A Weekend at Home

I got on the wrong train tonight. I guess it’s inevitable, checked one more thing off my “New York” to do list. Unknowingly headed from Manhattan into South Williamsburg after having dinner with Jon. I suddenly found myself on a train that reeked horribly of old pee.

It was the city’s way of welcoming me back, I guess.

Early Friday morning I packed up and headed home for some much needed family time and a break from the city. I was up before the sun and just a few hours later, sitting at the kitchen table in Maryland! Alison and Scarlett (her niece) came over Friday afternoon for some coloring, hanging out and sandwich eating. I think I was more interested in coloring than she was. Friday evening Dad was at a guitar jam session with some guys from church so Mom and I had a girl’s night out at Facci’s, a super delicious brick oven pizza place. So delicious and so thankful for the time to sit down and chat!

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Saturday morning included some tasty oatmeal and Washington Post reading – I’ve discovered their crossword is far easier than the NYTimes nonsense that I attempt each Saturday. Then a trip to Wegmans! Oh goodness, I miss that place. There are definitely thousands of food options in NYC but I miss the Wegmans experience.


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Saturday afternoons big plan was cheese making! It was the one thing that I requested for the weekend – to make mozzarella.  It was close to a 3 hour process when everything was done but lots of fun. I got to stir my very own curds and whey 🙂 While sitting on a tuffet, of course. We ended up making mozzarella, ricotta & Jim Lahey’s stecca bread! Lots of cooking going on. Saturday night’s dinner included our freshly made food along with some other cheeses, spinach artichoke dip and kale salad. After dinner we settled in to watch Beasts of the Southern Wild – the only one of the Oscar Nominees that I’ve actually seen.

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Sunday morning was church followed by a super fluffy egg omelet – filled with sauteed mushrooms and onions. So tasty! If you haven’t noticed a trend yet, basically the whole weekend involved food 🙂 Alison came over again on Sunday afternoon and then Sunday night’s dinner was enchiladas (by my request!).

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When I bought tickets, I purposely got one back to NYC for early Monday morning. I figured that would help make the weekend feel longer, to have all of Sunday at home. And it definitely did! But it made for a rather early Monday morning – 3:45 am. Sorry Mom & Dad! Hopped on the 5:17 am train headed north and was able to make it into the office in DUMBO by 8:45am. Definitely the longest commute I’ve had so far. Pretty cool to start off before the sun and to be able to watch it rise out the train window all morning! Enjoyed seeing the NYC skyline come into view. Every time I leave and come back now, it feels a little less weird. I realized this morning walking to work that I was completely on autopilot & didn’t even have to think about subway turnstiles or which way to go. (Clearly autopilot didn’t help tonight on the trains…)

I actually remained rather awake all day yesterday! Shocking considering the amount of sleep I had and the time the alarm went off. I did, however, come home and immediately put on pajamas.

Thanks for the great weekend at home, mom & dad!

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Jon wasn’t feeling great yesterday so we mostly hung around my apartment. Read the newspaper, did crosswords, enjoyed the sun pouring warm light into the room (super thankful for that one after some 10 degree days).

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We did venture out to Grand Central in Manhattan to visit the holiday train show. It has been on our list for quite some time so happy to make it there before it closes early next month. Also spent some time wandering around the Grand Central Apple Store. Pretty crazy to be browsing through computers in the midst of all of the trains coming and leaving.

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This morning I woke up super early (before 7) to fit some laundry in before church. Actually managed to fit in 2 loads of laundry (& dry), made coffee, got ready for the day, read the paper, wandered around Park Slope, went to the bank & back, got breakfast at Colson Patisserie, realized I forgot my subway card, walked the 3 avenues back home, got the card, made it back to the subway and made it to church all before 10:45. I pretty much could have called it quits right there as it was a rather productive morning. Was greated with a “Bonjour” at the Patisserie this morning which seriously made my day. It’s such a neighborhood friendly little place only a few blocks down.


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Jon’s roommate has been coming to church with us for the past few weekends so we decided to go out to brunch afterwards (around 1pm at this time) with him & another friend from church. The four of us went to Cranky’s in Long Island City for some super tasty food. It took a slightly long time to actually get a seat there so we didn’t eat until after 2 pm – at which point we were starving.



