New York, New York

Whenever I pull into New York City, a warmth spreads through the center of my chest. It feels like my soul is home. It’s hard to describe and somewhat weird to claim that a place can feel such a part of you, but I also can’t deny it. New York is my favorite place in the world, besides my actual home “home” and that’s mostly because of my family.

I was feeling in my element in New York.


I pulled into the city on Friday night at 10:00 PM exactly. The ride up was interesting because the bus was a half hour late arriving and the waiting area filled up quickly. I don’t handle my travel plans being changed very well, so the wait to even get on the bus was excruciating and there were too many people in a small space. I ended up stepping outside in the freezing cold. Even though it was chilly, the tension in my chest lessened and I felt a lot better. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait long for it to finally arrive. Once it did, I thought I selected a seat next to a friendly face, but either that person or the one in front of me had an uneasy stomach and the ride was filled with disgusting smells almost the entire way.

Once I did get there, I made my way on the subway to my friends’ Bobby and Ruben’s apartment and we all enjoyed a late dinner. It was restaurant week in the city, so we were able to splurge at nicer restaurants. The whole pre fixe menu includes a choice of appetizer, entree, and dessert, which sounds amazing, but leaves you amazingly full. At Lure FishBar, I started with tasty shrimp tempura, enjoyed a miso-glazed piece of perfectly cooked salmon on a bed of spinach, mushrooms, and snap peas, and finished with one of the best apple crumbles I have ever had. It was almost spoiled on me because by that point, I was so full and the serving generous. I really did enjoy myself.


Saturday morning was full of excitement because a lot was happening in the day. The starting point of which were crepes at a nearby creperie for breakfast. I selected a buckwheat crepe stuffed with some sort of fancy cheese and topped with two poached eggs and ham. It came with a salad on the side. It was an eggs Benedict crepe, but I chose not to have Hollandaise sauce because the egg yolk makes everything creamy and buttery enough and I wanted to cut extra calories out when I could.

After breakfast, Bobby, Ruben, and I headed to the theatre to watch Kristin Chenoweth in her latest Broadway Show, On the Twentieth Century. My one complaint would be that Kristin was simply not on stage for long enough. Every moment that she was, she was brilliant, per usual. The fact that Kristin Chenoweth is back on Broadway is just right. Her delivery reminded me a lot of Madeline Kahn, famous in roles from Young Frankenstein and Clue among many others, which is fitting because Madeline originated the role. The show is still in previews and already the actors have a strong grasp of their roles and deliveries, which only makes me more excited to go later on in the production when things become more solidified. The songs were operatic and beautifully arranged, the dance numbers spectacular, and even though there was a brief technological delay midway through the second act, the scenery and technology were delightful. It’s an old-school type of musical, which makes for a fun experience. I’m also now a big fan of Andy Karl’s biceps. Broadway always leaves me feeling so happy and fulfilled whenever I leave a show. There is no truer expression of talent than a live show, musical or otherwise, and it’s so exciting to know that each performance changes time-to-time. I laughed throughout the show and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face, even when stepping outside into the frigid cold.

A fun little side note was after the show, I came face-to-face with Sarah Michelle Gellar. I was a huge Buffy fan when I was younger and it was a little surreal to see someone so close unexpectedly. Most of my celebrity encounters have been purposeful at the stage door, so it was just funny to have a surprise. She was with her daughter though, so I just let her be. See, I can be a mature celebrity-obsessed human!

After the show, Bobby and I walked around for a little while taking in the sights. We ended up stopping for a quick snack. I shot this picture when we were inside the food court. Yes, that is the Statue of Liberty looming in the background. Such a spectacular view!

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Saturday night, my friend Brad arrived from LA. It was so great to see him and spend time with him on my coast! We all went out for a Mexican dinner, once again stuffing our faces. Along with some chips and salsa, I selected the chicken tacos with peppers and cheese. So good!

We were feeling ambitious on Saturday and decided to fit in a workout before heading out for a day of exploration. Bobby, Brad, and I went to a class at Barry’s Bootcamp. I thought I was in good shape, but I suffered throughout the class. While I often focus on reps and sets, this class featured time lengths, such as starting with two minutes straight of bicep curls. I was already feeling the burn during the first strength section when we jumped on the treadmill for an intense run. I can run long distance at a medium (okay, to slow speed), but I cannot sprint quickly. Though I ended up getting a great workout, it was definitely a struggle and I left feeling exhausted, but full of energy.


