Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Awards Season


Please forgive me for being tardy to the party - awards season always seems to slip by me - but I'm finally back into a good swing and I am taking charge and taking this on RIGHT NOW!

Earlier this month were the Enchanted Blog Awards...

Rules:

♥If you have received this blog award, kindly post the picture thumbnail into your blog with the name of the one who gave it to you.

♥Don't pass this award back to me!

♥Pass this blog award around to as many blogs as you like! (optional)


"Um, oh, gosh, wow!  Well, I'd like to thank Erica at Live.Love.Random for nominating me for this award, and for all her support on Instagram!  Oh, the viewers, I want to thank the viewers, oh without you I'd just be scribbling notes in a notebook and hiding it between my mattresses!  And my agent, and producer...You guys, this is such a surprise!  I didn't even have time to write a speech!  Tee hee!"

That was awful.  How can you go into awards season without a speech prepared?  Guh.  I could only hope for a chance to redeem myself...


"Here are the rules for accepting the Versatile Blogger Award:
1. Thank the award-giver and link back to them in your post.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs you enjoy reading.
4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.""Thank you so much, Kaity of Adventures of an American Girl, for nominating me for this prestigious award.  It means so much that a seasoned world-traveler and hard-working student would take time from her busy schedule to acknowledge my humble blog!  Why, it seems like only yesterday I was falling off the swingset on my fifth birthday to break my right arm in a vicious manner (1).  But did that stop me from blogging?  No!   My dreams were big, big like the collages of inspiration I taped to the walls of my childhood and current bedroom (2)!  I moved to New York City in the fall of 2008 (3) to pursue my dreams of being an actress (4) and to shack up indelicately with my boyfriend of (5) years, Eli!  Thank you, Eli, for almost never mocking me when I ask you to take my picture next to something "for my blog."  I also want to thank my walking partner, Connie, who I've known since (6)th grade, for inspiring me to take so many fascinating adventures around New York City and leading me to the greatest ice cream shops around!  I should also mention my part-time work at FAO Schwarz and as a tour guide (7), for allowing me the luxury to have so much time to blog.  Thank you all so much, especially

Shaylynn at Red Lipstick & Melodies for raw, insightful and visually stunning blogging that inspires me,

Amie at Completely Unfinished for bringing unique style, awesome DIYs and perhaps the best blogging name that I wish I had thought of myself (it took me a minute to get it, I'll admit, but it was SO worth it),

Julie at Can Soup Lover for introducing me to her glamorous life and providing drool-worthy pictures thereof,

Kassie Nichole at Ginger Flair for her equal talents at photography and outfit-making (is that even a word?  Her photos and her outfits are BOTH awesome and worth seriously checking out!),

Marissa at Sugar + Bean for her openness, her honesty and her beautiful crochet work.  I love the death out of the hat I won in her first giveaway, I'd follow and keep my eye on this one if I were you...

Elizabeth at love is the adventure for following her dreams all the way to her Ph.D!  Collect those letters, girl!  I'm rooting for ya!

Erica
at Live.Love.Random
(one good turn deserves another, eh?) presenting a unique perspective, and because she takes great Instagram photos too so you should follow those as well!

MaDonna at Me! MaDonna! whose closet I wish I could raid.  I would love to be her when I grow up!

Gabrielle at Paperplanes & Maryjanes for being super classy, representing Brooklyn (!) and having impeccable taste,

Emily at Life, etc whose beautiful pictures of babies are making me excited to see the pictures of her own soon-to-be-born son (!),

Erinn at It's The Journey... is giving up pasta for Lent and she deserves all the support a human being can get, I think!

HannaH at Hey Zombot! for edgy retro flair and quirky awesomeness,

Misfit at Adventures of a Misfit Librarian is the best new blog I discovered TODAY and, as the daughter of TWO librarians, I feel a strong affinity already!

Sarah at SillyGrrl is an AMAZING web designer and a gorgeous aerialist!

Hans at The TILTING is, last but not least, my "older brother," has impeccable taste, amazing sense of humour and is an incredible writer!

Thank you, thank you all so much!  You like me, you really like me!"


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Voyeur


Perhaps it's a sick hobby, but I adore people-watching.  Birds all look the same.  People are amazing.  We're frail and guarded and vulnerable and stoic.  Never more so than on the subway. 

