Another weekend in NY

Living in Ohio, sometimes it seems like my home, NY is just too far away. It’s too far for a weekend trip by car (it’s hard to rationalize 15 hours in the car for a day or two trip), and planes aren’t always the most affordable options. Luckily, for various reasons (some not-so-lucky), I’ve gotten a chance to go home and see my family quite a few times the past few months. And that includes this past weekend! A few people from my agency were being recognized, as well as a client I work on, and I was lucky enough to attend a formal event in New York City for the awards ceremony and celebration.

After the awards ceremony, I was lucky enough to spend some time in the city with my brother, and then some time upstate with my parents. It will be at least a month until I see them next – and probably the last time I visit my brother at his school before he graduates (I can’t believe my brother is graduating college this year!).

Some scenes from a great weekend:

Jennifer and I (our client was up for an award) at the program

Jennifer and I (our client was up for an award) at the program

Awards beginning!

hanging around Columbia the next day

hanging around Columbia the next day

SO impressed with how clean my brother's dorm was!

SO impressed with how clean my brother’s dorm was!

view from the top of his dorm

view from the top of his dorm

pre-dinner drinks at the top of the Standard Hotel with my brother

pre-dinner drinks at the top of the Standard Hotel with my brother

view from the top of the Standard

view from the top of the Standard

Dinner with Greg. We waited outside this Indian Restaurant for 30 minutes and then were allowed into a scene with TONS of holiday and pepper lights.

Dinner with Greg. We waited outside this Indian Restaurant for 30 minutes and then were allowed into a scene with TONS of holiday and pepper lights.

And free ice cream for your "birthday"

And free ice cream for your “birthday”

Also took the train up to Albany and got some great views

Also took the train up to Albany and got some great views

And of course, as most weekends at home do, there was also a little baking

And of course, as most weekends at home do, there was also a little baking

tomato mozz

and of course, some GREAT meals

It’s always so hard to leave – but after a great weekend with food and family, and one of my favorite cities, who can really complain? Here’s to a great week!

That Weekend One of your Best Friends Gets MARRIED

I had a FABULOUS weekend and I am just so excited to share it with you. That’s right – as you probably could tell by the headline (do you read headlines?) – one of my best friends in the whole world got MARRIED this weekend.

blast from the past! Some memories of me and Melgar

blast from the past! Some memories of me and Melgar

Let me tell you a little bit about Melgar. Melgar and I have been friends since 7th grade. Have I told you this before? During locker day, that day when all the soon-to-be seventh graders come to the junior high to try out their lockers and their class schedule, Melgar and I discovered we had lockers next to one another. AND that we had the same first name. Which is why I always called her Melgar – not Melissa. So it only made sense that two short seventh graders, with the same first name and in the same hall, and lockers next to one another, would become friends. Friends we became – and despite going to different colleges, and living oh so far apart, thanks to Skypes, Google Hangouts, and phone calls, we have remained friends to this day. And that’s why I feel so blessed and honored to have been part of her special day – and in my first wedding!

melgar getting ready

beautiful bride getting ready

jane and melissa fruity drinks

post-ceremony cocktail hour at the gorgeous Franklin Plaza

B and me with the newlyweds!

It was a beautiful wedding, a beautiful (and cold) day, and a wonderful weekend – seeing my family (my parents live about 20 minutes away from where the ceremony and reception took place so I stayed with them all weekend!), catching up with old friends (seeing Alisa, who flew in from Finland and Andy who lives in Florida), spending the day getting ready with two of my very best friends Jane and Melgar, and dancing the night away with B.

Celebrating with my favorite ladies after the wedding

Celebrating with my favorite ladies after the wedding

B and me- all dressed up!

B and me- all dressed up!

Hope you had just as glorious a weekend! What did you do?

Some questions:

Have you been in any weddings? What’s your favorite part? I loved all the pre-big day activities! Spending the day with some of my very best friends who I don’t see very often and just getting to to be with Melgar on her special day was so wonderful.

Did you stay on your running schedule this weekend? Whoops. Nope! I was due for a 14 miler on Saturday and 7 miles on Friday. With the wedding and the weather (and any other excuses I can come up with), I only was able to get in 18.8 miles – over the 4 days. BUT I did put in a run each day, so I don’t feel too bad (including 6 miles the day of the wedding and 4 miles early the morning after on very uhh tired feet). 

What are you looking forward to this week? It may sound boring, but sleeping in my own bed! Last week I was traveling for work 3 days and then back in NY for the wedding – and I haven’t slept in my own bed since Sunday. 

Weekends In My Second Home – New York (Part Two)

Friday night I had planned on staying with my brother in his dorm room. I did it last year, and post-dinner we had just hung out, chatted and gone to bed, which is kinda what I thought we were going to do this year. I was wrong! This year, Greg wanted to take me out with his friends. I’m clearly not in college anymore. His friends were meeting at 11 p.m. to go out … yes, 11, which is later than I typically go out now. We went to a bar only a few blocks away from campus, a bar that gave out free shots of anything (including tequila) if you friended them on Facebook. And then it started pouring out, and none of us had umbrellas. You can tell from those last two sentences how my night was. It was a good time – I enjoyed meeting my brothers’ friends, partying like a college student for one night and getting stuck in the rain.

this is what happens when Greg and I hangout... a photoshoot

this is what happens when Greg and I hang out

Saturday morning we woke up pretty early (sleeping on a dorm room floor isn’t easy, even if you have a blow up mattress), and Greg suggested we go for a quick, short run while he waited for his laundry. Another impromptu, unplanned run in New York? Score! After the run, we enjoyed breakfast and then it was time to say goodbye as my parents and B were on their way to pick me up to visit my grandma while my brother studied for finals.

Grandma, dad and me

Grandma, dad and me

My grandma lives in an assisted living home with a lot of other elderly people. It was SO nice to see her – it’d been a few months – but it’s always hard seeing her living there, as opposed to the apartment I saw her in when I was growing up. I hope that when I’m old and if I’m living in an assisted living home I take advantage of all the activities they have. Posted in the elevator I saw the schedule for the weekend included crafts, live music, a morning walk, and even some fresh-baked apple pie BEFORE dinner.

After visiting my grandma we headed back up to Albany and went out to a really delicious dinner at a Turkish restaurant. My parents went to Turkey last year to visit my brother who had an internship there over the summer (see how cool he is?) and I’m convinced that since then they enjoy Turkish food more. Anyway, I gobbled it all  up before taking any photos because I was so hungry after smelling the warm apple pie cooking all afternoon. I fell asleep on the couch at home (see, this time home means in Albany!) after a tiring but relaxing day.

Mother's Day Brunch

Mother’s Day Brunch

Sunday I woke up and my parents were getting ready to go for their usual hour and a half walk around the neighborhood. I decided to join them, but go on a run first and meet them halfway. For some reason (perhaps fueled by the amazing Turkish food?), I ran faster than I normally do – my MapMyRun app clocked me at running 4.75 miles in under 42 minutes! After my faster-than-usual run, I found my parents and enjoyed a leisurely walk home with them.

sunday run splits

Check out my splits for the run! I’m not typically this fast unless it’s a race.

After our walk/run, we went out to Mother’s Day brunch in downtown Albany. We had reservations at Justin’s on Lark Street, which had a great breakfast and live piano music. I enjoyed a latte, some cornbread and a great brunch of eggs over easy, french toast, bacon, potatoes and toast. I was starving (again!) and finished it all. Post-brunch, the weather looked nice, so we headed over to Washington Park where Tulip Fest was going on. The Tulip Festival happens every spring in Albany and features live music, food vendors, family-friendly activities during the day and other activities at night, and even the crowning of a Tulip Queen. We only had time to walk around for a little before it was time to head back home, pack and head to the airport.

mom dad me tulips

As always, it was sad to leave my parents and head back to Cleveland. But it was such a beautiful weekend and I had such a good time, which made leaving easier. I hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day weekend as well!

And since there are no food photos in this post, I’ll leave you with what B and I enjoyed for dinner after we got off the plane late Sunday evening for dinner – Vietnamese.

