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May 20, 2015

The Little Things | The Flip Side

A few weeks ago I wrote about all the little things I missed when I left Manhattan. Today we're going to talk about all the little things that make me want to burst into Hulk sized fits of rage. 

1/ Escalator Etiquette
{deep breath in, deep breath out} If you want to see me go from 0 to 461654 in a nanosecond, stand on the left side of the escalator. Why is this so damn hard to understand. Walk on the left, stand on the right. 

2/Tourists in General
I get it, you're in {one of} the greatest city on the East Coast, you want to take pictures, you're overwhelmed, or if you're lucky, you're lost. I get it. New York is big and can be overwhelming. It's no excuse. People live and work here. I wouldn't visit any country in Europe and just stand in the middle of the sidewalk trying to figure out my ass from my elbow. Hint: move.

3/ Lunch Bites
It's no secret that NYC is expensive. It's one giant tourist trap, but even when you're not swimming in that cesspool known as Times Square, it's still not cheap. Take lunch for example. You want to be healthy. Salad is healthy. So you walk into Chop't or any number of places where you can get some greens. Be prepared to hand over a $20 and get less than half of it back. Your average salad is $14. 

4/ Swimming in the Street
During our rainy seasons some of the streets turn into a giant mess because of dips in the road. I've stepped in some puddles where my foot was completely submerged. There's no way to look at them and know whether you're going to make it across the street or fall in some wormhole.

5/ Luggage
I kid you not, I was strongly compelled to kick some woman’s rolling luggage the other morning. These people just drag it along behind them without a care in the world. Newsflash: these are busy streets and no one has time for your luggage to be taking up valuable walking real estate. Do yourself, and the rest of us, a favor and pack lighter.

6/ Eau de Urine and Eau de Garbage
Unfortunately, when it starts to heat up in the city these "natural" perfumes become more and more evident. You try to be tactful and just ignore it but sometimes it's so repulsing you have to cover your face.

I don't drive in the city very often, and when I do, I usually don't have any problems. However, if you're unfortunate enough to be stuck in gridlock or rush hour traffic I hope you have War & Peace in your car somewhere.

The building on the right is my old office :)
Admittedly, this isn't even traffic. It is, however, what 7th Avenue looks like at all times of the day.

If I could just get rid of all 6 of these things, the city would be the most wonderful place. Buy you know... yin and yang.

What don't you like about NYC?

May 17, 2015

Sunday Sweats Vol. 2

After I found myself being active all 7 days last week I was riding high. I'm determined to stick with it, especially now that it's nice out, and be active for a minimum of 30 minutes a day.

Sunday 5/10: Trails {1h15m)
Sundays will always be a lazy day for me. But rather than being a complete couch potato I told K that I wanted to get outside. We headed up the Palisades Interstate Parkway (PIP) and just crossed the border into New York to hit the trails at one of the many lookout points.

We hiked down and back up all 520'

Monday 5/11: Gym {27m}
Unfortunately I got a late start at the gym but I got lucky and the rack was open again #WIN. I'm a huge fan of squats and deadlifts. I increased my weight on both and even hit a squat PR.

Tuesday 5/12: Walk {47m}
I must have slept great because when my alarm went off at 5:30 I wasn't even mad. I got up at 5:45 got dressed and headed outside for a walk at 6am. I'm going to try to make this a routine thing. I even made it a point to spend half my lunch at my desk eating and the rest outside walking around.

Wednesday 5/13: Gym {27m}
I did 20 minutes on the elliptical and then moved on to bench press, single row, and k-bell swings.

Thursday 5/14: Walk {30} & Hip Yoga {10}
I was going to rest this morning but then said ahh what the hell, laced up my sneaks and hit the pavement. I kept it short and came back and did a hop opening sequence I found on YouTube. It was ok... she went through the positions too fast for my taste. I walked the 6 blocks over to Central Park on my lunch break and took a loop around the pond.

