Finding Nemo

Apparently now we're in the business of naming winter storms. Who am I to judge? Nemo it is.

Nemo's on the move.
The boy and I were supposed to fly to Florida today to visit my grandparents this weekend. To say I was looking forward to the trip is a severe understatement. I'd mentally packed my suitcase (weeks ago), made a fool-proof-won't-even-forget-underwear list, preemptively decided what I was going to order at my favorite dinner spot & envisioned boarding my Monday morning flight with a warm glow.

Clearly Nemo had other plans...

Winter storm are one thing, I understand we can't control the weather and airlines are looking out for everyone's safety- but for gods sakes- plan ahead. We live in the North East, this isn't the first time a winter storm has hit, GASP, in the peak of winter.

Forecasts came out days before alerting everyone of the storm, yes Delta, that includes you. Yet, the a few nights before the storm, Delta had no plans to add extra call lines, help people change flights,  or allow trips to be rescheduled.

Here's a little insight into what I'm talking about....

Call #1 (Wednesday night)- we're not switching flights, we don't anticipate cancelations; 48 minute hold time
Call # 2 - we're switching flights with the fee waived, not the fare difference; 60 minute hold time
Call # 3- we're waiving fees & fares- all flights are booked. You can connect in DETROIT during the blizzard. Your flight is scheduled to depart on time, hang tight. 55 minute hold time
Call # 4- your flight has been canceled, we can't get you on a new flight until Sunday afternoon. You're returning Monday at 7am? We apologize for the inconvenience. If you'd like a refund we can connect you to our refund department; 1 hour 15 minute hold time + 40 minute hold time with refunds

Fast forward to present day: we're not going Florida for the weekend and I don't anticipate ranking Delta at the top of my Christmas card list next year...call me crazy.

In the spirit of "glass half" which the boy greatly appreciates about my personality, I'm excited for a weekend of snow angels, cozy movies, hot chocolate and gluten-free goodness. I'll be hunkered down on the upper east side (in the land of heat & hot water) if you need me.

XOXO friends, stay safe.

In loving memory of my aunt Margaret


I have always said that this blog would not only be a way for friends and family to follow what I'm doing, but also as an outlet for me to write what's on my mind. So in this post, I am going to attempt to capture my feelings about the passing of someone very close to my heart. Someone magnificent. Someone I had just started to develop a real relationship with. Someone, I assumed, would be around for years to come and who I'd have the opportunity to grow closer to. 

As I sat down to write this post, I wasn't sure where to start. You see, while we were away enjoying the sun, sand and easy flow of fun, a tragedy struck our family. My aunt- who was still very young at heart and had a lot of life to live- was taken from us suddenly. We were forced, while thousands of miles away, to process the news; to compartmentalize and move on vacationing. How did we do? I'd say as well as could be expected.

For those wondering, I will give a brief explanation of what happened.

Last Monday night, my Aunt Margaret was out playing cards with friends. Her neighbor (who was in the card game) wasn't feeling well so she suggested they head home. Once they got home, she brought her neighbor inside, went home and went to sleep. The next morning her neighbor was unable to reach her so she sent her husband over to check on her. When he went inside-  he found her in her bed.

Upon investigation it was discovered that when she got home the night before, she had forgotten to turn her car off and was killed by carbon monoxide in her sleep. We don't know most of the details but from what we've been able to piece together, an unfortunate chain of events led to a sad and tragic accident. Not sickness, or recklessness or even old age- just an accident, something you can't prepare for, no matter how hard you try. 

My aunt Margaret was 11 years older than my dad. Growing up she lived out on long island and we'd get together for holidays- the occasional thanksgiving, and most hannukah's and passovers. I don't know all the details but family is family and there was tension. So as years passed by, we spent fewer holidays on the island and often spent them with my mom's family. In recent years we have started to come together again, celebrating hannukah together every year and trying to see each other whenever there was a celebration. It's been nice having my dad's side of the family in my life again and over the last 6 months, I've been able to spend more time with aunt Margaret. We've shared happy times and sad, and she even accompanied me on an apartment hunting excursion last summer. For the first time, I felt like I had her as my aunt. It was a wonderful feeling and one that I am so glad I had, even though it was fleeting.

Over the last few days I've been having a particularly hard time. A harder time than I've had with the death of anyone else in my family. I've been lucky in that my grandparents on my mother's side are still alive and most other relatives whom I've lost have been old or sick and while their passing was sad- it wasn't tragic. This experience is completely different. I find myself feeling angry, gipped, frustrated. HOW could this have happened? Is a question that crosses my mind multiple times a day. 

It is hard to explain the way I feel now that she is gone. I'm sad, but I think it's in a different way than many of my other family members. While I am sad for times passed, I am more sad for the times we will not get to have. For the closeness that will never get to develop between us and for the feeling of unfinished business that I haven't been able to shake. I'm sad that I will never get to know aunt Margaret beyond what I already did and that I won't get to learn about who she was as a person and what her life was like growing up. But mostly I'm sad that the relationship we had just begun, was so tragically cut short.

It's impossible to make sense of accidents. We don't know why they happen or what we can do to prevent them. We ask ourselves "why us?" and often the truth is, there is no rhyme or reason.

My aunt Margaret was an elegant, caring, passionate, and devoted woman. She put her family above everyone else and was always there to support you. She never judged and somehow, always understood what you were going through. Her hugs were the best in the world and her gifts were always perfectly on point. She was genuine and kind. She was rare. She was stylish and organized (qualities that i'm only now really learning we shared) and she will be missed every single day.

It's hard to take lessons from things so sad or see the positive side of things when they seem so unfair, but aunt Margaret wouldn't want us to be angry, or bitter. She'd want us to find the lesson in this and figure out what we could do to help others. She was selfless that way. So, check your carbon monoxide detectors, double check your cars and don't take anyone in your life foregranted- aunt Margaret would insist.

Viva la Mexico

va·ca·tion
/vāˈkāSHən/

Noun

An extended period of recreation, esp. one spent away from home or in traveling.

Or at least that's what the experts say.

The purpose of taking a vacation is to get away from your daily stress. To unwind, to decompress, to spend time with family and friends. To read books you would otherwise toss on the "I-promise-I-will-read-you-one-day-but-that-day-is-sadly-not-today" nightstand pile. To lay in the sun and get a little too tan, to drink beer at 11am and wear a breathing tube to look at fish- and have that not be weird. 

I was lucky enough to embark on a weeklong vacation with my family and the boy last week and it was started out as, just what we all needed. 

My family has a tendency to book flights as early as humanly possible. If a 4am flight existed that got us to our destination in the prime sunshine hours, (hey tanning is tanning) we'd be on it. Luckily the airplane gods have us in their thoughts and the first possible flight for most destinations is 6am. So you bet your bottom dollar we were on it.

Last Saturday 6 of us headed to the airport for our 6am flight. Now if you work backwards you'll realize: boarding is 30 minutes before take off (5:30), check in is an hour before take off (5:00), and wake up is about 1.5 hours before check in. So at 3:30 when the alarm went off, up we got and off we went- 1 cab, two bags, 6 international passport check ins and we were through security. 15 hours of traveling later (a 4.5 hour flight from new york to dallas, a 1 hour time difference, a two hour layover, a 3 hour flight from dallas to cabo, another hour time difference, and a 45 minute car ride to the hotel) and we had arrrrrived. We walked into the lobby around 5pm cabo time, which was 7pm New York time, meaning upon check-in, we had been awake for 15 hours and the day was not yet over.

Once we unpacked, ate and settled into our routine the craziness calmed. It was the first time our winter Lewie family vacation has included significant others and it was a fantastic addition.

We ate great food, read books, got massages, had many laughs, consumed a LOT of alcohol and genuinely enjoyed each others company. It was a fantastic week away with a beautiful back drop.

