The Garret: West Village Speakeasy

One of my favorite things to do in NYC is explore the speakeasy scene. We have some seriously fun speakeasies spread all throughout the city, each boasting its own hip identity and hidden charm, and I’ve asserted before that I want to make it my goal to hit as many of these as possible.

Well, the boy and I checked another off the list on Saturday night: The Garret in the West Village.

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This intimate attic-style libations joint is located on the corner of Bleecker & Barrow (right at 7th Ave), but if you’re looking for a sign, you won’t find one. Instead, you have to walk into the Five Guys burger joint, past the counter, and take a hard left — and find a dark, narrow set of stairs leading up to the bar.

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I love when life tucks little gems just out of sight and you feel like you’ve stumbled upon a secret, don’t you?

We liked the space from first sight: it’s cozy and chill, with massive vaulted skylights that support the whole “garret” nomenclature, a long copper bar, and a little Victorian living room style set-up at the far back (which is where we parked ourselves for the entirety of our cabernet-sipping stay).

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The crowd and atmosphere were laid back and unpretentious, and the intimate set-up lent itself nicely to making friends, and conversations flowed across tables quite easily. In contrast to this back section, there were some little wooden two-person booths directly across from the bar, but we weren’t able to snag one of those. Goal for next visit, it seems.

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I liked the space a lot; it felt very indie and elemental, with exposed brick walls and lots of wooden pieces, and the skylight and tin ceilings were sweet touches. We didn’t try their cocktails — the cocktail list was the one thing that really didn’t wow me — but we’re both wine people anyway, and were pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed the one red wine they had on their menu: Owens & Vaughn Cabernet. We hadn’t heard of it, but agreed we’d definitely buy it – so drinkable and easy.

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This place was a cute, fun little find, and we both agreed we’d return. It was lively and comfortable and exuded a “stay and hang awhile” vibe, and I think it works well for groups of friends or a date. They don’t serve food, but you can buy burgers & fries from downstairs if you so choose and chow down while sipping your cocktails. This partnership seems to work well for Five Guys, as we saw quite a few people doing just that.

Another win for the West Village in my book.

weekend warriors

this past weekend, i did all the things. and by all the things, i mean all the things that make my heart so happy & that i wanted my weekend to contain. i couldn’t have asked for it to be any better.

the boy was in town ( ❀ ) so we had all sorts of plans with my friends, because everyone wants to get to know him better and see how amazing he is. totally can’t blame them. πŸ™‚

we met a few of my friends for a drink at the Irish pub/sports bar Feile as soon as he got here on Friday (which is apparently NYC’s #1 Formula 1 bar, in case that tickles your fancy), which draws a pretty active happy hour crowd and wasn’t bad for a bar near Penn Station.

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he & i then went to dinner at one of my fave neighborhood Thai places, Room Service. i think i’ve taken every single person i know to this place at one point or another. it’s such a hip, fun, delicious spot, and a must-go if you’re looking for a cute little dinner place in Hell’s Kitchen.

on Saturday we ventured out for a morning run in the sunny, 50 degree December weather (!!!) — 6 miles for me (3 solo, 3 with the boy) before heading down to the West Village for a fabulously fun brunch with some wonderful humans at Bluestone Lane, this darling Australian cafe (to which i certainly plan to return). we took advantage of the gorgeous day and sat outside, reveling in the fact that we were so spoiled to have patio weather in December!

avocado toast w/ poached eggs and rounds of mimosas, for the win.

everyone left full & happy and feeling like we’d found the best little brunch place in all of NYC. seriously, go here. it’s fantastic.

Saturday night we checked off one of my December Bucket List goals by making holiday cocktails (thanks for the recipe, Sarah!) in the form of Spiked Almond Nog.

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my friend found Silk’s Almond Nog and brought whiskey, which i rarely drink, but the combo was delicious and i definitely want to make these again. such a perfect (and really light) holiday drink to sip on before heading to a bar on the corner for a friend’s annual charity Christmas party…

where we discovered a holiday photo booth. yassss. i can’t get enough of these homemade party attractions this year and only regret not taking a photo with one of the reindeer names — Vixen & Dancer were reallllly calling to me.

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i think i missed the fact that i was supposed to hold the “Kiss Me” sign above my head…whoops. but i still got what i wanted, as a girl should. hey, it’s Christmas. πŸ™‚

Sunday was another fairly warm morning, so i ran 8 lovely miles while the boy slept in, then did 10 minutes of planks and felt like Wonder Woman. total weekend mileage: 14 miles, all outside. i feel good about that & rode that high all the way to another success of a brunch, this time at Georgio’s in Hell’s Kitchen, which was adorably decorated for the holiday season and had a real homey vibe that made me happy.

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i haven’t been here in over 5 years and sorely underestimated this place. i sadly forgot to take pictures of our meals because i was starving, but we both had egg dishes (i almost always order eggs benny w/ avocado and tomato, no sauce — if there’s avocado on a menu i will find it) and really, really enjoyed them, and the mimosas are massive and reasonably priced, soooo i have zero complaints about this place. we were a strong 2-2 on the post-run brunch circuit this weekend & i had poached eggs, avocado & mimosas both days, soooo i was about as happy as a girl could be.

in other news, it’s supposed to be 63 degrees here this weekend. i have no idea what is happening in the universe but i’ve decided God really loves NYC this Winter and am basking in this loveliness for as long as we have it. when Winter looks like Spring, life is prettttty darn good.

Tell me something great from your weekend!
Runners: How’d you do this weekend? Still running outside?
Favorite brunch dish?

Girls’ Night in the West Village

ever sit down at a restaurant for the first time and just know you’re going to have an absolutely fantastic experience?

that’s how i felt last night at The Little Owl, an intimate little tuck-away of a restaurant on one of the quaintest, most charming streets corners in the West Village (my favorite area of the city), Bedford & Grove. it’s a tiny, rustic, simple little spot that does everything right: classic, elemental, delicious, healthy, and with wonderful service to boot. you just feel welcomed and cozy and totally taken care of.

photo: nycgo.com, courtesy of The Little Owlphoto: nycgo.com, courtesy of The Little Owl

this establishment is a popular favorite and always full, so it’s rather difficult to get in. we lucked into only an hour wait — many nights you can’t get a table at all — and set out for a pre-dinner drink at a fun nearby speakeasy, Employees Only, which is known for its top-notch bartenders (they have to go through a serious training of several years to become a Principal Bartender, and then they all get tattoos of the bar’s logo — i kid you not) and delicious concoctions. the doorman/bouncer (are they still called bouncers at speakeasys?) looked at the three of us and goes, “oh hey, Charlie’s Angels, come on in.” so that was a fun way to start our night. πŸ™‚

girlsam i Drew? i think i must be Drew, right?

i mean, look at their list of EO Classic cocktails. not too shabby.

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our drink choices (we were all very happy with what we chose):
Shawna: West Side
Loan: Provencal
Amber: Fraise Sauvage

side note, before i continue with this review: Amber and i connected this time last year when she was in town from Seattle and Loan introduced us, and we bonded over our loves for travel, adventure, and blogging — this little PNW fashionista, foodie and world traveler writes a sweet fashion blog called Avec Amber. check her out! it was such a fun treat to have her in town and be able to catch up last night after a year. she’s also friends with a girl in Seattle whom i was good friends with in high school — how funny is that?! small (big) world.

speaking of small world: the girl who took my phone # for the reservation at Little Owl commented on it being an upstate number and said her parents live up there outside of Albany, so i replied that mine did, too. she then goes to say the town — which is where mine live — and i say the name of the lake — and hers live on the same lake. (insert shocked face here.) like, what?! how does that happen in NYC?!

so, Little Owl. i can’t say enough about this place. one look at the menu and my friend goes, “this menu is perfect for you.” so much seafood, all the veggie starters, fun app choices –> perfect.

menuwe ordered a bottle of a Pinot Grigio that ended up being so light and delicious, and the girls had their signature meatball sliders (no red meat for me). we also started with their Bibb & Beet salad, which i really liked.

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for entrees, we each ordered a different fish dish: broiled halibut over veggies (me, pictured below), the special, which was an arctic char (Amber), and the whole fish with lobster risotto (Loan). they were deliciousssss.

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we were all so happy with our choices and agreed this was the perfect little girlfriend catch-up date. we turned down dessert because we were so full from all the good stuff, but then the sweet staff surprised us with three freshly baked, still hot little beignettes with raspberry sauce (and stuck to the plate with nutella), and three little glasses of red dessert wine on the house, “for the upstate connection.”

