A Snowy New York City

Well, I’m writing this to you twice as WordPress just lost the post I spent hours on (#wordpressFAIL).

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I arrived in Connecticut late last night after spending two full days in the blistering cold of NYC. I always try to start my holiday vacation by staying in NYC for a few days visiting with RISD friends and getting in the holiday spirit. I normally take the redeye to JFK, so this marathon visiting of NYC is also filled with exhaustion and time adjusting. This visit was no exception to that. After dropping off my 50lb suitcase at my friends office (a Graphic Design firm called OneThread– check them out as they’re awesome), I headed to Columbus Circle with my friend Diana. We hopped from the Museum of Art and Design (MAD) to Whole Foods to the mall to the outdoor market to back in the warmth of the mall.

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This view is from MAD looking out on the snowy streets. It was beautiful to look at but made being outdoors difficult. Columbus Circle was a great place to go because it has so much all within the circle, so we never had to be outdoors for too long.

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MAD also has some fun exhibits going on right now. We saw several floors of work made with 3D printers. They had a fun exhibit on costume jewelry and also one floor with a very murderous theme… lets say I ran through that with my hands over my eyes. It was a great place to spend a few hours and we enjoyed ourselves.

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That night I stayed at my friends new place in Irvington, NY. It’s a 40 minute train ride north of the city and is super adorable. Above is her train stop. The town is a hillside along the Hudson so every view is a good view. It was fun to spend time here with her and her husband. We enjoyed a game night of Pandemic too. Super fun.

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The next day we went back into the city where I visited the Museum of Math and learned that 2nd graders are smarter than me. I also spend several hours walking around the West Village. Thankfully it was a sunny (but cold) day so being outside wasn’t brutal. I always love walking around the West Village and just moseying around into cute small shops. Once the sun started to set I made my way to City Bakery where I sat listening to my John Mulaney comedy albums while sipping on some of the best hot chocolate in the city.

I met up with more RISD friends for dinner at Crispo (get the brussels sprouts!) and had fun catching up with them before heading to Grand Central to hop on my train to New Haven. And like that, I’m back in CT getting ready for Christmas. Im currently in my huge comfy white bed, blogging while looking out at a snowy landscape with horses and cute farm houses decorated for Christmas out my window, and Im sipping on a mug of warm coffee. Ahh, happy to be home.

Well I leave you with this holiday treat from Craig (Reno 911):

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Shameless Plug: Ice Storm

My cousin wrote another book and it’s available on amazon + for kindle called Ice Storm! Check out this new book and his first book, Chaos.

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Amazon describes it:

Deep in the heart of Antarctica lies a forgotten military installation. Deadly secrets are secured behind its doors…including the remnants of a decades-old plot to devastate mankind.

Disgraced treasure hunter Cy Reed is on the trail of an incredible treasure when a cargo ship mysteriously explodes. At the same time, a team of geologists makes an astonishing discovery that could rewrite ancient history. And a beast of impossible origins unleashes a bloody rampage across the ice.

As Reed unravels the mysteries behind Antarctica’s dark past, he begins to uncover a sinister conspiracy. Plagued by ferocious storms and betrayed on all sides, he races toward an inevitable clash that could salvage his ruined reputation…or unleash hell upon the world.

You can purchase it HERE.

Visiting Home 2: Exploration!

To catch you up to speed, check out the first part of my trek, Visiting Home 1: Getting There + Father’s Day.

This next chapter took place on Tuesday of my week home in Connecticut. I was so inspired riding the train from NYC to New Haven seeing all the little cute downtowns that I’ve never explored that I decided to make a day trip exploring the coast of CT. I decided to explore East Shore, East Haven, Branford and Guilford.

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After a lovely brunch with friends, my buddy Jess and I ventured down 91 to the first exit off the 95. We had no real destination, so when we saw signs for a park, beach or historical landmark we stopped in. Our first stop ended up being Fort Hale where there is little beach called Nathan Hale Beach. I was surprised on this Tuesday noon there were actually people parked here walking around. It was a little overcast, but still fun to explore. This isn’t a beach I would swim at (fyi).