Enjoy some photos from our trip:


The view from our room

The boy and I at dinner in San Jose

Sunset from Mona Lisa


Everyone out for drinks and sunset views





Meet the Fockers

It's official.

I'm one site audit, one set of time sheets and a few hours away from freedom. Holiday freedom that is.

I consider myself one of the lucky ones in that each year, my office is closed between Christmas and New Years. The exact dates change every year based on what day of the week the holidays fall on, but this year we're off starting tomorrow through Wednesday January 2nd. It's nice getting "built-in time off" to spend with family at the holidays. Especially when you're in a relationship (newly so or old pros) because it gives you ample time to hang with both sets of family and no one gets all "but you were only here for 4.25 hours and I TOTALLY know you were there for longer" on you. That's the worst.

So, this year I'm heading down to North Carolina with the boy and his family for a week of southern-loving-christmas-having-all-out-family-fun. I'm excited but let's be real, it's my first time meeting this side of the extended family (i've conquered the parents already) and that knocks everyones nerves a little bit. Lucky for me (and everyone involved) I'm not afraid of wine....or gin.

Saturday morning bright and early we're loading into a van with boy's mom, dad, sister and sister's friend for a pain(ful)less 8-hour-all-day-my-leg-is-cramping-I-have-to-pee-I'm-hungry-you-stole-my-arm-rest-no-stopping-let's-get-there-before-dark car ride to the Outer Banks.  Are we there yet?

I'm usually pretty adaptable in any situation and have had my fair share of awkward relationship-family trips. The highlights include an extended family who wasn't down with my faith (and by down I mean they hated it), deer hunting on the regs (I hate guns), and three nights (in a row) on an air mattress with other family members inches from my head. And guess what? I survived. See, told you I was tough.

Yes, meeting the family is always a gamble. How will it go? Will they like me? What if I don't fit in? and is often sprinkled with "I'm-starving-but-we-already-ate-I-should've-packed-snacks" "I-really-need-to-pee-and-cousin-it-has-been-in-the-bathroom-for-an-hour" moments but in the end- it's worth it, even if you sleep on an air mattress.

This year, with my best friend, in a relationship where things are going better than ever, I'm certain it will be wonderful and I'm (gasp!), even excited.

I'm looking forward to spending my built-in-time-off exploring the Outer Banks, a place that means the world to the boy and his family, sharing in their family traditions, and meeting the people who mean the most to the person who means the most to me.

See, I can do sarcastic and loving all at once. Who knew?

Happy holidays blogofollowers. See you next year, a little older, a little wiser, and with a few more aunts & uncles under my belt!




Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph

Every year the holidays roll around and somehow I feel left out.

I know Channukah is wonderful and miraculous and we're all "yay for the festival of lights, all hail a drop of oil", but I'm sorry to say for me, it doesn't hold a candle to Rudolph. I'm very proud of my heritage and love the story of Channukah but it's just not on the same level- spirit wise- as Christmas.

There's something magical about the pile of gifts, the lights, the ornaments, the lifetime movies, the chocolate santas, the red, the green, the SPARKLE that our beloved Macabee just doesn't deliver.  I've tried to deny it, to ignore it, to bury my shame in copious amounts of gelt while covering myself in blue glitter, but at the end of the day it's just not the same.

What's a jew to do?

Growing up I always wanted lights- I would ask my mom to put white lights on our house in the shape of a jewish star (seemed ingenious to me) so we could "glow" like our neighbors. Each year she explained that lights were a celebration for Christmas, and we had our menorah in the window. Going to a Jewish day school, one would think I'd have missed the whole "left out" gene since everyone was celebrating the same holiday, but I didn't... I always wanted a tree, and ornaments and lights- maybe I was switched at birth and my real name is Mary (only kidding).

One would think over the years I'd have outgrown my christmas, lights, I want to ride a reindeer obsession but alas, I have not. I'm lucky in that my company does a great job celebrating both holidays- we have a menorah lighting every year in the lobby in addition to a big tree (made of teddy bears, that's another story for another day) and our office is closed between Christmas and New Years (before you hate me- consider the fact that I make significantly less than all of you reading this post....yes I'm sure, all of you).

For the past few years I've been away with my family during the week leading up to Christmas so I haven't been in New York to fully experience the holiday thrill but this year- I'm here and I'm living it up BIG time.

Last weekend my PIC's best friend from college was in town and we got tickets to the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular. For those who haven't been think: glitter, santa, amazingness. The show was so quintessential holidays in New York that i couldn't help but smile.


Three friends on the way to the show
New York Christmas in all its glory!

This weekend the boy and I got our very own tree for his apartment. I started talking about this tree weeks ago, first by asking if his family had one (he's only half christian, I didn't know the rules) then by asking if he usually had one in his apartment and finally by proclaiming- we should get a tree! I think I brought it up every day for the past week until finally on Friday I asked if we could get it on Sunday and hooray, he said yes! He scouted out the best tree selling stand near his apartment and yesterday afternoon, rain and all, off we went.

We picked out the cutest little tree and on the way home we stopped and I got to pick out all of the lights and ornaments! As soon as we arrived at his apartment we got to work stringing lights and hanging ornaments. The boy knew how excited I was, so we kept the lights on all afternoon and evening. Each time I looked at it- I couldn't help but smile! Not only is this my first tree (sorry mom) but it's our first year of holidays together and I couldn't think of a better way to kick them off.


The holidays in New York are a magical time, no matter which holiday you celebrate, but I'm extra thankful this year that I get to celebrate both.



Spring Forward, Fall Back


..and that's definitely what I did this Fall. I fell, farrr behind on posts.

When I started this blog I promised myself I'd use it as a place to express myself, to share my musings and absurd dating tales and as a way to escape the "should" and just write what I was feeling. But you know how it goes- life happens, time flies and before you know it, two months have passed! So now I'm back and in one not-too-long-please-don't-bore-them-they're-the-only-followers-you-have post, I will try to catch you up on what's been going on.

Fall was filled with friends, family, apple picking, pumpkin carving, parent-meeting, hurricane living and my favorite holiday, Thankgiving!

Things with the boy are better than ever and I feel incredibly lucky. The more time we spend together the more I smile and I can honestly say I couldn't be happier...sorry, that's all you get!

My three best friends and I went apple picking in October and to our chagrin there were no apples left on the trees! Can you believe it?! We've had this tradition for a few years and apparently, apple-picking season is getting shorter and shorter. We made the best of it by scooping apples out of bins and making our pies but there is something to be said for the real thing.


           

The next item on the fall-fun to do list was camping and pumpkin carving. Camping was a little-rocky, cold and darker than anticipated but altogether a great experience. We drove about an hour and a half from the city, and slept under the stars (and on top of some rocks). It was a short trip and next time, we will be a bit more prepared.

Pumpkin carving was a blast and the boy and I had a competition with my PIC and her boyfriend. I don't think we ever decided who won but it was a lot of fun to carve pumpkins, roast the seeds and enjoy fall beer with friends. 

Our spooky pumpkin. Carving courtesy of the boy.

Hurricane Sandy whipped through New York a few days later and while I was extremely fortunate to not withstand any damage, there were many people who were not as lucky. The Saturday following the storm a few friends and I loaded a car with supplies and headed to Staten Island to distribute what we could and assist in the relief effort. It felt great to give back knowing how many people lost everything and seeing the community we visited first-hand, we know the help was needed.

Halloween fell somewhere in the mix and it was particularly special for me this year because I was lucky enough to meet the boy's older sister and nephew and take him trick-or-treating for his first time ever! He didn't completely get the concept but loved dressing up...and we loved his candy.


Yo Gabba Gabba fueling up for the night

Hip and I trick-or-treating

One of the many decked-out houses in Sunnyside Gardens


My favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, wrapped up November and I was extremely lucky to have two celebrations this year. First, our first annual Friendsgiving with Marlee, Jesse, Megan and all of our significant others and then the real Thanskgiving a few days later.

