January 27, 2013 § Leave a Comment
On January 9, a friend of mine and I had a conversation that went a little something like this…
My friend: Are you busy MLK Day weekend?
My friend: …Want to go to Montréal?
And so we did…10 days later. Snow and cold temperatures be damned, we were going to Montréal. At what other time in your life could you drop everything and go to Canada completely on a whim than when you’re in your 20s? Good, glad you see my point.
Two city girls on a budget heading to Montréal for the weekend for the first time is the perfect recipe for all kinds of shenanigans. And snowy shenanigans at that. I smell a Top 5 list a comin’…yup, here it is:
With a steady snow gently falling since we arrived last Saturday, we ran (and partially sled) our way around Montréal’s lovely Ice Village, making a stop at the Ice Bar for some chocolat chaud avec Amarula. Dare I say it was epic? Yes, it was pretty epic.
2. Le Lab
We were fired up for this bar. Literally. The people here have turned cocktail making into a beautiful art form. From unique and fiery concoctions (such as the one I had above, holy flaming shot Batman!) to the attention to detail of the bartenders and their stellar drink mixing, if you ever go here you will leave with a newfound appreciation for a truly well made (and delicious) cocktail.
My friend is a French fry fanatic and I’m a cheesehead, so naturally we had to try poutine—a Québécois comfort food of French fries topped with cheese curds and smothered in gravy. The fries were great, the cheese squeaked (the sign of good cheese curds, dontcha know), and the gravy was, well, gravy. Poutine is definitely a ‘must-try’ for a first visit to Montréal…then it goes in the ‘one and done/never again’ pile.
4. Vieux Montréal
Wandering around Vieux Montréal was quite similar to wandering around certain arrondissements of Paris…only wickedly colder and much snowier. The cobblestone streets, quaint storefronts, and beautiful churches have such a European charm to them that you almost forget you’re actually in Canada, not Europe. We happened upon a lovely shop by the old port, Le Magasin Général du Vieux Montréal (where I had my big splurge of the trip: a leather cuff bracelet and mustard-colored scarf), drank whisky and wine at The Keg, took part in the city’s restaurant week at Taverne Gaspar, and then played in the snow and took dozens of wacky pictures in front of Basilique Notre Dame de Montréal (above) in the bitter night air.
5. The Language
January 5, 2013 § Leave a Comment
First of all, three things:
1. I know it’s already January 5, but I needed time to ruminate
2. New Years resolutions aren’t my MO (that phrase has such a stigma…not a fan)
3. I forgot what this one should be…oops
I was reminiscing over what I wrote last year at this time (in case you’re mildly curious: 12 for 2012) to see what I’d actually accomplished. Out of the 12 things I set out to “work on” in 2012, I only saw eight through semi-successfully (over 50%, not too shabby I suppose). I ran a 5K, saw a lot of theater, traveled to many new places…my biggest über fails from last year were timeliness and not resuming work on the quilt I started making by hand a few years ago. It’s still tucked away safely in a box. Good place for it, no?
For 2013, I’m deciding to simplify. Literally. As I was going through photos for the WordPress ‘My 2012 in Photos’ Challenge last week, I came across this photo I took in New York City in early November that pretty much sums up the three areas of my life that I want to simplify this year.
To live, work, and create simply…that’s what I hope for in 2013. Something just clicked when I turned 27 last month and for whatever reason, I feel like more of an adult (Shit, how did this happen? I don’t even know what I want to be when I grow up yet!) and just want to simplify. Everything. And I’m not wasting any time.
This weekend I have absolutely no plans (well, except to watch my Green Bay Packers pulverize the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field tonight…) and intend to purge the living hell out of my apartment. Do I really need that box filled with papers, scripts, and random stuff I packed up when I moved to Rhode Island in 2009 that I haven’t looked at in the last 2.5 years since I’ve been living in New Jersey? I think not. Or that pair of colorful Roos from my early character days with Disney in 2006 that are taking up precious space on my shoe rack? Seriously. No.
Putting your goals for the new year in writing for all to see makes you more accountable for them, no? There’s no going back now. About an hour ago I came across this article on the Huffington Post that was really the icing on the proverbial New Years resolutions cake:
“It’s not about stopping, giving up, and doing nothing.
It is about doing things differently”
– Kevin Cashman, A Year of Pause
I couldn’t agree more. And with that, happy 2013! May it be a year of transformation, making good choices, opening new doors and closing old ones that get you down, being your best self, and simplicity. Cheers.
December 31, 2012 § 1 Comment
A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.
Well 2012, I happily bid thee adieu. It was quite a trying (yet mostly enjoyable?) year of difficult challenges, new friends and places, closing old doors and opening some unexpected ones, with much humor and debauchery along the way. Here’s a peek at the loveliness and madness of my crazy little world in 2012 through the lens…of my iPhone.
November 19, 2012 § Leave a Comment
New York City has a way with words. It’s a city that can be charming and charismatic one minute and then tell you to fuck off the next. Every time I set foot in Manhattan, it never fails to tell me something new, bring a smile to my face, and make me appreciate just being there. What can I say?
I guess I’m a city girl at heart.
In my three years of east coast living (in which I’ve been to NYC more times than I’ve been to Chicago, despite living a mere 90 minutes north of it for my entire life), the city has given me great words of wisdom—sidewalks have a particular knack for that—that make you tilt your head to the side, look up toward the sky, and ponder this strange world of ours; intriguing compliments from the strangest of places; and words that really have no meaning or intention except perhaps to make a grouchy passerby smile (or mutter to himself and roll his eyes, you pick).