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It was a rough rocky beach, but still a nice view. Onward we go!

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We continued down Townsend Ave and ended up at Lighthouse Park. This beach did have people laying out and picnicking (although I don’t think anyone was swimming). It has a window lined pavilion with a carrousel in the middle! I think this space can be rented out for wedding receptions.

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This is the New Haven Harbor Lighthouse. She’s a beauty.

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After doing a loop of the walking path, we were back on the road looking for our next adventure. We saw a sign near the East Haven Town Green pointing us toward the Shoreline Trolley Museum. As we were debating if we should explore, a conductor flagged us over and told us to hop on, so we did!

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It was adorable. The train conductors are volunteers, so they are in it for passion rather than donations.

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They take you on a short ride through the Beacon Hill Reserve where you learn about this history of trains in CT. Even though it was overcast, we still saw people kayaking. What a great spot for it!

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Views from the train car.

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The have a spot midway through where they keep the very old trains. Everyone exits the trains and explores barns with trains from all over New England. Here’s a photo of the train back when it was in use.

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Once our tour ended, we moved along to the Guilford Town Green. At this point we got coffees and snacks and walked a loop around the Town Green.

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We passed cute houses.

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We had a nice view of the Guildford First Congregational Church.

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After the loop it was starting to drizzle so we made a quick stop down by the water near the Guilford Boat Launch. If we had more time we would have liked to stop into the Henry Whitfield State Museum.

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Right after I took this photo, the rain came in and meant the end of our exploration. It was a lot of fun not knowing where we were going and just following the coast. You never know what you’ll stumble upon and learn about where you’ve spent your life growing up. I highly recommend doing something like this, no matter where you live.

Visiting Home 1: Getting There + Father’s Day

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After my last day at work, I hopped on a Burbank 9:45p Jetblue flight to JFK airport. It was a busy day, but thankfully it made me exhausted, so I slept nearly the entire flight.

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Once I arrived in NYC, I took the bus shuttle to Grand Central ($16? one way, no reservations required). It would have been cheaper taking the subway, but it involved transfers and would have taken extra time. Also, it was 6am and I was pooped.

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From Grand Central I took metro north to New Haven. Once on the train I closed my eyes, rested up and awoke to this view. How beautiful is that? It’s an excellent train ride along the coast.

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After a day of napping, seeing family and catching up with the three hour time change, it was Sunday! Father’s Day! We decided to spend midday visiting Grandma for lunch at her new facilities. Isn’t Grandma Trudie a cutie?

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They gave flowers out to all the dads on their special day. This dad was no exception.

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The next day I got to see my cousin Elena and meet her new baby Everett. He’s such a sweetie.

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I’m holding a baby!!

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Don’t these pictures just make you melt?

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I made it home before the clouds rolled in. About 5 minutes after I took this photo it started downpouring. It was such a treat for this LA girl. And such dramatic clouds!

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Rain, Rain, RAIN! We decided to use this indoor time tackling our object filled basement. This has been my parents project for a long time, so it was nice to come home and help them clear out a lot of my old belongings.

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Warning: Cleaning out the basement takes an emotional toll. Going through childhood treasures and having to decide what has value and what doesn’t, man it’s rough. There were certain boxes that were an automatic keep. My dad put these Mickey ears on my head and I was pretending this doll was my child. My lazy-eyed child. Sigh, what has it come to.

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In going through my old RISD boxes I found this homemade card from dear Ms. Sally Funn To (best middle name ever). This was in the “keep” pile of course 🙂

My NYC Weekend

A few weeks ago I made a weekend trip to NYC to watch my good friend get married and it was a blast. I’m just so glad I had pretty warm weather (considering it was January in New England). To think that if they got married this past weekend, we’d all be stuck there! For those of you reading this while currently trapped in the snow, just know that it will soon look like these photos again and then before you know it, spring time!

