Two Things Tuesday

IMG_9158

Remember when I used to do these posts?

That was fun. Let’s do that again.

  1. Sports bra love. Because I’m on an ever-constant quest for the best-feeling-and-fitting sports bras on the market, I feel entirely compelled to let you all know when I find a keeper — and as of this morning, I can confidently say that New Balance’s Tenderly Obsessive Bra falls into that category. (It’s also only $17, which is quite the steal, as it’s really well-made and supportive!)

WBT3106HIL_xl.jpg

I wasn’t totally sure about it as it offers more (cup) support than I generally prefer, but after wearing it on a run this morning, I’m hooked (and realize I probably have been wearing options with too little support). It’s lightweight, breathable, comfortable, and has built-in no-slip padding, which is clutch, b/c I hate those removable pads! Plus, I think every runner needs a fluorescent yellow sports bra, no? It just screams summer fun.

2. SpindriftOne of my bffs recently introduced me to this amazing real fruit infused sparkling water and am totally hooked. It’s seriously delicious, seltzer-fans, and entirely unsweetened — just splashed with a little real fruit!

spin.png

I’ve had the Raspberry Lime and the Cucumber so far, and definitely have my eye out for the Blackberry. I feel like that’s going to be a winner for me. They also give 1% of their sales to environmental organizations and partner with non-profits all over the country.

Try them. You’ll like them.

Sparkling water: yay or nay? What flavor of Spindrift entices you most? I’m currently drinking a cucumber one as I write this and it’s totally hitting the spot!
Sports bra fave? I love Lulu’s but this new one is a real winner!

 

Advertisement

Work (some changes!) & Play (much needed)

Hi, friends! Gosh, I miss all of you. It feels like forever!

Life is good. Life is hectic and crazy and changing, but it’s (mostly) good.

I’ve been in NYC for 5.75 years, and I’ve had the same day job the entire time — until Monday. I went from working at one Canadian bank (red) to another Canadian bank (green); from downtown Manhattan to midtown; from biking/subwaying to work to a 20-minute walk across town (love that!). This is a huge change for me, which I’m hoping will be all sorts of positives, aside from missing my many coworkers-turned-friends at the red bank. It certainly makes my life easier as I can now walk everywhere — from home to work to my therapy office back home — most days, I’m living in a neat little circle.

So, this is a big change, and the craziness of tying up a near six-year job the past two weeks kept me away from blogging. Something had to go, and it wasn’t going to be my therapy clinicals, my running or my friends, sooooo…there ya have it. I’m hoping these prolonged blog absences don’t become a “thing,” as I always do feel the void of not writing, but I feel like I’m trying to juggle so much right now that it gets a bit overwhelming and exhausting, to be quite honest. I want to sleep for a week.

It’s also forced me to think a lot lately about the purpose of work in our lives, and how much of our time and energy is spent devoted to that one little four-letter word that encompasses the majority of our days. It can be such a difficult world to navigate and so often doesn’t turn out the way we thought it would. I struggle on a daily basis with not using what I know to be my God-given gifts for my career purposes and with trying not to become easily discouraged and keep working toward what I want, but it can be hard. I know so many of us experience this at some point, but I feel like it’s been part of my story for so many years, and I’m so ready to have it behind me and start living a life focused entirely on my passions, talents and strengths. Ever just feel like enough is seriously enough?

I’m living there these days.

So! That’s a big part of what’s going on with me. On a happier note, other things have been good: it’s summer, I’ll be at the lake this weekend, and running is going really well. I ran a collective total just shy of 20 miles last Fri, Sat  & Sun, and felt good and strong and pain-free. I managed to drag myself up to run 4 miles this morning as well, which felt like a huge accomplishment given how utterly exhausted I was throughout the run!

I’ve also had a little more girl time in the past week, which has been great, and reminded me just how thankful I am to have such lovely, amazing friends.

IMG_9737

This photo from last Friday was snapped at the cozy, attic-style speakeasy The Garrett in the West Village, about which I’ve blogged previously:

download

Three of the four of us actually ordered that delicious green cocktail pictured above, called The First Lady, which was gin based and contained matcha green tea, lemon, fresh basil and a frothy egg white finish — totally unique and I enjoyed it, but probably wouldn’t order more than one, as it had a very distinct, herby flavor.