New York City always seems to know exactly what to say and when to say it, even if it wordlessly tells you to go screw yourself from time to time. Wow, not that I intended to channel Carrie Bradshaw there or anything…ok, you knew this was coming. So without further delay, to quote that infamous Sex and the City gal:
Anything is possible. This is New York.
– Carrie Bradshaw
November 7, 2012 § Leave a Comment
My 2012 election day went a little something like this:
8:24am — Wake up. Just living the cushy 10 to 6 life, like ya do.
9:42am — Cast my first vote as a New Jersey resident (gosh, that’s weird to say).
*avoided social media and news outlets as much as possible throughout the day*
Well, except for searching out this, of course:
8:32pm — Got back to my apartment after work and did pilates and yoga in an attempt to distract myself from looking at election coverage.
10:00pm — Started trolling Facebook, Twitter, and the Huffington Post. Read that Wisconsin went for Obama…did a little happy dance as only a proud, displaced cheesehead can. On Wisconsin!
10:18pm — My internet craps out (what the what?!?). More pilates. And calm thoughts.
10:43pm — Internet mysteriously came back to life and I had to remind myself that, nine times out of ten, no matter how many times I refreshed the Huff Post homepage within a minute, the map and numbers weren’t very likely to change. Best option at that point? Crack open my election beverage of choice: Spotted Cow.
10:48pm — After realizing I hadn’t eaten dinner yet, I started making this delicious looking soup, Coconut milk and corn chowder (alas, I was out of shrimp).
11:00pm — Turned on The Daily Show‘s live election coverage and listened to it while making my soup…within five minutes, I had to temporarily halt my cooking because shit was getting real.
11:28pm (or thereabouts) — Reports started coming in that the election was being called for Obama. Soup making was completely abandoned. Fled to my living room and sat on the floor, flipping back and forth between my laptop on the couch and the TV.
11:57pm — Obama wins! After many smiles, enthusiastic texts, and much social media excitement over the President’s win, Tammy Baldwin’s victory (D – WI), and Wisconsin going blue, I remembered my soup.
1:58am — President Obama finished one of the best and most powerful speeches I’d ever heard and was so inspiring that I literally got chills. I am so proud to be from Wisconsin and a current resident of New Jersey. And…damn it feels good to be a woman in America right now.
“Forward. That’s where we need to go.” - President Barack Obama
October 28, 2012 § Leave a Comment
In the three years that I’ve been on the East Coast, the impending Frankenstorm that’s supposed to clobber us later today is only the second hurricane/epic superstorm that I’ve ever experienced (yeah, I’m talking about you too, Irene). Though you wouldn’t know it by looking out my window right now—the calm before the storm, right?
Hurricanes are certainly not something this Wisconsin gal knows how to deal with and prepare for very well. A high of minus 2 plus a 30 below windchill? Sure thing, I’ll put on an extra scarf. Feet upon feet of snow falling all at once? Bring it on, I’ve got awesome boots. Hurricanes disguised as Frankenstorms that put us in a state of emergency days before the storm is slated to wallop us? Hmm, ok…glad I live on the third floor, so now what do I do?
In talking with New Jerseyans and Wisconsinites and trolling social media over the last 48 hours, here’s my plan:
Start using up perishables in the refrigerator.
I made chocolate chip pumpkin bread earlier and used up my eggs. Next? Just had ice cream for breakfast. WINNING.
Stock the booze cabinet and wine rack.
Done and done. I’m also filing this one under ‘Good Life Choices.’
Charge the shit out of your technology.
Even if we lose power, at least I’ll be able to play Temple Run and Cut the Rope on my iPad for the next few days.
Stock up on healthy, non-refrigerated items.
I have a gas stove (whew, dodged a bullet there I think), so I have a few more options to work with, thankfully…otherwise I’d be living off of bananas, dried mango, pistachios, and Cliff Bars for days and days.
Replenish my stock pile of batteries that was recently depleted by the needy Wii remote.
Battery sucking Wii remote. I think I’m set with AA’s for life now.
Invest in some candles.
Hooray for mood lighting. Pumpkin spice candle? Check. Pomegranate candle? Check. My apartment is going to smell like fall…or a Michael’s store.
Have plenty of reading material on hand for when the power goes out.
I had some frequent flyer miles to burn and recently got nine—that’s right, NINE—magazine subscriptions. I don’t think I’ll have a problem keeping busy. Reading by candlelight? How romantic.
Keep in contact with people.
Especially since I live by myself, have no immediate family in the area, and because I’m an only child (not sure why, but I always feel the need to toss that in there), this is incredibly important. It’s times like this that I’m incredibly thankful for having a smart phone. And Twitter. How else would I keep up with the news?
What’s left to do now except sit and wait? We all know my affinity for The West Wing (understatement of the year), but this is pretty much my exact thought about our current state of Sandy-readiness:
We’re all literally just watching and waiting and are as prepared as we could possibly be right now. There’s not really much left to do at this point. No rain yet, but the wind has started to pick up in Princeton a bit in the last few hours…Sandy’s a brewin’. Stay safe.
October 28, 2012 § 3 Comments
I find subways fascinating. Absolutely fascinating. Especially empty ones…creepy, mysterious, and wicked cool, all at the same time.
We don’t have them in Wisconsin (shocked?) and growing up, I rarely went down to Chicago or traveled to any other city with subways until I was 21, so they were a completely foreign concept and experience for me. The first time I ventured underground was in Rome when I spent a summer in Italy studying abroad during college. Ever since then, I’ve been intrigued by them—particularly New York City’s—and that feeling still hasn’t worn off. I spent last weekend meandering around the city with friends, exploring new areas and restaurants, and snapped this along the way: