A Fall Tradition

A couple of weekends ago, Matt and I made our annual trip out to the apple capital of the world, Warwick, NY (read about our other trips here and here).

This year we invited our friends Lucy and Smeets along for the adventure. Lucy grew up in Massachusetts, and as such, it is apple picking pro. I was shocked/mortified to hear that Smeets, who grew up in Westchester, NY had never been apple picking. Talk about a deprived childhood. So, we all piled into our car on Sunday morning and drove out to the country to partake in one of fall’s greatest traditions.

We decided to go to Och’s Farm again, followed up with a stop at the Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery. – why mess with a good thing. The weather was picture perfect and there were plenty of apples to choose from. I always love hanging out with Lucy and Smeets, not only are they fun people who are up for anything, but they have a really nice camera and get into taking pictures. So our apple picking trip turned into a mini photo session – perfect for the blog!

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The day was a success, capped off with some laughs when Smeets read this article to us on our drive home…

O Christmas Tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

After surviving hosting Thanksgiving for the first time, Matt and I immediately switched into Christmas mode. On Saturday we went out and bought our first real Christmas tree together. This was always a magical experience for me as a child. About a week after Thanksgiving, my family would drive over to Clark’s Farm and walk through the maze of Christmas trees searching for the best one. Christmas music would be playing over the speakers, Christmas lights were strung around the farm and more often than not, there would be snow on the ground. Once we picked out the tree, we would strap it to the top of the car and drive it home. My dad would string on old fashioned colored lights before we went to town adding ornaments, each of which held special significance to us. It was definitely one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. So, when Matt and I decided to ditch our fake tree for a real one, I wanted to recreate my childhood experience.

Although Hoboken is a lot less intense than NYC, it is still pretty urban. There aren’t farms to buy your tree and sadly, there is no snow. We went to Home Depot to get some lights and Matt convinced me to look at their trees. We walked over to the trees, which were located on the second level of a parking garage, not quite the magical experience I was looking for. The trees were all bundled up so it was hard to tell which one was “the best” but after a few tries, we picked out one that we thought would be good.

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As we waited in line, I began to question our purchase. Standing in the cement parking garage, with a tree that I couldn’t fully see, I came to conclusion that I just couldn’t do it. I told Matt to put the tree back and we left. I know– sort of a bratty move. But this was going to be our first tree and I wanted the experience to be more memorable. I mean, really… we were in a parking garage!

We drove up the street to a local nursery that had a hand painted sign out front that said “Fresh Christmas Trees for your Home.” I knew we would provide a good home for a tree so in we pulled. Immediately I knew I made the right decision. There were lights strung up, Christmas music playing and the trees were all unwrapped so you could get a good look at them. The man helping us made sure we got a great tree — he wouldn’t let us take home something we didn’t love. It was a great experience — well worth the increased price we had to pay as compared to Home Depot (right Matt?)! We even got to take photos of ourselves as elves before we paid!

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Matt lugged the tree into our apartment, definitely a sight to see since our tree is probably 11 feet tall!

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And, just like his father, he couldnt’ wait to start vacuuming up the needles once the tree was standing!

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Since our ceilings are 15′ high, we knew we wanted a big tree – I just had no idea how fat it was until we got it inside!

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Getting the lights on the tree proved to be a challenging task, especially for someone with a slight obsessiveness. Matt finally made me stop fidgeting with the lights and poured me a glass of eggnog to enjoy in front of the tree.

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We still need to add some ornaments and a tree skirt but the tree is looking good and our apartment smells wonderful. Here’s to the magic of Christmas!

I Did It!

Running a marathon has been on my bucket list for a while. While it wasn’t easy, and took two years to actually get there and a whole lot of support from my friends, family and co-workers, I’m thrill to say “I Did It!”

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Here is a sweet round up of the best posters along the course: 23 Best Marathon Signs

I definitely remember seeing #1 and thinking of my sister-in-law Courtney, #6, #9, I didn’t see #12 but that song was on my playlist thanks to Matt, and a lot of signs like #14 (sorry Mom, I don’t know why people are so mean to you). The other sign I saw a lot of said “You are running better than the government” but it wasn’t included in this round up.

All in all, the marathon was a great experience (although I am still trying to recover). It was a great day to be a New Yorker, especially one who loves Boston. Thank you to everyone who helped get me across the finish line!

Never Forget

Each year on 9/11 we stop for a moment to take a breath not just to think about what happened in 2001, but all that has happened since then.  I am confident that we are living in a better country and a better world today. I will continue to believe in the American spirit and continue to honor the freedoms that so many people gave their lives to protect. Thank you to the men and women who serve our country and remind us that we are truly privileged to live in a country that values its people.

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“In all we do every day, in our attention to the micro as well as the macro, we strive to make New York City a better place. We work to help those who are without in our own city and, in so doing, serve as a model for what can be done elsewhere. In that way and in many other ways, each of us as individuals and collectively as Robin Hood, honor the memory of 9/11 and the spirit of what has been done since. This is a part of what it is to Be Robin Hood.”

