I Love NYC (in the Spring Time)

When people visit New York they take the ferry to the Statue of Liberty, ride the elevators up the top of Empire State Building, walk on Wall Street and see the Bull statue, or visit one of the many renowned museums. They see a show on Broadway or eat at an acclaimed restaurant. There are certainly a lot of experiences to write home about in New York; however, sometimes, it is the little things that most people who live in New York enjoy the most.

Today is the last day in March. It has been rainy and gross for the majority of the month which are the days where, “it sucks to live in New York,” to quote my sister. But today, the temperature hit 55 degrees and by the afternoon the sun was shining down on the city.

After an uneventful day at work, I came home and found the motivation to put on my workout clothes and lace up my running shoes. With my iPod set to repeat on my all Miley playlist, I ran out of my building and down to the park. All of the recent wedding stress that I have been feeling disappeared as I practically skipped down the road that runs through the park.

Although I ended the run red faced with blisters in my feet, it is times like this that make me love my life.

Do It Yourself

Over the past year or so I have seen a trend in jewelry of mixing pearls with floral brooches. I think they look pretty sweet and would like to note that I wore a necklace similar to these back when I was 6 or 7. Clearly I was ahead of the trend then.

I decided to make my own necklace modeled after this style.

I bought faux pearls from Michael’s craft store and used a pair of clip on earrings that my grandmother had given me a few years back.

I am the first to admit that this necklace isn’t perfect but I made it myself. There are many things that you can do yourself, and with my newly installed craft desk, I hope to post more often about things I have done myself. And hopefully they give you some inspiration and ideas for your own DIY projects.

You’re Fired

When I was 10 years old, I participated in a week-long pottery camp where I made a whole range of pieces of art (I use that word loosely) that I gave away as gifts to family members for Christmas. I remember making my father a clay tennis shoe, my sister got a piece of Birthday cake, my grandparents received a figure of a mounted fish, and my mother was the lucky recipient of a frog sitting on a lily pad. At the time, I was incredibly impressed with my sculpting and painting abilities and thought that my family was extremely luck to receive this gifts. Over the years, these sculptures have withstood time and moves, and are still on display around the house.

Since that time, I have continued to foster my love of clay and pottery. In high school I took a pottery class and I now frequent paint your own pottery stores. I have visited many locations over the years and found none better than “You’re Fired” in Bedford, NH. They have the best selection of pieces, have all sorts of various tools and can teach you new techniques to create wonderful works of art. Yesterday, my sister and I went to You’re Fired for 2 hours where I created a plate using 2 new techniques. First, I created a splatter effect by dipping a tooth-brush in paint and then pushing against the bristles. Next, I used a variety of shades of paint and put layers of stamps on the plate. I wish I could take credit for the ingenious design, but there was a sample piece that had used these techniques. If mine looks 1/2 as good as the pieces in the front display window, I will be psyched.

While the actual act of painting pottery was extremely therapeutic, the act of waiting one week for my finished product will be painful. Look for a picture of my plate next week!

Text Me

I remember the first time I ever saw a cell phone. At that time, they were called car phones, came in a bag and required that a spiral antenna be placed atop your car. They were not very common and I used to think that I was so cool when my dad let me call my mother to tell her that we were on our way home from swim practice.

One year, after my sister had turned 16 and got her driver’s licence, I approached my dad about buying her a cell phone as a Christmas present. It was a really big deal and an ever bigger phone. It was probably 12 inches long, 3 inches wide and it most certainly DID NOT flip, text or email. The phone lasted all through my sisters high school career and, like much in my life as a little sister, became a hand-me-down for me. I used this phone for an additional 2 years until I got a new one for my Birthday Senior year of high school.

I now have an iPhone where I can make calls, text, email, go online, watch videos and listen to music. We all know just how far technology has come and how much of a part of our lives it has become. That being said, I am still always fascinated when I see children leaving my school, who immediately whip out their phones and start texting and making calls. I think to myself “who could these kids be talking to?” They are at school with their friends, or just left them 2 minutes ago, and most of the time they are being picked up by their parents. At the age of 27, basically the only people who I call or text are my parents, my sister and Matt. How is it, that these 5 year olds are more connected than I am?

Last night I received a text from an unknown number. It was a 603 area code so I knew it was from New Hampshire, my hometown state, but I couldn’t immediately figure out who it was from. Here is what it said: “Hi Molly! I heard you were coming to town.. we can’t wait to see you!!!!” and it was signed by my next door neighbor. This is my next door neighbor, who I taught in my Kindergarten class and is now 11 years old. This is the same neighbor who emailed, from her own email account, at the age of 7 BEFORE she went to school in the mornings.

While this makes me feel incredibly old, I can’t hide my excitement to go home and have a play date with my neighbor. Thank goodness for cell phones, texting and extremely connected children. Soon enough, there will be an iPhone app for play dates.

Grab a Slice

New York City is known for the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Broadway theater, and of course, pizza. There are many places that claim to have the best pizza in NYC. Some are thin crust, others Chicago style; Sicilian and wood oven fired. Most people have heard of Famous Original Ray’s Pizza which is on nearly every corner in the city and of course, Lombardi’s, who claims to be America’s first full-fledged pizzeria. I have yet to visit Grimaldi’s which serves  coal oven pizza from their location underneath the Brooklyn bridge. Of all of the places that I have been to, my favorite is definitely Bleeker Street Pizza.

However, a more un-know pizza spot, Kornet, located on the way upper west side (111th street) has provided me with some of the best memories of my time in NYC.

My sister introduced me to this place which is a favorite of Columbia students, especially after a late night out. When she first told me about it, I couldn’t believe her description on the pizza. In her own words, she said “the pizza is as big as your head.” For an English major with a vast vocabulary, I was slightly concerned that this was the best way she could think of to describe the pizza; however, after experiencing it myself, she couldn’t have been more right.

Well, maybe she could have been… after a visit this week, she decided to change her description to: “pizza as big as a baby.”

Please feel free to let me know of any good pizza places in New York that you think I should try!

Man’s Best Friend

My parents got a dog shortly after they were married. Like most couples, the dog served as practice for when they had kids. I am pretty certain that if they had not had a dog first, my sister  and I would have been pretty messed up.

Not only did my dog eat my Halloween candy two years in a row, but she also ate an entire box of chocolate bars that we were supposed to sell to raise money for our swim team. She happily ate candy bar after candy bar without a care in the world, and more impressively, without any sort of repercussions. Everyone knows that chocolate is deadly for dogs, but apparently, not for Traveler.

One night, before Abby and I were born, my parents had a party. Since Traveler was a pretty wild dog, they decided to put her in the basement for the duration of the party. Afterwards, they let her out and noticed that she was acting sort of strange. She was walking around really slowly and had a glazed-over look on her face. They went down into the basement to see if anything was out of place and realized what was wrong. All of the extra drinks had been stored in the basement along with Traveler and they noticed teeth marks in all of the beer cans. Not only that, but the soda cans were left untouched. Thankfully, by the time Abby and I were born, my parents had learned that they shouldn’t lock us in the basement with a bunch of bud lights.

For years, using stories like these, I have been trying to convince Matt that we should get a dog. His excuse has always been, “I’m allergic.” After showing him this video, I may have finally convinced him…

They’re Magically Delicious

Every morning on my walk to work, after my stop at Dunkin Donuts, I pass by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The building itself it quite impressive, but the security that patrols the area is the real sight to see. Guards armed with machine guns, bomb sniffing dogs, and road barricades are constant reminders that we are living in a post 9-11 world. Thankfully, there are other reminders that this is a neighborhood where people live, work and go to school.

