Thinking out Loud

i’m joining Running with Spoon’s weekly Thursday Thinking out Loud linkup this week, where we basically just spill our random thoughts and discover little fun (& crazy) facts about each others’ lives. considering how much i love random conversations, i really should be linking up to this more often!

Thinking-Out-Loud1. i’ve taken up a new writing role!  i’m now a contributing writer for MOGUL, “an award-winning technology platform for women worldwide, connecting users to trending content, including stories, jobs, and products that are personalized to their interests. MOGUL is ultimately democratizing information for women worldwide by enabling users to connect, exchange such information, and access knowledge” (taken from their website). basically, i can write articles or pieces on any topic i choose, and use this platform to connect with other female writers while having a global platform for my work. stoked about this! follow me: Shawna Marie. so far, i have two pieces up, but i’m hoping this helps keep me accountable to writing more of my personal/creative stuff (which is where my heart really lies).

mogul
2. spin class. woof. i took one last night at Equinox, which is an incredible gym that i wish i could justify paying for each month — but since i don’t at the moment, i took advantage of a friend’s guest pass and attended his favorite spin class with him — and it took me all of three minutes to remember how much i dislike spin. i mean, i like the idea of it, and i love the music, and the teacher was awwwesommmee and i sort of wanted to be her — but the reality is that i struggle for those entire 45 minutes and pretty much feel like i could die at any time. everything i love about running is reversed in spin: outdoors vs. indoors, individual vs. group, forward motion vs. stationary, so much sweat you can’t see — it’s just nahhhht for me. i get the whole “cross training is good for you” thing, but spin kills me, and my knee aches the entire time from all the repetitive motion. fail.

3. music. i heard a song during spin last night that i loooooved and told myself i had to remember so i could download it later — and i can’t remember how it goes. at all. this drives me crazzzzyyy and has been on my mind nonstop since then. if i’m going to suffer through a spin class, i should at least be able to get new music out of it. i’m honestly considering emailing the spin instructor (b/c she gave me her email in case i wanted to try a class at the SoHo location, but let’s be honest, i’d be happier with new music than a spin class) and asking her for last night’s playlist. okay, so that actually just happened right after i wrote that. let’s hope she gets back to me! i neeeeed this song.

4. yoga. i’m finalllly going to yoga tonight!! i went last year with one of my bestest friends to OM Factory and really enjoyed the class — and never went back, despite continually asserting my need for more yoga, whoops. better late than never, right? oh, and an admission: i think i’m just as stoked to have a real reason to wear my amazing birthday gift from said yogi best friend as i am to actually take a yoga class:

FullSizeRenderobsessed. OmShanti leggings are where it’s at.

5. week of workouts: switching it up. i’m having the most varied workout week, which i’m really happy about (minus the misery that is spin class). i did an hour of strength/kettlebells/abs yesterday morning, then the spin class last night, and then a 5-mile run this morning (which felt way better than i’d anticipated given an angry calf i’ve been nursing all week), and now yoga tonight. sorta feeling pretty amazing about that lineup of two 2-a-days in a row.

6. surprises are amazing. so i just took a break and went to lunch in the middle of writing this post, and came back to an email from the lovely spin teacher with my song in it!! gahhhh this day just keeps getting better and better.

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7. hilarious marketing. my corner wine shop killed it with the signage last night.

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i went in right after spin class and bought two bottles just to support their use of creative marketing. (well and because, WINE.) nice job, guys. sold.

8. every girl needs this. its-a-girl-thing-33-photos-1
in a world where it can be so easy to give into negativity and insecurities and focus on what’s “wrong” with our bodies or our lives, we need to surround ourselves by reminders of how amazing we really are. i want to buy this for every single one of my friends — and put one by my bed, too. imagine starting and ending your day with such a pick-me-up?

or another similar option, from Etsy:

il_570xN.776619731_lehgi’m into this. i think these will make great presents!

9. this is awesome…

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10. & so is this.

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cheers to almost Friday, friends!

Tell me something random from your week?
Best workout you’ve had this week?
Fave pair of yoga pants?

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Friday Five {7.25.14}

*running. an aggressive Wednesday night made for an 8pm bedtime last night…which meant that a 5:45am alarm was in order today. i wanted to get this week’s longer run in this morning, and thankfully, that was a big success.
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it was a goooooorgeous morning, which made it that much better. almost makes a girl wanna crash super early on the reg, just to be up and out shortly after 6am. feeling pretty good about today, today. 🙂 i needed to have a good run after last weekend’s dud, so this did the trick.

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plus, the sailboat view never gets old. i like to fantasize about being whisked away on one of these. you know, one of those, “one second you’re out for a morning run, the next you’re sailing to Bermuda with a beautiful stranger” sort of deals. they make me run happy.

*sailboat bar/restaurant. yep, you read that right. it’s called Grand Banks, this brand-new-as-of-June-2014-addition-to-summer-bars-in-NYC is fantastic. located in TriBeCa on Pier 25, it’s just a short walk from my new office (yay) and is a beautiful, 142-foot sailboat-turned-Oyster-and-wine bar. i went last night after work with some co-workers, and will definitely be returning. such a lovely, New Englandy vibe, and a truly beautiful boat. any chance to be on a boat, i will gladly take.

photo: Melissa Hom

photo: Melissa Hom

boat

*yoga. i did yoga for the second time ever this week, and am starting to understand just how varied these classes can be. this studio and this teacher and this class were soooooo entirely different from my last experience (and not in a good way). the teacher was nice and helpful and all, and looked like he’d stepped right off the plane from wherever they grow true yogis (Bali, maybe?), but the whole experience just seemed fractious to me. like, moves didn’t flow together, and i, for one, cannot bend in half and put my head where my back should be and wrap my arms around myself and then stand on my hands all at once, sooo, i sort of felt like i was in a Cirque du Soleil class. it was fascinating to watch him, but frustrating to have to announce “yeah i’m not that flexible” and offer up a silent prayer of thanks once we got to chair pose. however, he was pleased to see that i nailed the backbends and handstands, i think, and asked if i did gymnastics. why yes, once upon a time, i did. i’m strong, sir. i just can’t bend like i have no bones. i’m determined to keep going to yoga for the sole purpose of making myself stretch more. plus, it wouldn’t be terrible to possibly be able to do this one day. on a paddleboard. on a lake. at sunset.

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*sparkling coconut water. i drink a good amount of club soda on a regular basis, and i really like coconut flavored anything, sooooo La Croix’s sparkling coconut water is a no brainer for me. so delicious, entirely calorie, sugar and sugar substitute free, and only .79 cents at Whole Foods. annnd done.

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it tastes like the beach. in a can. and sparkling. i really want to try mixing this into adult beverages (white wine spritzers? vodka pineapple sparkling coconut?), as well as check out the other flavors.

*truth.da-mo-1515

i like running. i like HIMYM and Barney. i like his logic.
i also had an internal convo with myself while running this morning, wondering why i haven’t been as mentally “in the game” lately with my running as i usually am. i think it’s primarily because it’s summer and i’m having a blast going away almost every weekend with the girls, and my long runs just haven’t been as long or as “training” oriented as they were last summer, and i’m comparing myself to that.

yes, i signed up to run the same marathon again this October; no, i haven’t been training as hard as i did last summer. but then again, i still have over 2 months left, and who wants to overtrain? if i really want to run it, i’ll make the time to train right. and if not, well — my life doesn’t revolve around a race. simple as that. and being able to come to terms with that and be 100% okay with that is a huge, important step for me, and it feels really freeing.

so, will i run the Mohawk Hudson marathon again in October? maybe. but will i beat myself up about it one way or the other? i really think not. and that feels pretty dang good. 🙂

happy Friday, friends!

What’s up for the weekend? i’m off to Montauk in T-2 hours with the girls again!
Anyone training for anything? How’s running going?

Friday Five {places}

instead of five random things i am loving this Friday, i’m going to make this week the Friday Five in places — five spots i’ve been to around NYC in the past week.