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it was absolutely charming and appreciated and elevated this darling little place even higher in our books. A+ for service and attentiveness, and making us feel so appreciated. it’s always the little things that add that extra value to any experience, isn’t it? you don’t forget those tiny gestures; those unexpected moments of kindness or connection.

we had a phenomenal time, and it was just so good to catch up with lovely friends in such a sweet setting. i left last night with a full heart, feeling very thankful for the people and experiences that make my life such a beautiful place.

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Best restaurant you’ve been to lately?
Do you consider yourself a “foodie”? i wouldn’t say i am, but those two ladies are, so it’s fun to go out to eat with them! if you’re a foodie, you’ll love Amber’s blog. πŸ™‚

Soul Cycle (aka my birthday party)

living in NYC, you’d have to be a hermit to avoid the craze that is Soul Cycle. even if you’re not into it, it’s impossible to miss: you walk by studios in almost every neighborhood, pass people on the street on a regular basis sporting Soul Cycle tights or t-shirts, and chances are prettttty good that some (if not all) of your friends have been bitten by the SC bug.

a few of my girlfriends have gotten really into it, and one of my besties had the fabulous idea of planning a “birthday Soul Cycle ride” for our me and our friend Lauren, who have birthdays just two days apart. because we have such fun & fit friends, a group of girls (and one stellar dude) all met for a 10am class on a Saturday morning in June at the Soul Cycle in the West Village (which is inarguably the best ‘hood in Manhattan).

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frontdeski’m by no means an avid spinner anymore, but i was psyched for this experience. your first class is just $20 (and you get the shoes for free), which was sweet, and the whole process takes place online: you buy credits for a class and then sign up online, and even choose your bike on the site (which is a cool feature, because we were able to organize it so that we had our 6 bikes in a row, right in the front of the room).

i was a bit uncertain of what to expect, as i’ve gotten to used to working out on my own and haven’t taken a class in a while, and i’ve heard Soul Cycle can be intense and had visions of all these super focused little fit chicks in SC gear with serious faces on like we were going into battle on bikes. i woke up really early that morning and did an hour strength session in my gym and then ran the few miles down along the river from my apartment to the studio, so needless to say, i was more than warmed up by the time i got there. (note to self: maybe don’t do quiiiiite as much exercise prior to a SC class next time.)

the pros:

  • the place is a well-oiled machine. they make the whole process seamless for you, from the online registration/bike choice to signing in and getting your shoes, to someone setting up your bike for you — it’s very well-run, and the staff was sooooo welcoming and nice.
  • it feels like a club to which you want to belong. everyone was excited & united by their love for SC, and there was an overall positive energy that was infectious. you really felt that everyone there was exactly where they wanted to be at 10am on a Saturday morning!
  • the instructor. i don’t have anyone to compare her to, as this was my first class, but our instructor KC was amazingggg. i almost wouldn’t want to take someone else because i’m sure i’d be disappointed that they weren’t her. she was energetic and encouraging and peppy and personable and just so into it, and she did a fabulous job of keeping us all engaged and talking to us during the class and making it feel like a unified group with a mission.
  • the music. i knew going into it that SC is famed for having the best playlists, and it really was awesome. it was like being at a dance party on a bike. the room is just pulsing with the beat and everyone is so into it.
  • it’s hard. like, it was a really, really good workout. again, i can only speak for this one class/instructor, but she definitely pushed us hard. i was struggling at times (and dripping sweat the entire class), and it was definitely the most strenuous, varied spin class i’ve ever taken. you really push your body to the limits, and they incorporate choreography (you’re sort of doing push-ups on the bike and alternating between sitting/standing/crouching etc) and free weights, so you’re really working for it.

the cons:

  • it’s pricey. after your first class, it’s $34/class. while i firmly believe in spending money on fitness and finding what works for you, it’s not something i can justify doing all the time, considering i have a gym in my building and i’m dedicated to running regularly (which is free!). i get how it can become an addicting, expensive habit!
  • it’s hard. a pro can be a con, too, right? i won’t lie — i had a few moments where i was ready to be like, okay, that’s probably enough for me, i’m just gonna stick with running. sweating in a room full of other people in close proximity isn’t my fave, and i was thankful the girls next to me were my friends. next time, i don’t think i’ll work out for an hour and a half prior to class, because i probably was close to death by cycling at one point.

as you can see, my pros far outweigh my cons, and i left saying i’d definitely take another class (preferably with KC again). one super sweet element of this class was that they made a big thing out of our birthdays, as Alex had prepped them ahead of time, and the instructor announced in the beginning of class that we had a birthday group there, and at the end they lit candles in front of our bikes and brought out cupcakes and sang to us! so sweet.

fitness, girlfriends & my birthday = some of my very fave things separately, so in combination, well — they were pretty wonderful.