Everyday at 8:30am and 3:00pm, the streets are taken over by children streaming into and out of our building. The usual scene of men in suits is replaced by children in preppy uniforms and strollers clogging the sidewalks. Children, who are so accustomed to the site of tourists snapping photos of the historic sites in the neighborhood, they don’t even attempt to avoid being in the picture. The most impressive site, is when all 500 of our students and 100 staff members stream out of the building at the same time during our fire drills. I remember fire drills growing up, where we fled the building and lined up in rows in a field next to our playground. Here our kids walk around the corner to Starbucks. I am sure some of those 5-year-old would love in run in and grab a latte or cappuccino.

Some mornings, various companies sent up displays outside of the Stock Exchange. Sometimes they are announcing their listing debut on the NYSE or other times they are celebrating various events taking place. My favorite display was when Caterpillar set up giant machines on the street in front of the building. Walking by it, you felt like you were an ant in a sandbox with toy bulldozers and backhoes. My second favorite was the Super Bowl Half Time party that was set up Friday before the big game, by Ritz Crackers. They brought in a giant inflatable football helmet and various football themed games and of course, tasty treats. The only problem with these types of events is that they are always set up on the other side the security check point, so you can only experience them if you are a NYSE employee or badge holder. Unfortunately, I am neither. The last event worth mentioning was when a company (not sure what it was) trucked in a few cows and a bull. Not something you expect to see on Wall Street at 7:30 in the morning.

Some companies don’t set up great big displays, but rather, a simple banner is placed along the building. I still get a kick out of these which is why this is today’s “little thing.”

Visit this site for a dollar off coupon on General Mills Cereal:

http://www.growupstrong.com/Default.aspx

Disney Princess Half Marathon

   

When my sister sent her Birthday invitation and I saw that the weekend centered around a half marathon, I immediately starting hyperventilated and having flashbacks to the only other race of this distance that I completed; Boston’s Run to Remember. I trained regularly for this race, but ended up going out way too fast (my first mile was under 7:30) and completely and totally bonked! So, the thought of doing another one, was not very inspiring. However; if you are going to put yourself through this, what better place to do it than Disney World? While I can sit here and say that I had a hard time deciding whether or not to sign up for the race, those of you who know me know that I have NEVER turned down an opportunity to be a princess.

While my training improved over the weeks leading up the race, I will be the first to admit that it was not enough. I ran nearly every day, but the vast majority of this was on the treadmill and not very far (3-4 miles). I think my longest training run was a slow jog around Central Park, totaling just over 6 miles. So going down to Florida to run more than twice as much wasn’t the best feeling.

Race day started early; 3:30am. After anguishing all day before the race about my outfit of choice, I decided that I couldn’t sacrificed my style for warmth (clearly a true Princess decision). I wore my super cute new running skirt from Lululemon, a tank top and a long sleeve shirt. You would think that this would be plenty warm considering we were in Florida, but let me let you, it was not! Since the race had to be completed before the parks opened, it started very early (i.e. before the sun came up). We entered our “race corral” at 4:20ish and I think the temperature was a balmy 35 degrees. We all tried not to acknowledge the fact that we could clearly see our breath.

After standing around, literally standing, for an hour and a half, the festivities began. The Fairy God Mother herself stood at the starting line to wish all of the Princesses luck as we ventured out on our journey. Seeing this, I began to feel inspired. I mean, if she could turn a pumpkin into a carriage, she could certainly see me through to the finish line. As our corral started across the finish line, we were treated to a firework celebration! 

The first few miles were amazing. We were surrounded by a sea of Princesses, many in costume. Unfortunately, none of us had gotten our acts together enough to wear a costume (Mistake #1), but we won’t make that mistake again next year. As we ran along the road that leads into the Magic Kingdom, we were cheered on by various Disney characters. My personal favorite were the Disney Princes who were stationed on a boat and had “I need a Hero” playing in the background.