Saturday morning started off with a quick 4-miler before I headed out to an all-day birthday celebration for a girlfriend, which started with a champagne rooftop brunch at her apartment that she adorably dubbed “Bagels & Bubbles,” which was obviously a fantastic mimosa party,

FullSizeRender.jpg

before we took our party dresses and June-happy selves off to the Belmont Stakes race track in Long Island. Giddyup!

IMG_9743

It was a very fun, very long, very “I’m definitely losing my voice today” day, and I was on the couch watching How to be Single by 8:30pm with sore feet, tired eyes and a very happy heart. It was the perfect ending to a hectic, crazytown of a week.

So that’s my catch-up for the time being — hopefully I’ll be back in action again here more regularly from now on.

Best part of your week?
Anyone else feeling so runhappy because of the weather lately?
What’s your fave thing to do in summer?

TOLT: Lately Life in Verbs

LIFE. It gets so crazy busy sometimes, doesn’t it? As much as I love writing and being a blogger, I admit that entire weekends go by where I don’t think once about sitting down at a computer and writing a tale about running or adventuring or whatever else it is I write about. I mean, I really love blogging, but let’s be honest — I reallllly love living.

So, to link up with Amanda @ Running with Spoons for Thinking Out Loud Thursday, my lately life has looked a lot like this:

Running. Been pretty consistent and successful since the BK Half a little over a week ago! This was an easy recovery, which reinforces my affirmations that I didn’t push myself in that race and just enjoyed it at a comfortable pace. I took a few days off from running right after the race and then got back into it last Wednesday, so my last week in running has looked like this:

Wed, 5/25: 6 miles in the am, felt great!
Thurs, 5/26: walked 3.5 miles to work in the am, then ran 5 miles home (if you’re wondering about the math, I run all the piers on the way back!)
Fri, 5/27: ran 3.5 miles in the am, then did a half hour of upper body + 5 mins of planks
Sat, 5/28: a hot and uber hilly 7-miler around the lakes upstate with the boy. we came back sweaty and happy and immediately made delicious smoothies to enjoy with a lake view. cannot beat that!

IMG_9693

Sun, 5/29: gym session: assisted pull-up/dip machine, push-ups, lat row, free weights; a bunch of squat jumps, box jumps, in-out squat jumps; planks.
Mon, 5/30: allllll the leg soreness. all of it. we went for a 5-6 mile walk (again, all the hills) and that was almost more than my poor legs could handle. just ow.
Tues, 5/31: rest. rest. rest.
Wed, 6/1: ran 5 miles in the beauuuutiful 72 degree 6am weather and loved every minute! 5 mins of planks in the gym after. I was thrilled my legs felt as good as they did after a few days of serious hurts-so-good soreness.
Thurs, 6/2: ran 3.5m this am, followed by some kettlebell upper body, push-ups and abs

Boom. All good on that front lately!

Paddling. So, I have a new toy…and I love ittttt.

IMG_9711

This was my first time ever on a stand-up paddle board, and I’m stoked for more sunny days spent paddling around the lake! I bought California Board Company’s 10SIX and have no complaints – considering it served us well for both individual rides and tandems! The balancing act was a bit rough (okay so I made us fall in twice) but I foresee a lot of fun on this in my future. It also gave me a tremendous appreciation for people who do crazy yoga moves on these things, as standing up was a bit of a challenge in itself for me!

Eating/Drinking. Smoothies (as illustrated above). I crave smoothies like nothing else come the warm weather and could happily have one every day for lunch. Almond milk, banana, whatever berries I can get my hands on, protein powder and ice = Heaven.

Reading. The Picture of Dorian Gray. I finished this book the other day and am really glad I finally read it — it was a really intriguing, thought-provoking read, and I realllly enjoyed Wilde’s writing style and use of language and imagery. He’s such a crazygood, witty writer. This was my favorite passage from the novel:

584523.png

Beauty.

Bumming. So apparently I’m late to this party – I just heard this week that Victoria’s Secret is discontinuing their swimsuit line after this year, which really bummed me out, as I’m a big fan of their suits (the quality for the price is amazing!) and buy pieces from there annually, so I’m sad to see this happen! Although not being able to compare myself to those impossibly-abbed models might be a good thing.

Wanting. This mermaid blanket might be the cutest thing I’ve seen in, um, ever.

FullSizeRender

And now I’m off to go play in a company pick-up softball game (should be hilarious)! Happy Thursday Eve and hope it’s as sunny and lovely where you are as it is here in NYC. ❤

Tell me something good from your week!
Favorite bikini companies/sites?
As if I needed to keep growing the obsession…

Weekly Workouts (5/19-5/25)

IMG_8360

Since I ran a half on Saturday, pretty much all of my workouts this past week revolved around either prepping, resting, or recovering from that (aside from the actual race, of course). I feel like I did a great job of doing exactly what my body needed both before and after this race, as I’m feeling awesome and healthy and at such a good place.

Thurs, 5/19: Morning 45-minute upper body & abs strength session, followed by a 4 mile (fast) walk to work. I was all about the long walks in the few days leading up to the race, which proved to be a great choice.

Fri, 5/20: Exact duplicate of the previous day’s workout. I have to admit, two days in a row of a lot of upper body (kettlebells, free weights, plates, push-ups, rows, etc) felt really good, and reminded me that I need at least 2-3 days of this a week. another 3.5-4 mile walk to work (distance varies depending upon how many piers I include), and the reverse walk home as well, for a total of 7+ miles of fast walking. The boy and I then went for a couple mile walk that night when he got in as well, as he wanted to stretch his legs, so this was a good day of [walking] miles for me.

Sat, 5/21: Brooklyn Half! 13.1 miles in 1:53:21, at an 8:39 avg pace, which felt really comfortable and good the entire time. Stoked about this race overall and how well I felt.

Sun, 5/22: We woke up at 8am and went for a lovely 6-mile walk before church, as we were both a bit sore/tight and figured a good morning jaunt would help us stretch out the kinks, as well as provide us with some lovely Hudson River selfie backgrounds.

us

Mon, 5/23: I walked to work again — still felt a bit of quad soreness and decided I didn’t want to start running again til I felt great.

Tues, 5/24: Exhaustion slammed me in the face this morning and I could not get up with my alarm for a strength workoutI slept as late as possible while still having time to walk to work. This is becoming a welcome pattern and I’m loving long walks lately. I don’t listen to music on my walks, which I always do while running, so it provides some nice quiet time for me to think/reflect/pray, and I’m coming to really covet this.

Wed, 5/25 (today): Ran 6 miles before 7am – felt amazingggg! So glad I gave myself those few days to recover fully because this morning’s run felt great, and I kept it between an 8:20-8:35 pace the entire time. It was humid but otherwise a lovely morning, and supposed to be 90 here today! Whattttt??!!?!?!

I’ll take it!

Total weekly running mileage: 19.1. Not a ton, but totally cool with this since there was a half in there!

Total weekly (intentionally designed as cardio) speed walking: about 26. booyah.

How were your workouts this week?
Anyone run a race?

Brooklyn Half Marathon 2016 Recap

On Saturday, May 21st, I ran the Brooklyn Half Marathon for the 4th consecutive year — and for the 4th consecutive year, I had a great race, thankfully! Feeling oh-so-good that it’s over and that it went so well, since I really didn’t commit to any sort of training for this race and just ran when I could and as much as I felt like for the past month, but it all worked out and my no-stress approach to training seems to suit me just fine.

Brooklyn, you always do me so good.

IMG_9648

You know how some experiences seem to just fly by — how even while you’re in the midst of them and trying to stay present and hold on to the moment and tell yourself that this is it, the shining thing you’d been waiting for, and you want to feel it as fully as you can, they still just seem to slip away so quickly and you can hardly recall ever having been in the thick of it? That’s the best way I can come up with to describe how I felt during this year’s race. Maybe it was because I’ve done this 3 times prior and knew exactly what to expect, and was having those weird deja vu moments where I couldn’t tell the difference between last year’s race and this year’s…but the whole thing just seems sort of a blur to me. I wasn’t necessary excited, and I had no nerves at all, and while I enjoyed it, I was glad when it was over and didn’t really experience any of those “OMG MY LIFE IS AMAZING” moments that I did when running a full marathon.

Physically, I felt great from start to finish, save for a tight IT band that was annoyingly achy but not unbearable. I was conscious the entire race that I was running at a comfortable pace and knew I could pick it up and push myself, but I was happy where I was. I knew I hadn’t trained for this (one 12-miler a few weeks ago but otherwise nothing over single-digits in a long time),  I didn’t have any set time goal in mind, and I wanted to feel good throughout it and afterwards, so I stuck to what felt comfortable and decided this wasn’t the day to risk pushing my limits. Quite honestly, I wanted to enjoy my run, celebrate with the boy (who ran his first half!) afterwards, and feel good enough to go right to brunch and then out to a nice dinner later on. Sometimes a long run really effs with my stomach, so I was determined not to let that happen. I wanted to enjoy this whole day.

& in case you’re wondering, I’m completely happy with my time!

bkhalf

1:53:21 and an overall gender placement of 2,556 out of 14,717 women suits me just fine. 🙂

And the boy, well…he crushed his first half and ran a 1:45 like it was a walk in the park. I’m so proud (& a teeeensy bit envious!) of my amazingly athletic man!

meandty.jpg
The Brooklyn Half truly is a terrific race, from organization & ease of runner experience to course layout to spectator enthusiasm to iconic finish line on the Coney Island boardwalk. It’s also a really inspiring race to run, as it’s become the biggest and most popular half marathon in the USA and had 27,410 finishers this year! You’re basically running shoulder-to-shoulder with people the whole time, but it’s so awesome to see all the different runners and teams (and fun capris!) and so many people pushing themselves to achieve the status of a 13.1 finisher. I love that aspect of this race.

Also, I saw a girl in my corral wearing these pineapple capris, which made me really happy.

zaraterez_pineapplecapri_print_back-640x960.jpg

I won’t lie — isn’t checking out other runners’ attire one of the most fun aspects of running a race? We saw a few people with a shirt that said “I thought this was a 5K” on the back, which was pretty sweet as well.

Congrats to everyone who ran BK this weekend! I always love how great a long race feels when it’s over (and you get to eat all the food and take all the naps). 🙂

Runners: Do you have a fave race you run annually?
Tell me a highlight from your weekend!

Thinking Out Loud

Hi friends! How’s May treating you?

I have zero excuses for my two-week blogging hiatus. Of course I missed you guys, but LIFE! I’m glad I can link up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for Thursday’s Thinking Out Loud post today, because a healthy dose of randomness sounds up my alley right now.

1. Travel. I was in Colorado last week for a quick 3.5 day trip, which was definitely too short but all sorts of fun. I love so many things about that state and will take any opportunity to get back there! Tyler’s brother lives outside of Boulder (a city I really like), so we went for his MBA graduation. Of course I’ve been looking at lofts in Boulder online for the past week now, because that’s what I do every time I go anywhere cool. #wanttoliveeverywhere

2. Fit Cities. So, this article was just published on the Fittest Cities in America. NYC didn’t make the top 10, but Denver, San Francisco and San Diego did (not to mention Seattle and Portland, two cities I’ve been so wanting to visit), so I’m doing the logical thing and taking this as a sign I should move West. As if I needed more of those.

3. Run. This Saturday, I’ll run my favorite half marathon for the 4th consecutive year: The Airbnb Brooklyn Half. I’ve had great experiences running this the past 3 years, so I’m hoping this one follows suit. I’m definitely not over-trained (to say the least), but I think it’ll be manageable and hopefully fun. 🙂 It’s the boy’s first half, so that’s exciting, and I’m thankful we can do this together (even though he’ll probably finish wayyyy before me).

IMG_9634.JPG

I don’t actually have any goals for this race other than to feel good, enjoy it, and finish under 2 hours. Not too much to ask, I don’t think!

4. Watch. If you haven’t seen the film Brooklyn and you have any sort of heart for the beauty of humanity and a touching coming-of-age story whatsoever, you must see it. I adored this movie sooooo much – one of the loveliest, sweetest films I’ve ever seen. I can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed it.

brooklyn-movie-poster1-e1439366351697.jpg

5. Read. I’m currently finally reading Oscar Wilde’s class The Picture of Dorian Gray and really rather enjoying it. His writing is so whimsical and thought-provoking and unique, and I need to make a note to read more of his works.

tumblr_m5s3x3aVJT1rp32b4o1_500.png

6. Drink. Boy & I lucked upon a delicious cabernet by Martin Ray Winer at a lovely restaurant called Colterra in Niwat, Colorado, and I need to track it down and buy some asap. It was one of my favorite cabs I’ve had in a while, right up there with my beloved Josh by Joseph Carr:

martin-ray-cabernet-sauvignon-2012.jpg

I feel like I try so many different cabs all the time and always hope I’ll stumble upon a gem, and this one was such a welcome surprise. Crossing my fingers I can find it!

That’s all for me today — hope you’re all doing well!

