
Then we went downstairs for the concert and again, these guys out did themselves. The concert was unreal and so fun!

Super sweaty singer -- but no worries we were seriously all sweating just as much jumping around to the music :)

Can't wait for another show from these guys.  Check them out!!   I think I decided that Flashing Room or Dearly Departed are my favorite songs :) Or Worry About you.. they're all good 

I decided that I need to venture out of my Manhattan bubble a little more and do things like go to Brooklyn for the day. It reeeeally isn't that far (a few subway stops).  Brooklyn has really cute boutiques and coffee shops and in general just a really unique culture.  People really seem to love it and I think I miss that sense of loyalty to a place.  My goal before the year ends is to go out to Brooklyn and take photos or read one day and just take it all in. Maybe the flashing room at Union Hall finally turned on a light in my head...

Do you have any good concerts that you've been to recently?? Or how about any suggestions for cute places to go in BK?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Happy Happy Birthdaaay

Last night we celebrated my friend Liz's birthday -- the big 24! It was the first time all of my high school friends that live in the city have gotten together in a while so it was really fun. We started with some cheese and cupcakes platters of course -- magnolia bakery is definitely a good way to celebrate. 

And some wine of course :) I made  everyone sing the whole happy birthday song, complete with the "How ooold are you?" and 24 hand claps. It's a family tradition.   I managed to resist the baked goodies since I had a healthy dinner before hand and was pretty satisfied! Not to mention I don't actually like Magnolia that much - I'm a much bigger fan of BabyCakes. yay!
We headed over to Stanton Social afterwards which had a really cool atmosphere! I opted for a specialty drink called the Black Night (I think?) which was Guinness and Champagne. Such a cool combo! I looove Guinness and figured why not splurge and celebrate at the same time.

Until the next birthday celebration -- which is next week actually. Which I am already super excited for . ...
I plan on just spending the day lounging and I can't even watch the MIchigan game because it's only on the big ten network.booo

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday night line up

Getting ready for one of my favv shows of the season! Can you guess where I got the title of my blog link for?? 

vampire diaries woot woot :)  As Glamour magazine so poetically stated in their December issue - that "I'm a man jaw line" just never fails on me 

The Diary of the Traveling Pants

As I mentioned in my "About Me" section I work for a consulting firm out of New York. Consultants, as a general practice, do travel alot, but I really have not traveled that much in the past year. That being said this week I got to take a mini train trip and stay at a hotel for two nights. Even though I was only going to be gone for two nights and two days, I still seemed to waaay over pack:

Eating healthy while traveling is seriously the hardest thing I think, not to mention trying to work out in the hotel's mayhem and completely filled with other consultants btw.
The food at the hotel was actually really good! I ordered room service my second night there and got a chicken salad with the dressing on the side (key tip to cutting the calorie count by a good amount) and some steamed asparagus.  From now on, I'm going to be very specific about the way veggies are cooked at a restaurant because it seems so silly to order something like vegetables, which are healthy, and have them show up slathered in butter. I'm definitely learning a good deal from The Biggest Loser this season (re: the episode where they go out to a mexican restaurant and just butcher the menu, i love it).

And then the nice hotel staff put some m&ms in a chinese rice box! so cute!!

This was just the beginning. My team had heard about a pizza place that apparently has the "9th best pizza in the WORLD :)  So of course!! we had to go!  As we pulled up I recognized the name Colony Pizza - a bunch of the guys that I was friends with in high school used to drive all the way to Colony to treat themselves (it's about 40 minutes from where I grew up). I texted my friend and he 1. was super jealous and 2. confirmed that he had no idea where we heard the rankings - Colony Pizza was definitely no 1. And seriously, this pizza definitely lived up to the hype. So - freakin - amazing. But...the have to get your own "personal pie", and they're the size of a normal pizza. haha - it's kind of like the soup nazi in there. So there were definitely extras. 
In case you are ever in stamford, ct - Colony Grill

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Central Park in the Fall

After my run in Central Park yesterday (I hit about 9 miles!) I realized I needed to get back up there and take as many photos as possible and capture the last of fall. I posted a few that I especially liked :)


Hangover Bfast?

I woke up this morning with a huge hankering (sp?) for a bacon egg and cheese sandwich - the go to hangover breakfast. Ironically, I did not drink at all last night. hmmm strange how these cravings work...

Instead of running down to the Bagel Shop underneath my apartment, I decided to run to the grocery store and make one of my own by making a few modifications to "The Breakfast Sandwich" from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch. If you haven't read the predecessor to this book, Skinny Bitch, I definitely recommend it. The two authors take a no-joke approach to getting healthy [and skinny] by following a vegan diet and give you recommendations and recipes along the way. While I do not follow a vegan diet by any means, I hardly would consider myself even a pescatarian, I think there are some interesting concepts in terms of animal treatment and what you are putting into your body that I don't mind incorporating into my diet. So for breakfast I made a pot of coffee in my fav mug:
For The Breakfast Sandwich itself, I used some leftover NAAN bread for an open faced sandwich which I toasted in the oven (oh the joys of a nyc kitchen sans a toaster). I topped that with some melted Veggie Mozzarella Cheese (my vegan addition), Turkey Bacon, tomato slices, two eggs over easy, and sea salt and pepper. On the side, I had some fruit and yogurt too!
This hit the spot and was soooo gooood. I then headed to the park for photo ops! coming up next...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Back on Track Month

Since my post on monday declaring November "Back on Track" Month, I think I've been doing an alright job :)

Monday was a little tricky as I was super tired that day. And when I'm tired, I tend to snack, alot. But instead of snacking meaninglessly, I tried to think about what I was reaaaly craving and ate that instead. i.e. nachos for dinner. As anyone who lived with me throughout college knows, I ABSOLUTELY cannot have tostitos in the house becuase I will continue to make plate after plate of chips and cheese. they are just too good to not go back for.