As we entered Magic Kingdom, my adrenaline kicked in and Abby and I leap down Main Street waving to the ESPN “cheer zone”. With the castle in sight, we were happy to have completed our first 6 miles. With huge smiles on our faces, we ran through the castle to the sounds of trumpet being played and waved to Mickey, Minnie, Cinderella and Prince Charming who were stationed on either side. Many people stopped to have their pictures taken with the various characters, but we did not bring a camera (Mistake #2).

As we left the Magic Kingdom, to begin the long run to Epcot, I started to feel my lack of training kick in. Thankfully we had gone out slow enough that I wasn’t completely dying, but my enthusiasm started to dwindle. After a very long stretch of road running, we finally entered Epcot. The end was in sight! As I crossed the finish line, I was met with music, cheers and a high-five from Mickey himself! After receiving my medal, I walked over to one of the Fairy God Mother’s helpers and got “Bibbi bobbity boo-ed” (for those of you, not “in the know”, that means that they sprinkled glitter on my head) which was definitely the most exciting part of the race.

My finishing time was 2:00.03; a bitter sweet finish as it was much faster than I expected, but if I was 4 seconds faster, I would have been much happier. After we had time to recover, we all decided that this was something we wanted to do again, and we were motivated to actually train next year, and more importantly, we have already started planning our costumes.

Pip Pip Cheerio!

At the end of a very busy and not particularly enjoyable day of work, I had a playgroup (child-friendly way of saying interview) with a 3 year old who is applying for Pre-Kindergarden at my school. I was not particularly excited to have this on my calendar on a Friday afternoon, especially after the the first two playgroups that I had this morning. The first one had two children, both under the age of 3, who couldn’t answer any question I asked (even, “what is your name?”) and proceeded to run around the room pretending they were airplanes for the entire 45 minute session. The second one was a 3 year old who whined the whole time about seeing his parents and didn’t want to do any of the various activities (aka games) I offered. Needless to say, when I went to meet my last appointment and he refused to talk, or look at me, I was not excited to spend 45 minutes in a room alone with this child.

As we walked into the room, my new friend told me that he saw a slug in our fish tank. Not only was this adorable because what he had actually seen was an eel, but I was completely thrown off my game; this child was from London and had a sick accent! Everyone in my office knows, that if a child has an accent, particularly a British accent, I will pretty much accept the child on the spot. I am seriously a sucker for accents. From that moment, my attitude shifted and the playgroup took a different turn.

My new friend cracked me up throughout the entire playgroup. He didn’t take more than 3 minutes to warm up and we started the session building a house with lincoln logs. He instructed me that I would be the “mummy” and he would be the “daddy” with our little people. We added a swimming pool outside of our house with a lego “jumping board” and a “lounger for sunbathing.” After we finished playing and I asked him to come over to the rug, he asked “shouldn’t we tidy up a bit?” At this point, I felt like busting out in song and dance (a la Mary Poppins).

After “tidying up” we moved to the table and drew some pretty incredible. During this time, my new friend said “let’s work hard together” and reassured me that as long as I tried my best, it didn’t matter if my art work wasn’t as good as his.

Our time together came to a close with an unparalleled performance of his favorite song, “Billy Jean.” If you have never seen a 3 year old singing Michael Jackson, you are missing out. It is moments like these that make my job worthwhile.

At the end of the day, I came to conclusion that my first born child must speak with an English accent. Apart from hiring Mary Poppins as my nanny, I am not sure how I will accomplish this. Thankfully I have plenty of time before I need to figure this out!

“Little Things Thursdays”

I would like to thank my friend Noelle for her continuous support and friendship. Her blog was one of the first that I decided to follow and certainly inspiration for this blog.

Since I started blogging, she has decided to dedicate Thursdays to focusing on “the little things”, which is a change from her usual “Jaded Inspiration.”

Please visit her site, post a comment, and tell Reeses I sent you!

http://noelleslife-jadedinspiration.blogspot.com/