It's such a bizarre conceit:  we're all crammed together, sometimes so tightly that we touch, but we're bound by social constructs not to talk to each other.  Not only that, we're barely supposed to LOOK at each other.  Is it sad?  Lonely?  Isolated?  Maybe.

But even without words or eye contact, we share so much with fellow passengers that words are almost unnecessary.  We can hear each others' music through headphones.  Smell each others' perfume.  Feel the soft, cushy coats we're squished in next to. 

If someone sneezes on the subway, someone will invariably bless them.  If coffee is spilled, a napkin is offered.  If tears are shed, a Kleenex is passed.

We're not alone.  We're not aloof.  We're screaming in our heads but underground, we're quietly stewing out of mutual respect for people we've never even met and will probably never meet again.

Take that, birds.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Peek At... Malu


I'll give you a topic:  Long Island City is neither in Long Island, nor is it much of a city.  Discuss.

While you're fighting that one out, I'm going to hop on a Queens-bound R train and GO to Long Island City for some ice cream from Malu!

If I had to sum up the Malu in one word, it would be "sweet."  The outside is brightly lit and really stands out in the neighborhood.


The inside is equally beautifully lit with fairy lights, wooden chairs, and covered in candy and treats!  During our visit, the walls were lined with sweet photography of couples in local settings, or local couples in local settings.  Even before I tasted the ice cream, I was in a diabetic shock from all the sweet!  Luckily, I picked the most amazing and delicious flavour for the occasion.
My confession:  I don't like things too sweet.  Sure, it's nice once in a while, but I do love me some robust, savory flavours.  I was more than thrilled with my choice of Lady Olivia's Afternoon Cuppa, steeped with Lady Grey tea.  It was sweet, subtle, creamy, and rich, with the tang of black tea and citrus notes.  The kind of ice cream that makes your tongue feel rough and haunts you for days with cravings for more, more, MORE!

Good thing it's only an R train away!

Malu
12-09 Jackson Ave, Long Island City
718-729-MALU (6258)
Wed - Mon  12-8pm (closed Tuesday)

Mani Mondays - Angles


This week's nails are totally Springed-out!  Soft, matte grey & mint, all at different angles because...I did something a little crazy today.  I went out and got the haircut I've been (shamefully) lusting after on Pinterest.  It's a little crazy, I'll probably freak out tomorrow when I feel the back of my head and my hair's all gone!  But here's the show, folks!


Crazy, right?  I watched the Vidal Sassoon documentary and had the urge for something edgy and low-maintenance.  What do you think?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Life's A Beach


In the best possible way!  Like, for instance, you could be walking through a random, industrial part of Queens and suddenly find yourself on a tiny beach overlooking Manhattan.  WHAT?  WHY?  I don't know.  Just let it in.  Enjoy it. 



And take pictures!


I mean, after all, who knows how many secret beaches there are out there?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Peek At... Emack & Bolio's Ice Cream

When Zagat rates you #1 Speciality Dessert in NYC 5 years in a row, you do not escape notice. Yet, tucked away on First Ave on the Upper East Side, Emack & Bolio's ice cream shop stays grounded and true to their roots. Upon confessing that it was our first time (and staring blankly in indecision at the flavor list for a decent amount of time) all the customers began piping up with their flavor recommendations.

Which is helpful, because there are SO MANY FLAVORS.  Like "Bleeding Heart": vanilla ice cream with Raspberry swirl and heart-shaped Raspberry truffles mixed in.  And "Allman Joy", which is coconut ice cream mixed with almonds and chocolate flakes.

If you're noticing a bit of hippie rock 'n' roll flair, that's no accident.
Emack & Bolio's founders, self-described "hippie lawyers," started the brand in 1975 in Boston while working pro bono for the homeless, gay civil rights, anti-war demonstrators and, naturally, musicians being signed to major labels.  Unfortunately, Boston's blue laws made it illegal to serve alcohol after midnight.  The solution was as easy as renting a basement in Brookline, MA, and buying a commercial ice-cream machine.  Rockers playing gigs in town were thrilled by the groovy atmosphere, and loved jamming all night - acoustic, of course - while dining on the outrageous concocted flavours.  The shop's name comes from two homeless men the lawyers were representing, who suggested the shop be named after them.  In the interest of good karma, the lawyers agreed.  And what good karma it is.
Emack & Bolio's is not afraid to push the envelope!  They have created "ice cream pizzas", dipped their cones in everything from sprinkles to rice krispie treats.  But they also stay true to their altruistic beliefs.  They oppose the milk hormone bST, are certified Kosher by the Rabbinical Council of New England, and offer live cultures for the lactose intolerant.  Good ice cream, good vibes.  What's not to love?


