My Birthday Week

My28thbirthday

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I’ve been pretty quiet this week. While I’m no longer in Africa, I’m still technically on vacation. This week (cough Tuesday) happened to be my 28th birthday. I know, I’m so old I fart dust. It’s been a fun week of celebration.

On my actual birthday my friend Jess and I drove down to Westport, CT to explore. We took the Merritt Parkway out there (so pretty), hit=up West Elm (well, because it’s West Elm), and then meandered back along the coast. We even stopped off and found Martha Stewart’s former property (Turkey Hill, Westport). We stopped at beaches to walk around, and I got a tuna sandwich at Oscar’s Deli.

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(Wandering around Westport, CT)

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(The PEZ Visitors Center)

See, such a pretty day! We also stopped into the PEZ Visitors Center in Orange. How cool is that?! That make and package PEZ in CT and they built a beautiful visitor’s center, with games, puzzles, and a find-the-7-dwarfs pez dispensers to win a free pez holder and candy. IT’s a game everyone plays and wins. The price is $5, but comes with a coupon to use in the gift shop as well as the free pez at the end of the visit… it felt like we got back the $5 we paid. I highly recommend stopping in there!

For a special birthday dinner my parents and I went to Geronimo in New Haven. It was a great meal and the restaurant atmosphere/decor is a lot of fun. My mom made me a special birthday cake and then I crashed. I’m still on Africa time!

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Yesterday I trekked into New York City on a Metro-North train. Met my friend Lily for lunch and then my friend Diana joined me for a walk along the river and High Line visit. I love that place, and they keep expanding it! It’s so fun at sunset to just walk above the city, free of cars.

Then Dot, Diana, Sally, Lily and I had a fabulous dinner at En Japanese Brasserie. Dot took the photo of me at the top of the post. These girls are the best 🙂 I took a sleepy ride back to CT last night and have been working all day today.

I hope to have some Africa posts up soon, I’ve just got a packed schedule here as you can see above. I’ve also got some friends and family to see while I’m on the east coast.  I promise things will be back to normal soon enough.

“Lets Get Snappin’ and Crackin'” -B.C.

“Lets get snappin’ and crackin'” – Bill Cunningham

Bill Cunningham, New York
I’m watching this movie as I write to you. If you know me at all, you know I-Love-Old-People. So much. And this movie is all about Bill Cunningham and his life in New York as a photographer for the New York Times (he takes fashion photos on the streets of NYC). I want so badly to be his friend. Just to grab a coffee and play some dominos with him, that would be a fabulous morning.

Watching this movie makes me so happy with my impulse purchase today at the Bitchcraft Trading Post Summer Bazar in Atwater Village. It was $24 for this beautiful pair of shoes, which is the same price for a new pair of shoes (at Payless) and I’m happy the money could go toward these girl entrepreneurs and in return I get such a unique artistic pair of shoes. These shoes feel so architectural, I love them.

Shoes purchased from the ladies behind The Sailor’s Muse, designed by 9 West.

NYC Dec. 26 + Dec. 27

After Christmas was behind us, my sister and I went into NYC to spend 2 days exploring the city and catching up with old friends. My sister had shows to see and even booked a room at The Larchmont Hotel in the West Village (aka, it’s a fancy hostel, with a good price in an amazing location). My good friend Lily was kind enough to let me crash on her couch, but not before I exhausted myself and NYC. But let me begin at the begining…

When coming in to Grand Central I HIGHLY recommend skipping the public restrooms and instead heading over to to the Grand Hyatt that is adjacent to the train station. They have a key pad on their bathrooms, but don’t be fooled because they aren’t locked and even non-patrons can use these stalls. They are extremely clean and since they’ve been remodeled, each stall is it’s own little room. Trust me, never use the Grand Central stalls… head straight to the Hyatt. The lobby was also redone and now has a modern Japanese esthetic. You can see from my photo above they have a lovely sculpture and waterfall.

From there my sister and I seperated. I was waiting for my old college roommate and good friend Lily to come back into the city and decided to do some post-holiday shopping on fifth avenue… big mistake. I forgot how much I hated crowds. I was elbow to elbow, check to check (if you get my drift) with TONS of people. Thankfully it wasn’t too long before I had my fill and Lily was back in the city. This picture above is of the Rockafeller Center Tree.

I met up with Lily, her boyfriend Joe and bother Dave at their apartment in Brooklyn. We went out to a delicious lunch nearby (Mexican food) and once sundown came, we lit the menorah with birthday candles (fun fun!). As I am not Jewish, it was fun to partake in the lighting which was a treat for me.