1. Om Factory. in case you missed my first NYC yoga experience, you can read more about it here. i started off the week on a high note by attending a Foundations yoga class with one of my besties at Om Factory’s midtown location. even after just one experience there, i would recommend this studio: the staff was friendly, the space was really cool and clean and inviting, and they offer a wide variety of classes. i plan to go again this coming Monday…and once i start getting a little more comfortable with this whole yoga business, i def would like to try acro and aerial yoga classes.

Om-Factorylooks pretty darn awesome.

2. Biergarten at the Standard. located at the bottom of the see-and-be-seen Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking district, this trendy biergarten is a fun, loud, laid-back after-work spot that attracts a super diverse crowd: you’ll share a picnic table with suits guys and groups of girls in flip flops and tanks and people coming right from the gym or yoga all at the same time. it’s always a fun spot (especially if you get there early enough to grab a table), almost always crowded, and makes for some great people watching. they practice segregation, too: there are two bars, one solely serving beer and another for the non-beer drinkers,  serving just wine and hard alcohol.

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it’s a fun place to go with groups, which is what we did last night for one of my close friend’s “leaving our workplace” drinks (so sad!). you can play ping pong, or try to name all the flags of the world, or try to convince the bouncer you’re not Zooey Deschanel. the possibilities are endless.

brgtrnhave i mentioned how wonderful and lovely my girlfriends are? yeah, i think i have.

3. Ambrose Hall and Beer Garden at the South Street Seaport. one of my fave things about NYC is that you can walk down a street you’ve been down countless times before, and suddenly you discover something entirely new. (and a line from a Beauty and the Beast song just immediately popped into my head: “there may be something there that wasn’t there before”…brrrppp Disney fan). walking around the South Street Seaport downtown yesterday, which is such a charming, quaint part of Manhattan, we stumbled upon a brand-new outdoor bar over looking an open square of picnic tables where they were setting up for a concert.

not much of a beer girl at all, but every now and then in the middle of sunshine, it seems right

not much of a beer girl at all, but every now and then in the middle of sunshine, it seems right

directly across the street is Ambrose Hall, the affiliated restaurant. it’s a fun addition to the Seaport, and i see many after-works potentially happening her. this is one perk of working downtown — i love being near the Seaport and definitely need to take advantage of it more often.

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4. Amélie
a girlfriend and i got all European last Friday after work and hit both a French and an Italian wine bar on the same evening. this was my first time at Amélie, a modern French wine bar & bistro in Greenwich Village. it proved to be a bright, lively little spot with a nice wine assortment, good happy hour prices, and a staff who all speak French. can’t hate any of that.

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it strikes me as more of a hang-out-with-the-girls-after-work place than a good date spot, as it’s not the coziest or quaintest of places, but it’s got a fun little charm of its own and the bartenders were really friendly. i think my favorite part was that little wooden sliding ladder behind the bar and all the wines displayed.

photo from yelp.com

photo from yelp.com

5. Virgola. i definitely have saved the best for last, purposefully. this little gem of a “blink-and-y0u’ll-definitely-miss it” wine and oyster bar was one of the best surprises i’ve stumbled upon in my city as of late — or possibly, as of ever. after leaving Amelie and putting our names in for dinner at Rosemary’s next door, we decided to walk down the street — and my friend saw a cast iron gate that reminded us of Paris, so we had to stop and see what that was all about.

phototurned out to be suchhhhh the right decision. this place was unlike any restaurant i’ve ever experienced, and we quickly knew we would be foregoing Rosemary’s that night.

first of all, it wasn’t an actual “restaurant space” — it was a former 6-foot wide alleyway, which owner Joseph Marazzo bought and creatively turned into an intimate little restaurant with only a few tables and a wonderfully dark, cozy appeal. the painted black walls, the assortment of locks, the attentiveness of the waiters, and the quality of the wine and seafood all combine to make Virgola a truly darling and unique experience.we couldn’t stop proclaiming how happy we were to have found this spot! it was the perfect little place for a girls’ date on a Friday night.

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meaning “comma,” or a “pause,” Virgola certainly offers a welcome place of rest in the middle of a hectic city. i definitely need resting spots like this more often in my life.

and now, after a very fun but extremely busy week of traipsing around the city every night, i’m more than ready for a relaxing weekend upstate at the lake. hope you’ve all had a great week!