Emack & Bolio's
1564 First Avenue (at 81st Street)
212-734-0105
12 noon to 11pm Daily

or

73 West Houston Street
212-533-5610

or

Amsterdam Avenue (between 78th & 79th Streets)
212-362-2747

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fears

I have a fear of losing control. I have a fear of being helpless. I have a fear of not having my feet firmly on the ground.

No, literally!  I hate being suspended, or hovering, or not being able to see my safety net.  It's terrifying! 

Gusseted by my brave friend, and the sugar high from a Sprinkles cupcake, I boarded the Roosevelt Island Tram, despite having snapped this picture while it was stopped and swinging violently to and fro:


Ah, but it was smoother than expected!  Making a huge case for conquering fears.  Sometimes it pays off to take a leap of faith and try the things that make us nervous.

The views were the ultimate payoff, and it's not that high, after all.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Let me take you down, cuz I'm going to...

Visiting Strawberry Fields in Central Park is a religious experience. I've been thinking a lot about life, and how simple it all really is.


I'm not a philosopher, or a psychologist - you may say, I'm a dreamer - but I have this new theory that I've been working on.  Here it is:

Everyone wants to live their life in relative health and happiness, and everything else is unimportant.

It's still a bit wordy, but it's been working well as a mantra so far.  So what if I don't get a seat on the train?  Someone else will get a seat instead.  So what if I spent a little too much money?  I'll make more money later.  A million little things fall away, and you start to see how little things matter.  Money is only paper, after all.  It can't buy you good health or a longer life, after all.  Steve Jobs showed us that.  And money certainly can't buy you happiness, as the rash of unfortunate celebrity deaths this past year have more than illustrated.  So does it really matter?

It's when we start to infringe on the health and happiness of others that the real "sins" are committed.  I don't want to go on a rant here.  You're all adults.  You all have your own opinions.  I just want to say, that trying to force them on others isn't the way to make friends.

Can we do it?  Can we all live in peace?  Can we leave each other alone to enjoy themselves?  Can we stop and take stock of all the things we DO have without the mad dash of trying to acquire more and more things we don't really NEED?  If John Lennon is to be believed, it isn't hard to do.  It's easy, if you try.  And we can all at least "try", right?

Feast Your Eyes on Hand of Man (Owego, NY)

Just over the "new, historic" bridge traversing the mighty Susquehanna River into Owego is the River Rose Cafe, sharing a building with what just might be the most visually stunning shop I've ever been in - Hand of Man.









They sell every beautiful thing you could imagine.  Jewelry!  Christmas ornaments!  And a squadron of angels in every conceivable style and dress.


I mentioned that the store is visually beautiful, but one of the most striking things about the store is that it smells amazing.  There is a stellar cafe out back, but the store also sells oodles of delicious foodstuffs of their own!


The coffee corner smelled so delicious, that I had to come back again and buy some Chocolate Raspberry Creme coffee to take home with me.  My exact words on the subject were:  "What smells so good and how can I get some?"  Don't worry, tea people, they have you covered too:



This store is seriously like a museum of awesome.  I wanted to buy all my Christmas presents here and hoard them for next year.  I wanted to eat outside on the terrance but I would have frozen to death.  I wanted to put my head under the coffee bean dispenser and...well, you get the idea.  This store is so awesome and colourful it defies explanation, so I'll just leave you with some photos of the highlights:

Green woodland scene in the window
Purple peacocks (this one was my favourite)
White Nativity
Pink Christmas?


Hand of Man
180 Front Street, Owego, NY
Mon - Sat  9:30 - 5
Sun  9:30 - 4:30

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Peek At... Riverow Bookshop (Owego, NY)

A bibliophile's dream is to wake up at Riverow Bookshop.


Located across from the mighty Susquehanna River, Riverow Bookshop was one of those hardest hit during the September flooding in Owego.  But you'd never know it by the way they have retained their absolute charm and serenity.  And Christmas decorations:



The exterior of the building is bright, cheerful, and YELLOW!  Inside, the dark wood floors and shelves set the tone for a meditative browsing experience that is bound to end in discovering some new (or old) treasure.

There are two floors to browse in.  The first floor has nonfiction, a children's section, and books of local interest (including a publication about the recent floods).  Upstairs is their fiction and rare book collection, housed in tiny rooms containing well-loved chairs for your perusal.


It would be very easy to spend a day pondering the collection, gazing at their collection of posters and prints lining the staircase, and getting lost in the stacks - that is, if they didn't put what you were REALLY looking for RIGHT AT THE FRONT OF THE STORE:


187 Front Street, Owego, NY
Mon - Wed  9:30-5:30
Thurs  9:30-8:00
Fri - Sat  9:30-5:30
Sun  12:00-4:00















Monday, February 20, 2012

Oh We Go - Owego!

If I couldn't live in New York City, I think I could be happy in Owego, New York. This plucky small town just recovered from a devastating flood less than six months ago that put most of the town and everything I visited underwater.

The Susquehanna River, and future site of Gateway Park

Owego will always be special to me. I got my first "real" acting job with the Ti-Ahwaga Community Players, on Delphine Street!  I've lunched at the River Rose Cafe, sampled truffles at Fuddy Duddy, even attended one of the yearly Strawberry Festivals held in Owego.  To me, it is a place of hopes and dreams fulfilled.  It's as easy as lifting up your feet and making a wish when you cross the railroad tracks!
Post Office


Tioga County Court House
Owego is quaint, unexpected, warm, and well situated between the bustling University town of Vestal and the crunchy Ithaca to the north. Owego features the very best of those two locales, in one place.  Their devotion to their town is unmatched.  Modern sensibilities meet antique notions of community in a rustic, grassroots renaissance.  I am pleased and proud to post some of my favourite features of Owego, New York...

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sunsets in Central Park

My favourite type of day is a rainy day. My favourite time of day is dusk. When their forces combine, something enchanting and truly beautiful happens:

I love how proud these bears look!
Every bridge in Central Park is so unique and beautiful!
Our adventure awaits
To the west
To the east
To Wonderland (Alice statue)
Hans Christian Anderson
The light is starting to leave us...

The sky, after the rain.  I think it's brownish/grayish/purple!



I think wet pavement under street lights is probably the most romantic thing ever.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Unexpected Delights

 Wow, the week has flown by.  It feels like I just woke up today and it's already a week later.  Without my phone photos to tell me where I've been, I probably wouldn't be reminded of all the rather lovely thing I have to be grateful for today:


On Friday, I snapped this picture of my favourite guy near a random pile of snow in Union Square.  It hasn't even snowed that much in New York so what could there possibly be so much snow from?  Completely unexpected and seemingly impossible, much like the man next to the snow.  Without being glib, he's so much funnier and smarter and more talented than I could ever hope to be, and yet he's been stuck by my side for four and a half years!  Unexpected and seemingly impossible.


After a hard day at work on Saturday, he met me at our favourite Italian restaurant with a bouquet of red roses.  Of course.  Because that's what the perfect boyfriend does for his lady.  Seriously?  This guy deserves a medal.  Let's get a committee on that, okay?


On Monday, I picked up a package at the post office (and there was no line, at that!) because I won a giveaway on Sarah's blogMarissa made this amazing hat, I don't even have words for it, it's so amazing to behold in person, the detail is perfect and I am so grateful!  Thanks to Sarah for hosting the giveaway and Marissa for her amazing handiwork and for being so sweet in general!


And yesterday, at work, a trio of tourists drew a portrait of me.  It was so sweet I was squealing and clutching my metaphorical pearls and that's why my hands look weird in it.  I also met a lot of really sweet people on the job that day.  Some days, the world is out to get you.  But some days, the morning flies by, everyone laughs at your jokes, and some random guys devote their artistic talent to capturing your likeness. 

Thank you, iPhone photo gallery, for helping me take a minute to smell my metaphorical roses this morning.  

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