I absolutely love Thanksgiving. The flavors, the colors, the smells, the time with family- to me, it's perfect and I'm so glad I had the chance to spend the holiday with my whole family again this year. My grandparents flew in from Florida and it was great spending time with them after a few months apart. They are two of the most amazing people I know and I am so fortunate to have them both in my life.

That just about wraps up the fall-fun. December is going to speed by between holiday parties, friends visits, trips (i've got two lined up!) and of course the New York holiday activities.

Stay tuned.

Gigi's at it again.

Sometimes, things in your life are going so well that you don't even have anything to make fun of yourself err I mean blog, about.

Life's been pretty awesome lately. The weather in New York has turned that perfect fall-crisp where a light leather jacket (my all time fave) and a cute sweater have you set from morning til night. It's cold enough out where you want to cozy up inside with hot tea and cider, but not so cold that you curse yourself for your choice of living in the Northeast, ah fall bliss.

I've had a few college visitors over the last few weeks, another one this weekend and one in a few weeks. It's so nice to catch up with friends, show them my city and reminisce on times when class and homework assignments actually mattered #workinglifeisthebest.

All is quiet on the homefront- oh except the radiators. In New York, unlike many other civilized cities across the continental US, in most apartment buildings tenants have no control over the heat. When the temperature drops below 50, the boiler revs up and heat begins pumping from the creatures in the walls- also known as radiators. Often times these creatures are not in good condition and result in clinking, clanking, screeching, steam pouring and banging- all in the name of a little heat. We had quite the experience with our radiators in the old apartment, so why should this one be any different? We were hopeful- but unfortunately, out of luck. When these bad boys turned on for the first time last weekend we got the whole 9 yards, steam, screeching, banging, clanging and most of all insane temperatures that we were unable to lower. We immediately placed a call to our landlord, then the management company and finally to a plumber who we scheduled to come this morning between 8:30-9. You all know how this story ends, "we'll be there in 15 minutes" and then 15 minutes turns into 30, 30 turns into 45 and before you know it you're offering the plumbers lunch (only kidding). Around 11:15 they finally showed up only to inform us that all of our radiators are leaking (we have 5- what are the odds) and they all need to be replaced at the low cost of $575.03 if we wanted to have them running. Yea, I'll get right on that. In the name of bank account preservation we opted to shut all off but one, and hope that fuzzy socks come back in style. Down parka, party of one.

So, you all remember that guy I told you about a few months ago? The one I went out of my comfort zone for and then swore up and down was the worst decision I'd ever made. Well folks, he's back, and this time- in a big way. I can't exactly trace the evolution of this development but basically it went a little something like this: blog was posted, he was flattered, I was sad, I didn't give a shit, guy started to give a shit, we started talking, we became friends, we started hanging out as friends, then we started hanging out as friendsandmaybemore, then as definitely more but shhh let's not acknowledge it, then we were basically dating but wouldn't admit we were dating, and finally we admitted it and now we're actually, truthfully,  totally, legitimately dating. Like aww you're my boyfriend and I'm your girlfriend, let's meet each others parents, make holiday plans and miss each other when we're not together- dating. Talk about a 180. Who knows how this happened, my friends say it was unexpected, he says it wasn't unexpected, I say I have no idea what it was but I'm the luckiest girl in New York.

For all the bashing I did in my last post, I will do double if not triple the praising in this one. This guy has truly swept me off my feet. Not in the "oh lets go for a carriage ride in the park" sense (ew) but in a way that's so much better. He's everything I thought never existed and makes me feel the way people tell you you'll never get to feel. He's funny, kind, smart, caring, beyond cute and best of all? He's crazy about me (but don't tell him I told you, he likes to play coy). We're both the opposite of what we ever thought we'd date (probably better, right?) and I have to pinch myself everyday to make sure it's real- I can assure you, it is. He's my best friend and he brings out the best in me (my dad even told him that the first time they met, uh dad, hello- way to play it close to the vest!). He challenges me in ways I never knew possible and his silliness is one of a kind (if asked I'd swear it annoys me, but it secretly makes me happy). Who knew a few short weeks ago where this journey would lead- I certainly didnt- but maybe that's the best part!

Surprised? Me too. Think I'm joking? I'm not. Wish you were me? Don't. Ok maybe you can, but just this once.


P.S. For those of you wondering about the Gigi reference- think "He's Just Not That Into You". Boyfriend (ahh it's still so weird to use that word) has called me Gigi since basically our first date since i'm so-over-the-top-emotional and won't-settle-for-less, pshh whatever Gigi is the best.

45 Avondale Road

Shana tova my jewish friends, and non jewish friends who think being jewish is so cool that they want to be jewish but only for the first jewish holiday until we have to fast and eat things that look like fish guts but are really called whitefish, SHANA TOVA all.

The Jewish holidays kicked off the same way they always do in my house, with a lot of cooking, a lot of eating, a table falling down, wine spilling, dogs barking, early exits, people laughing, others crying all the while saying CAN'T WAIT FOR NEXT YEAR, yea me neither- remind me to remember this then.

Each year the Lewis-Gartner high holidays follow the same routine. Erev Rosh Hashanah dinner is at my house, lunch the next day is at my grandmas, just us, where we sit around talking about how it used to be more than just us but then everyone died...oh by the way, happy new year.

Yom Kippur is similar with "the last supper" taking place at my house and the break fast at my grandmas. My older sister sleeps over and in the morning we all hungrily (although we're not really hungry yet we just think we are because we can't eat) get dressed and head to temple, counterfeit tickets in hand (long story for another day but in short, go mom!). Then around 3pm the "kids" go to my grandmas and make the deviled eggs for break fast. Every year my grandma forgets that I can't stand deviled eggs- not even to be in the same room as them, let alone MAKE them- and every year we have the argument that i'm not being a "joiner", every year I cave and go there only to be so repelled by the eggs that I have to leave the room, and every year she looks at me sadly and remembers I hate them...like I said, every year.

The break fast kicks off around 6pm when people start arriving, but my mom and I force everyone to wait until the 3 stars have been seen in the sky before we can eat- we're diehards deal with it- and then twinkle twinkle, it's over. Just as quickly as it began, we're eating again, quickly forgetting what we were fasting to remember and throwing our manners to the wind. No- talking with your mouthful of bagel is not in fact the proper way to ask cousin it to pass the cream cheese. Been there, done that. A few hours, a couple pounds of fish guts and a slab of rainbow cookies later, everyone says good bye, spilling out the front door into the crisp fall air, eager to get home and put on their pajamas.

When I was a kid, it was always a given that the next year, the same round of traditions would unfold. We'd always eat bagels and cream cheese by my grandma's fireplace and play dress up in the attic. We'd always take off our tights and run barefoot, relieved to be free of the MOST uncomfortable piece of the high-holiday getup. There'd always be another holiday, another dinner, another rosh hashanah lunch with just us with the theme of everyone's dead, and always another break fast. But this year, is different. This year we gathered for rosh hashanah lunch just us for the last time, and next week will mark the last year I get to get into an argument with my grandma over deviled eggs. It will be the last year we pull into their driveway, proud that we get front row parking because we're essentially residents by extension. It will be the last year I feel the plush carpet under my toes as I slip off my heels (no more stockings, I ditched those the year I was allowed to pick out my own outfit). The last year the black and white tiles fly by as we carry trays of goodies into the den. The last year the cousins hide out in the red room. The last year we hear the creak of the attic stairs and feel the cold metal tips beneath our feet. The last year we hear the click of the bar cabinets as they spring open and the last year we break the fast in the place we have done so for the last twenty five years.