Friday 5/15: Gym {58m}
I made sure I was at the gym early so I didn't need to rush through anything. I did my lower routine - hit another PR on squats! - and then did some bicep curls, leg curls, and tricep extensions to kill time.

We had a mini-challenge for the FFL competition at work - planking. I participated and held for 1:04. A minute four!!! That's double what I typically get. I'll admit I didn't think I'd get more than 30 seconds. There's something to be said for friendly competition!

Saturday 5/16: Walk
I walked to the nail salon, got my talons done. Loving this color by the way!

Then I took the bus down to Edgewater to find a belated Mother's Day present. I then walked the 2.6 miles home. #sore

Weekly steps: 102,146 - New record!

If you have a FitBit let me know! I'd love the friendly competition.

May 15, 2015

Survey Says

Alyssa was nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Blogging Award and generally tagged all of Blogland for participation. As she said, who doesn’t love a good survey? I know I do so here are my responses!

1) What is the most frightening / most exhilarating thing you've ever done?
To date, the most frightening thing I’ve done was probably when I just picked up and moved to NJ. It was on a whim after coming down to visit a now ex for the weekend. I went into Nordstrom and applied in their Salon Shoes department and was hired on spot. I moved 2 weeks later.

2) If you could meet anyone (dead or alive) who would it be?
This question always stumps me. There are so many amazing people both alive and deceased that I’d love to just sit and talk to. I’m cheating and naming a few: Judy Garland; Audrey Hepburn; Clark Gable; Michael Michelle {obviously we need to discuss our shared name}; and George Carlin.

3) If you could be on a reality TV show, which one would it be?!
When I was younger I always wanted to be on The Real World. How fun/crazy would that have been!? At  this point, I seriously hate reality TV. Occasionally I’ll get sucked into something exceptionally bad {My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding anyone?} but more often than not, it’s not my thing.

4) If you could travel to one place (money not an issue) where would it be? 
Does everywhere constitute as a place? My travel wish list is so long there’s no way I’d be able to see all my places in any meaningful manner in one lifetime. One of the places that I’m interested in seeing that’s not a “typical” choice is the Czech Republic. Granted photos can be enhanced but the city of Prague looks beautiful. Plus, the Sedlec Ossuary is there. That’s been on my wish list since my 2002.

5) Tex-Mex or Chinese food?!
Tex-Mex all day errryday. As Jim Gaffigan says, "I'm convinced that anyone who doesn't like Mexican food is a psychopath."

6) Would you rather wash dirty dishes or do the laundry, including the ironing?
Believe it or not I would rather do laundry for days than have to wash one dish. I loathe washing dishes. It dries out my hands so I wear rubber gloves; it’s tedious {didn’t I just wash these yesterday?}, and it’s time I could be doing something else. At least when I’m doing laundry I throw it in and can do something else for 25+ minutes. And the folding? Not so bad. I’m one of those freaks that can fold a fitted sheet and make it look normal.

7) What's your most embarrassing childhood memory?
Ha! I’m clearly in a good mood because I’m actually going to share this. So there I am in my 3rd grade class. This week the room is in a horseshoe shape. I have no idea why that’s relevant, but I remember the detail. The problem: I had to fart. Fast forward and of course a fellow classmate called me out on it amongst our little corner. I tried to play it off as if I was just making mouth sounds. You know, when you puff out your cheeks? I’m pretty sure no one believed me.

8) Are you a hot or cold weather person?
My personal motto, Mo’ hotta, mo’ betta! I live for summer. Don’t get me wrong, I like the chill of fall and feet of snow, but summer was my first love affair.

9) What are you deathly afraid of?
I actually don’t have any fears. Not in the sense that people have phobias of spiders, snakes, heights, etc. I just don’t. What I am most afraid of is failure. And really, I think that’s more self-imposed. Who says what makes me a failure other than me? So I guess that makes me fearless :) 

10) Would you rather watch movies at home or at the theatre? 
Let’s see… get dressed, spend money,  be around people OR couch, pjs, wine? You tell me.