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as you can probably imagine, i left feeling really great after my first class and stoked to walk home in the lovely June sunshine…and then not a few blocks from the studio, i so aptly stumbled upon this on the street corner:

superpowershow awesome is that?! i certainly felt like i’d tapped into my superhuman powers after that workout (don’t you just love that about a hard workout, how amazing it makes you feel?!), so it seemed like that street art was just waiting for me to find it.

this was the perfect way to start my birthday celebration this year, which then continued with a wonderful day spent outdoors at a pier in Hoboken with a big group of friends.

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Any Soul Cyclers out there? What do you love about it?
Do you take classes with your friends?
Ever celebrated a birthday with a workout?

why isn’t it always the weekend?

anyone else feeling like that this morning? i had one of those “and thiiiiis is how life is always supposed to be!” weekends of which i’m having a difficult time letting go today. take me baaaaack.

Friday evening: somehow lucked into the company Yankee seats for the second time in 3 days (no idea how that happened but i’ll take it!), and it ended up being an epic 19-inning game against the Boston Red Sox that included a power outage (i left during this, in the 12th-inning) and marks the Sox’ longest game ever (and the Yanks’ longest since 1962). i love baseball, but after 12-innings on a Friday night at the end of a long week, i was tired and cold and wanted to sleep. i’m still glad i was there for most of the game, though! such a blast.

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Saturday morning: i finally had my first great outdoor double-digit run in months, as this weekend was gorgeoussss in NYC and i was determined to spend as much time outside as possible. man, did that do wonders for my running self esteem, which was sort of lacking a bit lately, and my overall mental state/happiness level! sometimes a long run along the river on a beautiful day just changes everything.

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i reallllly love my new Nikes — they felt amazing during this run, and i’m hopeful they’ll be just what i needed (coupled with SPRING) to get me back into the distance groove.

Saturday evening: saw Insurgent with one of my best friends.

Insurgent_posterif you liked Divergent, you’ll like this one — it’s a good follow-up, i thought, and totally entertaining and keeps your attention. and this boy!! seriously.

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Sunday morning: the most gorgeous day everrrrr. i ran 2 miles downtown to meet my girlfriend along the West Side/Hudson River path, and we ran another 3 miles or so, for a total of 5 for me. even after running 12 the morning before, i was feeling awesome. this weekend was exactly what i needed to boost my running morale and get me stoked for Spring/Summer running!

girlsrunlove this human so much! it’s truly an amazing blessing to have a girlfriend who shares your mentality about life, adventures, tomboy-esque affinities, and love for the outdoors, and who makes every experience that much more wonderful. thanks, friend. so glad there’s you. πŸ™‚

we then brunched on the patio at an adorable spot in the West Village that ended up being the absolute perfect chocie: Upright Brew House.

upright their $25 brunch gets you orange juice, any drink off their coffee menu (almond milk latte w/ their house-made almond milk for me — did i mention i recently had to cut out dairy?? — and a chai latte for Al), a cocktail, and an entree. everything was delicious and we plan to return for more post-run brunches in the near future for sure.

i had every intention of working on a presentation for school at some point yesterday, but it was just so gorgeously amazing out that i couldn’t resist meeting a boy for a cocktail on a patio later on and calling it an early night. sometimes Sundays just need to be filled with all good things and not tainted by work!

hence, i will be spending tonight working on that presentation for my Parenting class. happy Monday.

hope you all had amazing weekends!

Highlight from your weekend?
Runners — any good runs lately? Is the weather finally lovely near you as well?
Anyone else brunch outdoors this weekend? What’s your go-to brunch meal?