I <3 Vietnamese Food

I ❤ Vietnamese Food

Some questions:

  • Do you live in the same city as your parents/siblings? If not, do you visit them often? My family is all in New York, but I try to get out there a few times a year. I also love hosting them in Cleveland! 
  • What time is too late to go out at night? No time – but I think getting ready to go out at 11 p.m. is too late for me now. I guess I’m getting old!
  • Do your parents work out or have a work out routine that they stick to? Yes! They have for as long as I remembered. We would go to the YMCA as a family when I was young or go on long walks. Which is probably why I have always felt the need to stay active and get in a run or some other activity every day.
  • Do you enjoy brunch food? What’s your favorite? I typically enjoy the more savory brunch foods like eggs – I don’t really like pancakes, waffles, french toast, etc.

Weekends In My Second Home – New York (Part One)

I love New York. For those that don’t know, I was born in New York City and lived there until my parents moved up to Albany where I grew up before living in Boston, and eventually where I am now – Cleveland.

I always talk about “going home” when I go to back to New York. But when people ask me where “home” is, I say Cleveland. It sometimes seems like I don’t know where home is – but I’m fine with that. Having multiple homes makes it easy to feel at home at a few different places. And this weekend I had booked tickets to spend Mother’s Day with my mom at home – in New York City and Albany. Unlike my last impromptu trip home a few weeks ago, this time B was joining me!

Thursday night, B and I left Cleveland and flew into NYC. Right from the airport, we took a taxi to meet up with B’s friend Jared (who says he reads this blog … Hi Jared!) who was out with his coworkers and girlfriend, celebrating his last day of work. Jared has been working as a high-powered NYC lawyer pretty much since he finished law school, and his coworkers threw him a goodbye bash at a whiskey bar in Hell’s Kitchen, On The Rocks. The lawyers had been there for quite some time and were having a good time when we arrived, suitcases in hands. We stayed, had some drinks, and joined in the celebration before calling it a night and heading back uptown to Jared’s place.

On to Friday. B and I spent Friday sightseeing  It was great! Jared lives on Central Park West and I was able to start the day with a 3.7ish mile run (per my MapMyRun App as seen below) through Central Park, which was beautiful, as you can see. I knew that as soon as I laced up my sneakers and went outside that it was going to be a good day – days starting with runs are always better.

central park mapmyrun

Post-run, B and I walked downtown to Rockefeller Center to meet my best friend Jane for lunch. Jane is pretty awesome (obviously, she was my maid of honor) and after getting a degree in city planning/urban development, she moved to NYC to find a job – she’s now living in Brooklyn and temping downtown. We enjoyed some delicious sandwiches, walked around a bit, and then B and I left Jane to do some more exploring.

brian and me rockefeller

one of my bffs - jane!

one of my bffs who lives WAY too far away – jane!

From Rockefeller Center, we walked to one of my favorite places in NY, Eataly. We didn’t buy anything this time (too full from lunch), but I loved seeing all the people enjoying the gelato and smelling all the delicious food.

From there, we headed to One World Trade Center. I had been by there after 9/11 but before the memorial was being built so it was my first time seeing what had become of the area. We didn’t check out the memorial though – I don’t think I’m ready for that.

one world trade center

From there, we walked to South Street Seaport to get a view of the Brooklyn Bridge. It was a beautiful day and we sat for a little bit (my feet were tired!) and I bought a bag of candy to help enjoy the view (candy makes everything, even existing gorgeous views, better).

Pretty sure he doesn't like posing for photos but humors me :)

Pretty sure he doesn’t like posing for photos but humors me

Then, we headed to the Financial District so B could check out Wall Street. B had never been to Wall Street and enjoyed checking out where the original wall used to be (isn’t it crazy to think that NYC used to end all the way down there?!) and the Stock Exchange Building.

Look, it's a map of Ohio!

Look, it’s a map of Ohio!

After that, we hit up Chinatown. I was tempted to buy a bag of strange dried stuff (ginger, scallops, plums, unnamed fish) from a shop we stopped in, but we were on our way to dinner and I had just bought a bag of candy. It was such a gorgeous day and walking around was exactly what we wanted to do.

Chinatown

By then, it was time to meet my brother in the West Village. We headed back up the island and getting to the area a little early, sat down for afternoon drinks at Bobo. My brother joined us, bringing with him flowers! He had brought me tulips. How sweet, huh? Anyway, I had a lovely ginger mojito and my brother had a lemon-rosemary gin beverage. It’s still weird having my brother order drinks in bars – he just turned 21 and I’m not used to it.

siblings!

siblings!

