Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer in the City - Part 4

You know those days, where everything is just about perfect and you find yourself wondering how the day is lasting so long? I know they don't come around often enough, but Saturday was one of those days for me.

Breakfast doesn't get any better than New York bagels, chive cream cheese, capers, and freshly smoked salmon from Acme Smoked Fish. Yummy!
As Jessica was perusing Time Out New York for things to do, she mentioned that the Renegade Craft Fair was going on down the street that weekend. I was stoked, I've been wanting to go down to the one in Austin or up to Chicago for a couple of years. We walked over and did some shopping, screen printed t-shirts (pictured above), and visited Smorgasburg in the lot next door for drinks and snacks, it was hot out there! I found some great things and artists that I'll share in my next souvenir post.
We met up with Jessica's boyfriend, Brian, and headed to the Wythe Hotel rooftop bar for the view and a drink. It was beautiful and my Dark and Stormy was delicious!
After drinks, we headed to Roberta's for dinner. For those of you who know me, know that pizza is my favorite food group. This pizza joint, frequented by famous NYC foodies, is worth every minute you have to wait, seriously.
We finished off the day with handmade, craft cocktails by Brian with some of Jessica and Brian's friends on their rooftop deck. Yep, it was a pretty awesome day. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer in the City - Part 3

Jessica and I started the weekend right with dinner at Danji, a Korean tapas place with amazing (and spicy) cocktails. I had a Pink Diablo - watermelon-infused tequila, lime and jalapeno - and Jessica had a Spicy Ginger Margarita. For dinner I had the amazing spicy yellowtail sashimi and the mesclun salad. 
To offset the healthiness of dinner, we headed to Amy's Bread for some dessert. I got halfway through this coconut dream bar before I remembered to snap a photo.
After dinner we headed to this show which was based on a book and followed, Wicked-style, to fill in the story before Peter Pan. It was certainly an interesting play, without much music and many pop culture references that will have to be updated if people continue to perform it. The whole time we watched, I kept thinking about how many high schools will start adding this to their rotation. The show starred one of the main characters from Smash and was enjoyable to watch.
We left Broadway, grabbed the subway, and a slice of pizza, and headed back to Jessica and Brian's apartment. Thanks for stopping in!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Summer in the City - Part 2

The next two days of my trip were devoted primarily to a work-related conference for technology and social media but I did manage to work in a little fun, surprise-surprise.

After the first day of the conference, Jessica and I met up to fulfill number eight on my Travel Bucket List. I had failed to get pre-sale tickets to The Moth SLAM, a podcast that I love (it can be downloaded for free here), so I was a little worried we'd miss it, but the venue accepted more people than could move around comfortably and we were in! The theme for the evening was "Small World" and we heard from ten story-tellers selected at random. There were several hilarious ones, a couple of serious ones, and one that I couldn't follow at all. A very enjoyable way to spend $8 if you are ever in a town that has a show.
After the show, we headed to dinner at Extra Fancy, who refers to themselves as an "upscale clam shack." The light wasn't great, and I didn't have my camera, so sorry about the oddly colored shot of my Arctic char funnel cake, which was delicious. I also had a yummy three beet salad.
The end of the conference brought us each a four-pack sampler of cupcakes from Crumbs. They were so delicious that I had to eat them all at once, which was maybe not the best idea but worth it. After the conference I headed out of the financial building we'd been in all week to enjoy the city, more on that tomorrow!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Summer in the City - Part 1

Since arriving into NYC on Wednesday, things have been a bit of a blur -- in a good way, of course. 
I got in at 7pm and took a cab straight to an event that my friend Jessica was throwing for work, the NY Tech Meetup, at the Gawker rooftop. We drank delicious craft cocktails, created under the mastery of Jessica's boyfriend, Brian, and heard two futuristic talks about technology and the world.
A war journalist, Danfung Dennis spoke about his new documentary film, Hell and Back Again, and his new company, Condition One, which is revolutionizing the way we will see video on mobile devices. Fascinating stuff.
Ray Kurzweil, one of the most prolific inventors/entrepreneurs/thinkers of our time, then shared his thoughts on the future. For those of you reading who are interested in more about how we will likely have nanobots in our blood, brains and bodies in the next 30 years, check out this summary of his presentation here. I had one of those "in the presence of greatness" moments listening to him speak, even if I only understood fifty percent of what was being said.
I thought the hanging focaccia was delicious. I unfortunately didn't capture photos of the lime daiquiri's or the gin and juice (complete with liquid nitrogen), but I did enjoy them both! Thanks for geeking out with me!