Reading anything good?
Discover any new wines lately that I should try?
Anyone else have a race this weekend (or next)?

Weekly Workouts

IMG_8360

I’m so bummed to report that I haven’t run outdoors one single day in this past week! That’s quite a record for me — I can’t even recall the last time I said that?? — and I don’t like it one bit. Here’s to changing that starting tomorrow or Saturday.

Thurs, 4/28: 3.5 miles on a treadmill at the Palmer House Hotel gym (in Chicago), followed by planks & other abs, and a few sets of push-ups (regular and tricep). Great hotel gym.

Fri, 4/29: 4 treadmill miles (maybe a little more but can’t recall) + planks

Sat, 4/30: ran 3, walked 1; abs: 10 mins of planks (woot!), bicycles, leg lifts; free weights (10lbs: curls and back rows); chest-presses with a 35 lb plate

Sun, 5/1: 4 miles on a treadmill yet again, back in my apartment gym in NYC. I tried to run outdoors but walked outside into a steady rain in 40 degrees –> treadmill it was. followed by push-ups, planks, a few squats, some random stuff haha.

Mon, 5/2: rest. exhaustion.

Tues, 5/3: 4 treadmill miles yet again (this darn rain and cold!); 4 mins planks; light kettlebells and push-ups

Wed, 5/4: sick. rest/misery.

Thurs, 5/5 (happy cinco de mayo!): 3.5 treadmill miles this morning; push-ups (both kinds); 8 mins of planks.

Total weekly mileage: 22

Thoughts: Disappointed over the fact that I did zero long runs this past week, which was a bummer and shouldn’t be happening, but I honestly was so tired most of the time (even when in Chicago) and traveling and wasn’t going to run 10 miles on a hotel treadmill, or outdoors in the freeze and rain, soooo, I did what I felt like doing and it’s fine. I think my body needed the shorter runs and just the “don’t be so hard on yourself” mentality this week, as i felt/still feel run down. Cannot wait for this weekend at home, and a good long run on Saturday.

Happy running, friends. ❤

How do you keep yourself motivated on a treadmill after you’ve spent months running outdoors, even in the cold? I am really hating the ‘mills lately.

Chicago Trip: I Need a Take Two

There aren’t too many things in life I enjoy more than traveling & spending time with my family, so it’s no surprise that one of the trips I look forward to every year is our annual family travel weekend built around my dad (and now brother’s) work convention. I’ve been going since I was really young, and they host them in different places every year. This year it was in Chicago, which was…well, underwhelming, to be honest. Bummer.

I so wanted to love Chicago as I’ve heard it’s a great city, and I’m sure it’s much different if you live there and get to explore it fully and find “your places,” but to visit for 4 days at the end of April just didn’t work for me the way I would have liked. I need another trip to the Windy City to improve my impression.

Let me start with the positives: I got to spend a weekend away with my family, which is always invaluable and outstanding and all sorts of wonderful, regardless of location.

IMG_9596.JPG
My brother and I look more alike to me in this photo than in any we’ve ever taken, I think!

IMG_9598.JPG

Love these two. Especially when they dress alike. 🙂

And our hotel, the Palmer House (Hilton), was lovely. I would absolutely recommend it if you’re planning a visit to Chicago. The lobby is beautiful and impressive, the staff is friendly (except for the lobby bartender, who was awful), the gym is impressive for a hotel, the beds and rooms are comfy, and it’s in a central location right by Millennium Park and the art museum. Great choice of a hotel.

photos taken from their website:

lobby:
Huber-Palmer-House-Lobby-2013-Adjusted

gym:
Palmer-House-Chicago-Fitness-Center-Workout-700x466.jpg
Millennium Park was pretty (although I’m sure it’s much nicer on a not-gray-and-freezing day), and I did get my obligatory “bean” photos, so that was a success:

FullSizeRender.jpg

IMG_9583.JPG

I also had some great quality time with my mom, shopping & at the park and seeing the Van Gogh exhibit Bedrooms at the Art Institute of Chicago, which we both really enjoyed and which made me realize I want to be more intentional about going to museums and other cultural events. It was interesting and thought-provoking.

exh_vangogh-bedroom_Paris_main_480.jpg
Other highlights included getting to spend time with one of my closest high school friends (with whom I was wayyyyy overdue for a visit and who has a gorgeous condo there), going salsa dancing on Saturday night with my brother, and and buying new Paige jeans that I realllllly like.