Happy Friday Kids!

May 13, 2015

Will Smith Can Keep Maimi

Last week I shared about how awesome vacation was. 6 ½ days of unadulterated bliss. But on the 7th day, reality came a knocking.

Our very last day on the island was speedy and sad. I was up at 6 and sat outside to watch the end of sunrise.

I went back in to get ready to head down to breakfast one last time. After enjoying a crepe and fresh fruit we headed back to the room to finish packing. Our housekeeper for the week, Angela, shows up. She stopped by to give me a hug and say good bye {cue the watery eyes}. After that, reality started to seep in.

We made our way back to the main lobby/bar area and lazed about. The shuttle back to the airport was leaving at 10 so we wanted to relax and soak up a little more of that irie attitude. We boarded the bus and I got teary-eyed. I’m certain I pouted the entire way there, although I tried to just soak it all in. We got to the airport at 10:15 and hauled our luggage to the AA kiosk. It was all downhill from there.

A friendly AA employee assisted us with the kiosk. It’s a good thing because when I told him what time our flight was he told me that wasn’t possible. Turns out our returning flight, which was scheduled to take off at 1:04pm Jamaican time {they don’t observe DST so they’re an hour behind us} was actually taking off at 4:40 pm. Remember when I said we got there at 10:15? Do the math. If you're math inept like me, that's 6.5 hours.

If I’m being honest, this was the highlight of the trip home because, oh, it gets worse. We meandered around the duty-free shop for a bit and I picked up some goodies for myself. I love how easy I am to buy for.

We  were sitting around letting my phone charge when we ran into a couple who were at the same resort we were, and who are actually from my home town. We chatted with them for an hour or so. It was nice to hear someone else’s POV and kill some time while doing it. 

We eventually made our way to the food court and to Air Margaritaville where I did the only thing I knew how to do and hung on to my Jamaican vacation for as long as I could. Red Stripe for lunch!

We sat by the gate for the last half hour and sadly boarded the plane. We take off around 4:40 as scheduled and arrive in Miami 90 minutes and 1 time warp later. {It’s now 7:05pm}

I would bet that 99% of the time, when your plane lands you taxi into your gate, deplane and then head to customs. Lucky us, we were finally part of the 1%! We sat on the runway for close to an hour for who knows what reason other than MIA is organizationally inept. We finally got off the plane at 8pm. We now need to get through CBP, recheck our bags, go through security again, and make it to the gate for a flight that is scheduled to depart at 9:05p.

We hastily made our way from the gate to CBP which went as smooth as US customs could possibly go. We head to the “connecting flights” area only to be told that this area is closed and we need to go “downstairs and to the left”. Real fucking helpful. We somehow make it “downstairs and to the left”, which, for the record, is actually down the ramp, out the door, to the left, down the hall to the elevator, up to the 2nd floor and then to the right. But yeah, down and left.

We attempt to get in line to have our bags rechecked and the multi-colored bearded man in his snazzy red blazer tells us word for word “you’ve missed your flight, get in line and rebook”. Oh Miami, you’re amazing at customer service! We grudgingly get in line and as we’re moving I go back to the departures board to see what’s leaving next. The next flight home is at 6am. SIX IN THE MORNING!  

Screw you R. Kelly

We’re moving along in the line trying to be patient when a different AA employee spots the tag on K’s bag and practically yells at us that our flight hasn’t left yet, points to the weigh station at the counter and tells us to “throw your bags on there and go!” Seriously?! I want nothing more than to punch the multi-colored bearded man. Now we need to get through security {hooray for no major line} and get to gate D31. Of course this is allllllllllllllllllllllllll the way on the other end of the airport. If you ever thought this was fun…

...I assure you it’s not. But it’s exactly what we did. Barefoot I might add. There is no time to put on shoes when you’re facing the possibility of sleeping in an airport. The thing about running barefoot on granite flooring – it hurts. K ran on ahead and I started walking. We ran into another couple who were coming from Jamaica who were also headed to EWR. Her husband was even farther behind so I walked with her with the thought that K was at the gate and would stall for us. Success.

