Bachelor Party vs. Parental Visit

This weekend Matt atttended a bachelor party out in Las Vegas, so my parents came to NYC to we could have our own equally crazy weekend. It was the first time that they had visited New York since my sister left last fall, so the pressure was on a provide a fun-filled weekend. I spent a lot of time researching things to do, restaurants to dine at and cleaning my apartment for their arrival. I also cranked up the A/C to try and counter the 100+ degree temperatures outside. Here is the itinerary that I came up with:

My parents arrived in the afternoon, their called filled with wedding presents that had been mailed to their house. We unloaded the car and brought eveything upstairs. I was in the middle of watching the Tour De France when they arrived, so we finished the stage and unpacked some of the things that they brought with them. We then jumped in a cab and headed downtown for dinner. I had originally planned to go to Fette Sau, a BBQ joint in Brooklyn that Matt raves about. However, with the hot temperatures, no one really felt like eating BBQ. So instead, I made a gametime decision and took a chance on the line at The Spotted Pig. We arrived just as they started to seat people for dinner and we were seated within 5 minutes. SCORE! After enjoying a delicious dinner consisting of bacon wrapped dates, the most amazing burger and shoestring fries we headed back up to the theater district for the show, Jersey Boys. This show was incredible. I can not recommend it enough. After the show we walked the 10 blocks home in the heat, stopping for ice cream at Holey Cream. We all ended the day tired and very full.

We woke up, enjoyed some delicious coffee from our Keurig and looked at the hundreds of wedding pictures that our photographers took. It was really nice to relive the wedding and see a lot of things that I didn’t really get a chance to look at that day. Now I just have to figure out what I am going to do with all of these pictures! Then watched the time trial stage of the Tour de France before heading out to one of my favortite breakfast spots, Nook. We started off with the baguette covered with nutella, bananas and strawberries. I enjoyed an egg scramble, while my mom had the french toast and my dad had a slice of quiche. YUM! After breakfast, we took the subway out to Queens to visit the Museum of Moving Image where the exhibit, Jim Henson’s Fantastic World had just arrived last weekend. As a child who grew up watching Sesame Street until the age of 14 (ok, really 28), this was a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

After the museum, we jumped back on the subway and headed to Eataly, a cross between a farmers market and a restaurant. I had never been to Eataly and was dying to adventure in. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint!

I couldn’t believe how large the space was and how many delicious foods there were. We decided to buy food, as opposed to eat at the various restaurant/counters, and cook ourselves at home. We bought a baguette, a few cheese and meats for appetizers, tomatoes, mozerella and basil for a capreses salad and some pasta and sauce for our main dish. Everything was so fresh and so amazing. It certainly inspired me to make the time to cook – recently, I have spent too much time with the microwave and frozen Lean Cuisines! We spent the rest of the evening just relaxing, chatting and eating.

Whenever I have guests visit, Sunday always feels like a wash. Their pending departure seems to get in the way of any fun plans, even if they aren’t leaving until the afternoon. We woke up and went to Sarahbeth’s, another breakfast favorite. We then walked around the park and went to Crate & Barrel to do a couple errands. Once we got ome, my dad packed up their bags while my mom assembled my new spice rack for me. After they left I rode my bike for a while on my trainer (i.e. something  that turns your road bike into a stationary bike) and made some cookies. It was a fantastic weekend!

Thank you Mom and Dad for making the trip down. And after hearing about Matt’s weekend in Vegas, I feel satisfied that ours was more fun. I mean, casinos and pool parties don’t hold a candle to Jim Henson and the Muppets!

Cyber Monday

After the turkey has been carved, the parade has passed Macy’s on 34th street and the relatives return home we come back to work on Monday, a little rounder around the belly. While we have enjoyed time away from the office, many people will return to work exhausted from the holiday festivities. And this is only the beginning. Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, we can focus on the remainder of the holiday season. For many of us, this means stringing lights, hanging ornaments and breaking out the Christmas music. It is the most wonderful time of the year and sometimes the most tiring. However, I for one, think it is entirely worth it.

After Thanksgiving, my mom sister and I participated in the craziness that is Black Friday. While my mom and Abby stocked up on Christmas presents for nearly everyone on their list, I concentrated on myself (talk about holiday spirit). As they walked around the store finding things for cousins, aunts, grandparents and friends, I walked around the stores picking up things for myself. This year, I am having a hard time coming up with good ideas for presents, and since I know what I want, it was simply easier to shop for myself. And clearly, I was trying to make the most out of the great sales! Unfortunately, when we returned and looked at our purchases, I realized that I was no closer to being complete with holiday shopping.

So now I am sitting at work, scanning the websites of stores. Cyber Monday is a marketing term for the Monday immediately following Black Friday, the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States. The term made its debut on November 28, 2005 in a press release entitled “‘Cyber Monday’ Quickly Becoming One of the Biggest Online Shopping Days of the Year”. In 2009, it was reported that consumers spent $887M online on Cyber Monday (excluding travel), the second highest spending day of 2009. Data has shown that Cyber Monday online sales have always been driven by considerable buying activity from work locations. That pattern hasn’t changed. After returning from the long Thanksgiving weekend with a lot of holiday shopping still ahead of them, many consumers tend to continue their holiday shopping from work. Whether to take advantage of the extensive Cyber Monday deals offered by retailers or to buy gifts away from the prying eyes of family members, this day has become an annual ritual for America’s online holiday shoppers.

