My Birthday Week

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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.

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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):

It’s A Disaster

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Did you have a nice weekend? Did you get out despite the never ending parade of gloomy clouds that rolled over Los Angeles this weekend? I took advantage of being in one of the two cities showing It’s A Disaster this weekend. The movie is about a group of friends getting together for their monthly “couples brunch” when a chemical attack forces them to stay locked-in together and face their impending death. It’s hilarious and thought provoking. If you only had a few hours to live and you were forced to stay locked up in your home for those hours, how would you spend that time? Would you get shit-faced? Would you watch a season of a hit show you’ve been meaning to watch but haven’t yet? Would you eat everything in the fridge? Or would you sit there panic stricken? I spent the entire movie thinking, what would I do? In the midst of their impending deaths, they are forced to face their own personal problems within their relationships.

I’m lucky that the screening I went to had Todd Berger (Director), Erin Hayes, Jeff Grace, Rachel Boston, and Blaise Miller for a q+a after the film. Todd told us how this film started as a very very low budget project and became something much bigger (while still low budget by Hollywood standards). If you’re in NYC or LA, go see this movie!

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!

Weekend Guide Feb 3 + 4 + 5

Before I begin the Weekend Guide, I want to share about a series of images posted on yahoo this morning showing the abandonded North Brother Island in NYC. Click HERE to see a slide show of crazy images like this one below.

I also must confess that work went late last night and I didn’t get to attend trampoline dodgeball. But have no fear, this event happens weekly and I plan on attending it next week. So more to come on that later. Alrighty, it’s time to jump into the Weekend Guide!

FRIDAY Feb 3:

Any Star Wars fans out there? Tonight in honor of the 3D release of Star Wars: Episode I, there is a pop-up art gallery at Brisk Bodega Cantina. I keep finding mixed info on the date and time of this event which means it’s probably unavailable at this point. Im including it because it sounds cool and Ill keep it on my radar for when it comes to town next time. It’s a Star Wars themed music and art event that sounds awesome.

Tonight at UCB, Paul F Tompkins is doing his Dead Authors Reading at UCB LA (to benefit 826LA). H G Wells (Paul F. Tompkins) and J.R.R Tolkien (Matt Walsh) will be on stage chatting and answering your questions. Make your reservations HERE. It starts at 6:30p and tickets are $5.

Also tonight at 7:30p at the LACMA, Gary Oldman is leading a conversation followed by a viewing of The Contender. It’s being held in the Bing Theater and tickets are $10 (HERE).

SATURDAY Feb 4:


Speaking of the LACMA, di you check out the Metropolis II exhibit last weekend? Well, it’s still there and judging by the images, it’s worth a visit. The LACMA is also housing a complete replication of the Eames Kit House, which was designed and lived in by the Eames family and still exists in the Pacific Palisades. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the Eames home a year ago and this mini version looks awesome.

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Visit the LACMA this weekend to see it, or take a drive to see the real deal.

Bergamot Station has a 5pm reception at TAG Gallery, as well as a 5pm Olga de Amaral Reception from 5-7p. At 7pm the Robert Berman Gallery has a Jonathan Bickart opening. Art, art and more art!

SUNDAY Feb 5:

Sunday is the Super Bowl, as Im sure you all already know. That is the perfect time for non-sports people to get their shopping done (my tradition) or to go to Disneyland (no lines!). This year I am going to a S.B. gathering (for the company, not really for the game). There are some fun bars offering specials to celebrate the event.

Lola’s (the most girlie martini bar alive) is offering a deal (according to Thrillist) for $15 it’s all you can drink Fat Tires. So if you like martini’s and your boy likes beer, head to Lola’s to catch the game.

My favorite bar Tony’s Darts Away will have a special menu packed with yummy vegan and non vegan options. Township Kitchen Americana & Saloon is having $3 hot wings (if that’s your style).
HERE is a link to a site with a full listing of bars and their Super Bowl deals.

On Sunday, Brett Gelman has a stand-up show at 8pm, for $5 and get tickets HERE. You might know him from his new podcast Gelmania.

Happy weekend, everyone!

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.