The negatives: well, I guess they all basically tie back to one main thing: the weather. It was awful. Absolutely atrociously terrible — rainy, windy and in the 40s the entire time — and prevented us from wanting to do much of anything. We didn’t walk around and explore, we didn’t take the boat architecture tour, we didn’t have any rooftop or patio or really any restaurant experiences at all —

and the #1 bummer for me was that I didn’t get to run the Lakefront Trail along Lake Michigan, which I was realllllly looking forward to doing. I didn’t see Navy Pier or experience any lovely Chicago Spring weather at all, as there wasn’t one single day that begged for us to be outdoors. I did run every day, but only on the treadmill. It was quite depressing, actually, and that’s what I hope to change next time I visit this city! The weather really can make or break your experience with a place, and unfortunately it tainted my first taste of Chicago.

So, til next time, Chi-town. Hope you treat me with a sunnier disposition then.

Ever gone on a vacation where it rained the whole time?
Been to Chicago? What did you like/dislike most?
Fave brand of jeans?

L’Appart (Restaurant Review)

A little over a week ago, I had what very well may have been one of the best dining experiences of my entire life. I was completely and utterly blown away by every aspect of this place, which just so happens to be located right in my office building at Brookfield Place in the Financial District. There’s a phenomenal French marketplace called Le District on the first level off the atrium, and I was invited (plus guests) to experience their new venue L’Appart during their friends & family soft opening weekend. I jumped at the chance, and what ensued was an incredible evening that blew any expectations my friends and I might have had completely out of the water.

Since they describe this venue so beautifully on their site, I’ll just share that with you:

The design of the dining room reflects that of a “chef’s living room” – sophisticated, intimate and relaxed with modern touches throughout, featuring just eight tables accommodating up to 30 seated guests.  The room mimics that of an open-concept living space with a state of the art kitchen, where guests can watch the buzz of the line over marble countertops while enjoying the aromas of the chefs preparing their meal, flanked by a glass wall with views of the Hudson River.

Tailored to provide the highest quality exceptional fine dining experience each night, guests will select a one-of-a-kind meal based on a multi-course tasting menu of extraordinarily fresh and unique ingredients procured daily throughout Le District’s markets. The menu will change weekly, if not nightly, and feature seasonal ingredients prepared under the direction of Chef de Cuisine Nicolas Abello and George Thomas in the room.

L’Appart, which means “apartment” en francais (you’re welcome), is designed to be just that: a cozy, apartment-style venue where the guests are made to feel welcomed into the host & chef’s home, and treated with the utmost respect and hospitality. It’s an open kitchen layout, so you can watch the chef making your courses as you eat. Loved that.

IMG_9520.JPG

The space itself is gorgeous. We were also fortunate enough to meet the interior designer, who is the wife of one of the owners, as she popped in for drinks later on in the evening. She was personable and rad and just added to our favorable impression of everything.

IMG_9538.JPG

The staff is a highlight here. Both the apartment host/maitre’d and the chef de cuisine are lovely, charming, personable people with a true knack for creating a warm, enticing environment that offers everything a guest could want: great service, charming conversation, exquisite attention to detail, and absolutely delicious food & wine. We felt rather doted upon and extremely comfortable, and could not stop talking about what an amazing time we were having (basically as soon as the 4 of us walked in). 🙂

When we entered, we were greeted with a sweet little vermouth cocktail sporting some muscat grapes, which we welcomed happily…

IMG_9537.JPG

before immediately zipping ourselves into Chef Nico’s personal space. I was not about to miss out on capturing anything from this evening.

IMG_9539.JPG

You know those moments in life when everything just feels exactly right? When you’re in a lovely place, with the exact people with whom you want to be sharing that moment, and you can linger there indefinitely and feel like you’re precisely where you’re meant to be in the world? That’s the closest I can come to describing this evening. I was with three amazing girlfriends who warm my heart and make me love life, in an intimate, darling place where everything was just right, and none of us would have changed a single thing.

And so, the food. What can I say about the food except that we loved every course and were amazed by how much flavor and detail was included in such small bites. We were served tiny course after tiny course, each entirely different and unique and hand-crafted by the chef from his own personal whims and tastes, and we loved them all. He was also overly accommodating to me and catered to my no dairy/no gluten/no red meat preferences, which is utterly ridiculous for a chef to do on a tasting menu and I was so grateful.