After drinks, we headed to dinner, and B headed back uptown to meet up with Jared again. Greg and I had a great meal at a BYOB French restaurant, Tartine, in the West Village where we ate outside. We shared two salads – one warm kale with butternut squash, the other fennel and asparagus with avocado and ricotta salata – and then the special entree – an almond encrusted halibut with a creamy polenta and asparagus. And of course, since it was BYOB, we enjoyed a bottle of a French wine that B and I had picked up along the way.

As we were leaving dinner, I had one of my first celebrity sightings – we saw Hugh Jackman! It was awesome. We actually were about to head to the train and ended up following Hugh for a few blocks. I was literally one foot behind him and could’ve touched him at one point. It was surreal! I wish I had taken a picture … but you would’ve just seen the back of a guy in a white polo shirt and a blonde woman and a small pug dog, so you’ll just have to trust me. And instead, enjoy this photo that I did NOT take:

I did not take this photo. 😦

To Be Continued …

And in the meantime, some thoughts to ponder:

  • Do you enjoy impromptu runs? Or do you prefer to plan a route ahead of time?
  • Have you ever had a celebrity sighting? What did you do? 
  • Where do you call home? Do you have two homes?
  • Have you tried any of the dried scallops or other fishes from Chinatown?

Weekend Update: Last Minute Trip Home

I had big plans for this past weekend. B was going to be out of town and since it was going to be our first weekend apart in more than a year, I had a big to do list. Lay on the couch, catch up on the DVR, perhaps run the Cleveland 10 Miler (I had done 9 no problem last week), sleep late, eat some Easter candy, bake, read on my porch, go shopping, clean the bathroom and maybe grab drinks with friends. See? BIG plans for when B was rocking out at his post-wedding bachelor party for Mitch (who got married last year). SO when B messaged me on Tuesday that he had seen a great flight deal to New York and asked if I wanted to plan a last minute trip to see my parents, I realized it was a no brainer. I had been missing my family for some time and I’d still get to sleep in, wouldn’t have to clean the bathroom, and  as my brother reminded me, I’d get to enjoy some home cooked meals. AND with the weather due for sunny and 60s both days, I would definitely be able to get in a little running.

Friday night after work, my friend Samantha and I headed to Porcelli’s for Happy Hour. My Downtown Cleveland Alliance City Advocates group was hosting a Guest Bartending Event, with tips going to the DCA Ambassadors (you know, those amazing men and women that clean our streets, walk you to your car at night, give you directions, say hi to you when you’re running and ever offer you umbrellas when it’s raining and you’re working to work). It was a good event and I’m glad my fellow City Advocates put it on – I don’t know how much we raised but Porcelli’s was more crowded than I’d ever seen it (confession – I’ve only ever gone there for lunch, not for drinks on a Friday night). Plus, Samantha and I got to meet a few new people that we probably wouldn’t have met otherwise.

guest bartending

Drinks = Tips for DCA Safety Ambassadors!

Drinks = Tips for DCA Safety Ambassadors!

Saturday morning, I woke up EARLY (4:45 a.m. … which is still later than I woke up Monday morning, ick!) to get in  quick run before heading out on an early flight to NY. I’m still trying to make sure that I make my 1,000 mi in 2013 goal (I’m almost halfway there!), so every little run counts. Yes, I’m crazy for choosing to wake up before 5 am to run .. but at least I know I’m crazy.

As soon as I got into NY, my parents picked me up at the airport and before I even unpacked or brought my bag upstairs, we went for a walk. When the weather’s nice (which it was – sunny and 60s both days!), my parents go for longish walks on the weekend, and they asked if I wanted to come with them – of course! Their 6 mile Saturday morning walking route is nice – through some neighborhoods and a park. There was even a dog-friendly Relay For Life going on in the park, called Bark for Life , so we saw tons of people with their dogs.