Questions:
Preference: beer garden/noisy fun hall or a little wine bar? wine bar for me, unless with a big rowdy group!
Favorite type of wine? i love me a good dry rosé champage.

 

i did yoga and i liked itttttt

last night, i went to my very first yoga class.

let’s just let that sink in for a second, mmmkay? because for me, that’s a pretttty big deal.  talk about facing your fitness fears/doing something totally out of your comfort zone — that’d be yoga, in my world.

i honestly had no idea what to expect, and as i’ve shared before, i was prettttty sure i’d resemble something along these lines:

funnyyoga
thankfully, it wasn’t half that bad. as in, i felt pretty amazing and like i could totally get the hang of this and enjoy it as a complement to my running.

one of my bestest friends is really into yoga and has been so amazingly consistent in encouraging me to try a class with her for the past, errr, six months or so, and she took me to a Foundations class last night at Om Factory in Midtown. annnnd it was pretty darn awesome.

i’ve read quite a few other bloggers’ posts recently about “facing their fitness fears,” and i think yoga was about as close to a fitness fear for me as i’ve experienced in a while. it was more of the complete uncertainty surrounding it, worrying that i’d feel so silly in a room with a bunch of amazing yogis who know all the pose names and have these super flexible hips and hamstrings which my runner’s legs can only cry about.

and, like, om symbols and lotus flowers tattooed all over them and be way, way cooler than i am.

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in all honesty, i think i stayed out of a yoga studio for months because i was just so darn sure that i’d be that bad at it. and if you know me, you know that’s something i struggle with: i hate being bad at things. it’s not even that i’m super competitive with other people (okay so mayyyyyybe a little sometimes) — i just get really hard on myself. i should be able to run faster. i should be able to spin better in salsa. i should just naturally be an amazing yogi, because i like planks. and yoga pants.

when in reality, we need the learning curve. we need new challenges and new opportunities to grow; new ways to push ourselves both mentally and physically; new feats to embrace and ways to move ourselves forward. we cannot all be amazing at everything the first time, and there’s so much to learn from the journey.

a242
so what if i wasn’t doing any headstands or weird animal-named poses or touching my toes to the back of my head (seriously people, join the circus. right, i’m just jealous)…

yogahard
i still felt so good and so accomplished just trying something new, and stretching myself (pun intended?) in a different way. it was nothing like the workouts i’m used to, but it was still strenuous at times and definitely enjoyable and challenged me, which is all i can ask for.

and every time she said to get into plank position, my little heart rejoiced. at least i’ve got that one down, without having to see what Alex was doing beside me. me and planks are super tight.

superheroplanks
i definitely enjoyed myself and would go back in a heartbeat. it wasn’t half as intimidating as i expected and made me very conscious of how i was using my body. i’m not as self-aware when i’m running, as i am so used to it and just zone out with my music on and go for miles, whereas with this, i was totally focused on the lines of my body and how i was breathing and just being present with myself. and that was a really nice, unexpected change of pace.

so yay for yoga class #1 being tucked away behind me! already looking forward to the next.

Question:
What’s a fitness “fear” you have, or something you’re skeptical to try?
Any big yoga fans out there? Serious question for you: where do you buy your cutest yoga pants? 🙂

What I Love Wednesday (10/30)

1. Something I love from today: A not-yet-too-chilly river run early in the morning before the sun came up…and realizing I don’t mind running in the dark as much as I’d anticipated. No kidnapping, no scary guys, no bears. Just me, a few other brave dark runners, and the gift of being able to watch a dark sky transform into a new day in the time it took me you to run off my sleepiness and begin anew with the dawn.