So for anyone else who is sitting at work scanning the sales, here are some of the top deals going on right this very instant. So make yourself some hot chocolate, set your Pandora to Christmas music and let the festivities begin! (Please note that the first three sites are all part of my registry – what a strange coincidence!)

Crate And Barrel 

The Deal: Stemware, barware, dinnerware

Houseware giant Crate & Barrel is offering 25% off on all kinds of items, across the store, from martini glasses to starter dining sets.


The Deal: The better question is, what isn’t on sale?

The magic of Macy’s includes clothing, jewelry, home goods and kitchen tools. Just enter the code “CYBER” into the coupon code before checking out.


The Deal: Up to 30% off winter gear, clothing and camping supplies!

Great gifts for all of those outdoorsy relatives. Check out the steep discounts on Padagonia jackets and Smart Wool socks. Just in time for winter!


The Deal: Pillows, mattresses, watches, outerwear

Retail giant Kohl’s slashes prices on its site 35% to 60%, on everything from watches and jewelry to outerwear and home goods.

Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor Loft

The Deal: 40% off EVERY THING plus free shipping

For the fashionista on your list. Use code “ENJOY” at checkout.

Victorias Secret

The Deal: Dresses, jackets, shoes

Victoria Secret is offering up to 70% off select bras, underwear and sleepwear. Shoppers who buy sleepwear will receive a free pair of slippers if they use the code VS10SLEEP at checkout–and anyone can receive free shipping on their order if they enter the code SHIPVS1. Get your holiday jammies before it is too late!

Check out these sites for other great deals:

Handmade gifts

Photo gifts

Sports gifts

Unique gifts

No Work Wednesday

Astrology is the belief that the relative positions of celestial bodies and related details can provide information about personality, human affairs, and other terrestrial matters. Astrologers believe that the movements and positions of celestial bodies either directly influence life on Earth or correspond to events experienced on a human scale. While I may not be an astrologer, or actually believe in astrology for that matter, today the stars aligned and a supernatural phenomenon occurred.

This Saturday I have to work all day at the Tribeca Family Festival; in turn I was allowed to take off a “replacement” day during the week. Columbia’s swim season is over and training is a little more relaxed for the girl. Abby decided that since there isn’t practice on Wednesdays in the spring, she shouldn’t have to work on Wednesdays (yes, swim coaches do a lot more than just coach). So while Abby’s day off is more self-imposed than mine, we were happy to have “No Work Wednesday” together today.

Unfortunately, the day did not start off to a good start. Let me back up a little… a few weeks ago, I made a delicious dinner for Matt and myself and unfortunately something spilled as it was cooking leaving residue at the bottom of the oven. Of course, this would then create a lot of smoke when I used the oven later, resulting in our hyper-sensitive smoke alarm going off, which often resulted in me yelling at Matt to get off the couch and help me shut it off. Clearly, this was not a good situation. So, I decided last night that I would run the self-clean feature on our oven in the middle of the night to resolve our smoke alarm issues. I went to bed excited to have a clean oven in the morning.

At 1:30am I woke up to the sound of our fire alarm going off. I jumped out of bed and ran into the hall, right into a cloud of ash. I started freaking out and yelling at Matt to come help (what I thought he was going to do, I am still not sure). We got the smoke alarm to turn off by taking the fan from our bedroom, turning it on high and pointing it directly at the smoke alarm. Unfortunately, the alarm was not being hyper-sensitive as our apartment was filled with the ash that resulted from the oven cleaning process. We opened all of the windows and turned on the kitchen fan. Matt went back to bed while I stayed up freaking out. I was convinced that our oven was going to explode or that the ash would set off the smoke alarms in the hallway outside of our apartment and the entire building would have to evacuate. I ended up turning the oven off and eventually climbing back into bed, my heart racing and my lungs burning from the ash.

Needless to say, in the morning, I was extremely happy that it was “No Work Wednesday” and I didn’t have to get up at my normal 6:20am time. Unfortunately, Matt did not get to participate in “No Work Wednesday” and he let me know that the smoke alarm better not be going off again tonight as he walked out the door for work around 7:30am.

To celebrate “No Work Wednesday” Abby and I decided to go to the outlets shops that are just over an hour outside of the city. This is something that I have wanted to do since I moved to New York but since I don’t have a car in the city, it just never happened. I convinced Abby to drive us to the outlets, which wasn’t too hard after she learned that there is a lululemon store there, and that brand is basically the uniform for her life.

When we pulled into the parking lot, we were in awe. As a BIG fan of deals and discounts, I personally felt as if I had died and gone to heaven. Row after row of stores awaited us, and our credit cards. At first I was so excited that I couldn’t pick a store to go into. Finally Abby suggested that we actually go into a store, as opposed to run around the perfectly manicured walkways yelling and pointing out stores.

We spent the next few hours visiting various stores; from the typical outlets like JCrew and Banana Republic to a few new ones like Crate and Barrel, Vineyard Vines, Lululemon, William Sonoma and Kate Spade. Not only were Abby and I the only Americans at the outlets, we were also the one people who weren’t dragging a suitcase (or two) around to hold all of our new purchases. It really was quite an experience, one that was capped off when Abby decided to mount the Pumbaa ride located in the food court and ask for a quarter. Never in my life, have I been in such desperate need of a quarter to only find myself with no change!

No Work Wednesday is coming to a close. It was a great day that literally started off with a bang (or alarm). And although my credit card bill will be hirer than it should be this month, I am still smiling as I sit on my couch thinking about my day, my new purchases and the slight burning sensation that remains in my lungs.