That weekend I did allll the things in NYC.

i had all intentions of posting this on Monday but chilled out in the Monday blues for a bit too long, which totally hijacked that plan, and then got so busy yesterday that i didn’t have time! but here i am — hi, friends!

so, the good news: i stayed in NYC this weekend and had a non-stop, fun-filled run-around weekend chocked full of awesome people, places & things.
the bad news: back to the non-weekend life was rough.

so, here’s a recap of my non-stop weekend of wonderful places, people & things:

Friday: i took a vacation day (makes alllll the difference to have Fridays free!) because my fun California friend who we (we being me and everyone who knows him through me) affectionately (& appropriately) call Manbun came to visit. i love having friends in town, especially in the nice weather, because i get the chance to play tourist in my own city and bop around all over the place. as expected, we did sooooo many things while he was here, so prepare yourself for photo overload.

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you know what’s better than having friends from California? having friends from California who are photographers. i think i’d be totally fine with someone following me around and photo documenting my life.

Processed with VSCOcam with e2 presetin a camera store, because that’s where photographers hang out when they visit new cities, duh.

the tricky thing about photographers is that they can make you look better in photos than you do in real life. i’ll take it. 🙂

The Highline. there’s a fantastic exhibit on it right now called The Collectivity Project by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson (such a dope last name, no?), which is essentially a whole little sectioned-off area boasting tables with thousands of white legos begging visitors to play architect and leave their marks.

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Mets vs. Dodgers game. this was my first time at Citifield in a few years, and i forgot how beautiful this stadium is. my friend is a crazy Dodgers fan, so this was the perfect “while in NY” birthday gift for him, and we ended up with a gorgeous night for a baseball game.

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Saturday: woke up & ran 9 miles (i needed that — more running chat later this week, mmmkay?) and then trekked over to one of my newly favorite neighborhoods: Williamsburg, BK. man, i love that little hipster town.

here’s my favorite shot of the day: my acro modeling debut against an awesome “DREAM” mural on a random side street.

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i take zero credit for the concept, but Hundo P credit for the ups. 🙂

3 places we went in Williamsburg (&i’d recommend them all):

Sweatshop cafe & design shop. so minimalist, so elemental, so Australian, so dope. loved this little place.

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Radegast Hall & Biergarten. such a happening spot on Saturday afternoons! a band i really like was playing, and it turns into an all-out dance party where everyone just can’t help but have the best time. i love when life is like that.

Crown Victoria. i don’t have any pix of this place, but it has a really sweet outdoor space out back with a “backyard BBQ” sort of vibe, complete with food/drink trucks and picnic tables. we saw a bachelor party all dresses as superheroes, which was awesome. really great chill spot.

we capped off our action-packed Saturday with dinner at Momofuku Noodle Bar in the East Village, which is a really hip & popular place to which i’ve never gone before. i wasn’t sure i’d be that into it, but it was the one restaurant he really wanted to try…and it was really good. (i was also starving at this point, but it was seriously good!)

we split these 3 things:
shiitake buns: hoisin, scallion, cucumber

bunscorn appetizer: pickled tomatillo, pepitas, oregano
corn
hozon ramen bowl:
scallion, chickpea, kale
noodles

i honestly would have never ended up here on my own and had zero idea what to order or expect, so i was happy to let him order (thankfully he chose all vegetarian = brownie points for that), and he did a great job, as all the dishes were great. the chickpeas and kale combo was fantastic.

Sunday:

Bemelman’s Bar at the Carlyle Hotel. we swung through here after church specifically to check out this amazing spot where author/artist Ludwig Bemelman’s of the Madeline children’s books fame transformed the walls of the bar with his artwork. it was truly a magical, whimsical spot to which i can’t wait to return.

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we went during off hours and simply walked around, and i had a sort of “moment” there, in the empty, classic bar with the magical walls telling tales of a fairytale NYC that feels so untouched and sacred. i do believe i could have stayed there with a journal or book for hours and had a renewal of the soul in that tuck-away of a lovely spot.

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Central Park. 
walking around Central Park on a lazy Sunday afternoon in the summertime, watching the miniature sailboats on the pond and feeling the overflowing happiness of simply being — i should do well to have more of these things in my life.

FullSizeRenderand yes — i am as in love with the world in that photo as you could possibly imagine that girl to be.

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love affair with Brooklyn

you know those days where you have nothing planned, and then you end up with all the best spur-of-the-moment, exactly-what-i-want-to-be-doing-today plans, and your whole day is just fabulous and you go to bed thinking how lucky you are to have the life you have, in the place you live, with the friends you’re blessed to call yours?

those are the best days; the days that remind you how precious and amazing and spontaneous and beautiful this little life really is. i had one on Saturday: a lovely, sunny, enjoying-every-moment sort of day.

and oh, i fell in love, too.

with Brooklyn. i’m currently having a major love affair with Brooklyn. even though i stumbled upon some street art (to add to my collection of feet photos) claiming the borough to be otherwise, i find it absolutely brimming with more than enough love to go around.

IMG_7177don’t lie to me, BK. you love me, too.

other than a run on Saturday, i really had zero plans for once, so i was stoked when a girlfriend said she was heading to Williamsburg, Brooklyn to check out a popular biergarten and some live music. Radegast Hall & Biergarten is a totally rad spot (yes yes my puns are always intentional) to which i really can’t wait to return. we were all smiles, all day.

FullSizeRenderi can’t speak to the beer, because although they have a crazy extensive selection, i’m just not a beer gal and stuck to what i know i love: the cucumber cocktails. and those were delicious.

as cool as the place was, and as delicious as the drinks were, it was the the band, however, who absolutely stole the day. if i’m having a crush on Brooklyn, than i don’t know what you call what i’m having on Sammy Miller & the Congregation. i want to kidnap them all and bring them around with me in my every day life to provide a soundtrack for FUN. they were the most energetic, talented, enthusiastic, lively, adorable band i’ve seen in SUCH a long time, and they had that place turned into an absolute dance party USA. it was all sorts of amazingness.

bandmusicians on tables, dancing on benches, saxophone solos, trumpets playing “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” (which happens to be one of my all-time fave songs) — it was unreal & i never wanted it to end. they created the epitome of a perfectly chill, unbelievably fun environment where every single person in there was laughing and engaged and totally infected by their music.

group& now i want every Saturday to be a dance party in a Brooklyn beer hall. and yes, you’re all welcome to come join my dance parties.

i also made friends with the trumpet player because i took this sweet pic of him dancing on the table (which totally reinforces my belief that i have a promising career in iPhone photography):johnlampley
and i had to show it to him and he obviously needed to have it, so i plan on stalking their Instagram and following them around town and reminding him that we are, indeed, new friends. doesn’t sound creepy at all, right? hopefully more such similar pix will ensue in the near future. because it’s always fun to have musician friends with talent!

my girlfriend & i then decided to make a night of it in BK and bopped around to check out a few other spots as well, including the two rooftops Berry Park and The Gorbals, two really sweeeeet places to which i hope to return. i realllly dug The Gorbals roof — and we met a super interesting hippie homeless Aussie bartender with a pile of dreads stacked on his head and the intention to legally change his last name to “Pineapple” in the imminent future, to match his tattoo (and i assume the dreads are supposed to be pineapple-y?).

such a cool vibe, BK. til next time, i’ll be thinking about you & all your wonderful weird glory.

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thinking out loud (the Brooklyn edition)

heya, party people. i’m linking up with Amanda at running with spoons this week for her Thinking out Loud Thursday posts, because that seems fun and i never do it and sometimes it’s good to do things you don’t regularly do. except that i’m mainly just thinking about Brooklyn & friendship & California but hey this still counts right?

Thinking-Out-Loud1. i have become quite the Brooklyneer (Brooklynite? Brooklynista?) this past week! i think i went a total of 5 times last year (please let me add that i love Brooklyn and have never had a bad time there and am constantly asserting that i must go more often but just never seem to get myself there), and now i’ve been there 3 times in the past week. this is significant progress! i should have made my New Year’s Resolution to go to Brooklyn more often, rather than my lofty aspirations to write a book & stop eating sugar & date a beach bum (spoiler alert: those will probably be reinstated for 2016). anyhoo, i trekked out to Greenpoint last night (which is actually where my lovely mom was born), for the bestest of reasons:

this girl & her sweet hubby were in town from California.

IMG_7048i know i’m a broken record about having the best girlfriends in the universe, but i can’t say it enough, especially when faces like this grace my life. lovely Miss Ali was one of my dearests when we both moved to NYC, and she sadly left to return to her home state of Cali and forced me to miss her every day. i was so thankful for the few short hours i was able to spend with her last night (at this siiiiiick apartment they found in an apt swap) and was reminded of how life can give you those “tucked away into the heart of all the best things” moments so unexpectedly, and you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than right where you are.