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We often forget that just awaking to another morning is a gift. And being able to run, or walk, or bike, or do yoga, or use our healthy bodies in ways to make us healthier…well, those are blessings indeed.

runningisagift

2. Something that absolutely amazes me and of which I’m totally envious:

yoga

Love the quote for sure, but toooootally envious of the craziness that this yoga chick can do. It’s amazing how so many of us stick with what we initially love and are good at (running, strength training), and don’t even try things that make us a bit nervous because we’re afraid we’ll totally suck (ah-hem, yoga). But at one point, we weren’t amazing at running or strength training either — we began at the bottom, and what made all the difference is that we stuck with it. And then we began kicking ass.

So basically what I’m saying is, I’m sure that if I start yoga, I’ll be able to do this in no time. Right. No sweat. But at least I can match my mat to my pants like she does, sooooo…we’re pretty much equals.

3. Something I’m looking forward to this week: Halloween party tomorrow night at my friends’ apartment! I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been a big fan of dressing up, and I think I’ve had some pretty decent costumes in the past. The only problem is that I always wait til the last minute to determine my plans/costume, so I’ll be scrambling tonight and tomorrow to figure out what to wear. I’m dancing around a few ideas right now, so we shall see. I love me some dress-up holidays!

Apparently so does ProCompression, as they have a limited-edition Halloween compression sock available right now. Entirely appropo and I love to see fitness companies having some fun with their products! Just not sure how often I’d wear these babies the rest of the year…like, every day that isn’t in October. Still, they’re cute and festive and fun and the spider isn’t even a scary one, so that’s a plus.

 

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4. A food I’m liking this week: Quest bar’s Double Chocolate Chunk flavor (all-natural line). I feel like this flavor must be new, but if not, then it’s just new to me. It’s a good one. Not Cinnamon Roll good, but good. It has chunks of bittersweet chocolate in it, which is a nice addition to the chewy texture of these lil guys. And as always, can’t beat the protein (20 grams per 160 cals!).

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And finally…

5. Some inspiration. And words to live by. And a “To Do” list for the rest of the week. And every day. For the rest of our lives.

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Questions, friends! Tell me tell me:

What’s good in your life this week??
Halloween, yay or nay? Costumes?

 

 

 

Running in the prettydark and buying snowboard clothes.

This morning, something happened that I’ve sorta been dreading for a couple of weeks now. Granted, it wasn’t as bad as I’d anticipated, but it was a semi-unpleasant foreshadowing of what’s yet to come in the not-so-distant future:

I ran (alone) before the sun came up.

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(I swear the sky looks lighter in the pictures than it really was.)

Granted, pre-dawn was lovely, and at least it wasn’t too chilly yet, but still…I wasn’t initially stoked about running in the prettydark, or at least running alone in the prettydark.

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Although the city is certainly charming at this time of morning…

This means it’s almost not AutumnSummer anymore. And that’s not super fun. In NYC, we’re used to people being everywhere, and this is one time I’d rather have people around…you know, just to minimize the whole getting stolen probability. Or meeting crazy people brandishing scissors. Those sort of things don’t excite me much.

I took my regular route along the west side path, which is usually dotted with a good number of early-morning runners and bikers like myself…but today, I maybe passed 10 people (being generous) on my 2.5 miles uptown before turning around. Thankfully nobody stole me (phew), but still, it’s more comforting to have more people around at that hour, not to mention a bit of an annoying reminder that I’ll soon be experiencing cold, dark mornings rather than the lovely ones I’ve had these past 6 months or so. Bum.mer.

Nothing like starting Tuesday off with a little running rant, no? But at least I got my 5-miler in, despite some sore legs and nagging hip pain, with a similar pace to my Saturday run.

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Post-run thought to self: Must start doing yoga.

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And not just because I love the cool pictures of yoga girls — because these hips and hamstrings are screaming to be stretched.

Okay, okay…and maybe because I feel like yoga is this super exclusive elite club with its own vernacular that totally baffles us outsiders. I’ve always been into languages and could use some vocabular spicing.

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Pretty sure I can rock child’s pose, cobra, and that mountain stance. Done.

So, remember those Burton first layer leggings I couldn’t get out of my mind? Not only did they come home with me, but this happened as well:

shirt

A girl can never have too much Aztec-patterned first layer snowboard gear, especially in New York City. I’m sure I’ll have lots of opportunities to wear these…like lounging in my apartment or for future Monday night Bachelorette viewings. No but seriously, I can’t wait.