This past week after Rosh hashanah lunch, post the "everyone's dead" conversation, we went through all of my grandparents things labeling them "tag sale", "bunny to keep", "sari" "dori  "diane" "june" "aaron" etc. In just a few short weeks my grandparents are selling their house. They are moving out of the home they have lived in for 59 years and while it's an important step for them, it's incredibly sad. As I pointed out to my mom, they are not only selling their own memories now, but ours too, and with it, all of the potential for future memories.  All of the "next years" and "remember whens" are somehow being packed into boxes. We've all tried to be strong as this process has unfolded but I think each of us has broken down at one point or another. How do you say good bye to a place that has meant more to you than even your own home, or bottle a sound, a smell or a feeling that literally tells a thousand stories. How do you explain what a house, a mere four walls, has meant to you over a lifetime or figure out what holidays look like without it. Even as I sit here writing this post, tears roll down my cheeks (yes i'm at work, maybe it's awkward) as I try to comprehend the finality with which Wednesday night's break fast will bring.

My grandparents house has always been my grandparents house. My mom moved there when she was two and I spent countless amounts of time there throughout my life. Even now, I walk there, run there, drive there almost weekly. I know where everything is, what every room was, what every room means, whose beds are and were whose, when furniture was bought and who the original owners were. I know who fell where (and when) who broke what (and why) and more importantly I've always felt it would always be there-.

The days between rosh hashanah are the days of introspection- 10 days that are supposed to be spent reflecting. This year, I sure do know what i'll be thinking about.

Shana tova everyone and gmar chatima tova (have an easy fast)


Dad and I at the dining room table at 45 Avondale, a long time ago




Are you there g-d? It's me Gigi


My oh my, where does the time go. One day you're waking up and packing your bags for a mid-August vacation, next thing you know it's labor day weekend and all signs of your perfect summer romance have flown out the window just as quickly as they blew in. Solution: time to close the windows.

I'm sure you want to know more, who wouldn't with a lead in like that. In essence- curiosity killed the cat.

After nearly three years of dating in New York (that might not seem like a lot to you novices out there or to you readers who are neatly coupled-up, but trust me, if you've done it, you know it is) I decided to step outside my comfort zone; to ignore my "type", disregard warnings and throw caution to the wind. I decided to "go with the flow", to date someone I knew was emotionally unavailable and try my hand at casual (hint: casual does not include planning, a serious problem for a planner like me- I love planning- so sue me, I like looking forward to things).

Why I thought this diversion was a good idea after my last relationship in which I was strung along more creatively than colored macaroni on a pre-schoolers necklace, is beyond me. But hey- in the throes of the July heat- it seemed like a good idea. Ultimately, my curiosity was quelled; I came, I saw, I [failed to] conquer (the predicted outcome when playing with fire) and after almost two months of fun, we came to the ever elusive dating line in the sand. The [dreaded] crossroads where you must decide: break down the emotional walls and let the other person in or call it quits. Moral of the story, he turned and ran faster than a tourist realizing Times Square is in the opposite direction of Central Park West (about- face!).

While it was an interesting summer, and a very bold dating move for those of you who know me, I take comfort in the fact that after 25 years I know myself. I know what I want, what I need, what I will put up with and what I won't. I'm not sad, but rather reinvigorated to know that I don't have to settle. In previous relationships I've analyzed what I've done wrong, how I could have salvaged things, how I could have changed things or been better- I've taken the position that it didn't work out because I did something wrong instead of considering that maybe we just wanted different things.

I'm a passionate person, that's who I am and I'm looking for the real deal- someone whose going to be there on the best days, and the worst days. I often criticize myself for being me, for wearing my emotions on my sleeve and for (gasp) asking for what I want, because of the reactions I get, or the typical outcome (splitsville).  But, in looking back on this experience- I know there was nothing to be done and nothing for me to apologize for. When I entered into this I knew I was taking a gamble, and unfortunately that gamble played out the way most gambles do- in favor of the house- but at least I played the game, and one of these days I'm gonna win the jackpot.

Every experience takes you somewhere new and teaches you things about yourself you didn't know before, so I try not to regret anything (it's hard, trust me, I know). I can't say that each of these romantic letdowns is easy, that would be lying, or that they make me feel great about myself, but they each teach me something new and I am better, stronger and more self-assured because of them.

I'm lucky to live in an amazing city where figuring this stuff out is the norm- and I feel even luckier to have the incredible people around me who help me through each test. My friends, family and coworkers (they get it the worst) encourage me, listen to me, and support me, no matter how many times I trip, or stub my toe. As we head into the Fall, it's a good thing I've got a fresh pack of band-aids ready to go and a team of experts standing behind me.

Vacation...it's good for the soul

Well- this morning was back to the city, back to work and back to reality. After 9 days away from the big apple, the consistency of routine was calling my name.

Last Friday I packed my [perfectly perfect] Herve' weekender and headed to the suburbs. With Summer dwindling right before our eyes, I knew I had to act fast: take vacation days now or forever hold your peace.  I opted for the former.

Perfect Beach Day


While I was home I did a whole lot of relaxing. I read six books (yes six!), knocked a few classically summer items off my bucket list, spent time with family, went to the beach, enjoyed leisurely evening runs, hung out with my favorite 8 month old, and ate my weight in watermelon.
Serious Saturday night cuteness

So, what did I read you ask? A few nondescript, totally mindless beach reads by Barbara Freethy (Summer Secrets, Just a Wish Away and All She Ever Wanted), the new Emily Giffin Novel Where We Belong, a page turning West Point book about female cadets Battle Dress (my fave for those of you who know my genre obsession) and an indecently succinct cousin to the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy titled Bared to You. Confession: I started Bared to You around 8pm last night, read well into the morning hours, and finished it today during my lunch break.  I'm looking forward to the second book which comes out mid-October, but reading snobs beware- it's no literary work of genius.

In addition to total book worm status, my Bucket List got some momentum this break as I was able to knock a few stunner's off the list.  Night swimming, the Annual Lewis family trip to Rye Playland, swimming in the ocean, and going for an evening run are now OH-ficially complete. I've got a few others planned in the coming weeks and hope that by the time the first leaves fall- I'll have the full list knocked out.

Dad and I enjoying the pool!

This past Saturday, I went over to my grandparents house for breakfast with my sister, cousin and cousin's fiance'. My grandparents just recently sold their house (cue the "oh my god's" and "are you serious'") and are getting ready to move in just under two months. They've lived at 45 Avondale for over 60 years, and it's been like a second home to me all my life. I grew up a mile away and saw their house as an extension of my own. I have my own bed, my own spot at all three tables, dents I've left on the floor, grill's I've fixed, pictures I've painted, closets I know better than my current apartment and smells that instantly take me back to being a kid. It's been a mix of happiness and sadness as they start to pack up. It's definitely time for them to move onto something smaller, and more manigible, but at the same time it's scary (and nearly impossible) to imagine anyone else living in their house; it's THEIR house. Alas- I digress.

As they get ready to move all of the kids and grandkids have spent time there, talking, sorting, discussing. We've been going through furniture, calling dibs on what we want, reminiscing about all of the memories we've made (more than we could ever count) and sorting through decades of "stuff". My grandma found pictures and documents that belonged to each of her children and grandchildren and created an envelope for each of us. She plans to bring everything down to their house in Florida, and make each of us a collage of everything she has from the time were babies, through college graduation. I  can't wait to see how it turns out. In the meantime, I couldn't help sneak a peak at the pictures and man, were there some gems in there. It's hard to imagine being a little version of myself but so much fun at the same time. Here's a little snippet of what baby Sari looked like- what a nugget.

Dad, quit with the looks, ok?

No shoes, no shirt, no problem!

My first day back to work was a nice reminder of the fact that I love my apartment, love my job and love the people I work with. While it's always nice to take time off to recharge- having a place you love coming back to, makes it that much better.