To make this guilty pleasure of mine a little bit healthier, I opted for Stacy's multi-grain pita chips with some spicy jack cheese, black beans and a crumbled veggie burger on top. So good and hit the craving on the spot!

Yesterday I had one of my bootcamp classes in central park with Ariane Hundt. The woman kicked my butt, and it was great. For breakfast I tried this new thing that is apparently taking the blogging/health world by storm, the Fitnessista Cookie.

This cookie included 1/3 cup oats, 1/2 scoop of Soy Chocolate Protein Powder, 1 Tbls Almond butter, 1/2 banana, 1/4 cup organic raisins. I mixed everything together and added some cinnamon to taste. Then just formed it into a cookie shape and stuffed it in the fridge the night before. It served as a great breakfast and kept me full the rest of the day!

I've realized that getting my morning off to a good start definitely sets the tone that I keep for the rest of the day. Does this happen to anyone else?

Also, to add to my back on track month plan, I purchased another groupon for 10 pilates classes for only $45! Seriously, this website is gold for someone looking to get back in shape and stay healthy, on a budget.

Until later :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Chocolate Show

As promised, details on this weekends Chocolate Show are as follows:
1. This was completely random as my friend Laurie had a friend who was working the event and somehow found our names on the will call ticket list...(hint, it's all about who you know in this city - I don't really know anyone but I know people that know people that know someone. Its the same thing right?) 
2. I didn't even know you could make chocolate people but...

3. A fountain of chocolate might be my equivalent of heaven

4. People can do some crazy things with chocolate. We tried chocolate with bacon and pop rocks?? PB Chocolate. White Chocolate Bark. And I think my favorite which was Spicy Merlot by 2 Chicks with Chocolate. Ooo or the Peanut Butter and Jelly Chocolate by William Dean.

Little fact about chocolate that you might not know...the melting point of cocoa butter is just below the human body temperature, about 97 degrees, which is why it literally melts in your mouth.  AND dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, benefiting the heart by dilating vessels and improving blood flow. So you're basically doing your body good by indulging in this fabulous treat! Me + Free Chocolate = :)

Case of the Mondays?

I feel surprisingly sluggish this morning for having such a lazy Sunday night. I normally wake up around 5:30 / 5:45 to get a morning workout in; I found that I really am so much more energized and have a definite hop to my step :) This morning, however, by the time I opened my eyes and looked at the alarm clock, it was already 6:30, meaning I had been listening to my radio alarm for a good hour without getting up..hmmm I decided to listen to my body and instead of dragging it to the gym for a most likely tired work out, I tried my own rendition of yoga/mediation to wake up. Basically, I sat on my yoga mat in the quiet and stretched and said some omms and thought about things I wanted to accomplish this week. It was quite refreshing to say the least!!

Still I think I'm a little out of sync and it was definitely a strong coffee kind of day . Grande with soy (gotta say I am a fan of starbucks but $2.12 for a coffee! ) And yes, this is my office desk. Don't be fooled by the photo and lighting, it really does look this grim....think office space..yeaa

With the start of a new month, and in the midst of holiday season, its no secret that this is the biggest catch 22 time of the year. Everyone wants to lose weight/get in shape/maintain healthy lifestyle so that you look good at all of the great events coming up throughout december! But because of all of the greeat events, it's so super easy to fall off the band wagon. Take halloween for one example, how many pieces of candy did you eat? And if you were able to refrain then send me your strategies!! I for one went to something called The Chocolate Show on Sunday (which I'll write about later when I get the photos uploaded).

Some other blogs that I follow, Caitlin's and Angela's specifically, have said they are declaring November Back on Track Month. As a true believer in needing motivation and supporters to stay on track, and a believer in the damage that I can do during Thanksgiving and Christmas, I'm going to try and revamp the healthy living this month and I'll try to post any tips I can.

I have you have any great recipes, workouts, tips, or just want to join in - then comment away!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

NYC Marathon Madness!

It's marathon weekend in New York! My roommate Lisa is running it (her first marathon ever) and it's been crazy the amount of training and dedication that I have seen her put into it. So amazing. 
Instead of running it (definitely not there physically) I thought I would help out by volunteering at the expo and registering runners the day before. Below are some photos from the event, which was awesome btw... 
(sorry for the quality , I only had my bb on me)

I love how happy these two people look as I'm snapping a photo :)

Me and my roommie pre run

And then today was the NYC Marathon!! The whole city was bustling (aka the subway was jam packed). It really is such an amazing thing to watch! There are live bands, hundreds of people cheering and supporting people that they don't even know. Here are me and my friends with our Go Lisa! sign 

I was so excited for her to run by with my sign and camera all ready to go. Probably too excited because when we actually saw her I tried snapping a photo and realized my camera was off!! So after realizing this I caught the tail end and you can kind of see her in this photo .. but not really :(
So proud of her though!!! 

Maybe a marathon in my future? How do you even begin to mentally prepare yourself for one of these things?