 

2 Things Tuesday (twosday? hmm mayyyyybe.)

sometimes, life gets busy and you have a couple million things to do (work. run. eat. laundry. clean. socialize. talk to your best friend daily. try all the wines to make sure you know which are the best. shop for new running tights. drink the wines you’re buying while talking to your bff or socializing or doing laundry or eating.), and it’s nice to know that there are some things you can just do quickly and still feel accomplished.

anyone with me here?

for this reason, i decided to start doing a “2 Things Tuesday” post each week. this idea came to me when most of my utterly brilliant and life changing ideas come to me — while running tonight.

i was journaling a bit last night and realizing i want to start taking inventory of things i’m thankful for on a daily basis, if possible, to keep myself positive. so “2 things Tuesday” will become a weekly “positivity post” where i briefly pop in to say “HEY! i’m glad for these 2 things this week,” no matter how small they might be. because it never hurts to have another reason to think about the good things, right??

soooo here we go! take 1.

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1. embracing the cold-weather running. it was sting-your-face-cold out tonight (21 degrees) after a day of flurries here in NYC, but i still bundled up and knocked out 5 miles along the sorta-sketchy path. there were veryyyyy few runners out tonight (a handful, maybe?), and the path was rather slippery and snowy in spots, and i was loving every second of it and feeling so good about my determination to run outdoors as much of this winter as possible. i had a really happy, great run tonight, and it turned my whole day around. OH, and i finally charged my Garmin and put that to use tonight, too. i’m really getting things done around here lately.

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2. sidewalk/store front words. i have a thing with this, for no reason and every. i saw this in the West Village on Bleecker Street this past weekend on a store step, and literally backtracked once i realized what i’d just whizzed past. picture just begging to be taken.

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i kinda wish it said “girl” after it, but i’ll take what i can get.

i love it when the street speaks to me.

annnnd, two and done. see how easy that was?

xo.

If you could write a message on the sidewalk, what would you write?

Is there something you always have to stop and take a photo of every time you see it?

running & a wine bar & fake those abs

there’s something about the sunshine and a cloudless sky that makes the world seem just right, isn’t there? especially when you wake up healthy & happy & well-rested and can start your morning with a river run that you wish could last forever.

Photosometimes i get overwhelmed thinking about “the big scheme of life,” and my answer to myself is that everything would be okay if i could just spend all my days running, traveling, and reading/writing on patios/by the ocean/on a boat. is that too much to ask? really, i think that’s pretty low maintenance. i’d even happily give up my shoe collection for that level of simplicity.

so, those are my Tuesday morning running thoughts. six miles is just the right amount of time to spend daydreaming.

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this is the fastest and easiest recovery time i’ve had after a long race, i’m happy to report. nothing hurts (aside from some annoying little aches on the bottom of one of my feet, but they come and go), my body doesn’t feel beat up or exhausted, and i feel strong and healthy and pretty confident in my running game right now. happy about that. πŸ™‚

side note: i like passing this sculpture every morning on my run because she reminds me of my mom, who was a NYC ballerina her whole childhood and young adult life before she moved upstate. i hope this dancer stays in Riverside Park for a long time.

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after work yesterday, some girlfriends and i took advantage of the happy hour at a new-to-me wine bar in the West Village called Lelabar. such a cute, cozy little spot with some seriously good happy hour wine. i went with the white, which was some French Sauvignon, and amazingly light, crisp and delicious.

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it’s one smallish, darkish room with a large oval bar right in the center, which really takes up the entirety of the space and creates a communal yet intimate vibe. you can see everyone in the room from any spot at the bar (which makes for some good people watching). it’s very much a “girls’ drinks spot” or a date spot, which the bartender confirmed for us after my friend used her liquid courage to ask him if he thought a guy she was eyeing across the bar was alone or waiting for someone — “it’s not the sort of bar a guy would ever come to alone. everyone is waiting for someone.”

words to live by, guy. noted.

i call it a successful night when you meet friends for drinks and are still home by 8:30 and asleep by 10. i’m at the point where i’m mad at myself if i can’t get up and feel great to work out in the morning before work. going out is fun, of course, but if i can’t shake myself awake the next day bright-n-early, i want to punch myself in the face.

because then i’ll have to start faking my abs.

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man i love this. don’t you hate when you see a great photo and wish you’d thought of it first? πŸ™‚

have a great day, friends! happy wine drinking, sunshine chasing & ab-building!