Happy Monday.


Life, or Something Like It

I suddenly looked at the calendar the other day and realized we were nearly through July... how did that happen?! Summer is my favorite season by far, but August has always been bittersweet for me because while it's still warm, it reminds me that my favorite two months are behind us and won't be back for a long while.

Back in the college days, August always meant Bed Bath & Beyond, packing up, and leaving New York but now that I'm an "adult" (or so they tell me) August is less final, and more of a continuation of summer. Moral of the story- summer is flying by way too quickly and I'm going to do my darndest to embrace August & take full advantage of what's left of summer.

So, to that end I've put together a Summer 2012 Bucket List, and figured I'd share it with y'all with the hope that you'd keep me accountable. I've always wanted to make a bucket list but never have, and since this blog, and life these days, is all about firsts- I figured, no time like the present! So, now without further adieu, let's get listing:

  • Take another trip to Fire Island
  • Make s'mores in the outdoor fire pit
  • Go night swimming
  • Attend at least 2 Yankee games before the end of the season
  • See fireworks one more time
  • Go camping/sleep on the beach (this one might be tough..but I'll try)
  • Have a beach bonfire (another long shot)
  • Annual Lewis family trip to Rye Playland
  • Swim in the ocean
  • Eat chocolate italian ices, the real kind
  • Catch fireflies (that used to be so fun)
  • An evening run along the hudson
  • Spend a day on the high line
  • Eat at the Boat Basin Cafe
  • Go kayaking on the hudson

I think that's a pretty good place to start, seeing as I have a full time job and all, and hope that I can get each of these things done- and maybe even add a few more classics to the mix! If anyone wants in on the above dreaminess...feel free to give a shout, I like company! I promise to let you all know as I accomplish these things and add new adventures to my repertoire.

On a more serious note- as many of you know, our baby puppy Lia had a bit of a health scare last week as she battled a bout of Parvo virus. The outpouring of love and support that we received, truly touched me and made me completely aware of how many friends we have, and can count on, in times of need. I'm happy to report that Lia has rebounded incredibly well with the help of a dedicated staff at the Cornell Veterinary Center and according to my parents- she's back to her old self. I'm heading home this weekend for some R&R in the "country" and can't wait to spend time with my favorite floppy eared gal. Pictures to come...I promise.

In other news- life in June and July has been pretty great. We're settled in our apartment and loving it more and more each day; Work is busy- in the best way possible with a crazy BlackRock project challenging even the most seasoned ad men; I sold my first ever Never Enough Icing cake, and from what I've been told, it was a big hit!; I'm dating a guy I actually really like (shocking, right?) and so far- it's going incredibly well; I've got some vacation time planned in the next few weeks and can't wait to kick back and enjoy the warm weather while it lasts. 

Updates to come on the Summer bucket list. Wish me luck.

Stay fly.




There's No Place Like Home

The Summer is by far my favorite season. Warmer temperatures, cuter clothes, longer days, better food, no need for a jacket and endless weekend possibilities.

As an avid swimmer and self-proclaimed sun worshiper, the Summer is my happy place. Over the last few weeks I've been taking full advantage of my favorite season with a weekend trip to Fire Island, and most recently, a phenomenal overnight trip to Westchester with my PIC.

For those of you who know me, you know what Fire Island means to me. I grew up spending one full month each summer there, and whether I realized it or not, that place became a part of who I am. It's my happy place. The place I associate the best memories with and the place that captured the best part of my childhood. My sister and I spent days running barefoot through town, eating ice cream cones bigger than we were, swimming in the bay, catching fire flies, stubbing our toes, rolling in the sand, jumping from lifeguard stands, scratching bug bites, running with our dogs and showering outside. There really is no place like it.

The best place on earth

Hello relaxation


Now that I'm older and don't have the luxury of a month-long break from reality, I do what I can to spend as much time as possible on fire island each summer. Whether it be day trips, weekends or a share house- I've managed to get back there every summer for the last 4 years.

This summer I organized a weekend house with a group of friends and let me tell you- we had the BEST time. We relaxed, grilled delicious food, enjoyed homemade sangria, double scoop ice cream cones, runs through the sand, amazing sunsets, morning walks through town, bike rides at dusk and sleeping with the windows open- ocean breeze and all. It was extremely hard for all of us to pack up and head back to the concrete jungle, and then to work the following Monday, but it was great to get away for the weekend and to be reminded that such a magical place does exist not too far from home.

The whole house!

Best friends at the beach!


In the midst of crazy heat waves, family stresses and work deadlines, it was wonderful to have time away to remember what really makes me happy. I often get caught up (who doesn't?) in the daily grind  but a few days on fire island did my body good. If you haven't been there, I highly recommend you go. It's a place unlike any other I've been, where people are friendly, shoes are optional, everyone knows your name and a big night out means leaving the house for sunset at the dock.

Until next time Fair Harbor...




Let them Eat Cake

To say it's been a busy few weeks would not even come close to describing the mania of my life. Between moving, trying to do as much baking as possible, traveling for the 4th of July and my moms birthday, work being beyond crazy...I've barely had time to sleep (not joking) let alone anything else.

Amidst all of the craziness though, some amazing cakes have gone out my doors and what better way to kick off thursday than to share them?!

First, there was my grandparents anniversary cake. A few weeks ago my grandparents celebrated 65 years of marriage. 65!!! We threw them a surprise party despite repeated protestation and in spite of the dragging feet...everyone had a blast. When we first started planning for the party, I knew I wanted to make a stand out cake. Something elegant but 'wow' that would also feed about 40 people. I began browsing Pinterest, my go to for inspiration, and my gosh did I find it. I took a few recipes and a few inspiration pieces from several sources and finally settled on a four-tier vanilla cake with white chocolate buttercream. Wait for it...with an Ombre' design and roses from top to bottom.

When I first showed my mom pictures of what I wanted to do, she was supportive but skeptical. I think she thought it would be tough and that if it didn't come out the way I wanted it to, I'd be upset (she knows me too well- I'm a baking perfectionist even if it means re-baking something several times, more on that in a bit). Despite some hesitation, I started on the cake a few days in advance with plans of freezing the layers until the day before the party at which point I'd frost and decorate it.

Armed with cake flour, sugar, a sifter and more butter than i'll admit we were ready to bake (my mom helped!!). In my constant pursuit of the perfect vanilla cake, I wanted to try a new recipe, one I'd found in my many hours of baking research. My mom discouraged me- telling me I should just use her simple, tried and true vanilla cake recipe (which I find too dense) but I refused. So,  we followed the new recipe to a T, meticulously colored each of the four layers a varying shade of purple, and popped them in the oven. Since we only have two 8" cake rounds we had to do the pan preparation and baking in two batches- two pans at a time. When the first two layers came out- something didn't look right. The cakes had fallen in the middle. We let them cool and tried baking the second batch- paying close attention to cooking time. Again, the same thing happened. Being the perfectionist that I am, I promptly threw away all four layers (after tasting them and being truly repulsed), blaming the failure on the new recipe, and told my mom the next time, we would use her recipe. The next morning we did the whole thing again, but this time with my mom's recipe, and whaddya know- the same thing happened. A few raised voices, and a google search later we discovered our baking powder was expired (who knew?!) and yep...had to start over. So, on the third attempt, we tried my new recipe again and voila, it worked. That was easy.

Fast forward the making of a few batches of white chocolate buttercream (heaven), stacking and filling the layers with raspberry jam, tinting three separate bowls of buttercream three unique shades of purple, crumb coating the cake and frosting it...we had a winner. A big time winner. Hands down the most beautiful, most perfectly executed cake I've ever made. To say it was easy would be lying, but the feeling of accomplishment and the amount of fun I had making it- couldn't be replaced.

The masterpiece

Cutting it open!

A full piece!
 