Walked back through Queens to the subway (basically every convenient station is closed) and found some swings on the way there! Of course, we stopped. Took the train into Manhattan to check out the Steinway & Sons piano store (which has been on our list as well) but unfortunately they’re closed on Sundays so we decided to just start walking down 5th Avenue. Made it from 53 street down to Rockefeller Center where we found the Lego Store & Bouchon Bakery. In the hour that it took our food to come for lunch, we were talking about tasty food places and Bouchon came highly recommended for their cookies. Jon & I both shared this giant version of a homemade nutter butter. Super tasty. Watched the ice skaters at 30 Rock, stopped by St. Thomas church on 5th Ave – absolutely gorgeous building that is undergoing some serious renovation – & then continued walking south to 40th street. Definitely had another one of those “what city am I in, is this Paris moments” while walking through the church.

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We were going to head into Grand Central to hop on the 6 train but when I realized how close we were to the NY Public Library, we detoured to knock another thing off my list. Absolutely gorgeous building. We spent more time staring up at the ceiling than we did looking at books. They had a photo exhibit going on so checked that out as well and read up on the whole history of the library system.

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Finished up at the library and headed through Grand Central down to Union Square 14th Street (clearly a favorite destination). Took Jon into Strand for the first time ever! Spent lots of time perusing the aisles and looking at neat books before heading across the street to check out a new coffeeshop. Our normal coffeeshop, Think Coffee, was just around the corner but this one looked new & cozy. We both got some tea and sat down to chat for a bit before parting ways & heading home for dinner.

Actually had a conversation with a lady on the train on the way back tonight, which of course makes me love NYC even more. After she got off, I proceeded to dig into the Sunday section of the NY Times taking up all of the space I could (not a packed train) and enjoyed the whole awkward folding & unfolding of the paper to try to read it without dropping sections everywhere.

Felt like a super packed day and I’m looking forward to putting on some PJ’s and hopping into bed to read! Busy week or two ahead and I’ve been enjoying turning the lights out just a wee bit earlier lately to help minimize the snooze button in the morning.

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The Subway

You never feel like you’re seeing more of NYC than in the subway.

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There are the cute little kids that announce the subway stops, those who plant their feet widely and “subway surf”, and those who sit backwards to use the windows as homework space.
Make up is put on, hair is brushed, clothes are taken on (or off).
The guy with crumbs all down his shirt from a recent meal reads through the ny times while the teenager sitting next to him is causing deafness at an early age with his loud rap music. The grown man in the suit who appears to be 12 by the faces he’s making playing a racing game on his iPhone. The homeless man takes up multiple seats with most likely all of his earthly possessions. And tourists stick out like sore thumbs everywhere while the hipsters stick out the moment they leave Brooklyn.
It’s like getting to see into someone’s living room.
Everyone is in a rush in one way or  another and yet with no Internet access the majority of people stick to reading or listening to music. It’s perhaps one of the few places that you can be in such close contact with someone and yet not really see them. But for that moment in time we’re all in the small space in this gigantic city.

On Waiting

There are occasionally sermons that seem to be directly talking to me. They come at the exact right time, like this morning.

I woke up later than I hoped this morning. I rushed to get ready and stopped by the coffee shop down the block for coffee & a scone before heading to the subway. My G train luck continued and it pulled up just as I got to the subway platform. Everything seemed to be going just fine until we got to the Bedford Nostrand stop where the train prompted stopped and announced we’d have to switch to a shuttle bus. Said bus took its sweet time wandering the streets of Brooklyn and stopping frequently. Needless to say, it was reminenscent of the Bronx bus ride with Jon up to Sarah’s volleyball game a few months ago. At 9:10, I was still in Williamsburg and it became quite clear that getting to church by 9:15 was highly unlikely.

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That’s the point in time where I have the decision to sit there annoyed at the situation and anxious to get off the bus OR I can quickly accept the situation. I chose the later and decided to enjoy my free ride through parts of Brooklyn I’ve never been to (and likely wont return to after seeing them above ground). I drank my coffee, read a little in my book and spent the majority of the time looking out the window. Thankful, at least, that I wasn’t stuck underground.

Eventually I made it to Long Island City where I quickly walked the few blocks to church and got in just in time for the sermon…

On waiting and patience.

Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up. There could not have been a better time to be reminded of this especially considering how easy it is to be annoyed about being late all of the time or waiting in line or having it take forever to get somewhere.

I knew that after church I’d have to rush out to get to work by 11 (more on that another time) but I remained focused & not worried about the impending weekend (read: impossible) commute that needed to happen. 10:30 after the last Christmas song I said hi & bye and rushed out the door to the subway. Somehow I made it 12 stops in less than 30 minutes and was only about 10 minutes late for work.

So next time I’m horribly late for anything I’ll remember to just enjoy the ride and be thankful for the fact that, just like the rest of New Yorkers, I can blame it on the MTA.

No Gym Membership Needed

I’m learning that its entirely unnecessary to have a gym membership in NYC. Weightlifting = walking 2 blocks with heavy laundry, carrying a suitcase up and down stairs and grocery shopping. Cardio = running for the train, running up and down tons of flights of stairs and walking just about everywhere.

In fact, at the end of this month when my temporary gym membership expires, I intend on perhaps purchasing a yoga ball and calling it a day.

So here was Saturday:

Jon had to unfortunately work on Saturday night from 5 pm until 1 am. We spent the morning reading the paper, drinking coffee and attempting (and failing) at the crossword puzzle.

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After determining that we’d need google to get any further in the puzzle, we headed out to Soho for lunch at a new cafe that I’ve discovered (Casey and I had gone to it on Thursday night for our weekly hot chocolate girls night). The pictures are from when I was there with Casey, in case you’re wondering why it looks like night time.

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Tasty lunch of a sandwich filled with arugula, goat cheese, pesto, and guacamole. We walked around Soho a bit before heading through little Italy & Chinatown. In fact, that was my first visit to both since moving here. Dropped Jon off at the subway station near the Manhattan Bridge so he could get to work & then I continued walking back towards Soho. Fit in some Christmas shopping while checking out some of the stores and things they had around. So many outdoor craft fairs, Christmas lights and decorated trees! Eventually ran out of places I wanted to check out so I hopped on the subway and went up to Union Square for some more exploring. (Christmas shopping occurred so I can’t tell you exactly where I went).

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Finished there and then decided I had a little more jn me so I could go up to time square. You see, I signed up to get a child a Christmas present through this wish makers program in NYC. I got the letter with the request on Friday night and its due to them by Monday. Therefore, I found myself in the middle of holiday time square madness in order to by a skateboard for a 9 year old boy.

Guys, Time Square is insane.

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Especially during Christmas time in Toys R Us on a weekend. Starting to see why this is a bad plan? It was like a giant ad for why I do not want children right now. Screaming, crying, running around, annoyed parents dragging their kids, high school couples making out on the escalators, Toys R Us employees asking everyone if they wanted their picture taken, toys being thrown off shelves, narrow aisles… you get the gist.

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I picked out and purchased a skateboard after many texts back and forth with Jon (I so don’t have the mindset of a 9 year old boy). Carried the skateboard over to UPS to have it shipped and soon discovered that would be $38 in shipping costs. More than the price of the item. So I made my way back to return the item I purchased only moments earlier and then needed to find another option. Eventually picked out some sweet Legos and was able to push my way back through the store & Time Square to hop on a train home.

Brooklyn never felt so uncrowded and wonderfully quiet.

Traveling to Wisconsin

Wednesday started bright and early since Jon needed to head off to work by 6:20. I learned what time the sun comes up.

That was quite alright though because I needed to head off soon after to catch my plane anyway and it just gave me time to eat a bagel! A month or two back, I ran across the Brooklyn Bagel Company that has a place in Queens a few blocks from Jon’s apartment. It’s quickly become a favorite. They won me over even more when I learned that they STILL have pumpkin cream cheese – much after all the other places have retired it.

Quick bagel & coffee and I was on my way.




There was something about the quiet morning and the gorgeous sunrise that made the commute quite enjoyable. That was.. until I hopped on the bus. Traveling with a suitcase, purse, cup of coffee and attempting to hold onto a bus railing is rather difficult. I spent the whole time hoping that I would not accidentally dump coffee all over myself and/or others. Got quite the workout carrying my suitcase up and down the stairs too.