And of course this rekindled my fire to work in snowboard retail and retreat to mountain bum life. Nothing like a good trip to SoHo’s Burton store to bring a girl back to her roots. Unfortunately, Burton isn’t hiring any sales people in NYC (weiiiird), which is a bummer, because I feel like it’s a huge market for outdoor Winter sporting gear, no?

A girl can dream. And maybe one day, I’ll work where I get powder days off. 🙂

Question: Snowboard or ski? Or just a fan of the cool gear? Hey, ‘cuz that’s totally okay.

I went to Harlem and I sort of cooked.

TGIF! It’s starting to cool down here in NYC — September certainly seems to have gotten that memo — which has made for some beauteous morning runs this week. My legs are unfortunately still a bit sore (grrr) but the absence of humidity makes everything easier and I’m lovin’ these 60degree mornings.

photoYesterday’s run felt pretty good, but the one thing I’m realizing is that I think I’m coming out of the gate too quickly. I suppose it’s fine for my short runs but I definitely won’t be able to sustain this pace for a longer run, and I’m getting worried I might be tiring myself out. I think I’ll plan to slow it down a bit tomorrow on my longer run and see how I feel. My splits certainly attest to the fact that I think I’m running a one-mile race against myself or something when I start out, and then my body tries to recalibrate and hold me in check. Calm it down, girl. Nobody’s watching, and those cyclists will always hate runners be faster.

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I’ve been having a Quest Bar for breakfast almost every day lately, and I’m totally digging them. They keep me full for hours and I ordered their 12-pack of the All-Natural line as a way to try a bunch of flavors. I had the Chocolate Peanut butter this morning and liked it, but the Cinn Roll is totally holding strong as the front runner. Pretty sure that guy won’t be usurped. I have a longstanding habit of playing favorites and this is no exception.

quest

 

So last night I trekked up to Harlem after work to check out two hot spots: Red Rooster and a friend’s new sweet apartment (with his own backyard — totally clutch in NYC).

So Red Rooster — what a cool spot. You get off the 2-3 train and basically trip into the place, and it’s this fabulous neighborhood icon designed with the vision of embodying the heart and soul of Harlem’s culture and history. It has this true Americana feeling and eclectic Southern-style decor, and the place was hopping by 6pm. I only stayed for one glass of wine and didn’t try the food, but I want to return sometime to check out their jazz nights.

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The highlight for me was when this old black gentleman sat down next to me at the bar in a spiffy suit with little circle wire-rimmed glasses, sporting a red bow tie and a shiny cane, and calling everyone who worked there by name. He was obviously a regular and was in his glory, as though he ran the place and couldn’t imagine being more content anywhere else. I wanted to hug him but settled for just staring at home the whole time and hoping he’d want to be my friend. His presence there just solidified how cool this spot is.

So then we checked out my friend’s apartment (which gives a whole new meaning to the term “one-bedroom in NYC” — seriously, you get way more bang for your buck in Harlem) and I tried to remember how to cook. Okay, so I  cut up tomatoes and avocado and manned the Pandora with wine in hand while he grilled. Either way, we ended up with some pretty amazing fish tacos which we were able to enjoy outside on his patio. Success.

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I can’t say I’m ready to make the move to Harlem but having a huge apartment with an outdoor space is such a precious commodity in this city. I guess the next best thing to having it yourself is having generous friends who will let you invade at will.

On a fitness note: I’ve been thinking lately that I need to give yoga a whirl (like I haven’t been saying this for the past 5 years), mainly because all the muscles in my legs are so tight these days that sitting Indian-style is about as comfortable as getting my eyebrows threaded. The only problem is that when I try to motivate myself by looking at pretty yoga posing women, all I can think is “There’s no way in H my hips will move like that” and “I really love her tattoo.”

yogahard

So now I’m about as intereted in doing yoga as I am in getting a tattoo…but at least that’s a start in the right direction.

Hope your weekends start off wonderfully, loves! xoxo

Question: Do you do yoga? Do you have tattoos? Should I do both? 🙂