My family at the party with the cake!

Next there was an Independence day cake. Only a few short weeks after the anniversary cake, my mind started turning on what to make to celebrate the 4th of July. My parents hosted a block party at our house and I was in charge of dessert. I knew I wanted to make something festive for the holiday but also something lite since we'd be sitting outside. I opted for a three layer white fluffy vanilla cake from my baking idol, Sweetapolita, filled and frosted with a self-created whipped vanilla frosting (it's super airy & perfect for summer) with berries between each layer and around the borders. 

The cake went off without a hitch. It was easy to make, easy to tint, easy to layer and the frosting went on like a dream. Amazingly smooth and creamy, and perfectly white, something I often struggle with when working with butter-based frostings. The neighbors absolutely loved it and I'm happy to report that when I returned home a few days later...there was none left! These have definitely moved up the ranks on my list of go-to's.


Whipped vanilla frosting with a blueberry ring along the top and a raspberry-blackberry border.

The amazing red, white & blue layers came to life with the white frosting



So, that's what I've been up to for the last few weeks, in the baking world at least. Stay tuned for a fabulous cake currently in the works for my PIC's birthday and my first PAYING cake gig which I'm making for my roommates' boyfriends' company potluck. Exciting things are happening here! My life may be hectic and I may make cakes at 2 in the morning but baking is what I was born to do, and it feels really nice to know that.

Have a great weekend everyone- I'm off to fire island tomorrow for a few days of beach, sand, sun and relaxation...hello Summer!

A picture's worth a thousand words

Morning mom followers. The moment you've all been waiting for has finally arrived. The big apartment reveal! We're in love with how it's turned out as well as with our FANTASTIC new neighborhood. We are so happy to be here, quite proud of our decorating skills, and in desperate need of things to fill our built in shelves (hint hint). Enjoy!


Building entrance. Don't mind if we do!

                                  Entryway to the apartment                       Long hallway into the living room


                                      Living room (notice: empty shelves)                          S and S live here 

Our amazing dining room and IKEA pantry

                           My amazing oasis aka my bedroom. Gray walls, black & white art, white bedding



PIC's Anthropolgie room. Fantastic head board & bright colors!



Our new block. Hello home, we love you.

Our backyard. We think we'll stay awhile




If you need me, I'll be in the unloading zone.

Sorry for the extended absence dedicated blogobites. It's been a crazy week and a half.

The fun kicked off last Thursday when the PIC and I started out for our new abode. Paint cans, mops, brooms, gloves, and keys in hand ready to tackle whatever we encountered, +95 degree heat and we were very excited! 8 hours later we emerged sweaty, tired and in desperate need of showers but the place was definitely sparkling. The night continued with packing up the our entire old apartment, throwing away about 15 black trash bags worth of who knows what, disassembling furniture, dust busting dust bunnies bigger than me and finding things we'd been "looking for" for a while. Around 3am we called it a night and climbed into bed amped for our 6am wake-up call.

6am rolled around more quickly than either of us would have liked so we headed out for a much needed coffee run. About 20 seconds after exiting the apartment, my darling PIC informed me that she had shut the door...without our keys. Just what everyone needs at 7am on moving day.  Luckily we were able to track down our guardian angel, also known as Zollie our super, and had the door jimmied open in no time. The movers arrived at 9am and the loading began. My parents and great friend Marlee' were kind enough to come in to help and by 2pm EVERYTHING was successfully moved from the old apartment to the new apartment, albeit a mirror that Derek the mover forgot was on his truck.

We logged many hours, consumed an excessive number of hale & hearty salads, made an obscene number of trips up and down stairs, tripped many fuses and spent all of our money- but in one weekend we did the impossible. We moved everything in, unpacked, organized and decluttered our beautiful new apartment. Home for 2, coming right up.

The apartment has come together perfectly. We've managed to throw away all of our trash, at receptacles located away from our building (we're too afraid of the recycling rules- no i'm not kidding), put everything in its place, hung our clothes (only one minor closet rod incident), built IKEA furniture, re-wired electrics and befriended our neighbors. Not a bad few days.

The PIC and I are both SO beyond happy with our new apartment, our friendship and our impecable design sense and can't wait to have everyone (my blog following is still small enough that I can say that) over for a house warming soiree soon. Trust me, you want to wait for it to cool down- we live in a steam room.

The process of moving can be very stressful and can often times bring out the worst in people but I feel so incredible lucky to report that the PIC's were not subject to any of this. We have moved with smiles on our faces (almost the whole time) and have shared more laughs in the last week than most people share in a lifetime.  Our friendship may have come as a surprise to both of us but our living styles, sense of humor, fashion sense, relaxed attitude, TV tastes and culinary preferences are so spot on that I couldn't imagine a more perfect partner in crime to share this crazy experience with.

Stay tuned... pictures and a cake post to come.

It's official!


After countless conversations, years of baking, hours of agonizing, and a few pushy relatives encouragement...I'm finally doing it.  I'm turning my love of baking into a business (or at least hoping to). Starting today 'Never Enough Icing' will be taking orders to sell cakes and cupcakes to friends, family and strangers for special occasions, to satisfy a sweet craving or just to help me build my name!

For the last several years, baking has become more than just a hobby but something I truly LOVE. I love coming up with unique flavor combinations, taking on difficult decorating challenges, and designing cakes to wow my guests. Every time I bake something, people tell me- you should really sell these. Finally, I'm listening. What do I have to lose? Buckle up, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

I'm going to start small, but eventually hope to turn my passion into a career. So, if anyone is looking for the perfect something sweet for their next event- I'm your gal!

Here are some pictures of my most recent confections:


Cakes
Clockwise from left: Ombre Vanilla Rosette Cake; Classic Vanilla Butter Cake;
Double Chocolate Fudge Cake; Four Tier Chocolate & Vanilla Wedding Cake

     


Cupcakes
Clockwise from left; Chocolate Salted Buttercream Cupcake; Homemade Hostess Style Cupcake; Gluten Free Double Chocolate Chip Cupcake; S'more Cupcake with Marshmallow Filling






If anyone is interested in purchasing a cake for an upcoming event, or knows anyone who is, the best way to reach me is via email at sarilewis28@gmail.com. I will work with you to customize and design your dream cake (or set of cupcakes) and we'll have fun doing it!

xoxo Sari

Bet you didn't know....

...people used to call me the fish. Well they did, more on that later.

Working out is a commitment just like anything else. Keeping your room clean, eating healthy, going to work, staying organized. None of these things come easily but with a little dedication, and a can-do attitude, we get them done.

I've been an athlete my whole life. My love for sports started at a young age when my grandfather taught me to swim by holding onto the wall of the pool and kick-kick-kicking my legs. From that first dip in the pool I don't think anyone knew quite how big of a role swimming would play in my life, but year after year, despite injuries and pure exhaustion, I've always been grateful to my grandfather for encouraging me to swim and stick with it.

For years I was a swimmer. That was my identity. I swam before school, after school, on vacation, on command (I faced more "let's race I bet I can beat you" challenges than I can count and always won). Eventually my family started provoking strangers to challenge me, knowing my small 5 foot frame and then-scrawny arms would fool anyone into thinking they'd crush me. Suckers.

As I got older and everything changed, swimming remained a constant. Throughout high school my childhood nickname 'the fish' stayed true and as each swim meet rolled around, friends and family made it into stands whenever they could. But the one person who was always there, for every single meet- no matter how far away, what time, or what season- was my grandfather. He'd never tell me he was coming or let me know he was there, but every meet I knew he was watching. He'd sit in the back of the bleachers and after my races I'd make my way up to him. He'd put his hand on my shoulder and say the same thing every time "in that freestyle...you had me worried until the bitter end, it was like you were waiting for them to challenge you, then when you got tired of waiting you took off". It became a game- how close could I let them come only to surge at the end, pretty darn close I found out. I'm lucky that my anything-but-taught, highly unconventional, "lazy" swimmer habits never impacted me. I don't kick when I swim freestyle, ever, and I don't do alternate breathing (I always breather on the right) but nevertheless, in the pool I was untouchable.