Luckily the bus was a short ride and I was soon boarding the plane to head to Wisconsin! 20121123-164601.jpg


I was super thankful that I was flying to Milwaukee and not Chicago because they had major delays there. Not me! Fit in some reading and blogging time on the airplane (clearly not enough). And before I knew it, I was in Wisconsin!



This was my first time being out of NYC since I moved here in September so it was weird to see cars, open space and farmland. Made some stops in Sheboygan as well as the Apple (not computer) Store in Green Bay and Kopp’s Custard in Milwaukee (mandatory custard break).





Plane Time Catch-Up

Apparently sticking me on a plane with no wifi is the only way ill actually get around to blogging lately. It’s been busy!!


Last Friday night some coworkers from RIT admissions were in NYC for interviews so I was able to meet up with them after work! We ended up switching between Max Brenners and Heartland Brewery. Lots of talking and catching up!

Saturday morning involved laundry, a walk around the neighborhood and a trip to the hardware store before heading to queens to see Jon. We ended up taking a super long 6+ mile walk from his apartment to Socrates Park, Roosevelt Island and finally all the way back. We were both more than exhausted by the time we finished but it was fun exploring! Roosevelt island is the one that Cornell is going to be taking over for their engineering school or something. Made it back for dinner – dressed up Mac & cheese with garlic, rosemary and basil and strawberry margaritas made by Jon’s roommate.




Sunday involved lots of crazy train travel as is the norm for weekends in NYC apparently. It took forever to actually get anywhere. At one point we were on a bus that was moving so slowly that people walking were passing us by quite a few blocks. Needless to say we hopped off that as soon as possible and eventually made it to the Renegade craft fair in Williamsburg to meet up with a friend from RIT! It was pretty chilly out but still fun to walk around and look at lots of vendors and drink hot apple cider!

Sunday night was perhaps the best part of the weekend. After the craft fair Jon and I headed into manhattan to look for a dress for me for my cousins wedding this week (failed at finding one). But we did get to walk around through te Christmas booths in union square park! And went to dinner at S’Mac – a macaroni and cheese restaurant. Soooo tasty! They make individual portions of Mac and cheese in cast iron. Mine had goat cheese, olives and spinach added. Yum. Plus it was a nice and cozy restaurant. After we wanted to find a bar for a quick drink except we were denied!! Thrown out of a bar for being actually being 21… Kind of annoying. But it turned out to be a great thing because just around the corner was Think Coffee, a cute little place where we ended up sitting around and talking for a few hours. We definitely hope to make that place a regular habit.

We’re beginning the descent into Milwaukee so ill have to wrap up this post and finish it another time! I promise pictures from the past week sometime later this week. Right now I have family and pie waiting for me 🙂


Ordinary Things

A two hour commute to a place that normally only takes 35 minutes can get old quickly. Trains don’t run on the weekends. Trains are late. Places are packed. It rains.

I’ve learned, so far, that living in a city means that you have to be okay with adapting. Change in the sense of making split second decisions to hop on a train you might not otherwise have thought to take. Or walking down a different street if something is blocked off. Or spending an hour in a grocery store eating raisins and reading because it’s pouring out and you don’t have anywhere else to be.


It took me almost 2 hours on Sunday to get to church. Three of the trains that I needed to take were down without much warning. Needless to say, I was late. I realized halfway through that there was no possible way for me to make it on time and so I stopped worrying. Three transfers and a bus later, I got there.

Volunteered in the nursery for the first time after the first service.

After church I went wandering through the streets of Queens waiting for Jon to get back from dropping his bike off at home. Ran across some sweet street art. That’s the thing I love about relying on public transportation. It can be slow at times but being forced to walk makes you see things that you might not have otherwise run across. It started raining pretty hard though so I found a grocery store and bought raisins (so I felt justified in hanging out there) and read my book to pass time.

Sunday afternoon was quiet. Jon and I went to the 3rd year anniversary party of the church before heading back to Brooklyn to hang out. It was one of those rainy gray Sundays where watching some movies sounded perfect. Made tomato soup (the best I’ve ever had!) for dinner and called it a weekend. Two real home-cooked dinners in one weekend, I’d call it successful.