– Emary Aronson, Managing Director, Robin Hood Relief Fund

Conquering Fears

This weekend I participated in the NYC triathlon. The race consisted of a 1 mile swim, a 40k (24.8 miles) bike and a 10k (6.2 miles) run. Most of you would probably assume that for me, the race got more challenging as it went along . For the most part, you are right. My swim time was 7th in my age group (not going to lie, a slight disappointment), my bike split was 20th and my run split was 102nd. So yes, things got more difficult for my as the race went along — but that’s only speaking about the physical challenges.

Mentally, the swim was the worst. Ever since I was accepted into this race I’ve been panicking. I mean, swimming in the Hudson? Who wouldn’t be nervous?

Getting ready to brave the waters of the Hudson
Getting ready to brave the waters of the Hudson

But I’ve had a fear of open water swimming for years. Swimming in pools, fine. You can see the bottom, most of the time they don’t contain animals and the chlorine keeps out all of the “bad things.” But swimming in open water, that’s another story.

Some of you may remember this post blog I wrote about visit my grandparents in Florida. In it I mentioned my fear of open water swimming:

Abby and I spent a lot of time swimming in the bay in front of our grandparents house. We would blow up rafts and inner tubes, and see who could stand on them the longest without falling in the water. At the end of the bay, there was a mangrove island, no more than 150 yards away. When Abby was 7 years old, she decided she was going to swim out to this island. My dad jumped in the inflatable row-boat and paddled along besides her as she bravely made her way out to the island and back. When she returned, my grandfather gave her a sliver dollar for accomplishing this feat. Year after year, when we returned to their house, my grandfather would ask me if I was ready to make the same swim. Not until I was 21 years old did I actually do it; and I was freaking out the entire time. Sadly, I never received a silver dollar for my feat of bravery…

So for me, taking on the Hudson, which is fill with who knows what, was a feat for me. And it definitely gave me reason to smile the rest of the race, even when I was running/jogging/trudging at the end!

So happy to be out of the water
So happy to be out of the water
Going out for my bike on the West Side Highway
Going out for my bike on the West Side Highway
One mile into the run, pain is starting to set in
One mile into the run, pain is starting to set in
So close to the finish!
So close to the finish!

Thank you Matt for acting as my support crew. It was reassuring to see you running along the path as I swam, frantically swinging your arms around and telling me to go faster. It definitely reminded me of our days on Gators. Plus your hair looked amazing.

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Governor’s Muddy Ball

Over the weekend Matt and I went to the Governor’s Ball Music Festival on Randall’s Island in NYC. Despite the rain on Friday that created a 4-6 inch deep mud field the remainder of the weekend, it was a lot of fun.

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I tried to embrace the ever popular boho-hippie-chic look, although I have to admit I didn’t try very hard. I took a sparky running headband and instead of wearing it push my hair back, I wore it across my forehead – hippie style. I quickly realized that this wasn’t the smartest decision since it left an indent across my forehead. And, I looked a little silly.

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Thankfully, I have two more weeks until this music festival. Hopefully that will give me enough time to perfect my look ;)

Citi Bikes!

Well, it didn’t take much, but Matt and I are officially drinking the controversial Citi Bike kool-aid. This weekend we took the bikes out for a spin and ended up signing up for annual memberships.

On Saturday, after running down to Cold Process Coffee and getting injected with caffeine, we didn’t really feel like running home. Instead, we decided to test out the city’s new bike share program. After dipping our credit card and agreeing to follow the traffic laws, we were given codes to unlock our bikes.

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The bikes are definitely A LOT clunkier and slower than a regular road bike but it didn’t bother me much. They are perfect for commuting and I am confident that they will be able to stand up NYC’s weather and grime.

 

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We jumped on the bikes and road home on the path that runs along the Hudson. In about 15 minutes we were home. We had some difficulty locking our bikes into the station at 59th and West End, but luckily there was another station around the corner that accepted our bikes just fine.

Since we purchased a 24-hour membership, we had access to the bikes again on Sunday. This time we rode the bikes from 59th and Amsterdam down to brunch at 44st and 9th. While we could walk this distance, it is nearly a mile and the bikes got us there in approximately 7 minutes. After a delicious brunch at Marseille, we grabbed two more bikes from the rack and rode up to Columbus Circle. The first station we went to (57th and Broadway) was full, so we ended up riding two blocks down to 55th and Broadway – no big deal.

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The bikes definitely make commuting around the city a bit more enjoyable and the recently added bike lanes make it pretty easy. I love biking, so I knew this program was probably going to be something that I enjoyed. However, the thing that I liked the most was taking control of my commute. While I do think NYC’s subway system is amazing, you are never quite sure how long you will have to wait for a train or when there might be delays. And with the traffic in the city – taxis are a shot in the dark. However, if you are up for it, Citibikes allow you as the commuter to take control. You can decide which route to take and, for the most part, you are able to zip through areas with heavy traffic (of course, following the traffic laws!). That being said – like most things in NYC, it all depends on whether or not tourists try to take part.  Right now it is mostly enthusiastic New Yorkers participating in the program. When the newbies start hitting the streets,things might get worse. But hopefully, the fact that they have bike share programs in other cities around the world bodes well.

So while I know not everyone agrees, I say “Long Live City Bikes!”