FullSizeRenderoh, and this view sure didn’t hurt, either.

bkviewso between running the Brooklyn Half last weekend and having the best night in at a dope apartment drinking amazing wine with incredible people, i think it’s safe to say that i’m becoming quite the fan of Brooklyn.

2. i want to run another half marathon. like, now. Brooklyn was the first i’ve done in a year, i think, and i am still on a post-race high and remembering why i love that distance. we were discussing running in California last night and it dawned on me that this would be the perfect storm of running glory for me, as i’m obsessed with running and i’m obsessed with California and the two should probably meet sooner than later in my life. i realllly want to run the Napa to Sonoma Half in July but it’s sold out. brrrrpppp maybe next year. also i’ll be in Montauk that weekend so that’d be RUDE to cancel that trip. the Sloppy Tuna and Vegas-in-the-Hamptons beach scene needs to be done.

3. i have all but given up wearing anything but gym clothes almost every second of my life that i’m not at work. i actually text people “hey i’m still coming over/out tonight but i’m in gym clothes, hope that’s okay,” just in case they had any preconceived notions of going anywhere other than their apartment or for a run and to pre-warn them of my suitability for public outings. but also i’m really thinking of my friends because if we suddenly are out of wine and someone has to run to the store, well HI, i can jet right out and back so speedily. YOU’RE WELCOME.

i made sure Ali knew this when i was going to BK last night. she promised she’d be in pjs.

girlsone of us kept our end of the bargain. but we were hair twinning so that made me happy. #thelittlethings

messy buns & those Danskin Now capris (thank God i bought them in 3 colors b/c i wear them all the motherloving time, although that aqua color gets the most play because it’s my fave color) is just how i like to live my life. which brings me to my last point…

4. i think i probably belong in California. they don’t wear “real” clothes there, do they?

happy day before the Friday of a long weekend, friends!! xo.

Anyone else love Brooklyn? Whatcha love about it?

Have any fave workout gear items that you can’t stop wearing?

Whatcha doing for the long weekend?

Brooklyn Half Race Recap

i adore this race.

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i’m almost not sure what else to say. for me, running the Brooklyn Half Marathon yesterday morning was an absolutely incredible, near-perfect experience. everything just lined up for me, and i had a carefree, pain-free, absolutely wonderfully enjoyable, easy race, from start to finish.

don’t you just love it when that happens? God knew i needed it, after stressing about my leg hurting for the past couple of weeks (more on this later — i’m thinking i have some psychosomatic issues going on here, as i didn’t have a second’s worth of pain throughout the race). i felt calm and happy and effortless throughout the race and was able to just coast along at what felt like a comfortable, easy pace and take in the whole experience with a happy heart.

i pulled a game-time decision (at 5am) and wore my new Asics, which worked like a dream. it was pretty humid, but i carried a small hand-held water bottle with me and made sure to drink a lot during the race, so i didn’t feel dehydrated at all. around mile 9-10, it started to rain for a bit, which actually felt great.

there were 26,482 finishers. that’s a heckofalotta runners, and you spend a good portion of the course sort of dodging people and trying to find your pace without smashing into anyone. i wouldn’t say it’s the easiest race in which to PR or be a speed demon, but i actually managed to finish with a time that made me happy, despite the masses and the fact that i had zero expectations or any thoughts at all about “racing” this or PRing.

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so yep, i’m completely happy with that. i didn’t push myself or feel winded or overexerted or exhausted or even like i ran a half marathon afterwards (my girlfriend who came to cheer was like, “did you really just run a race? because you don’t look like it!”), so i’m thrilled with that time considering i felt amazing and able to enjoy the rest of my day afterwards! it also encourages me that i know i can train harder (hi, been in Vegas and Amelia Island the past two weeks…not exactly pre-race prep!) and push myself more in the future if i do desire to have a faster time. i think my current half PR is around a 1:51 right now…but honestly, i’m not sure.

because for me, races really aren’t about being a speed demon. sure, it’d be cool to set myself a goal one day and train for it, but that hasn’t been my story as of yet, because i run simply for enjoyment. i love this, every crazy second of it, and that’s how i want it to stay. with so many things to be stressed about in life, i never want to make running one of them.

it’s a passion. it’s about loving something so much you can’t imagine yourself without it. it’s about thanking God for being healthy and fit and able to use your body in that way, and to look around you and bask in the glow of knowing you’re a part of a community of people who all “get it” as well. it’s about doing something that reminds you of who you are at your very core, and makes your life that much of a happier place.

all these thoughts went through my head as i was loving life during this race, and i never, ever want to lose that. i’m so thankful this went as well as it did, and it definitely boosted my desire to enter more races and reminded me of how much i love being a runner.

oh, and it brought me together with some friends afterwards, too! i was able to meet another NYC blogger chick, Charissa, which was pretty darn cool.

meandcharissaall smiles post race!

and my friend Beth from Albany ran it as well. 518 represent in Brooklyn, woot!

