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Hi guys!!! Ya miss me?! I hope everyone had a marvelous weekend, despite the nutty weather that’s been sweeping the East Coast these past few days!

This weekend I traveled to Palm Beach, Fl. to watch my beautiful friend Brenna get married at the stunning Breakers Hotel!

“Traveled” doesn’t really do my journey justice, however.

“Traveled” seems to imply one relatively contiguous journey—a sensible, point A to point B mission. And that’s not quite what I (and Nellie, her bf Eli and a friend who ‘traveled’ with us) experienced….

On Friday, we were put to the test to see just how badly we wanted to get to this wedding. Ready for it?

  • 2:30 pm: Our flight is scheduled to arrive in PBI at 5:30.  A FIFTEEN minute storm rolls in once we’ve boarded, and we are delayed on the tarmac.
  • 5:30 pm: We are delayed on the tarmac so long… three hours to be exact…that we are forced to exit the plane and wait in the terminal due to the new Passenger Bill of Rights.
  • 6:30 pm: Wait in the airport for approximately an hour, frantic and borderline in tears, until it is announced that our flight is cancelled. Eli is brilliant and waits in the NEED HELP (!) line during this time. And need it we do.
  • 7:00 pm: Fiddle impatiently while the Delta rep crunches numbers. Finally: our only option? A flight to FORT MYERS, FL. In case you don’t know (I didn’t and should have been sitting down), Fort Meyers is on the opposite side of the state from Palm Beach.
  • 8:00 pm: We go for it anyway. While we rush to our new flight, Nellie’s parents (bless them) get on the horn with Hertz and set us up with a rental car.
  • 10:30 pm: 2 Hour delay on Fort Myers flight. Finally get our butts off of NYC ground after another 1.5 hrs on tarmac. I am about to start breathing into my barf bag.
  • 1:00 am: Land in Fort Myers
  • 1:30 am: Retrieve rental car from Hertz and champion Nellie drives her delirious passengers to Palm Beach, Florida.
  • 4:30 am: Arrive at Breakers hotel. Memories are scattered and intermittent. What I do know? Hell nor high water could have stopped me from diving into that big marshmallow bed.

I’m not gonna sugarcoat it—this was one of the most miserable travel experiences of my life.

So you might ask, was it worth it? Well, why don’t you be the judge...

Trolley ride to the ceremony, which was simple and beautiful.

Tuna tartare hors d’oeuvres at cocktail reception

First dance before dinner is served in the ballroom.

I want to note that I love all of my friends and believe each is marvelous in her own way, but Brenna…this bride…is one of the sweetest, strongest, most generous and loving people I have ever met. And by society’s standards, she has every reason not to be— outrageously beautiful, smart, successful AND kind to boot? You betcha. Like this wedding, you almost have to see it to believe it.

Because of this, watching Brenna’s dreams come to life and her utter joy was so incredibly gratifying! I really and truly relished her happiness.

Aaaand the four course dinner, which was HANDS DOWN the BEST wedding food I’ve experienced. The presentation and service alone woulda knocked my socks off and made up for average wedding fare. But every single bite was absolutely scrumptious!

A Trio of Crab! The fried cake on the right, served with a fruity salsa and some sort of aoli, was my favorite!

Doughy multigrain roll and soooffftttt buttah

Champagne and Sauvignon? Don’t mind if I do!

Mixed greens, sliced strawberries and watermelon, candied cashews and a tangy/sweet vinaigrette. YUM!

The real stunner: Miso-glazed Chilean Seabass over creamy mashed potatoes. This was some of the best fish I’ve had in a long time–it practically melted as my fork cut into it, and I could DRINK the glaze that came on top. Clean Plate Club gold member on this one.

This pictures does NOT do the size of this love-cup justice! It was a CHALICE and every single piece was edible! A few of the contents? Ice cream trio of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry with whipped cream, a while chocolate straw, and mini chocolate cups filled with toppings like crushed Oreos and sprinkles. Even though we were stuffed from dinner, we all dug into these babies!

Tuxedo strawberries. Whoever decorated these, infinite kudos.

[Apologies for the artsy chiaroscuro pic]. To top it all off? FUNFETTI WEDDING CAKE!!!!!   I.Mean.How.Cool.And.Delicious.

The structure of dinner was sheer genius, in my opinion. The bride and groom had picked out an incredible band, and they started up for a few killers songs between each course. Not only did it give the servers a chance to clear our plates and bring on the next treat, but it let us burn off some of the energy we’d just consumed and make room for the rest!

I didn’t take too many pictures of the dancing and after party, but if the meal above is any indication, it was an experience of a life time. Every single detail had been cared for, crafted to absolute perfection, and I think we all felt a bit like princesses honoring our queen!

Fair maidens!

I just feel so incredibly grateful that Brenna wanted me to be a part of her magical weekend, and I wish her and her handsome hubby a continued fairytale!

So, judges, was the nightmare worth the dream?

I feel safe assuming that your verdict is a RESOUNDING YES! No contest.

Before I letcha go, I want to share a few travel eats that helped my sanity and my wallet get through the weekend!

Pink Grapefruit Sparkling Ice. Our friend Preston drinks these all the time, and they tasted fabulous to Nellie and I circa THREE AM on Saturday morning. I adore this flavor and will definitely be sneaking it in as the occasional treat!

Airport salvation in the form of Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter cups. Be still my heart. I will be proudly purchasing these as the NON-occasional treat.

I 100% believe in enjoying the fruits of your particular environment when on vacation. However–with the summer events stretching out before me, I really need to cut costs where I can. So I bought some TJs whole wheat English muffins, almond butter packets and unpictured Grab the Gold bars to get me through the mornings. Ain’t no shame in this game!

Alrighty kids, I’m off to keep catching up from this zany and fabulous weekend! Feels good to be back on your screens :).

Have a wonderful Monday night!

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First things first…Happy Father’s Day!!!

I’ve spoken to my dad on the phone and via text today, but I gotta use this forum to give him another shout out!

My dad is one of the most brilliant, humble, capable and sensitive people that I have ever known. He has demonstrated to me and my brothers that love often appears in its strongest form subtly, through consistency, reliability, and sometimes plain teeth-gritting BEING THERE. That the stuff that matters to a child, at the end of the day.

I feel unbelievably blessed, not only to have him as my fan and confidant, but to have him as a nigh-perfect role model for the man I want to end up with someday. Plus, I’m his spittin’ image, and that’s always fun!

Now, before I jump into another “movie-reel” style recap, a quick FINAL reminder:

MY GRAB THE GOLD BAR GIVEAWAY ends TONIGHT!

If you’ve somehow missed it :), I am giving away an entire box of the most delicious and nutritionally powerful “snack” bars that I’ve come across in my live long day.

After multiple late nights debating across the conference table, the people of Grab the Gold went back to basics. YUMMY says it all.

Seriously people, you gotta trust me on this one…you WANT these bars! I tested them out on two more GTG newbies this weekend and per usual, they both could.not.stop.raving.

There’s just NEVER a bad time for a Grab the Gold!

Bedtime snack attack!

To enter the giveaway, click HERE to see my original giveaway post, read the instructions on how to participate and get in the GTG game! The party ends at 11:59 pm EST tonight.

Now that we got that out of the giveaway, it’s time for another Beanie Bumbles feature film!

This weekend was jaaaamm packed for me. I panicked on Thursday when I actually swallowed that I am going to be out of town for the next FOUR weekends in a ROW! So basically, any errands that I can only run/might have to run on a weekend in the next MONTH needed to be taken care of THIS weekend!

[The word ‘weekend’ is starting to sound strange in my head from overuse.]

HOLY MOLY. Despite the bazillion errands I had to (and did!) accomplish, the past few days were a blast, as I had two UVA girlfriends from my The-The-The Theta pledge class in town! PLUS, my bestie Nellie’s birthday is this Wednesday, and we celebrated her day of arrival last night at the amazingly YUMMY Alta Restaurant!

Gang’s all here :). Out-of-town special guests Frances (pretty blonde in yellow) and Lacy (pretty blonde purple animaly print rawr!).

In order to tick everything off my “to-do” list AND see my friends, I ended up being a serious STREET SNACKER this weekend. What you are about to see are the noshes that got me through, all of which I would highly recommend adding to your foodie repertoire if you haven’t already!

[Oh and apologies in advanced for my deee-sgusting nails. Promise I’ll get on that.]

Nothin’ new under the sun here, and I dig it. Iced coffee with whole milk, cinnamon, cocoa powder and Splenda. Buttery lil’ madeleine.

One of two new-to-me TJs delights that I picked up. I adored this flavor, AND it has a noticeably lower sugar content than it’s flavored brethren. 14 grams of protein for 99c? I don’t hate it.

I’ve noticed moms going WILD for these things at TJs before and never understood the hype, so I picked up several flavors and tried this Iced Oatmeal Cookie first….UM mystery solved! This flavor at least is RIDICULOUSLY delicious, and several more were consumed over the course of the weekend. Can these really be healthy?! I choose to suspend potential disbelief.

One of Whole Foods’ few bargains–79 c cold seltzer, neatly offered right up near the checkout counters. I PLOW through these on the weekends.

Offered FREE in Union Square! This, along with its counterpart, was a happy surprise!

No hummus would be completa withouta pita! (It’s getting clinical).

How’d that get in there? Oh dash it all, this 5 o’clock somewhere was the best street snack of the weekend! Enjoyed with my pals at Mercadito Restaurant.

My nail was just too ugly, I felt compelled to crop. This crunchy organic Braeburn hit the spot on a hot day. Apples are Mother Nature’s best portable snack!

Last but oh, oh never least. Justin’s Maple Almond Butter, straight up squirted into the pie-hole. Sorry I’m not sorry.

Woooo-wie! Looking back, that is some pretty aggressive mobile-eating! I definitely don’t advocate meals-on-the-go when they’re possible to avoid, but the above are some really great options for sustainable energy when you don’t have a choice!

The real highlights of my weekend were actually people (!) related, but unfortunately I’m a much more attentive food-tographer than friend-tographer, so I don’t have as much to show on the human front.

Frankly, I think it’s a testament to how much fun I was having with my friends that I just didn’t really think about capturing the moment! Frances and Lacy are both such wonderful, amazing women, and I loved every minute with them.

Nellie and lacy posing on Park Ave. I wasn’t the only street-walker!

Aaaannd Nellie’s birthday dinner (which, ahem, I organized) at Alta turned out fantastically!

My gorgeous, heart of grabthegold bar friend!

We ordered a ton of delectable tapas plates, including but not limited too fried goat cheese balls with honey, bacon-wrapped dates, pork empanadas, soft-shell crab, crispy brussels sprouts and meatballs!

Such a consistently delicious restaurant with great service and a festive atmosphere. PERRRRFECT for group events!

After Alta we bopped around to a few bars for beers, before Frances and I started drooping and capped the night around 11:30.

The trifecta!

I know it sounds totally lame that I left at 11:30, but our dinner started at 7:30 and well, I was exhausted! As much as I LOVE my friends, I am a naturally introverted person, and social situations are honestly pretty draining on me. Plus, I think it’s more responsible for me to take myself home when I start to get tired and cranky, ending the night on a positive note, than to gut it out and act like a Negative Nancy. Thoughts?

Overall, this was another stupendous weekend. Not only did I get wonderful QT with some ladies I rarely have the opportunity to see, but I knocked every darn item off of my “to-do” list! Feeeeelin’ good, peeps.

I ended the weekend with my usual joyful stint at Animal Haven this afternoon:

Out-of-control black lab puppies. Sorry I look like such a creep in the background, but holding them is the only way to get their wiggly butts to stop movin’!

I just polished off a killer homemade dessert, and my full, happy tummy is ready for bed!

Breyer’s Vanilla ice cream with crumbled coconut pecan cookie and peanut butter blobs. It’s a skill.

Have a relaxing Sunday night everyone!

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Benefits with Friends

If you’ve been following my blog for even just a few weeks, you know that I adore my girlfriends. I rave about them constantly in my posts and thank my lucky stars that they’ve stuck around through the bumbles!

New York can be a bully, and I’d argue that a supportive network of pals is uniquely crucial for women living in NYC. This city is an equal opportunist, pleased to provide you with the highest highs, but just as willing to tear you down as low as you can go. If you live here long enough, you know that there’s no escaping both.

Families are far and men can be unreliable. When you’re navigating youth in NYC, you need someone there to grab the other bootstrap.

Or…feed you?

The power of female companionship and advice while we’re stuck on—and clinging to—this island cannot be underestimated.

Sometimes they have the right answer, and often it’s the answer you didn’t want to hear, but occasionally they miss the mark, and you know in your gut that their answer isn’t the right one for you.

What then?!

As we grow up and jobs become careers and boyfriends becomes spouses, friends naturally take on more of a supporting role. They stop knowing everything about your life. Likewise, you stop really knowing what goes on behind their closed doors.

And the question becomes: When do we become the ultimate authority on our own life? HOW do we—scary as it is—start trusting ourselves to make our own decisions?

I feel like I’ve been toeing this line oh so precariously lately. Very few things hurt me more than hurting my friends, but I’ve come to the frightening realization that they’re not always going to be able to fill in the gaps for me!

So how do you preserve the friendship, while making it clear that you’re sticking to your guns?

I’d be lying if I said I’d come to any sort of steadfast resolution on this. However, I am slowly learning to navigate these ‘conflicts’ so that they play out and settle permanently as mere, mellow differences of opinion:

When your bestie gives you her thoughts, and they just don’t seem to ring true…STOP for moment.

Take a deep breath and take off a sweater, a scarf—SOME layer of  self-defensiveness that you’re probably wearing (lord knows I bundle up).  Ask yourself objectively if they’re getting at something you just realllyyy don’t want to admit. Take a look at the picture from their point of view.

You will know deep in your belly if they’ve struck a truth that you couldn’t or didn’t want to see—or not!

If you still feel that they’re off base, which they’re entitled to be (!), then be grateful for their advice, tell them that you understand and appreciate where they’re coming from, but make the decision as you see fit and don’t apologize! Don’t look back. You’ve got this, girl!

If you handle it with love and tact, letting your buds know that you need their words and support even if you don’t always agree, your friendship will be no worse for the wear. In fact, I’d argue you’re one step closer to being friends for life, cause that’s what grown ups do (I’m learning)!

From knee socks and plaid skirts!

At the end of the day, we must be responsible for our decisions as adults. With age and life-complications, time with friends becomes more scarce (yet more precious!), and it’s unfair to expect your pals to still have all the answers.

So don’t! Listen to eachother, acknowledge and respect eachother’s difference without trying to change them, and know that there’s really nothin’ worth jeopardizing what you share.

Got these ones in the bag 🙂

Before you head out, don’t forget to participate in my giveaway for an entire box of delicious Grab the Gold snack bars!

You can read all the details and enter by commenting on my Grab the Gold Bar Giveaway post, or feel free to comment on this post for the giveaway as well (unless you’ve already entered :)).

Have a fantastic Tuesday night!

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Hi guys! Did everyone have a fabulous weekend?!

This was a very special weekend over here; very special indeed. First, it was my sweet amazing Frankie’s birthday on Saturday!

My heart (Nellie center, Frances right) We’re sexy and we know it.

Happy birthday darlin’! I love you so much and cannot wait to celebrate your bigg-EST day very soon!

Also this weekend, our friend and healthy living blogger Sara came to visit with her boyfriend Patrick! I have LOVED keeping in touch with Sara through her amazing blog Sarasmiles.com, but there’s nothing like bringin’ it in for the real thing.

OH OH, AND another friend of ours named Elizabeth just arrived in NYC for her summer law school internship! WHEEEE!!!

I had SUCH a fantastic time celebrating life and friendship with so many wonderful ladies this weekend. The cherry on top? These past few days have led to some surrrriously good eats, so I thought I’d go movie-reel style and highlight the weekend winners.

GRAB YOUR POPCORN AND SETTLE IN!

Yesterday morning we had brunch at Peels! Peels killed it this time, and my faith in the restaurant has been 100% restored.

I drink, therefore I am.

Nellie’s SPA EGGS with whole eggs instead of whites: Goat cheese, spinach and onions as fillin’; biscuit on the side!

Eli (Nellie’s bf) ordered out this outrageous PIMENTO CHEESE STEAK SANDWICH Piedmontese beef, pimento cheese, caramelized onions. BIG BOY!

SHRIMP & GRITS: Fried egg, shrimp, house-made tasso bacon, jalapeňo grits

I had heard rave reviews of the PEELS GRANOLA, so I finally gave it a whirl this time: Maple-honey roasted oats & seeds, dried fruit, yogurt. This is not your average granola! They use Labneh, a strained yogurt that’s even thicker than Greek, and the creamy texture perfectly offset the sweetness of the granola and dried fruit. Can you tell how thick it is?! Heavenly.

Upon my insistence, extra-crispy bacon for the table.

Sara got the Muesli, which I often order but forgot to snap. She enjoyed every bite though :). She and I also picked up one of my favorite pastries in the city before heading out…

Peels signature Buckwheat, Rosemary, Lemon muffin. OMG to-die-for-and-come-back-to-life-for-another.

Dinner was at another one of my favorite restaurants that I’ve gushed over on this blog…Emporio! I worship their pizza pie…and I think the rest of our dinner crew would concur!

L’Indivia Salad to start: belgian endive salad with grapes,hazelnut, creamy anchovy vinaigrette,ricotta salata. Looveedd the GRAPE-NUT combo hehe!

Emporio Margherita: prosciutto di Parma, fresh buffalo mozzarella, tomato. Shout out to our friend Helen who ordered this and took the ENTIRE ‘za down. Such a bad**s!

Nellie and I split and added speck (delicious German proscuitto) to the Fresh spinach pizza: porcini mushroom, fior di latte, provolone and truffle oil. UMMMM I think I blacked out while eating.

Before and between these meals there was a little bit of this’n’that!

Muffin consumption.

Aggressive subway waiting. For some reason I seemed to JUST miss the 6 train every single time! That happen to anyone else??

Few Green Monsters to keep the machine oiled.

Success with the sweetened version of Chocolate Spiru-tein! This was totally delicious in one of my smoothies. Extra bitasuga always does the trick 🙂

Farmer’s Market Jonagold. Perfection.

Today was equally as fun and jam-packed as yesterday!

This morning my roommate Carina (who just joined Equinox yay!) and I started the day with a Cardio Kickbox class. I’ve taken these a few times with the same awesome instructor, and although it does give a serious BOOT to your hiney, it’s a complete blast and the time flies by! If you’re an EQ member, I highly suggest taking Cardio Kickbox with AKIN.

Around 11:30, I headed downtown for a brunch hosted by our friend Preston to celebrate Elizabeth’s arrival in the city.

Ummm…if Bon Appetit and House Beautiful had a love-child…

I was on my best behavior and only managed to spill something once. Note the adorable yellow squares on the left? Nellie made a fabulous BANANA CREAM PIE 1-2-3 Cake!

Perfect pinwheel of tomato, basil and moz

If OD-ing on fruit is wrong I don’t wanna be right.

Preston = designer, hostess and maker of magical salads. Reci-PLEASE

She also came up with a brilliant way to introduce Elizabeth to the city! We each filled one out and read them aloud. I think we all learned a lil’ something from eachother’s cards.

Every single brunch item was absolutely SCRUMPTIOUS. Literally, everything! Along with her many other talents, Preston is an amazing cook, and I can’t thank her enough for throwing such a gorgeous get-together in the midst of her hectic schedule.

Sara had to leave right after we finished eating to cath her flight, but I’m so glad she made it. Loveddd havin her in the city for a weekend. Good thing she’s moving up here! (jk/wanna?!)

I bid the ladies adieu around 2:30, removed my jewelry, and donned my slammalamin’ purple tee and Sperrys for my weekly Animal Haven volunteering!

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again; my sessions at the shelter are the BEST way to end a weekend!

Dukes up for Cardio Kickbox

Someone real fancy came in and donated a TON of stuff to the shelter, including these scrumptious-sounding dog treats! I’m really glad this bag was sealed.

Spent the last 30 minutes of my shift chillin’ with this lil’ lady. Such an angel; she was legit in full-on vibration mode the entire time!

Last but MOST CERTAINLY not least, there was a hefty amount of snacking on and sharing these babies this weekend…

Go for it!

In the last few days, I’ve had GTG’s on the brain and on my person, so I’ve been doling them out like PEZ to my friends! Carina, Sara, Frances and Nellie all got a shot of GOLD this weekend, and I’ve heard nothing but raves.

Looks like they’re all going to be entering my GRAB THE GOLD GIVEAWAY!!!!

That’s right, kids! If you missed the big reveal, I will be hosting my first giveaway VERY SOON, and the grand prize is an ENTIRE BOX OF GRAB THE GOLD BARS! So stay tuned and don’t miss your opportunity to enter!

I’m off to enjoy a bowl of Breyer’s Vanilla with some kinda fun TBD toppings. Hope you enjoyed this goofy mockumentary and are having a lovely Sunday night!

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Memorial Day is on the horizon, guys! I hope you’re all as pumped as I am for a long and (hopefully) sunny weekend, no matter what your plans are!

Today was a busy blur, but I gotta share this ABSURD and AMAZING workout with you!

During the last circuit workout I posted, I found myself marveling at just how effective plyometric training is for getting your heart rate up AND building strength (the circuit includes some plyo).

If you’re not familiar with the painful joy that is PLYO, click HERE here to read (what I deem to be) an accurate and comprehensive description. Basically, think high-powered, explosive movements that involve a lotta jumping!

I did some online digging last night, found this workout on Self.com and enlisted Frank the Tank to try it with me. And TRY we did…but after the first move, we weren’t quite sure what I’d gotten us into…

Forgive me.

Self Magazine Embarrass Yourself at the Gym and Like it Plyometric Workout:

REPEAT EACH OF THE BELOW FOR ONE MINUTE. TRY FOR ROUND 2 IF YOU DARE.

Soaring Eagle

Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms down. Squat, leaning torso forward and extending arms behind you, palms facing ceiling. Explode up, reaching arms and legs wide. Land with knees soft, feet hip-width apart, and squat low again.

Pop-Up

Start on all fours, knees under hips, wrists under shoulders. In a single, quick-fire movement, contract abs, push off floor with hands and jump to feet. Finish with knees bent, arms raised out front at shoulder height, palms down. Return to kneeling.

Pogo-Stick

Stand with feet apart, arms down and knees slightly bent. Contract abs and quickly push off toes, bursting up with feet and wrists flexed. Land softly on balls of feet with knees slightly bent.

Hurdle-Hop

Stand with feet together, elbows bent 90 degrees. Engage abs and hop from one foot to the other, raising leg up and out to side as you bend it. Allow arms to move freely to help balance.

Skater

Jump from side to side, landing on one leg and swinging the arms with each jump. This is a lateral move, so keep your body low to the ground, knees bent and don’t jump up too high.

Tush-Tuck

Lie faceup with knees bent, feet flat on floor and arms straight up. Contract abs and quickly roll up to standing. Then jump up and kick heels up and behind you toward butt. Land with knees slightly bent and return to start.

Open-Sesame

Stand with legs together, knees bent, elbows bent 90 degrees. Engage abs, then jump feet apart wider than hip-width, toes pointed out, knees soft. Jump feet back together.

Flutter-Kick

Lie faceup. Squeeze abs and butt as you alternately kick right leg and left leg quickly up toward ceiling.

The Straddler

Stand with left knee bent and right leg extended to right, elbows bent 90 degrees. Engage abs, then push off left foot and lift up vertically, driving right knee up. Land softly on right leg with left leg extended to left side.

Gettin’ Jiggy

Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms overhead. Hop on left foot, bending right knee to bring up right foot as you reach left hand toward right ankle to tap it. Hop onto right foot, bending left knee to tap left ankle with right hand.

I’m not gonna kittyfoot around with you guys, this workout is HARD. And to an innocent bystander, the moves (names should have been a clue) look absolutely ridiculous–we were in front of a giant Equinox window and appeared to be performing some sort of sick Broadway/Vaudeville act for passersby on the street below. 

HOWEVER, figuring out how to do each goofy exercise was a lot of fun, and the time flew, because we were enjoying ourselves despite the discomfort! (Click on the site link in the beginning of the post to see images of each move).

More importantly, it’s a really fantastic workout that targets and challenges pretty much every part of your bod. Frances and I made it through two full rounds, except I substituted the tush-tucks for more soaring-eagles the 2nd time. My tushie was tuckered after round 1!

You might look like a freak doing it, but you’ll be a sweaty happy freak when it’s all said and done.

Not afraid of a little nostril flare. S’how you know it’s good.

End scene and bring out the giant hook–I’m off to eat dessert and crawl in bed!

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Happy Mother’s Day!!! I hope you all are as blessed as I am to have a mother that you respect and love as much as I do mine!

Speaking of mothers–guys, I was like a blinking baby coming into the world on this eighty-degree, crystal clear New York weekend!

I think they’re called shadows?

In the last few weeks, we’ve had a few scattered shots of sun and warmth, but nothing that felt and smelled like summer; nothing I trusted the way I trust a Summer day to keep its cozy arm around me morning through night.

This weekend a dead-ringer for the bliss that is summer and more, because of the sheer giddy NEWNESS of it all!

Before heading into the light on Saturday, I fueled up with a dee-licious breakfast:

Kodiak Cakes: I used almond milk instead of water, added 1/3 c cottage cheese and a dash of cinnamon, and smoothed out the mix with my immersion blender! Bananas and maple syrup to top it off. Spectacular!

I also reinstated my habit of covering any healing scars with band-aids before puttin’ my gams in the sun. Keeps the scars from darkening and staying dark.

The real question is, why would anyone buy normal nude band-aids when there are infinitely better options?

It’s generally a safe bet that I’m nursing some kind of injury, but currently things are a bit out of control. There are two other unpictured band-aids on my knees right now. My office swivel-chair is at the same level as my hazardously-sharp desk handles, and I haven’t yet learned to navigate the combination. Actually, yes I have. Elmo + Neosporin + Mederma.

On Saturday morning, I economized my time by doing 30 minutes of incline walking WHILE completing the arms portion of my Monster Strength Workout [can’t believe cap’n coordination pulled it off either]. Highly suggest!

Lunch was a picnic in Central Park with Audrey and Frances. Love that I even have a reason to use that word! PICNIC PICNIC PICNIC.

Auds, Frank and I soaked up rays AND each other’s company while we dined. The friend-luv didn’t cease when we parted ways though! At 5:45, I met Kathleen (in town briefly from Richmond) and her parents for an early dinner at DB Bistro Moderne. They had theater tickets for an 8 pm show, and I was more than happy to join them for a scrumptious early-bird special.

The food and service and Bistro Moderne were top-notch, and I enjoyed every bite of my meal! A few highlights:

Kath’s mom ordered the BLACK SEA BASS Tomato Confit, Roasted Artichokes Black Niçoise Olives, Lemon-Anise Emulsion Shaved Fennel

My MAINE SEA SCALLOPS Glazed White & Green Asparagus, Warm Herb Vinaigrette, Fumet Emulsion. Ever since Emporio, I’d been jonesing for scallops, and these did not disappoint!

Kath and I split this fantastic recommendation from our waiter: CHOCOLATE CARAMEL PALET Spéculoos Sablé, Caramel Fondant, Meringue Cherry Compote, Goat’s Milk Ice Cream.

We also received a complimentary order of warm, freshly-made Madeleines!

I had a leisurely walk home from the restaurant and spent the rest of the night relaxing and doing laundry (another seemingly incongruous combo that I managed to accomplish).

Sunny Sunday was just as lovely! It began with a coffee run to the Financier with Carina and another incredible breakfast:

Overnight Oats: 1/2 c oats, 1/3 c Greek yogurt, 1/3 milk, 1 tbs chia seeds–covered overnight; peanut butter, FROZEN bananas and cinnamon stirred in Sunday morning. Cool creamy heaven.

The next and most CRUCIAL order of business was a call to my sweet amazing mama on Mother’s Day :). My mom and I are quite close and she indulges many calls from me, but I was sure to get one in first thing today!

Soon thereafter, I joyfully found myself back in the park for a walk with my childhood AND current friend Laura.

Brothers Sisters from another mother!

Laura and I grew up together in Baltimore, and thankfully our lives have managed to coincide since :).

I said goodbye to Laura mid-morning to head home and get ready for a Mother’s day brunch at Dos Caminos Mexican Restaurant with Frances and her parents! Frances’s mom is basically my surrogate mother in NYC, and she graciously took me under her wing for some food and family time on this special day.

Forgot to snap pics so here’s a still life courtesy of the ‘net:

The coy avocado half really brings it all together.

Brunch was a blast and I can’t thank Frannie’s parents enough for including me.

Afterwards, I had to do a quick turnaround to head downtown for my final activity of the weekend–my 2nd volunteer sesh at Animal Haven!

But not before I indulged a monstrous craving for this NYC summer staple:

Vanilla cone: quick to eat, quicker to satisfy.

My 2nd time volunteering was another two hours of pure, stinky, noisy joy!

Left my heart with this lil’ guy.

I defy you to take yourself seriously when looking at a picture of a puppy with its tongue stuck out.

I concluded my Sunday with another luxuriously chill night at home, radiating heat happiness from the last two days!

As I think back on this weekend, I’m again that blinking baby, reveling in the love and beauty that I have been so fortunate to experience. And yet, something about this weekend tugged at a darker, more complicated place in my heart–a place that is just as part and parcel to the New York experience as cones and puppies and the Park. And I want to share my thoughts with you–I just need some time to articulate it.

On that note, I bid you adieu to let my mind wander and shut down for the night :). I hope you all had a wonderful weekend as well!

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As many incredible restaurants as there are in NYC, there are still a crushing number of disappointments.  So, when I do find a place that’s just good as, nay, better than I expect–man, it LIGHTS.ME.UP!

Enter EMPORIO RESTAURANT, located in the fabulous Soho neighborhood.

I’d never heard of Emporio until last weekend, when my roommate Carina took her visiting family there upon a recommendation. She returned home with praise and delicious pizza, which she graciously shared. I added Emporio to my must-visit list, but it’s a loonnggg list.

Yesterday, my dear college/life friend Allie was in town for a hot second–red-eyed in from LA for work!–and a few of our girlfriends decided to grab dinner and celebrate her brief presence.

“Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail palm trees”

And what restaurant do you think was chosen for our gathering?

IT’S A SIGN! No really, that’s the sign.

Meant to be.

Despite the slice of pizza I’d had in preparation for this experience, Emporio still blew my mind! We ended up with a sampling several parts of the menu, and nottaone let us down.

Allie’s pasta dish, made on-site with organic eggs: Taglierini--saffron-flavored hand-cut pasta, rock shrimp, cherry tomato, hot pepper.

Scallop Special. Huge, sweet and succulent, over a bed of creamy polenta and sauteed spinach (or kale?)

You know when something is SO extremely good or bad that the absurdity of it induces laughter?!

Speck & Mushroom pizza with stracchino cheese, truffle oil

That was me, ogling and consuming this pizza. I gasped and giggled my way through one of the best pizzas I have ever had.

As I ate, my brain registered only the most barbarian of sensations–warm, fatty, chewy, salty, CREAMY! I had wisely trusted Carter to order for us and hadn’t looked too closely at the ingredient list, so I’d just assumed that it was in fact cream-based.

Today, when I was able to achieve mental clarity (my caveman high lasted through the night), I looked up the menu and noticed “stracchino cheese” listed.

Creamy culprit identified! Stracchino is a type of Italian cow’s-milk cheese. It is eaten very young, has no rind and a very soft, creamy texture and normally a mild and delicate flavour.”

Apparently, Stracchino has a very short shelf-life, which makes it hard to come by. You’d better believe I have my eyes on the prize. Truly, one of the most luxurious foods I’ve experienced.

The rest of the elements were on-point as well–meaty mushrooms, buttery speck (a type of Italian prosciutto) sliced almost to transparency, drizzled with a perfectly prudent amount of truffle oil. The crust was wafer-thin but still doughy around the edges. Magnificent.

Along with the fabulous food, I was also impressed by Emporio’s rustic and cozy interior and its gracious, accommodating waitstaff. A winner all around!

I headed home in a cozy haze around 10 pm and ended my What I Ate Wednesday with a bowl of  Chocolate 1-2-3 Cake–this was my recipe “failure” from Monday night that I’ve been munching on nonetheless. It’s good, just not great, so I didn’t view it as post-worthy.

Enormous blob of Protein Frosting 2.0

I did find a way to make it great though :).

I promised you entertainment, not patience.

1-Minute Healthy Chocolate Frosting

(enough for about 1-2 servings of cake or ice cream)

  • 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil
  • 1.5 tablespoon high-quality unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Dagoba organic)
  • 1.5 teaspoon honey/agave nectar/brown rice syrup (feel free to experiment with sweetener of choice!)

Add ingredients to a microwave-safe bowl and stir to combine. It will seem like there’s too much cocoa powder but be patient. Adjust ratios to suite your taste. Heat for 20-30 seconds if coconut oil starts to solidify before you can add it to your base of choice…or mouth.

Wham bam thank you ma’am

Decadent with an intense chocolate flavor, this frosting is not only tastier than its canned counterparts but significantly better for you. No artificial ingredients, all healthy fats, and it took my mediocre cake to unimagined heights!

Off to enjoy a leisurely Thursday evening. Have a great night :).

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