Bark for Life

Bark for Life

After our walk, it was time to walk Queenie. She’s another reason I love coming home. LOOK at that face! How can you be stressed out when you’re hanging out with her?
queenie

Then it was lunchtime. My mom made an awesome veggie soup with zucchini, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and celery that we all enjoyed. I also got to have some leftover homemade pizza. For dessert, we had some of the caramel, peanut butter, chocolate oatmeal cookie bars that I had snuck on the plane (shh!).

mom's homemade vegetable soup!

mom’s homemade vegetable soup!

After lunch, my dad put me to work. He had to install a new mailbox. If you know anything about me, you know I’m not the handiest person. I don’t fix things. I don’t install things. There’s a reason I rent our apartment and can easily submit work orders (which reminds me … our tub has been clogged for a few weeks …) as opposed ot fixing things myself. Still, it was fun! I basically watched my dad do the whole thing and then helped him put the new mailbox on, but of course that’s more than I typically do. Then, I watched my dad plant. I didn’t feel like getting dirty but I was a great supervisor!

remnants of the old mailbox

remnants of the old mailbox

Yes, I'm doing handy work ... I helped my dad install a mailbox!

Yes, I’m doing handy work … I helped my dad install a mailbox!

new mailbox is installed!

new mailbox is installed!

After relaxing outside on our deck all afternoon and dozing off for a little, my mom and I went to Saturday afternoon Mass. I haven’t been to Mass with my mom in a while, and it’s something i definitely miss. Then, we decided to go to Saratoga to walk around in the nice weather and grab dinner. We ended up going to one of my favorite casual places in downtown, Ravenous, for delicious fries and crepes. We left with clean plates … but of course after walking around a little managed to make some room for frozen yogurt. I gobbled up mine (vanilla, cake batter and coconut with too many toppings to count) before thinking of snapping a photo.

Crepes and fries!

Crepes and fries!

After dinner, we watched The Life of Pi. Confession – I haven’t read the book, but I thought the movie was good, although somewhat sad at times and I may still be slightly confused at the ending.

Sunday morning, I slept in and then decided to go for a run. My parents did their 6 mile walk, so after my run, I decided to run to meet them. I ended up running 7ish miles and then walking about 1.5 mi with them, which put me over my 20+ mile goal for the week and put me at ease knowing I wouldn’t be able to run on Monday before work (I had to get up at 3 a.m. just to make my flight).

After my run/walk, it was time for some more homemade vegetable soup, cookies, and then of course, more baking! My mom, knowing how much I love to bake asked if I could make some blondies for her to freeze.

freshly baked blondies!

freshly baked blondies!

Of course I happily obliged … and then spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing outside.

How I spent most of the weekend ... outside!

How I spent most of the weekend … outside!

For dinner, my mom made an awesome quinoa, cauliflower, chickpea salad, to go with the salmon and asparagus my dad had cooked. I love my parents’ cooking and miss it on a nearly daily basis!

dinner

For dessert we enjoyed some of my blondies, plus ice cream.

Fact: Cookies tastes better with ice cream

Fact: Cookies taste better with ice cream

Monday morning meant getting up at 3:30 a.m. – not to work out, but to catch an earlier-than-should-be legal flight back to Cleveland. I hope I wasn’t too grumpy (little sleep+no workout=grumpy Melissa) at work, but I will be bringing in some cookies this week to bribe my coworkers just in case.

All in all, a great, relaxing weekend at home. This weekend should be a busy one filled with a few activities with B’s family (his cousin’s first communion and party, plus his brother and sister-in-law’s annual Kentucky Derby Party), so I’m glad I got some time in with my family. Hope everyone has a great week!

Some questions:

  • What’s your favorite dessert combination? (I love cookies and ice cream. Or white chocolate and peanut butter and pretzels. Or white chocolate and ice cream. Or anything with ice cream.
  • What’s the earliest you’ve had to get up for a flight?
  • Did you get outside and enjoy the warm temps this weekend?
  • Are you handy? (I’m not!)
  • Did you get in a run this weekend? (Yes – I did 11ish miles between Saturday and Sunday, despite not running the Cleveland 10 Miler)

I Love Fall Weekends

“I love fall. Except for that nagging feeling that winter is coming and then it’s going to suck when it snows and is cold.” ~ anonymous