Long story shortish, we made the flight. And the gate attendants let me go to the Starbucks a few feet away to grab drinks and snacks. They, and only they, receive all the snaps.

We finally land around 12:30am and make our way to baggage claim.  After what felt like days I see my leopard treasure coming toward me. The carousel spins, the bags dwindle, and then the carousel stops….

K's bag is still in Miami. Because why wouldn’t it be? 

What was your worst travel experience?

May 11, 2015

One Love Lessons

I've been back from vacation for over a week and I’d be lying if I said they weren't some of the happiest days I've ever experienced.

Now that I’m back, and I've had time to get back into my routine I thought I’d share. How do I even begin to show and tell you how fabulous vacation was when I know you don’t really want to hear about it? I mean, no one really wants to read vacation recaps because we’re all envious that we weren't on vacay. I imagine it should be like ripping off a Band-Aid – a quick and dirty version of a vacation recap.

1) The best sentence ever at 7:30 a.m. is: “Good Morning! Would you like a mimosa?”

2) Day drinking is even more fun when you have no idea what’s in your drink. I indulged in several Drink of the Day options and would make a healthy guess that rum was involved in several of them. Other than that… who knows. My favorite drink, the Bob Marley and Purple Rain.

Foreground: Bob Marley
Background: Purple Rain
Both: Amazeballs

3) I was made to live on an island. I'm surrounded by everything nature-related that makes me calm, peaceful, and happy. What do I need to do to make this my new apartment?

4) Sun block is my new friend. I say this with a heavy heart because I never burn but I definitely flew too close to the sun this time. Really though, it wasn't me. It was that beautiful Caribbean sun. I regret nothing.

This was Wednesday night. I was in bed and passed out by 8pm.

Peeling is sexy, eh?

5) I’m good at bocce ball. K and I played with some other vacationers during the week and I have to say, I’m pretty damn good. I told K that we need to buy a set and start playing in the backyard. He says no but we all know what that means.

6) Shoes are the worst thing ever invented and I hate them. I posted a status while we were in the midst of traveling home about just how uncomfortable they were.

7) Ackee is amazeballs. I have no idea what it is {Google, and Mom, say it’s a fruit} but it’s freaking good. Rasta Pasta is my jam. Funny thing, the first time I had this it was from Whole Foods. Apparently ackee is a highly dangerous fruit to eat according to a TIME article.
"If improperly eaten, though, ackee can cause what has been dubbed the Jamaican Vomiting Sickness — which, other than the self-explanatory symptoms, can lead to coma or death. Unripe ackee fruit contains a poison called hypoglycin, so preparers must be careful to wait until the fruit's protective pods turn red and open naturally. Once open, the only edible portion is the yellow arilli, which surround always-toxic black seeds."
8) Jamaica is a cash poor country. This saddens me because the people are so beautiful. Everyone I encountered at the resort and airport {and yes, I realize this is their job} was incredibly friendly and high-spirited. The average weekly pay is $5,994 J. Sounds pretty good right? Unfortunately that equates to $52.00 USD. My Red Stripe beer? $570.61 J… or $4.95 USD. I suppose the upside is that you could go over with $5k US and be living quite well for a few months.

9) Fish like me. I went by myself, and ended up having the entire boat to myself as well, but snorkeling was a lot of fun.

Chub fish

10) My mother is a "hop mess"
True story, my mother is allergic to everything. Pollen, mold, pet dander... you name it and she's allergic. Apparently she's also allergic to hops. You know, the main ingredient in that delicious nectar known as beer. Ergo.... "hop mess".

11) Retro is the way to go
I'm going to just toot my own horn for a minute so bear with me. Remember when I said I bought a retro styled bathing suit for this trip? Well, it was worn multiple times and I loved it to Negril and back. I'm ordering another one.