After the candles were lit, Joe Lily and Dave had to get ready for a concert and I had to head back into Manhattan for my biannual RISD interior Architecture reunion. Dot, Diana, and Sally all met me in the meatpacking district for a lovely diner at Fig + Olive. I’ve eaten there for restaurant week in the past with Lily and it was equally as tasty now. It was so great seeing the girls, if only for a meal.

From there I took the subway back to Brooklyn to visit The Bell House, which was where Lily’s concert was. Thankfully it ended just before I arrived and we got to chill on the bar side of the venue for a little while and chat. Seeing as they never really got dinner, we moved on to another bar in Brooklyn, closer to their apartment, where they could get some warm food.

The next morning, after a breakfast prepared by Lily and Joe, Lily and I headed on a walk to Prospect Park. It was a really nice walk and good to be able to chat with Lily. Girl talk is very important.

We stopped in this cute cafe, Joyce Bakeshop, where we sipped coffee and chatted some more. Unfortunately, the rain began to start while we were in there and dashed back to their apartment with our scarves wrapped around our heads. It was a sight.

After coffee, I packed up my gear and headed into the city with Lily to meet up with one of my childhood friends (and friend of the blog) Carrie. She, and a RISD friend Marsha, met me and Lily at the New Museum in the Bowery. I’ve been to this museum before and I love it. It was especially crowded because of the holidays, which meant lots of lines… specifically for the many wavers we needed to sign to partake in the exhibits. We began by signing over our credit cards incase anything happened to the goggles we needed to wear to experience the show ($1500 per pair!). EEk. You can bet we were EXTREMELY careful with them. They were fun to wear in the mushroom-room. The museum was transformed to mess with your senses.

There was a slide that went from the fourth floor to the second. Unfortunately, it was a long wait to ride the slide and we also couldn’t wear the goggles. I had some logistical trouble with the exhibit as a whole, but really enjoyed experiencing the museum. I recommend the current exhibit, although I would get there early to avoid lines.

A smaller part of the exhibit had a fish tank that you can put your head into, without getting wet of course. Here is Carrie testing it out. They also had large white pills falling from the ceiling next to a water cooler. A sign read “Please take only one pill”, how Alice and Wonderland of them.

As we left the museum and rain was falling steadily, I said my goodbyes to Marsha and Lily. Carrie and I continued uptown to Times Square area to meet my sister for dinner. Times Square on the day after Christmas is a nightmare. In the rain, it was murder. I’m learning I’m not as patient as once was. After elbowing many people, as well as taking a nasty spill in the subway, we met up with my sister and jumped into the closest dry place we could find: The Delta Grill. This cajun style restaurant is where I had my first fired oyster po’boy (it didn’t sit well, as you can imagine).

After dinner my sister went to see another show and Carrie and I hopped into The Gaf West, which was a cute little pub bar across the street from where we had dinner. We really needed anything to get us out of the rain. I tried a new beer, a Blue Point Toasted Lager, and we chatted until around 9:30p. My sisters play let out and we stopped at Shake Shack for a custard for the train ride home. When I say custard, I mean a super-creamy ice cream. It was delicious (and also a bad choice, given the fried oysters I tried early in the night. Hind sight is 20/20). We made it to the train on time, and ended our NYC adventure.

Shameless Plug: Chaos

My cousin wrote a book and it’s available on amazon + for kindle called Chaos!

Amazon describes it:

New York City, 1976: Heavily-armed, masked men hijack a subway train…and its deadly cargo.
New York City, Present: An expedition vanishes while conducting a top-secret operation deep underground.
A SHATTERED MAN WITH NOTHING TO LOSE…
To locate his missing friend, former urban archaeologist Cyclone Reed must piece together his shattered life and return to the one place on earth he truly fears…Manhattan.
A LOST WORLD FULL OF DANGER…
Soon, he’s storming through flooded subway tunnels, discovering a lost laboratory, battling a mysterious man-eating beast, and scaling a mountainous skyscraper. But as he plunges deeper into the strange and murky legends surrounding a piece of forgotten technology, he begins to untangle a staggering conspiracy.
A SHOCKING SECRET THAT WILL ROCK THE EARTH!
More than sixty years ago, a Nazi physicist created a weapon capable of setting the world aflame. Now, a diabolical industrialist plans to finish the job. At stake is the future of a nation…millions of innocent lives…and one man’s final chance at redemption.
You can purchase it HERE.