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The wedding party was shacked up at the Ace Hotel (super hip swanky hipster heaven) in Midtown. It was pretty affordable, as my good friend Sally (Also attending the wedding) split the costs. It had a large lounge lobby, which I assume had free wifi given the crowd. They also had shops, a bar and a coffee shop. At night the lobby turned into a nightclub. As a hotel guest I could bypass the line and go right in… Im too-cool-for-school. The photo above is of the coffee place Stumptown. This place felt like a Portlandia skit and often the line was out the door.

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After the Saturday wedding, I spent Sunday and Monday with my childhood friend Carrie exploring the city. Since moving to Los Angeles, whenever I come to NYC Im tight on time and trying to see everyone I can. Given that Christmas was only a few weeks prior and I got to see lots of people then, this was a nice excuse to spend Sunday and Monday just being low-key and hanging out. I can’t tell you the last time I just “hung out” in NYC. Carrie and I visited some of her favorite stores + flea markets. It was so relaxed and nice to not have an itinerary.

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We went to a giant flea market on the West Side around 76th St (near the Natural History Museum). We then walked down Columbus Ave stopping in at cute places, like Paper Source and the American Folk Art Museum, until we ended up in Columbus Circle and warmed up in the mall.

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Carrie and I are both in the market for new glasses so she said we HAD to go to Warby Parkers showroom, and it was the best decision ever. It’s located in the Puck Building (aka Grace’s Design office building on Will +Grace). This beautiful building has larger than life Puck statues on the exterior… it stand out. I’ve seen this building on Will and Grace for years, so it was cool seeing it in person. Inside Carrie knew exactly where to go (as there was no signage and it seems like a private building). Sure enough their showroom is on the fifth (?) floor of this building. Here are the Warby Parker offices as well as a place to try on all their glasses. It was surprisingly busy for a store hidden in a signless building. For $100 Warby Parker gives you the frames and the prescription lenses AND donates a pair of glasses to charity. How cool is that? Plus the glasses are so cool looking. Once you create an online account, they send you any 5 frames for free to try on for 5 days. They even send you the return shipping label so this all costs you nothing. Genius. It was nice visiting their showroom, but this way if you don’t live in a major city you can also try on their glasses. Do it!!

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After our glasses shopping (which was super fun) we visited the Housing Works Thrift Shop and Bookstore and Brooklyn Industries in Soho.

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After a quick walk around Soho, it was time to head to the airport 😦 I’ll be back NYC and hopefully next time it will be longer than just a quick weekend.

Two Out Of Twelve: February

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Can you believe it’s already February?! It’s no longer a “new year”, but now officially “the year” 2013. It’s around now that statistically people start forgetting about their new year resolutions, so I’m going to take this time to re-dedicate myself. As you know I have pretty lofty goals for 2013, and to make sure I complete most of them I just need a little reminder.

In the past 4 weeks I hiked almost every weekend, did many secret stair walks, spent a weekend in NYC, created some thrifty DIY artwork, saved up funds and payed off more student loans, and saw several comedy shows. I’m in the middle of reading and new book and even finished level 1 of my Rosetta Stone French program. I’m not saying these things to brag, but sometimes you need to make a list of accomplishments to feel like you’re not just treading water. How did you spend your January?

I expect February to be about more French and reading as well as exercise. I renewed my gym membership and want to spend February running and working towards a 10k. I also want February to be about cleaning up loose ends, finishing projects, and finalizing some artwork. Hopefully I’ll get in some cross country skiing and read up on typography as well as learn how to use my sewing machine. And of course, I hope to save, save, save!

In a New York Minute

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I’m off tonight to NYC for a very good friends wedding. It’s a whirlwind of a trip (as it’s just a weekend away) but I’m sure I’ll come back with plenty to share. I’ll do my best to stay warm. I hear Los Angeles is in for some warmer weather this weekend, so get outside and have fun!