Thursday, June 21, 2012


My watch battery died about a week ago. I haven't had time to drop it off for it's tiny, restorative surgery. I looked in the drawer of my nightstand, only to find another dead watch and my "Africa" watch, which is cheap, clunky and caked in bug-spray gunk. This leads to me now walking around wondering what time it is. Oh, this is not some blog post about how liberated I feel having no idea what time it is, nor is it about how I figured out I could tell time on my phone. If it were the latter, that would do me no good anyways as I am currently sitting on a plane.

My watch-less state has made me slightly more introspective, I'd like to think. I often find myself feeling constrained by time, feeling like it is going way too fast while at the same time feeling utterly happy with the way I get to spend it. Maybe I should just stop thinking about it so much, which I guess may be a distant cousin to the "liberated by time-cluelessness" but I'd like to think of it as less cliche than that.

By trying to enjoy all of the minutes I do get, I might be able to stop obsessing about productivity, deadlines, and looming events (like spring semester perhaps?). Didn't I make some kind of resolution about that back in January? No wait, that was about failing better. Wait, I think I can manage those two together. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Backyard Wedding

This past weekend I drove up to Minnesota for the wedding of one of my college roommates, Jason. I hadn't seen him for a few years and I thought it would be fun to join in the festivities. The wedding was lovely and the reception was cozy. The family and friends, a couple of whom I knew from school, were welcoming and we all had a great time eating, talking and dancing the night away in the bride's backyard.

Drinks and passed hors d'oeuvre hour happened in the front yard with small tents, flowers and photos of the bride and groom's family's wedding photos (parents, grandparents, etc.)
As you entered the backyard, there were flip flops in assorted sizes for guests; probably to encourage dancing, and to avoid heels sticking in the grass.
The perfect setting for a reception.
The flowers were beautiful, although I might be a little biased as they were gerbera daisies and ORANGE!
The bride and groom.
The cake. I loved how detailed this wedding was. The food was excellent, the weather was perfect (pouring rain during the ceremony - for good luck - and sunny with a breeze for the reception), and a good time was had by all. Congrats Stephanie and Jason!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Brian Goes to Austin

It doesn't happen very often, but sometimes Brian and I go our separate ways out of town. I was bummed to miss out on Austin this past weekend but I had a nice weekend of my own up in Minnesota. In a blog first, Brian agreed to share his photos and what he found down in Texas, when he wasn't busy attending TXJS. Here's what he reported:
  1. He started his trip off with lunch in the Dallas airport at Urban Taco. ("The tacos were good but small, you would have liked it.")
  2. He checked into the Stephen F. Austin Intercontinental Hotel. ("It was fine. Apparently the locals just call it The Stephen F.")
  3. He thought about going to the art museum across the street. (He didn't make it.)
  4. Dinner Night 1 - Frank (Brian was excited that this place was featured in this Google Chrome commercial. "I thought it looked familiar after I walked inside the place. I was just looking for a hot dog.")
  5. The first night he was there, one of the conference sponsors had a pre-party at The Ginger Man. ("They had lots of beers on tap.")
  6. The conference took place at the Alamo Draft House on Lamar. (Interestingly enough, the Alamo Draft House is taking over the AMC 6 in KC, you can read more on that here.)
  7. The second night, the conference had dinner and a party at a bowling alley called The Highball. Brian thought it was cool that it was so low-tech. ("We had to fill out our scores with a pencil.")
  8. Music was everywhere and he took some in on his way around town. He also stopped into Pete's Dueling Piano Bar.
9. Prior to leaving home, Brian had Yelped a coffee place that he could stop by on his way to the conference. Brian's Brew sells wood-fired coffee and is located inside a Bank of America building. While it was a little hard to find, Brian said it was delicious and really inexpensive. The first time he went a customer was telling the guy he should charge more. He went back the next day to help business.
10. On the last day, Brian walked around town and visited the Capital building. This was a pretty impressive shot with a phone. After the Capital, he had lunch at Casino el Camino. ("It was supposed to have good hamburgers, so that's why I went there.")
And there you have it, Brian's trip to Austin. (He said he thought about taking pictures of his food, which I consider a success in itself, maybe next time.) Thanks for checking in!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Rainy Rochester - Part II