Fall leaves outside of Cleveland

It’s already mid-October and I’ve been lacking in a fall weekend update post. Why? It’s not because I have nothing to update – it’s because instead of taking the time to post, I’ve instead been having fun and enjoying the beautiful fall in Cleveland (and New York and Columbus). There’s just so much going on and the weeks and days seem to go by faster and faster! So here are some highlights from the past few weekends (in no order):

Wedding Shower

B’s cousin is getting married next month (YAY!) so we went down to Columbus one weekend to celebrate their upcoming nuptials.  Festivities spending time with B’s family, lots of Italian food (of course), and a bridal shower with funfetti cupcakes (the bride’s favorite), sangria (why not?) and so many cute Snoopy (the bride’s other favorite) decorations!

The beautiful bride-to-be (middle), her sister and me
I totally stole this photo from the bride’s friend and photographer: http://www.facebook.com/Ave23Photography

Guess the bride’s favorite cartoon?

My Parents Visit

My parents visited! Instead of a gorgeous fall weekend where we went apple picking, walked to the West Side Market and took part in the 100 year anniversary festivities (which I had planned), it rained and rained and rained. So we saw a movie (Looper!), tried some classic Cleveland cuisine (Hecks burgers and Noodlecat!) and enjoyed each others’ company, mostly indoors (and may have caught a SATC marathon … sorry B!).

When it finally stopped raining, we found a rainbow!

The Weekend Where We Go to NYC 

When B and I heard that my grandma was in the hospital unexpectedly, we made an impromptu weekend trip to NYC to visit her and my family. A quick trip (about 24 hours) that involved waking up at 3:15 a.m. to catch a 5:30 a.m. flight from Akron, we got to not only visit my grandma, but got to see each of my uncles, enjoyed lunch with my brother, dinner with my parents, aunt, uncle and cousin – and a movie (Perks of Being a Wallflower = amazing)!

Visiting my grandma

I got to catch lunch with my brother!

And the weekend where I tailgate and go to a Browns Game

My coworker Samantha has been trying to get me to go to a Browns game with her for forever. We were SUPER close two weeks ago, but just as we were about to buy some tickets, it started pouring and hailing out – so I decided to head home from our tailgate and take a 4 hour nap, as opposed to watching the Browns lose. This weekend, though, Samantha tricked me. She had me buy the tickets ahead of time – how could I back out?

The game and pre-game festivities were great! We checked out the new bar, Winks, and caught a Browns win – the first of the season! Who knows – maybe I’m good luck?

helping the homeless?

We’re finally at a game!

Here’s to a great fall in Cleveland … and not counting down until winter!

To My Mom, for Mother’s Day

Earlier this week I was treated to a delicious dinner and night out, courtesy of Treat. While we were there, we were asked what we wanted to be treated to on Mother’s Day. Since I’m not a mom, I started to think – how would I like to treat my mom?

My mom and dad were married almost exactly 30 years ago (Happy early 30th anniversary!). A few years after that, I was born. And my mom’s life was never the same. I’m sure I changed her life in so many wonderful ways – but I know that it times it wasn’t easy. I wasn’t a bad kid or a problem child (I don’t think so, at least) but I know times weren’t always peachy. Come on – remember your teenage girl years? Now imagine having to be a mom to that? See what I mean? Exactly!

pretty awesome old photo of my mom, me and my brother

So mom – thank you! Thank you for all these years – for everything! If I had all the money in the world, here are the ways I’d treat you:

  • A year’s worth of pedicures.
  • Fresh, homemade pasta, delivered to your door on a weekly basis.
  • A whole lotta Tiffany jewelry,  because why not?
  • Fresh flowers, delivered every week.
  • Wine of the month club – but in the smaller single glass bottles, so you and Dad could share them.
  • A personal dog-walker, for the rainy or snowy days that you don’t feel like taking Queenie out.
  • An apartment in Cleveland, so you’d be able to visit whenever you wanted.
  • An apartment in NYC, so you’d be able to visit your family (or getaway!) whenever you wanted.
  • A private jet, so you could pick me up and I could join you for those pedicures 🙂
What would you add?
Sorry mom (if you’re reading this) –  I’m not actually getting any of those gifts for you. BUT – my bags are packed, my flight is booked and I’ll be seeing you this weekend to celebrate with you!