After getting ready, we headed out for another filling meal. I went with a burger that was very tasty, but very filling. Much to our surprise, and my intense displeasure, by the time we finally got going on our adventures of the city, it started to snow! I didn’t even bring my snow boots. I think it’s haunting me, you guys. Brad enjoyed the snow for about 2.5 seconds until it got cold and wet and unpleasant. We walked for a few minutes before stopping into a tea shop for a quick break. A little while later, Brad and I ended up heading out to Barnes and Noble to do a little writing. My view from the Union Square Barnes and Noble inspired quite a few words onto the page.

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We ended the night with a dinner at Scarpetta, once again going the restaurant week menu. I started with a Brussel sprout, sausage, and chickpea soup, moved onto a homemade spaghetti dish, and ending with a mini chocolate cake with salted caramel ice cream. It was delicious, but so heavy and I’m looking forward to getting back to my regular eating habits. I don’t ever like feeling so full that it’s uncomfortable, but when you have that price, you don’t want to pass it by, and you certainly don’t want to waste the food. Such a deal happens so rarely.

New York is always so much fun, but it also is so hard for me to leave each time. It helps to have a great family at home, but I just love this city with my whole heart. Thanks to Bobby, Ruben, and Brad for making this trip so special!

Back to the real world!


Introducing: Rave Review Tuesday!

Welcome to Rave Review Tuesday! This is the spot for me to reflect on recent books, TV shows, films, or theatre productions I have been fortunate to consume. Fortunately, I have had much more blessed time in which to digest all of these mediums this year, especially in the past couple of months. However, I think it fitting to begin with what I consider to be the greatest creative accomplishment of all time, or should I say creator, Joanne Kathleen Rowling.

Having just finished Robert Galbraith’s The Silkworm- I like that she is holding onto that name tongue in cheek style- I found that not only is she a wonderful storyteller, obvious from Harry Potter, but she is a beautiful linguist. I will not show shame in the fact that I had to look up multiple words in the dictionary while reading her newest novel. Not that I felt it hindered my experience, nor did I feel as she was stretching to use these words. She has a remarkable sense of language and how to manipulate it to create a wealth of beauty and I am continually in awe of such talent.

In the summer time, I have a penchant for mysteries, fostered in part by my mother who would pass me her latest crime novel on the beach or by the pool. Though every once and awhile I enjoy a little guilty pleasure reading, I often find I can’t stand the endings of things, be it books, films, etc. There’s always something left unsatisfying about them.

To be honest, there was a point in the book where I knew whodunit, but for Jo’s part, I kept questioning myself and in the end I was surprised by the motive. Throughout the book, I enjoyed myself. This novel wasn’t so much about the mystery anyways. From Harry Potter, The Casual Vacancy, and The Cuckoo’s Calling, I have developed a relationship with the characters she writes. You don’t always like them, you don’t always agree with them, but you understand them. They’re real. The worlds they live in may not be real however hard I pray for them to be, hello Hogwarts, but there is something delicious in getting caught up in a book and sensing that the real world around you has been flooded by its literary counterpart.

When I was reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for I honestly cannot tell you what time, it was early on though so maybe the first or second, I remember being on the beach, reading a scene that featured a stormy day and looking up into the bright sunshine and being shocked silly.

Jo’s ability to immerse her readers into these worlds that she so obviously has fleshed out in vivid detail in her imagination is beyond compare. I know that I am biased-hello I won a costume contest dressed as Hedwig (RIP)- and put her and her work on a pedestal as so many do, but even as I read Harry Potter over and over again (don’t judge me) I am still captivated by the words I know so well.

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It’s the stories like The Silkworm that reaffirm her talent and I wonder if that’s why she wanted to write under a pseudonym in the first place. My writing professor in college often said that a writer will feel great accomplishment in his/her work when they are published because they will receive so many rejections before that, but once you find major success, you start to wonder about the validity and talent of your work. My dad often says that JK Rowling could publish a book about “poop” and it would be a bestseller, which emphasizes this point. She is an artist and she wanted to sense that special moment again, so I could never blame her for that.

Sometimes when people reach success with a book, TV, or movie series they seem to resent that which made them famous because they always are associated with it. For Jo’s part that has never seemed the case. Just today she posted on Pottermore a little blurb about the Quidditch World Cup under the guise of Rita Skeeter. There’s also the movie series about the Wizarding World to look forward to in the future.

In part, I owe my creative spirit to JK Rowling and Harry Potter. It’s what made me so want to be a storyteller, to play with words, to invent. I have many eclectic tastes that I want to share with my readers as we move forward, but I had to start with this one. For me, this is the epitome of entertainment. Whether I’m curled up on the couch with a cup of tea by a fire in the middle of winter or lounging on a float in the dead heat of summer, there’s no book I’d rather be reading than one of Jo’s.

Now excuse me, it’s time I start my annual reread of Harry Potter.

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Avada Kedavra that.