Fun Facts Friday

1. The West Village never gets old. I think I fall more in love with this area of the city every time I’m there, meandering around with no real agenda and happening upon great restaurant after great restaurant. Last night’s stumble-upon on Carmine St. just might have been one of the best discoveries yet: Market Table. Everything about this place was right up my alley, and I will for sure be returning. The food was fresh and delicious, the atmosphere airy and rustic in an upscale farmhouse sort of way, and the service was excellent. Big win all around.

rustic decor, a grapefruit basil agave margarita, and the bill tucked into a "sign me" guest book (i wrote a little poem, naturally)

rustic decor, a grapefruit basil agave margarita, and the bill tucked into a “sign me” guest book (i wrote a little poem, naturally)

Arctic Char Avocado Tar-Tar (best thing I've had in a long time) and Grilled Halibut

Arctic Char Avocado Tar-Tar (best thing I’ve had in a long time) and Grilled Halibut

2. I’m hooked on this juicing thing after just one experiment. I don’t know how we lucked into such a delicious concoction considering we did zero measuring or planning or anything other than shoving things we liked into the whirring machine, but our first time totally rocked. I’m way geeked up about trekking to work with my very own juice in tow. It’s like a little healthy secret snug inside my purse (and hopefully not spilling everywhere).

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I’m tempted to drop everything and open up a juice bar. That, or frozen sangria. I’m stuck on this weird conviction that that could also be a “thing.” Don’t ask.

However, U30 and I both discovered something unusual after drinking our juice: a “juice buzz.” Has anyone else experienced this? It’s this weird, heady, buzz-like sensation, like we’re getting high off the ginger or the kale or something else in there. I Googled this phenomenon and found a message board with this hilarious response to someone else’s similar reaction:

I’m afraid you guys have caught a case of the hippie. I recommend lots of anti-bacterial soap and rare steak until it passes.”
 
I don’t appreciate a steak in any form, but I certainly appreciate some hippie humor. All day, every day.
 
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3. Flowers are lovely things to get when you don’t expect them. They make great “just because” gifts, even between friends. I met a friend for dinner last night, and he got me flowers for his birthday. I got him a card with glitter on it and made him go to the bathroom so I could write it out at the bar. And then I made him carry the flowers around all night so people thought they were his (or that he was my bodyguard). frametastic
 
It seemed to make sense at the time…I feel like something might have gotten lost in the telling. Or maybe I’m just not as cute as I think. That could be it. Yep, that’s probably it.
 
 4. I’ve recently become fascinated with the phenomenon of bioluminescence and somehow transporting myself to a place where I can float in a glowing sea of living microorganisms. I prefer not to know what they look like or if I’ll feel them, because I might get skeeved out, but the pictures are just so utterly astounding and unearthly and I need to see this for myself. Nothing so weirdly creepy ever seemed so beautifully appealing. I think I secretly must be harboring dreams of being in a sci-fi flick. Or the Life of Pi (minus the whole dehydrated in the ocean and almost dying part).
 
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5. John Mayer’s new album Paradise Valley dropped this week. Yes, this is exciting news in my life. Despite his inability to stay out of the tabloid hoopla and indecisiveness over which A-list celeb chick to date-and-drop next, I can’t get enough of this guy. Loved his music from day one, will love it til my days are done (ba dum dum). I admit I downloaded it before listening to it but I can’t wait to love every second, even if I don’t quite get — but still am thoroughly amused and intrigued by — the quilted cowboy vibe. However, the country twang he’s bestowed upon this set of songs simply, effortlessly just works (even if the new-fangled-hipster-American-pioneer-meets-Lone-Ranger-get-up borders on baffling).
 
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The first time I saw him was in a tiny little music hall in Montreal when I was 20, before he released any major albums, and I was an instant barnacle of a fan who never looked back. Tried and true. His lyrics and voice get me every time, and so many memories of my 20s are indelibly laced with his songs. Sure, he may have created a place for himself in the cheesey corners of pop-culture America, but everytime he sings, I believe it’s for me. So I guess that just makes me a cheeseball too. πŸ™‚ 
 
Happy weekend!
Questions: Anything good you’ve been excited about lately? Who’s a musician you can’t do without?
 

Will run for girlfriend dates.

Last night, I did two somethings very out-of-the-ordinary for me:

1. I ran at night, after work, and
2. I ate pizza.

First thing’s first: I am a morning runner. I seriously love waking up at (or before) 6am, bopping right out of bed and into running clothes, and bolting out the door. I love the morning air and the way the sky & river look in the early light, and the scarcity of people out at that time. It’s my quiet time; my chance to start the day on a peaceful note, when all seems right in my little corner of the world as I zone out and run along.

