One of the best benefits of this flex period I’ve taken is the freedom to take a step back, re-immerse myself in this fantastic life, and just take… time. Time to explore, time to reengage with the things that fell to the wayside, and time to relearn what it is I love and what it is to be, simply, me. I spent the past few weeks in New York City doing just that. Certain motives for this trip must (for now) remain anonymous, but I did have the benefit of spending extended time in a fabulous place with some beyond fabulous friends, new and old. I started the trip off in Hoboken, NJ, with college sorority sisters Andrea and Sarah (i.e. “the besty club”). The first day was spent with a long run on the water and some quality time with myself, exploring the quaint shops and spots along their main row: Washington Street.
That night I ventured into the city for the first of many Manhattan neighborhood excursions. The night resulted in drinks with a friend on the Upper West Side, followed by a long walk through Riverside Park & explorations of another friend’s former stomping grounds: Columbia University. That weekend marked the beginning of Halloween and it was back to Hoboken for a slew of parties with a much larger group of Ohio State grads and college friends.
What I did not expect to arrive two days later was the onset of Hurricane Sandy, who roared through New York and New Jersey destroying much of Hoboken and the surrounding area. Luckily, our block was the one that never lost power, but we were (essentially) apartment-bound for the next five days… On the bright side, when in life do you get days of quality (& hilarious) time with your oldest and best friends? Never. My heart goes out to the victims of Old Sandycane, but am thankful to have helped as we could and for the forced reminder of “perspective.”
As the aftermath died down and public transit resumed, it was back to Manhattan… The weekend included drinks at places like Pony Bar (Upper East Side,) a delta only at MoMa, a night in Hells Kitchen (shout out: Don’t Tell Mama & all her Broadway Hopefuls — if you love live music, this is a must,) brunch at Alice’s Tea Cup, a day at the Met, and a night exploring Gramercy (love).
It was a beyond fun three days of Manhattan-immersion, concluded by a flight back West this past Monday. But, alas, I’ll be back to the City of Dreams next week to finish much of what I started… stay tuned.
Sincere sorrys for blog hiatus number two, but a few weeks ago I made the decision to 360 my life and was making my way back to the west coast. Maybe for now or maybe for permanent, who knows? The best part about our twenties (particularly our early twenties) is the freedom to do just that. To be spontaneous, to dream, & to “belly flop” in pursuit of a new direction. There’s something to this spontaneous approach to life … you go for it, give it all you’ve got, & believe in the capability of your own success. It’s this idea that it’ll all work out, but if it doesn’t at least you learned, you grew, and you had a fabulous time giving it a try. In my experience, as long as you balance the spontaneity & adventure with a little responsibility and maturity (i.e. saving) it usually does work out. And that, my friends, is fantastic.
Columbus, you made for an awesome six years, but it was time to move on to new experiences & broader horizons. You welcomed my eighteen year old self with open arms and offered me the chance to mold, to grow up, and to transition into a wiser and a more adult version of me. I laugh when I think back on the evolution of my college years and the immense transformation I experienced through friendship, through love, & through the overall madness of the college experience. Columbus, you gave me my first real job which not only prepared me for the next one and for life, but showed me more of what I truly want. And, lastly, you gave me an incredible group of amazing friends that are on a range of paths to an assortment of individual dreams. So, in sum, you rock Columbus and will always maintain a place in my heart.
So, to the West and to the world, here goes. On to the next phase. Let’s rock it out.
Fall style is my favorite: chunky sweaters, thick scarves, & boots beyond boots. As summer came to its close, I looked for a few pieces to help transition my current wardrobe into the autumn mindset. On a budget, I recommend snagging a few steals that will provide a nice compliment to the clothes you already have. Also, a complete closet makeover & reorganization will provide inspiration and new ideas to wear the clothes you’ve kept forever. Try it out & you’ll see. A few of my fall finds:
Burlap TOMS – $50 & Shoes for a Child in Need
J. Crew Factory Knit Infinity Scarf – $40
Statement Pieces from Amazon – $17
Cheers to a fabulous new season & a wardrobe revamping.
Last weekend I had a few friends over for an Autumn Kickoff & Welcome to Fall party. It was a great excuse to put Rose in a tutu & get a few of my favorite people together on a Sunday afternoon. I made my signature Spiked Cider (featured below) & browsed my pinterest boards for a seasonal recipe. I came across a pin for a Brown Sugar Glazed Pumpkin Coffee Cake and decided it was a “must try.” The recipe is a bit more complicated than the whole wheat Banana Bread, but still fairly easy & incredibly delicious. Definitely recommend.
1/3 Cups Water & 1 Can Pumpkin Puree (15 Oz)
2 Eggs & 1 Tbsp Vanilla & 2 Tspns Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 Box Yellow Cake Mix (18 Oz) & 1 Tspn Baking Soda
1 Cup Brown Sugar & 1/2 Cup Flour
4 Tbspns Melted Butter & 1/4 Cup White Sugar
Another 1 tspn Vanilla & 1/4 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1. Oven to 350
2. Mix the Water, Pumpkin, Eggs, 1 Tbsp Vanilla, & Pumpkin Pie Spice
3. Add the Cake Mix & Baking Soda & Mix
4. Pour into a 9by13 Pan
5. In another bowl, mix 1/2 cup Brown Sugar & 1/2 cup Flour & Melted Butter
6. Use your Fingers & Sprinkle the Mixture Over the Cake Batter
7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes Until Finished
1. Combine 1/2 cup Brown Sugar, White Sugar, 1 tspn Vanilla & Cream in a Pan
2. Put Pan Stove Top & Bring to a Simmer & 3. Remove from Heat & Set Aside
4. Pour over Top of Cake Evenly
(I thought this was a little light & made another serving of glaze: optional!)
The Finished Product:
Though a foodie at heart, I’ll admit I’m not a big cook. However, the shift of a new season & the onset of colder weather does inspire the Betty Crocker in me & (for a time) the pans and the flour are whipped out. I found the most incredible recipe for Banana Bread from a blog I admire: 100 Days of Real Food. Her blog cites a life of unprocessed food choices & an overall healthy lifestyle which, in the midst of 2012, can often be hard to stick to. Like any good yogi, I have a fondness for whole & healthier foods and am always down for a new recipe that falls into this category. And, let me tell you, this banana bread is phenomenal. The best part: no sugar. Seriously!
2 & 1/4 cups Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 tsp Baking Soda & 1/4 tsp Salt
3 Ripe Bananas & 2 Eggs
1/4 Cup Plain Yogurt & 1/4 Cup Honey
1/3 Cup Oil (Any) & 1 tsp Vanilla
10 Easy Steps:
1. Preheat Oven to 350
2. Combine the Dry Ingredients: Flour, Baking Soda, & Salt
3. Grab a Separate Bowl & Toss in the Bananas
4. Mash Them!
5. Add the Eggs, Honey, Yogurt, Oil & Vanilla
6. Mix it Up!
7. Pour the “Wet” Ingredients into the Flour Mixture & Mix
8. Pour the Batter into a Bread Pan
9. Pop in the Oven
10. Bake for 45 Minutes
YUM & Voila! Definitely my new go to. Bake & Enjoy.