Quick Monday

Started week two at Carrot today. Quite a productive day working on wireframes for a new app. Loving the energy in the office and actually getting to talk to people! It’s nice not working in cubicle land and being able to lean over and chat with someone for a bit or ask a quick question. Apparently I kept myself quite busy today because I looked up and it was 6:30! Crazy. Guess I can’t complain about a quick Monday. It was, however, freezing cold in the office (I’m beginning to think that I might be the problem because everyone else seems fine in shorts and a t-shirt. I was in pants, a sweatshirt and a blanket 🙂

Below is the view from the backside of the building (looking into Brooklyn). The office itself has a view of Manhattan.

I’m enjoying my 20 minute commute (sorry dad, I won’t brag too much). Especially nice when I get to see the sunset just as it gets to the one raised Subway stop!

I’ve gotten in the habit of reading on the subway (after the long commute to Astoria to see Jon). Really enjoy sticking my nose in a book because it makes the trips go faster! Plus it’s a non-awkward way to ride the train because apparently looking around is forbidden. I’m reading Anne of Green Gables (a 800+ page book is keeping me quite busy). I’m going to make it through all of the classics during my train rides – since they’re all free on itunes! And they’re all something I’ve wanted to read for a while so it seems like the perfect opportunity. I fortunately do not get motion sick reading on the trains like I do on buses!

After work I met up with Casey (roommate from RIT). We ended up going to a cafe just a few blocks away, having hot chocolate and chatting for hours 🙂 Definitely an awesome way to spend a Monday night and we both decided to make a habit out of it! I’m loving having so many familiar faces in the city – it makes for a slightly easier transition. I was way less exhausted after work today which was nice – makes the night feel a lot longer to actually go out and do something! I am, however, more than ready to fall asleep.

NYC: What I’ve learned

If I’ve learned one thing after a few days in NYC it is that the subway lines are a hot mess on the weekends. Trains pretending to be other ones running different lines, random line changes and end of the line calls way before the map says. I learned that it is horribly I convent for my impatient self to not be able to check the train arrival time due to being underground. Oh Chicago, your above ground system is genius.

I did, however, learn that I love this city.


Everything from the accordion player and the acrobats flipping on the subway lines to the tree lined streets of Brooklyn. Walking five flights of stairs up to eat dinner while staring at the statue of liberty was fantastic. Or how about the fact that I’ve been here two days and already seen a stranger twice. Or had a twenty minute conversation on the train with a lady in Paris. When I asked her the big differences between the US and Paris she informed me that Americans work too hard and we need to learn to balance our lives. Noted.

I’ve learned that you can ask almost anyone for directions and they’ll point you in some direction. Whether or not it’s the right one. They even come back when they realize it was the wrong direction and add an “all the best” before taking off. Thanks strangers.

I’ve also learned to just hop on a train and pray hard that it’s headed in the right direction. If not, few stops down and you can change your mind.

I’ve learned that workers at bed bath and beyond should be paid more than overtime for their stellar assistance during freshman move in. Holy shoppers batman. Clearly not an ideal time to buy a towel unless you enjoy the hustle and bustle of families purchasing everything their freshman son or daughter could ever need. And then shrink wrapping it and loading it onto coach buses. Seriously, if bed bath & beyond was in charge of more things, everything would run a bit smoother.

I’ve learned that Craigslist could be a terrifically efficient way of making friends in a new city. I’ve already met quite a few people on it through the apartment search and have liked them all! Of course, there’re are plenty of weird ads on there to balance it out.

But most of all, I’ve learned that I have terrific family and friends.

The kind that will drive me to the train station after getting up at 4:40 am! After driving the thousands of miles out to chicago and back to pick me and all of my things up. Thanks, mom and dad!

The kind who offer last minute for me to stay on their couch when I spontaneously purchase a one way ticket to NYC. Then they show up at the train station to meet me at some ridiculously early hour on a Saturday with a subway pass in hand and get me to the correct destination 15 minutes ahead of schedule. Even though google maps said that wasn’t possible. And then proceed to hang out with me all weekend while accompanying me to apartment viewings acting as a body guard and walking reference all in one. Thanks, Casey!

And then the kind who lets me stay in their six person apartment – little do they know im going to ask to stay an extra night because I only bought that one way ticket and haven’t gotten the one back yet. Thanks Jon!

I’ve learned that even in this giant city, there are ways to make it feel small. I think I’m going to like it here!