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so yeah — yesterday was an all-round awesome day for me. Brooklyn definitely knows how to put on a good after party, too, as the stadium at Coney Island was packed with runners & friends/fans all enjoying food, drinks, music and sunshine for hours post race. this was the first year i’ve partook in those festivities, and it was great to see such a vibrant community of runners in NYC.

cheers, Brooklyn — it was a time! looking forward to running you again next year!

i think i’m switching careers…

and becoming an iPhone photographer.

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i’m not even quite sure how this photo happened, but i’m absolutely in awe that i managed to capture this in one shot, from my friend’s 50th floor apartment overlooking the East River/Brooklyn during sunset last night. there i was, watching the US Open on TV, when i suddenly looked up and out and was awestruck by what i saw the sky doing.

i didn’t even consider filtering it, as i’m in love with this September Sky exactly how it is.

funny, how a sky can turn your whole day around and remind you of all that’s beautiful and hopeful in this world.

now i just need to start a portfolio of skies from an iPhone, and my future career is set. 🙂

how i (really haven’t) prepped for my next race

heyyyyy Brooklyn, i’m coming for you, bright and early tomorrow.

so tomorrow morning, i’m waking up before the sun to jaunt on over to Brooklyn and run my second Brooklyn Half Marathon. and i mean earrrrrly. i’m in Wave 1, which has a start time of 7am, which means i need to be there by, like, 6:20. which means i need to get up at an ungodly hour starting with a 5 handle. the things we do for the loves of our lives (running, in my case). not too many other things sound worth waking up for that early. maybe an airplane ride, or snowboarding, or a really great date. but usually if i’m up at this hour, i’m running a race.

good thing i’ve become accustomed to being a morning runner since i moved to NYC. that definitely helps when you have to pair an early start time with a half hour + commute!

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the expo this year (hosted by New Balance again, my faves) was quite a trek out to a pier in downtown Brooklyn. pretty sure the 20-minute walk from the subway to the expo (okay, so i got lost a bit on the way there…apparently i need to get out of Manhattan more often?) counted as my warm-up to the race. geesh. i was on a mission to just snag my bib and t-shirt and get out of there, so i didn’t really experience much of it, but i snapped a few pix in passing.

please enjoy some views of downtown Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge:

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a “recycle your soles” fence, which was pretty sweet (and i wish i’d known so i could have brought some):

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and a little hipster humor. ah, Brooklyn. i wish i knew you better, you appeal to me so.

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so, how am i feeling about this race? to be honest, i’ve had such a busy life lately that i haven’t given much prep to it at all, mentally or physically. i did two shorter runs (4 and 5 milers) last weekend in San Antonio, and two more 5-milers this week:

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seems to be the magic mile number lately, and i’m totally okay with that. even though i haven’t done any much structured training for this half, i’m really looking forward to it and have no jitters at all. i know that i’m perfectly capable of running this distance and enjoying it, and even if i don’t achieve a PR or have to run on legs that are more than a little tired (it’s been a long week!), i’ve reached the point with my running where i am comfortable with half marathons and can really enjoy the experiences.

and that’s good enough for me.

plans tonight, for last-minute prep:

  • stretching and foam rolling (so guilty of neglecting to do these as frequently as i should! bad bad bad)
  • soaking in the “good lucks” i know will come my way from my fam
  • laying on the couch with a healthy meal (probably grilled chicken and salad, i’m not a carbo loader) and some mindless TV
  • lots and lots of water
  • choosing an outfit for tomorrow — i really want to wear my new shorts, but haven’t run in them yet, so i’m debating
  • laying out the necessities: sunglasses, shot blocks, Body Glide, headphones, bib
  • making a playlist (i desperately need some new running songs, if you have any suggestions for me!)
  • getting cozy with the pink CEPs
  • crashing earlyyyyy

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and that, my friends, should do it. i might be under prepared, but hey — i’m happy to be running it, and to be stress-free.

let’s just hope i can sleep. a lot. 🙂

enjoy your Friday!

Questions:
How do you prepare for a race?
Any races coming up?