Growing up, no rainy day was ever complete without some sort of crafty activity. From magazine collages to paper bag hand puppets, my mom occupied my brother and I with lots of paper, glue and crayons. As an adult, rainy days are usually spent at work or doing chores around the house. Since I was on vacation, my friend Vanessa and I got to work on some scarves that you have undoubtedly seen either on people or on Pinterest. In case you haven't seen them, here's a quick tutorial on how to make one of your own:

Find a cotton t-shirt with no side seams. Using a straight-edge and a rotary cutter, cut the bottom seam off and discard.
Cut the top of the shirt off at the armpit seams (or below any design that is present).
Using the straight edge, the rotary cutter and something to protect your table, cut 1.5" bands of the shirt (leaving the sides of the shirt connected in big loops).
Stretch out each loop like a big rubber band to create the curled effect of the t-shirt.
You should end up with piles of loops that look like this.
Using a scrap from the upper part of the shirt that you cut off (like the sleeve), cut a 1" strip (not a loop) and stretch it out. Tie one end around the gathered loops and carefully wrap around the loops to hold in place. Make sure to tuck the ends as you go to avoid unraveling. (We tried using a crochet hook to help with this but it was easier with fingers.)
The finished product - cheap and easy!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Rainy Rochester - Part I

This weekend I went to Rochester, NY to visit some good friends from college and to meet their toddler who is about to turn two. For some reason the weather turned cold and rainy as soon as I arrived. Then I remembered, that's what Rochester is known for - crazy mood swings in temperature, precipitation, etc. I spent almost four years attending college in this town but it's easy to forget these things when you've been gone for awhile. The weekend was full of catching up with my friends, playing trains with their son, shopping, and getting a little extra sleep. Here are a few photo highlights from the trip:

Vanessa and I; it should be noted that my gritted teeth are due to the arm-wrestling match taking place just below the view of the camera.
After our dinner at Hogan's Hideaway on Friday, we walked over to buy some fine chocolates and peruse the goods at Parkleigh.
Following dinner, we visited one of our old college haunts, Abbott's, for frozen custard. I had a hot-fudge sundae with chocolate almond custard and gummy bears, of course.
Tomorrow I'll share a tutorial on our rainy-day craft activity. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Vancouver Preview

As I had mentioned in my last post, we are heading to Vancouver, B.C. for our summer vacation. I am really excited to have a big adventure prior to Year 2 of grad school. (Sidenote: if you are ever planning a trip to Vancouver and desire a unique place to stay, you need to check out this website, which is where we found number one on our list.) While I usually try to have everything planned out ridiculously in advance, there are still a few details left to iron out. In case you're curious, here's what we are looking forward to:

1. The first two nights we will be traveling to Vancouver Island to stay in this Free Spirit Sphere. It took a little persuasion to convince Brian that it isn't going to be annoying to climb down the tree to the compost toilet in the middle of the night, but I think sleeping in the swaying breezes will make it all worth it. The sphere even has electricity, drinking water, a mini fridge, and a built in speaker system.
2. One of my surfing buddies Kristy has an awesome Stand Up Paddle Boarding camp. I haven't been able to join for a week of that action, but I've been dying to try out SUP for myself, which we plan to do during our stay on the island. In case you're not familiar, it's like surfing with a paddle and a slightly wider board. 
3. A wine and cheese experience at the Salt Tasting Room will be a great way to start, or end, a meal. This place got great reviews from a local food blogger and I love cheese.
4. There's nothing Brian likes more when we travel than trying local beers. Taking a tour of the Granville Island Brewing Company will be just the place for that to happen.
5. After the sphere, we'll be spending the remainder of our time in this amazing Gastown loft. The hammock is my favorite part, besides the fireplace. So excited to stay in this Airbnb property!
In addition to these attractions, we also plan to take in a dim sum breakfast in Chinatown (in preparation for my upcoming trip to China), take in some live music (TBD), bike along the Seawall, find some delicious coffee shops, nap, and leave a little room for whatever happens next. If you have any recommendations, feel free to toss them my way and thanks, as always, for stopping by!