Holidaze!

Sorry, couldn’t come up with a more original title for this post. You’re probably wondering where in the world I’ve been these past few weeks … no? Well it’s really been a daze of food, fun and family. I somehow ended up with waaay more time off than should be legally allowed and my last day in the office before January 3 was December 16. What have I been up to in the meantime?

My vacation started off with dropping off food and gifts for the Boston College Adopt a Family program – B and I coordinated the program this year and our local alumni chapter was able to adopt 5 families and provide food and gifts for 37 people this year!

After the drop off, gathering with some of the volunteers

After the drop off, B and I headed to NY to spend Christmas with my family. Not before spending a few days in NYC first to visit friends and family and sightsee! As you may know, most of my family (grandmother, aunts, cousin, brother, uncles) all live in NYC so each visit I tend to spend time with family, and not have time to visit the sights. So B and I decided to take the train down and spend a few days walking around Manhattan, stopping by Brooklyn to get an amazing dinner with my uncle (SO mad I didn’t get a picture of my awesome Italian meal of grilled octopus and calamari!), getting lunch with my great-aunt at a Mexican restaurant in Murray Hill, visiting my brother at Columbia, and doing touristy thing like eating tons of bagels with lox cream cheese (my fave!), walking by Rockerfeller Center (but not touristy enough to take a photo of the tree), checking out Eataly, walking around Central Park, running through Riverside Park, window shopping at the outdoor Christmas markets, and checking out the window displays on 5th Avenue.

NYC at dusk

Visiting my Grandma's Sister, Aunt Glad

In addition to our fun times in the city, we got to spend Christmas with my family. Never a dull moment in the Koski household, this year’s Christmas festivities included:

  • Lots of cookies
  • Even more tissues and cold meds as I had the longest and stuffiest cold of my adult life
  • Walking Queenie … and then scarily witnessing her have a seizure a few days later
  • Decorating the tree … and then it falling down, leaving me to hold it up while B and my dad attempted to trim some branches off the bottom so it’d better fit in the tree stand
  • Seeing two movies (Sherlock Holmes AND the new Mission Impossible) in the theater and watching Love Actually with the family for their first time (possibly my 10th)
  • Lighting the menorah for Chanukah and going to Christmas morning mass
  • One clogged toilet and a Christmas-day call to a plumber so we could once again use the water in our house … which has become a sad tradition
  • Impromptu dance parties to All I Want for Christmas Is You with my aunt and mom
  • Reconnecting with one of my bffs, Jane, and recounting who from our high school was pregnant, who was divorced, who had bought a house, and how old we are getting
  • Lots of reading (almost made my way through the awesome book Cutting for Stone)
  • Getting lots of amazing Christmas and early-birthday gifts from my wishlist! My favorites being my new Hunter boots (thanks B!), my new awesome laptop  bag/carry all purse (thanks Mom/Dad!) and new running shoes (which already have about 20 or so miles on them 🙂 )

You should be seriously jealous of these hot Christmas sweatshirts

holding the tree while B and my dad cut the branches

The Menorah on Christmas Eve

All in all, it was a great time with my family and of course I was sad to leave and drive back to Ohio. How did you spend your holidays?

I <3 NY

On cool winter Cleveland days like this, I start to miss NY. Not just Upstate NY, but all of NY, especially the city.

Some people may think it’s not fair for me to miss NYC. After all, even though I was born in one of the boroughs and lived there for the first several years of my life, I spent most of my life Upstate. The majority of my family still lives in the city, and trips to see them have significanty decreased since I moved to the “Midwest” (I use quotes because Cleveland still has a Northeastern-type feeling to it for me). Still, there is a certain part of me that will always feel some sort of tie to the Big Apple and all that is there (Feel free to prove me wrong, but I think nearly all New Yorkers would agree that this feeling lasts for quite some time).

So, when I saw this blog postI LEGO N.Y. from the NYTimes blogger Christoph Niemann, I couldn’t help but feel emotionally attached to it, and I wanted to share it with you. Check it out – Niemann shows his Lego illustrations of things he too misses about the city.

My favorites from his blog: