March 26, 2014

Drink on Wednesdays

Sometimes you just have to make your Wednesday about your favorite flannel shirt, messy hair, and a good cocktail...

...or two...

...or three...

...or four...

...or five...

...and then stop there, because five is good.

Laura the mixologist taught me everything I know (about mixology) and then handed over her business card...

...and I couldn't help but think how cool her card was compared to mine. How some ridged edges and messy handwriting say more than a logo.

Cheers to hump day, everyone! To too many drinks and defining what defines you.

March 10, 2014

What is winter in New York?

The weekend's weather was finally supposed to be "good" during an impossibly cold winter in New York City, so us warm-blooded, native Floridians (who desperately missed the sunshine) excitedly put on running shoes, packed some Clif bars, and hopped on a train upstate to find a mountain to climb.

We came to this...

...and realized we had it all wrong... that February in Florida is so very different than February in upstate New York... that our shoes were frictionless.

Seemingly seasoned hikers passed us by with ice picks on the bottoms of their snow boots, looking at us... pitying us.

We slid our way to the top with snow, melted, swishing between our toes...

...we soaked in scenery outlined by dense trees...

...and slid our way down...

...eager to ring out our socks.

We talked over beers about doing it again, perhaps next weekend? Perhaps with more appropriate attire? We will never forget this day and how ill-prepared we were. 

A lesson learned and a note to fellow Floridians: mountains have snow in the middle of winter.

February 24, 2014

23 things I learned surviving 23: reflections from a potluck

Do you remember when "potluck" went something like this?

You bring the chips.
You bring the salsa.
You bring the paper napkins.

Well, the potluck last weekend went a little more like this...

There were homemade poptarts, perfect fritatas, mint chocolate chip scones, mimosas...

Thank you to my friends who filled me with love and warm fuzzies with a special birthday brunch potluck. You shared some shocking levels of maturity through your homemade delights and usage of real silverware. You made me feel special, and you made me feel older... or something.

What happened to 23? It was swallowed up too fast. Definitely a few tough chews in there. I learned quite a lot... mostly from my mistakes... mostly from my experiences at work. So let's start there.

23 things I've learned from surviving 23:
Work less. Consistent 12 hour days are not okay. Consistent 16 hour days are really not okay. 
Your boss makes all the difference. Find a good one. 
Manage your manager and manage his/her expectations. 
Stand strongly against disrespect. 
Stop eating lunch at your desk. 
Sitting for ten hours a day is the worst thing you could do for your body and mind. 
Work and life should complement each other and share some mutual respect for each other. 
Nothing can compensate for team culture. Be part of a team where kindness and humor are integrated into its fibers.  
Make personal relationships with coworkers and thank them often with baked goods. These people are your most valuable resources. 
You have complete control of your life. If something isn't working well for you, either actively make it work or find something else. 
Focus is a discipline. Finish what you start. The less often you do so, the more difficult it is. 
Writing is a muscle. You don't use it, you lose it. Use it more often. 
Make time for trees. 
And friends. 
Allow yourself to be vulnerable. 
Make a damn decision every once in a while. 
If you're generally uninspired, find inspiration. 
Book club is truly wine club... just as everyone says.  
It's possible for a Floridian to survive winter. 
Surviving winter is easier when you have earmuffs that play music. 
Capture moments- good and bad. Record them and remember them. 
Recognize your value and make sure you are being valued as such. 
Protect yourself. Protect yourself from yourself and protect yourself from everything and everyone else.

And now for some games and a birthday wish.

24 will be much, much better... I feel it already.

January 14, 2014

#15 in NYC: Recharge at the MOMA

I started to fall, and I was falling hard, falling fast. I was headed deep into a pool of self-imposed pressure. 

I said yes to this, of course to that, so I could do it all and learn it all.

I want to be excellent.
I have to be excellent.
But I was quickly learning that it's impossible to be excellent while drowning.

I was becoming a person I'm not. I heard, saw, and felt less. I found myself uninspired because I couldn't recognize inspiration.

So I went to the Museum of Modern Art to detach and recharge.

When I stood too close to the large canvases, all I could see were the brush strokes in disarray and the modge podge of colors. 

But with a few steps back, I could begin to see...

...water lilies.

All I needed... a few steps back.

January 1, 2014

A peek into Figue

I'm never ready to leave where I am, but always eager to be where I'm not.

I walked into Figue, a special store in New York City filled with globally-inspired treasures. The owner is a close friend of Maryam's, my friend and mentor from Marrakech, and Maryam helped in decorating the space. I stepped in and wanderlust burst into the pit of my stomach. 

The roundish Moroccan lanterns dangling daintily from the ceiling and the feathered hats pinned to the walls placed tastes of memories at the tip of my tongue.

It's my dream to go to Morocco, she said to me, and to stay at Peacock Pavilions.

I walked outside and recognized that this too is a dream, this here, this city, where no store is the same, no door is the same, where each conversation with a stranger is as exciting and interesting as cracking the cover of a new book. 

Someday, I'll be standing somewhere else, far away, and be triggered by my remembrances of New York City, wishing I were back here, wishing I were somewhere else, but loving right wherever I'll be.

Happy 2014, friends. Cheers to a year of never wanting to leave the moment you're in while always being swept along by your curiosities of what's to come.

December 23, 2013

#14 NYC to do: Holiday stroll down 5th

I've been mentally preparing for winter since the summer and I've been wearing my huge puffy coat since it hit 50F.

I was warned that soon my ears would freeze from the inside out and that I wouldn't ever want to leave my apartment because it would be just too cold.

This is scary... this is scary for a girl that likes to be outside.

Those moments haven't come yet and my days are still filled with those I love New York thoughts because with winter in New York comes the holidays in New York, and with the holidays comes a twinkly, festive stroll you must take... 

...starting in Central Park...

...heading south to The Plaza Hotel...

...passed the Bergdorf Goodman windows (themed Holidays on Ice this year)...

...down 5th Ave... the Rockefeller tree...

...passed the light and music show on the front of Saks 5th Ave...

...where you'll also find a series of windows telling the story of an eager young Yeti...

...and to Bryant Park, which is truly a winter wonderland in itself.

Don't forget to stop for chestnuts! They're sold on every corner.