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Because of my Monday  morning post-lake weekend fatigue, however, I slept in and set out to run last night after work. I planned to just do an easy five-miler, since my run two days ago was significant. It was a lovely evening; the path was full of bikers and runners and walkers, and the river was dappled with paddle boarders and kayakers enjoying the beautiful sunset.

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The first three miles went by nicely; the last two, however, were border-line brutal. It amazes me how easily the body can fluctuate from day-to-day, as I felt amazing all throughout my long run on Saturday, but could hardly hold it together for the last two miles of a shorter run. Maybe it was what I ate before I ran, or my body just being tired, or just because, but maaaan, I was struggling. I just didn’t feel great, and could hardly wait to hit my goal distance before walking the rest of the way down to the West Village.

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I managed to keep up a good trot despite my woes, so at least that was a nice surprise. I also apparently achieved a “Course award” from my running app, which is always a fun little pat of encouragement, even if I am only competing with myself. πŸ™‚

I ran down to Chelsea Piers, then walked to meet a girlfriend for a Monday night West Village date (yes, in my running clothes — running skirt, mind you!). It was a gorgeous evening that screamed “situate me on a patio ASAP,” so we did just that. A little dry rosΓ©, please, to juxtapose prettily against against the cement and lights.

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We then meandered our way over to Olio, which I’ve been meaning to check out ever since I heard they boasted a delicious baked gluten free Margherita pizza. We snagged an outdoor hightop on their darling garden-inspired patio and had the loveliest of evenings at this adorable spot. I rarely ever eat pizza (yes, I’m probably the only NYer you’ll hear say that), but Olio certainly will be changing that. It was light, crispy, fresh and delicious, with a completely charming atmosphere set right in the middle of a bustling intersection that situates you perfectly between feeling like you’re part of the city life while still safely tucked into your own little corner. Definitely a new RTA fave.

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I was glad I stuck through the rough run to be rewarded with this magical little evening. It was such a welcome reminder of how giddy grateful I am for my city, my friends, my health, and the little life I’ve created here.

Question: What’s your pizza preference?

What I Love Wednesday

1.  My co-workers. Besides meeting one of my bffs here at my wonderful workplace, I’ve been blessed to work with an amaaaazing crew of people. One of them finds a different way to remind me that it’s “hump day” every Wednesday, so today I came into the office to find these guys hangin’ around in my inbox:

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2.  Marathon training. There was a time (errrr, otherwise known as most of my life) when I would have laughed and immediately needed a frozen yogurt to assuage the onset of a panic attack if anyone told me I had to run a marathon — and now here I am, willingly signing myself up for 26.2 miles of pavement-pounding (in my fun new sneakers, so that always helps), and actually finding myself enjoying the training. No, I’m not a masochist (I don’t think?). I’m simply discovering that we never stop evolving and changing into the best versions of ourselves as life goes on, and God knows what surprises we might uncover that lay latent beneath our own not-so-thin skin. I’m learning so much about my own ability — mentally, physically, and spiritually — to push myself to new limits and rearrange my priorities, just from training for a race. It’s amazing. Regardless of how I’m feeling, I want to run. It’s changing me.

And I’m lovin’ these changes.

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3.  Youthfulness. Because make-believe and fairytales have no age limits.

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4. Girlfriend dates & finding a movie in the theater I reallllly want to see. I enjoy movies but don’t go super often, and there are definitely types of movies I gravitate towards. My friend found The Spectacular Now, a seemingly-adorable in a perfectly indie (read: right up my alley) sort of way, which seems an easy comparison to The Perks of Being a Wallflower and therefore we know we’ll love it. Annnd it’s by the writers of 500 Days of Summer, which is probably one of my favorite movies everrrr. Super excited for tonight’s date.

specnowThere’s something about the awkward tenderness of high school or young adult almost-love that just gets me every time…even if I’m not in love or in high school. Or even that young anymore. Still, I can’t get enough.

5.  Employees Only. Welp, not quite sure how I’ve managed to live in NYC for almost 3 years (time fliiiies!) without going here before this summer, but I somehow pulled that unfortunate event off. Luckily for friends with good taste, I can add it to my go-to list of speakeasy-style faves. Dark, intimate, jazzy and boasting a sweet drink menu (my drink below is the West Side cocktail), this West Village joint has super-skilled bartenders (who have undergone years of training to work here and who tattoo the logo onto their arms) and a cool, easy vibe. Perfect for a date, or drinks with friends. Either way, I dig.

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