Here’s a glimpse of some bites from our amazing tasting menu, with unofficial descriptions as close as my memory can serve up:

IMG_9526

cucumber bites stuffed with poached lobster

IMG_9529

beet & goat cheese stacks

IMG_9527.JPG

goat cheese zucchini bites

IMG_9528.JPG

avocado bite with cauliflower garnish

IMG_9536.JPG

tuna crudo (i loved this, right up my alley)

IMG_9530.JPG

i can’t recall what this was — fish i think? — but it was delicious & these signature plates were amazing

IMG_9532.JPG

shaved ice topped with cubed pineapple over rum

IMG_9533.JPG

apricot sorbet over blood oranges

IMG_9534

dessert display of mini berry dough bites and this rich sea salt dark chocolate infused with lime

Everything was so unique and so meticulously crafted and so consistently amazing. The other girls had lamb in place of my chicken (unphotographed), and there was rosemary bread, and a course of cheese and bread as well. We also had two bottles of delicious French wine (their Chenin Banc was perfection), and they sent us over complimentary glasses of some wonderful bubbly while we were choosing our wine. Seriously! This place could not have been any better.

The chef came over and chatted with us a bit at the end, which was a sweet touch, and we were able to gush over how much we adored everything and thank him for the wonderful experience (and assure him we’d all be back). And to top it all off, they gave us little boxes of delicious chocolate to take with us when they escorted us to the door, lil souvenirs to remember them by. As if we could ever forget this evening. 🙂

IMG_9535.JPG

So thanks to L’Appart for such an unforgettable evening. We could not have possibly enjoyed ourselves any more than we did, and we can’t wait to return. It’s perfect for dates, perfect for girls’ evenings, perfect for — well, okay. It’s just perfect.

Friday Five: Solo Running Love

There are other work days, and then there are Fridays. THANK THE LORD.

Linking back up with the DC ladies Mar, Cynthia & Courtney for this week’s Friday Five, which is a free Friday and up to interpret howsoever our little hearts desire. Considering I’ve been on such a run high lately and feeling so good, this was an easy choice for me.

girl-running-wide-wallpaper-11634-12069-hd-wallpapers.jpg

1. Sometimes, this is the only real “me” time I get all day. We’re all busy humans and it can be hard to fit some personal time into our days, and we all require different amounts of this “me” time. I often feel like I’m running around like a nutbox from one thing to the next from sun-up to sun-down, and I so crave these runs as time to just focus on myself. Ever just feel like you need to not talk to people for a while?? I’m a people-person to the max, but man, I love my alone time these days.

2. I have complete control. Should I run at 6am, or 6pm? Do I want to go uptown or downtown? Do I want to stop and stretch, or pee, or walk for a bit, or pet that cute dog and inquire about its breed is for my future dog-parent reference, or do some bench push-ups, or take my best friend’s phone call, or splash some water on my face at as many water fountains as suit my fancy? Or all of those in one run? I can if I want! This is all mine!

3. It makes it less competitive and more organically enjoyable. Sure, running with people could probably push me and challenge me and make me a stronger runner, but my purposes for running have always been so personal — because it makes me feel good about myself; because it’s my “me against the world” time; because I naturally love to do it and haven’t allowed myself to turn it into something competitive or stressful. I’m so happy with the place I’ve carved out for running in my life.

4. It’s free. Can’t beat that, amiright?! Classes don’t come cheaply in NYC. I’ve done some run-based outdoor workout classes and while I enjoyed most of them, it’s just not worth it for me to pay someone to push me to do something I already have all the drive to do on my own. They can serve as great motivators if you need an extra push to get out there and want a trainer and group holding you accountable, but that’s not my story right now and so I save those dollars for things I can’t get for free (like red wine & train rides upstate). At this point and I benefit much more from running on my own (both physically and mentally, financials aside!).  🙂

5. It’s empowering. Regardless of what kind of a day/week/month I’ve had, one thing always remains constant: I can awake with a new dawn and lace up my sneakers and choose to tackle the day, just me against the world, independent & strong & determined to push myself and better myself and surprise myself, again and again and again. Once you fall in love with something so completely and allow it to settle at the very center of your being and define you in so many ways, you can’t help but see how much it’s changed you, for the better, and made you a more resilient, resourceful, stronger version of yourself. Running has done that for me.

saos-beacon-health-system-i-don-t-run-rev-01-dribbble_1x.jpg