Junior year I hurt my shoulder pretty badly in one too many IM- 100 butterfly combos, but kept it to myself for fear of being benched. We all know how this story ends...I swam injured, hurt my shoulder beyond repair, had to give up my love of laps and now feel a faint clicking every time I move my left arm. Whattadream.

The purpose of this post is not to detail my shoulder's musical talents but is instead aimed at shedding some light on why I am the way I am and how deep my relationship with athletics truly goes. People at work call me crazy because I go to a class or get a run in most days before work but the thing is, that's normal for me. I was an athlete before I was a straight-A student, or teenager, or Maryland grad or a content strategist. I was an athlete before I was anything else and even though my shoulder injury rocked me to the core (I didn't workout at all for almost the first 2 years of college,- part withdrawal, part pain, part anger) I've been able to find joy in exercise again, on dry land this time.

My swimming coach used to joke that when I ran, I was a fish out of water. I was slow, uncoordinated and had NO stamina (even though I could swim laps consistently for 3 hours). I didn't like running, didn't understand it and frankly- didn't need it. Fast forward 8 years, a shoulder injury, an NYC address (how many pools do you know of in NY? yea me too) and it's a whole different ball game. When I moved to the city 2 years ago I vowed to become "a runner". I would be one of those people, decked out in LuLu Lemon spandex and brightly colored workout tanks, gliding along Central Park West with ease. Reality: I can only run in shorts, nothing from lu lu lemon fits me right (no matter the size), and grandma-shuffle would be a better description than gliding. Recently my best friend Marlee' told me about a challenge she'd given herself (I believe from Runners World originally) to run a mile everyday. Just get out there and run 1 mile, and anything else you did is a bonus. She said she'd had 18 days of consecutive success and recommended we (my gals) all try it. Seeing as I'd already run 3 days in a row, I decided to take on the challenge and today is day 7! It's been great to have a challenge motivating me to get out there and log some miles and so far, each day, I've done more than the required mile (not by much but more is more!). I'm so excited to see how long I can keep this going and how much further I can push myself.

It's been a big change over the last few years to transition from being a swimmer and to figure out how to re-incorporate athletics into my life without the structure of a team and while I'm still learning- I'm on my way. Running is never going to be easy for me. I'm never going to be one of those people who bounces off the sidewalk and looks down only to realize they've logged 5 miles- I count each tenth of a mile- but nevertheless, I'm out there. I lace up my sneakers, put my hair on top of my head, blast my most recently downloaded pop song and I go and right now- that's good enough for me.

Mid-run in Boston a few weeks ago

Have a great weekend everyone. I'm celebrating my birthday tonight and lots of other family occassions this weekend. Stay cool, and happy running!








A week for reminiscing

Since high school, my three best friends and I have done the same thing, every year for my birthday.

When we were younger, I had a big pool party the last week of June. It was kind of like an end-of-year milestone, Sari's pool party. Tons of people came from school, camp, the neighborhood- everyone. We would spend the day swimming, eating, and enjoying the fact that school was finally over. After the cake had been cut and the last bikini-clad pre-teen had scampered into their mom's mini van...my three best friends would stay. We would open presents, lounge in our bathing suits, eat dinner, go skinny dipping (always), watch a scary movie and have a sleep over.

As we got older, word spread to our guy friends that this was our ritual, and being 17 year old boys, hearing the words skinny dipping sent them into a tizzy. First, they made fun of us, then they begged to come- sorry, no boys allowed. Despite repeated attempts to snag invitations, we held steady on our "nope, not tonight" rule. One year, mid-skinny dip, we heard a commotion. As we looked up from the pool, in through the gate marched our guy friends, butt naked, holding a cake ablaze with candles. They sang a beautiful rendition of "happy birthday" with grins wider than the grand canyon, and upon completion simultaneously turned around to reveal the words "H-A-P-P-Y B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y" spelled out on their butts'. Throughout their performance, our over the top squealing (we were 17 afterall) caused the light sensor to cue a spot light on the guys, thus waking my parents. Did I mention the pool is right outside their bedroom? My dad, getting wind of the intruders, immediately yelled for them to leave. The boys immediately took off towards the gate while my mom, half asleep and wanting to get in on the action, executed quick thinking and ran to the driveway with a broom. What she was planning to do with that broom? We'll never know as the guys dove into their car (still naked) and sped off into the night before she could catch them- don't worry, they left the cake behind. Ah high school, that was one of my more eventful birthdays. 

The four of us back in high school

We've managed to keep the tradition alive all of these years through college despite getting older, engaged, moving,  etc (minus the after-dinner swimming, now we say "it's too cold"..ah to be young again) and it's one of the things I most look forward to as part of my birthday week.



Home from college for the summer; dressed up for an 80's party!

Seeing as June 20 is right around the corner, this past weekend was our infamous sleepover date. The girls arrived Saturday afternoon and after a gorgeous day spent by the pool and playing with Lia, we set off to the grocery store in search of dinner supplies. We grilled a delicious balsamic chicken, along with eggplant, portobello mushrooms and peppers and made a fresh salad with avocado, yellow tomatoes, (soy) cheese, and black olives...not to mention the two bottles of wine and skinny girl margaritas! We sat around the table for hours talking, laughing, and strolling down memory lane. It was so nice not having anywhere to go, or feeling like we had to rush home. Sleepovers are nice like that. After a quick clean up, we headed upstairs to bed at the alarming hour of 10:30 pm (we're so cool). We snuggled in, just like we always do, and fell asleep talking about what we would do differently, if given the chance. Having known each other for 10 years, we've been together through a lot. First loves, two graduations, heart breaks, going off to college, first jobs, apartments, being on our own. It hasn't been easy but most of it- none of us would change.


As I prepare to turn 25 tomorrow, I know there are a lot of things I wish I had figured out, things I wish I'd done differently, self-set milestones I've yet to accomplish but one thing I know for sure is that I wouldn't change our sleepovers for the world. While I may not have the whole love thing figured out, I'm beyond lucky to have 3 soul mates who make turning a year older, not so bad.


The four of us, at my apartment this winter.





Honey, I'm Home!

Phew..what a crazy week it has been. Not like me to go a full 7 days without posting. But have no fear friends, I'm back and better than ever, well, maybe not better than ever- but I'm back.

Since last time, I've managed to take a trip to Martha's Vineyard, contract an annoying head cold, attend a co-op board interview, get a new puppy, be put on a pitch at work and drum roll please........be approved for our apartment!

First things first, the puppy is Leah. She is a 10 week old blue nose pit that my mom found at a shelter near our house. She was dropped off and the shelter had no room for her, so naturally..she went home with my mom and that was that. She is SERIOUSLY adorable. She's grey with white patches, has the pinkest nose in the world and seaglass colored eyes. Instant love. It's been a long time since we've had a puppy in our house- the last one was Gus and he passed away at 13 this past September. We've had lots of foster dogs come in and out but Leah is our first puppy and I'm glad she's here to say. Welcome to the nut house Leah.



I had a great trip to Martha's Vineyard last weekend with my best friend from college Martha, and her family. We arrived Saturday morning and did a whole lot of lounging. We got the biggest ice cream cones EVER at Ben and Bill's, fell asleep on the beach to newly downloaded tunes, drove around town exploring the local fare, and made an absurdly high number of completely necessary trips to Larsen's fish, swoon. It was my second time visiting them on the vineyard and I already can't wait to go back.