And because I feel I need to, here's some photo dump pictures.

This is Diana

I'm already mentally planning my next island vacation. I'm thinking 2017 {we're both in a March wedding next year so that's going to eat up a lot of our budgets}. Any suggestions???

May 10, 2015

Sunday Sweats Vol. 1

It’s official, I’m jumping on the Sunday Sweats bandwagon. In true form, this link up will probably end in a month because that’s what happens. I’m always late to the party.

At the very end of April my company started its 3rd annual Fit For Life challenge. Since I’m new to the company, and I need to get my ass back in the saddle, I figured I’d join in. Add that to the fact that I stepped on the scale the day after vacation and it practically screamed at me and I’m all set to re-find Fitness Jesus.

Since I don’t like to start things mid-week I restarted my fitness commitment on this past Monday. Here’s a look at how the week went.

Monday: Treadmill {40m}

I was all set and dressed to go to the gym but wasn’t able to leave on time to get there for a solid workout before work. I was already dressed so I hopped on the treadmill, read through some fitness magazines I’d been putting off flipping through and walked out a solid 40 minutes.

Tuesday: Gym – Leg Day {44.12m}

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it but my gym has a location on 40th street which is close enough to walk to and then get to work. I went with a pre-set workout typed in my notes. I got lucky and was able to hop in one of the squat racks. I did 2 sets of 10 at 50lbs and 1 set of 10 at 60lbs. Then I did 2 sets of Romanian dead lifts at 85lbs and 1 set at 90.

It makes me sad to write those numbers because when I was actually on my game I was dead lifting 110lbs. I’ll get back to it in a few weeks. Squats I tend to stay around 60/65 because any more and it tends to bother my left knee. I threw in 2 arm exercises just to balance it out and finished with 5 mins on the elliptical.

Wednesday: Yoga {Erin Motz's Full-Body Feel Good {30}

I’ve been a true procrastinator when it comes to my yoga practice. I’m good for a week and then I just fall off. No more. If I have aspirations of doing crow pose or even falling on my face in an attempt at a headstand, I need to stay committed. Because I’m a brat I prefer Erin’s videos above all others.

Thursday: Gym – Uppers {48:02m}

I can’t lie, this is my least favorite day when it comes to being at the gym. It’s also the one I need to be doing the most. I’m pretty sure I have negative upper body strength. Is that even possible? Seriously though, my arms are weak. I did bench, low rows, shoulder press, tricep extensions, and the pec fly. I'm sore.

Friday: Rest
Friday I didn't do anything but go about my usual day. If I'm being honest, I negated all my hard work from the week. I had a burger and beer for lunch; then I met a friend at a local bar and had 4 drinks; and then because I had skipped dinner {this bar serves zero food - whaaa?} I had K take me to my favorite after drinking place - White Castle, where I had 4 chicken sliders and fries.

Saturday: House Cleaning & Treadmill {40m}
Saturday I kind of lazed about, ran some quick errands and spent time on the treadmill.

Weekly Steps: 79,680

On Wednesday I earned my Serengeti badge with Fit Bit.

May 7, 2015

Food = Love: A Book Story

Three of my favorite things are books, food, and comedy. If I can combine all three, even better. Case in point.... 

I was excited to read this book because it did just that. Plus, comedy books {i.e. Chelsea Handler} are some of my favorites. Although this is his second novel, it’s the first book I’ve read by Jim Gaffigan. I have to say, I really enjoyed it. It took me a while to get through because life has a tendency of getting in the way of lounging around and reading all day, but once I was able to dedicate some time to myself the book read quickly. The chapters weren't overly long or drawn out, which is always a good thing.

Instead of giving you the third-grade book report I liked this book because… I’m going to share some of my favorite passages with you.

"I know this may not be fair, but when Mario Batali talks, I always think, Well this is a guy who knows what he's talking about. He actually has experience eating food." {I completely agree!}

"I think of myself as an "eatie"... I am also way too lazy to be a foodie" {True story bro!}

"This is because there's not a nickel's worth of difference between a lobster and a giant scorpion"

"'Snails are a delicacy.' Compared with what? Barnacles? Slugs? What would you have to be eating on a regular basis to make snails a delicacy?"

On grits: "I want to like grits. I try. I order them, but eventually I end yp muttering to myself over my plate, 'Are these undercooked? Overcooked? No wonder you guys invented moonshine.'"

"I'm convinced that anyone who doesn't like Mexican food is a psychopath."

"I enjoy wine, but I'm certainly not an expert. My knowledge pretty much ends at the difference between red and white... Does anyone really know what they're looking at when they look the a wine list? Because if you do, you're probably an alcoholic... I can never remember the names of the wines I enjoyed in the past, because during those times I was, well, drinking wine." {This pretty much sums up my relationship with wine}

"Instead of going to a grocery store and getting everything I need I can stand outside and buy some dirty vegetables on the street from absolute strangers who supposedly live on a farm but are probably serial killers." {This one cracked me up... bad}

"Kale tastes like bug spray" {Seriously though.... I eat it and think it's terrible}

I could go on and on but really there's no reason to. The point is, you need to read this book. It's hilarious and makes me want to read his first book Dad is Fat. Which I plan on picking up from the library. Also, I'm going to need to DVR his new show and check it out.

Have you read this or his other novel, Dad is Fat? What did you think?

*This review was provided in exchange for a free copy of the book courtesy of Blogging for Books*

May 4, 2015

The Little Things

Now that I’ve been in my new position for a few weeks it’s made me realize that there really were some things I missed about working in Manhattan.

First off, being a NJ resident but a NY employee gets a bad rap. People think the commute must be a nightmare {it can be at times} that the days are much longer {not really}, or that you pay taxes twice {not exactly}. Thing is, working in Manhattan is its own beast all together but there are some pretty awesome things that come with the territory.


1/ There’s a reason to put effort into your appearance.
Every day you see and meet new people. Every day is brand new with open possibilities. That may sound like I’m peeking through the rose colored glasses, but I assure you it’s true. The city is the home to some of the greatest fashion, food, music, and cultural experiences you will ever find. You never know who you’ll run into or what opportunity will present itself.

2/ Commuting = Sleeping {or reading}
How many times have you woke up for the day, went to work only to feel like you need to go back to bed for another 30 minutes? When you commute, that extra sleep time is built into your day. And there’s zero excuse for not having time to read. You’re guaranteed at least a solid 40 minutes, twice a day!

You see a lot of this early in the morning.

3/ You’re in the know without even trying
This was something I discovered when I started my first city job back in 2011 – elevator TVs. Granted I’ve seen them in other places and in hotels, but when you ride to the 40th floor stopping every few floors, you get a chance to read some headlines, see the weather, and maybe learn a fun fact.

4/ Happy Hour Guaranteed
Personally, this doesn’t really apply to me since I usually go home, but the option is still there. You get out of work and happy hour has already started. The most difficult part about it all is deciding where to go.

5/ It’s all about the Benjamins
It’s no secret that NYC pays more than NJ. It’s just science... or brass tax... whatever that means. Either way it’s true. And that friends, makes a world of difference.

6/ Errands made easy
Not everyone wants to save all their errands for the weekend. Hello weekend killer. Working in Manhattan gives you the convenience of doing these things during the day. Need to go to the bank? It’s probably around the corner. Want to pick up a new sundress for this weekend? Loft, Gap, H&M, and just about every other store is a short walk away. Lunch and shopping never went together so perfectly.

7/ Al fresco lunching
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m a sun sponge. If I can be outside for even 5 minutes during the day, I am. In the city you have any number of parks, fountains, and plazas you can eat in. Eating outside on a gorgeous summer day can’t be beat.

What do you like most about living, working, or being in NYC.