Happiness is Almond Joy ice cream

                                       The Bruce Vineyard House                                               Sunset over the pond


                                                                Best friends enjoying the sunset






Things are moving along at work. I've been put on my first real pitch for a company that I can't divulge, I'm so cool (not), and it's not what I expected so far but will definitely be a good learning experience. I'm getting exposure to some senior level people and getting to see how these things work firsthand. Never say no to opportunity, or try not to anyway! I'm also working on a career site redesign and that's turned out to be a pretty cool and creative process. Enough of the boring stuff.

I touched down from sunny Martha's Vineyard into rainy New York around 4pm on Tuesday, found the green machine and made my way back to NYC just in time for our 8pm co-op board interview. We got dressed up and scadaddled over to the far west side nerves running high. An hour later we emerged, less nervous but a bit more confused, and with the looming feeling we might be moving into a freshman dorm. Quiet hours anyone? Right, the interview. Well, it wasn't quite what we expected. The board was a mish-mosh of people living in the building and they all seemed super nice but some of their questions took us back, i.e. do you recycle? Clearly that was a deal breaker so naturally we said yes and upon arriving home I immediately set up a recycling system. See- now I do recycle. All in all the interview went fine but as I told my roommates dad, if it were a date I wouldn't have known to expect a second date or not. It didn't go badly, but it wasn't a hit either. Needless to say the hours dragged on as we refreshed our inboxes until finally Thursday afternoon we received official word that we were approved. What a magic word. We are now the proud renters of a beautiful 2 bedroom apartment and can't wait to move in. We've decided on a move date of June 29th since we can't move in on the weekends, oh co-ops, and we are so excited.

It's going to be a whirlwind couple of weeks as I turn 25, attend my cousins wedding, work on a pitch, pack up my apartment and move the 13 would-be-nothing-in-any-other-city-but-NewYork blocks. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

Wishing everyone a happy father's day, happy summer, happy day's are longer, happy enjoy the weather weekend. Next time I write, I'll be a quarter century old. Be jealous.

The Cupid Shuffle


For anyone whose ever dreamt of moving to New York with the hope of fostering a fabulous single girl life reminiscent to that portrayed in sex and the city; think again. In fact, think many times again.

Before I shock you with what I'm about to write, please know that none of this comes from a mean place, it doesn't come from an angry place or a place of negativity, it's comes from a place of discovery as this is what I've found in my travels and above all that- it's just the gosh darn truth. I know that these feelings and observations do NOT represent all guys out there and that I've just had the unfortunate luck of encountering more than my fair share, but that being said, this is my blog and these are my experiences and I promised when I started this to be honest, so I'm going to be.

Fact: Dating in New York is the worst, most frustrating, self-deprecating, exhausting, extracurricular activity I've ever involved myself in. I don't say this to be dramatic or over the top, I say it because it's true. Dating in New York is like slamming your head against a wall five times, getting cut each time but then doing it again and expecting different results. Just stop slamming your head against the wall and you won't get cut. Simple right? One would think. But here's the thing, after each cut heals and the hello kitty band-aid is thrown out with yesterday's overly priced organic produce, I stand up to bat and once again slam my head against the wall thinking this time, I won't get cut. When will I learn? Better be soon cuz I'm running out of band aids.

Now don't get me wrong I've had friends who've had good dating luck in this backwards city I call home. Those who've moved here or broken up with long-time college boyfriends only to relatively quickly stumble upon a great guy and foster a seemingly normal relationship. But trust me- they are the exception. They are the exception, and I'm the rule.

I'm the girl who goes on 1, 2, 3, sometimes even 4, great dates with seemingly normal guys only to have some all-telling conversation or come-to-jesus moment at which point it's revealed that all of this wonderfulness and the assumption of maturity, is in fact false or all in my head because, at the end of the day, I'm a great girl but they just don't know what they want (gee thanks, I wasn't aware I was a great girl, glad I've got your seal of approval). Sometimes it takes longer, case in point my last stroll down dysfunctional lane, where I stood by for 6 months trying to fix what was broken in the hopes that my patience and unyielding understanding would cause a lightbulb to go off in his head. Note to self and other interested parties: it won't matter what you do and if it's broke, you can't fix it. But usually, by date #4 it's pretty clear we're taking a nose dive towards negative town.

Now before you jump on me and call me negative nancy, which if you know me- know I'm not. Let me assure you that I've spent a great deal of time thinking about all of this (probably more than I'd like to admit but likely not more than others reading these ramblings) and analyzing what exactly is at play. And, while I've gone down the "something is wrong with you" road one too many a sangria-glasses,  it's finally become clear that this apathy towards progress and the utter refusal to take a chance on anyone, is a widespread problem, and GASP, it's not just me. I've therefore concluded that between the years of 1982 and 1987 there was something in the water that stripped men born in that time of the ability to grow up and make decisions for themselves. Harsh? Potentially. True? Undoubtedly.

Most 20-something men that I've had the pleasure of dating (and some 30 somethings, yikes) have this ever-present fear that every girl they date is just dying to lock them down. Now, let me be clear because I'm only going to say this once- we're not. We, just like you, have no idea what we want and the only way any of us is going to find out, is if we get over our fear and take a chance. Sounds logical right? One would think. Yet, time and time again, this proves impossible. I've repeatedly had experiences and listened to friends recount stories in which perfectly good budding romances have come to a screeching halt because the guys (incorrectly and prematurely) assume we're ready to walk down the aisle- whoa, slow down buddy I just asked if you wanted to get ice cream.

It's as if guys are so afraid of getting locked into a relationship, that they've forgotten that we're all in this together. At the end of the day we're all doing this for the same reason- to find out who we are, what we like, what we want and shocker IF this could go anywhere. What I want to know is, if we're so opposed to the idea of a relationship upfront before we even truly get to know someone, how will we ever fall in love?

I look back at my parents and grandparents generations and I'm envious. There was none of this "What do I want?", "Have I accomplished this yet?" "Who am I" business. You lived your life! You went to school, you got a job, you spent time with family, you had friends, you met someone, you got to know them, if it was right you got married, if it wasn't, you started again. It wasn't a big deal, it's just what happened. People didn't spend time thinking about whether or not they wanted to be in a relationship or if they were ready. People didn't question whether or not they wanted to build a relationship with someone, because that's what you did.

Yet this generation, to which I was so fortunately born (cue sarcasm), has a different take on life. While some see our views as progressive, I see them as unfortunate. Why, you ask? Because I'm old fashioned, an old soul, and to be old fashioned in a new age is pretty much the worst. It means many failed attempts at cutless head slamming, tears, cursing, frustrations, countless why-do-I-even-bothers all the while taking you back to the realization that you are who you are, and that's someone a bit different from others your age. You're someone who knows what they want and isn't afraid to take a leap of faith in pursuit of finding it. You're someone who's had her heart broken, a lot, but gets back out there anyway because maybe, just maybe, next time it won't suck. You're someone who knows what matters to you and what isn't worth worrying about. You're someone with values and who loves to have fun and who has a lot to offer. So then why, after each of these failed wall slammings, do you feel so defeated? I guess that's the nature of the game.

At the end of the day, I'm proud of who I am. I have a strong personality and I have no difficulty making decisions. I'm not one to waver and sometimes that intimidates people. But that's ok. In my last relationship I lost sight of my strength. I compromised who I was for someone else. I changed for fear of losing someone I thought I wanted and in turn, I lost myself. I'm not going down that dirt road again, I just finished cleaning the pebbles out of my shoe. So instead, I'm going down a new road. A road with quite a few hills and maybe less of a view but it's a road i'm proud of. I know that somewhere out there is a guy who will be awed by my ridiculousness. Someone who will see my determination as a positive thing, not negative. Someone who will look at me and see all of the good that I know I have to offer and embrace it. Ok, so it might take me longer than everyone else, but that's ok.

So happy Friday blogobites. Have a great weekend, and please, don't drink the water.