Saturday, September 13, 2014

32 Things For My 32nd Year

Another birthday came and went and I'm just happy to have made it through another year (and particularly through this crazy year). I love the 30s -- much, much more than the 20s. And each year, it does truly get better. So, on to 32!

I'm starting a new birthday tradition today by setting some little wishes for the coming year. "32" might not be such a special number, but it's a new year and a new reason to stop for a moment and think about what I want in the coming months. Here are my wishes for the next year (some are definitely doable and some are just downright crazy to wish for):

  1. Enjoy something in every single day. All I've heard during pregnancy is how it will go so fast  (once the baby is born) and to enjoy every stage, no matter how difficult it may seem at the time. So this is #1 for me this coming year. Enjoy as many moments as I can...no matter how much poop I might be covered in. Literally.
  2. Remind myself (and then remind myself again...and again) that the super hard times in the first few months with a newborn will soon pass. It will get better. This too shall pass.
  3. Enjoy these last few weeks of pregnancy. Relax, treat myself and stop stressing over what's not done.
  4. I will drink wine again. And eat soft cheeses. And ham. And unpasteurized juice. And I will be very, very happy.
  5. Give myself time to get my body back in shape. It won't happen overnight or in the first month..or two..or five...but eventually, it will be back in some form. 
  6. I'll cut down on my purchases of coffee and make more at home. Well, one can wish. Ordering a drip coffee every day adds up to about $75/month. That's a lot! I have a french press...and I should use it. 
  7. I will take lots and lots of photos in my 32nd year, but I won't feel like I need to post them all every day on the social networks. Just like I said I wouldn't do bathroom pregnancy selfies. (I did do some pregnancy selfies, but I spared people from the bathroom background.)
  8. I will not get a "mom cut." I say this now, but I truly want to see if I can make it without cutting my hair short. I can do it, I can do it! I think I can...
  9. I will play lots of good music for the little man (and me).
  10. I'll remind myself over and over again that my insane emotions are due to hormones. It's not me...it's the hormones. And I will get help if I ever need to.
  11. I will spend Christmas with my whole family in Lake Tahoe for the first time. Nothing makes me happier. I don't think we've all been together at Christmas in at least 7 years.
  12. I will not give up on trying to breastfeed. I can do this. Women have done it for centuries. Lots of mamas I know are doing it and there is a lot of help. I will stick to it and not give up. And if I really can't do it, I will first exhaust every option to keep going. And then I will remind myself that my sister and I were both formula-fed and we turned out ok.
  13. I'll do my very, very best to "unplug" when I'm on maternity leave and focus on our new family member. I love my job, but there is a reason it's called "maternity leave." And when I can't unplug, I will remind myself that 12 weeks will FLY by and I need to enjoy every day at home that I can.
  14. When I do go back to work, I will feel proud that I get to go back to a job I truly enjoy, with people who are incredibly supportive. And if I need some emotional support when that times come, I know I can find that in my colleagues. 
  15. I will take a class or a course in something within this next year. 
  16. I will travel somewhere awesome with the little man in the first year of his life. 
  17. I will ski.
  18. I will start running again! It's been 8 months and I miss it.
  19. I will go to the Met Opera and see the Nutcracker at NYCB – two things I still have yet to do in this city.
  20. I'll get outside with baby and enjoy the city as much as possible during maternity leave. Or so I say I will.
  21. I will let people help me if they offer in the first few months...even if I feel like seeing no one.
  22. And I will take naps every chance I get! And I won't feel bad about it. 
  23. I'll be grateful for my husband and thank him as much as possible and be nice to him for all he does to make things easier for me. I think it's so important to recognize all he's done during this pregnancy and I owe him so much. I really hope I can not let the stress get the best of us. When it comes down to it, we always wanted a family, and now it's happening. 
  24. I'll go on a date within the first three months with my husband. 
  25. I won't spend my maternity leave on Facebook.
  26. I will thank my mom a million times for coming to help us out for the first two weeks. 
  27. I will not stress (or try not to) over the nanny/childcare situation. We WILL figure it out. Yes it's true, there are few options if you live in NYC and you're middle class with no family, but we will find an option that works for us and I need to keep the faith that all will work out.
  28. I'll ignore (or smile and say "not sure) to people who ask me about when we're having a "second." Give me some time people. 9 months + 3 months of crazy newborn moments + crazy bodily things going on = NOT RIGHT AWAY!
  29. I'll make a damn good turkey for our Thanksgiving in NYC. Or...Agata & Valentina will and I will do a damn good job of picking it up.
  30. I'll keep working on my poor "listening skills," because I've learned I'm not the  worlds greatest listener. But I'm getting better. Nothing could possibly more important than what the people around me are saying to me at that very moment.
  31. I'll try to document things in this blog. And not all baby things. But, if it doesn't happen, it won't get me down.
  32. I'll remind myself that I actually wrote a long list of 32 things and that I should really go and read it.
364 days of 32 to go! 


Monday, September 1, 2014

hello september


September is my second favorite month of the year, after October. You can feel such a huge shift in just about everything. The sun goes down sooner, kids are back on the streets with their backpacks, the air gets cooler, new yorkers are all back in the city on the weekends and people fall back into their normal routine. I love September - and especially in New York. 

In honor of one of the most beautiful months of the year (and the end of "Summer Fridays"), I wanted to leave you with this super simple quote I read yesterday by Richard Branson that I LOVE. 
If we all did just this, the world would be a pretty amazing place. 

happy september! 


Saturday, August 30, 2014

14 Things I've Been Up To

I've been at an incredible stand still when it comes to blogging for a few weeks here and I just feel at a loss these days as to what I can write that is worth the time and effort. Many don't realize, but blogging is hard. It's incredibly time consuming. It involves a lot of spell-checking and photo-formatting and many questions to yourself like "Should I really share this with the world?" There has never been a blog that I wrote quickly and then just pressed "publish." It's no Instagram. But I love it and I need to find a way to get back to writing the little blogs that make me feel inspired and are worth the time. 

It's funny...life does get in the way when you realize you could use your time in a more productive way. This seems to have become very clear to me during this pregnancy. My thoughts consist mostly of how I could be using this time to read about how to successfully get through this pregnancy, or how to actually give birth, how to breastfeed or how to be a great parent and wife. Instead of writing a blog, I could be working harder, resting more and getting more exercise. I honestly don't know how all these "blogger moms" do it so well. They must have help. Or get paid really well to do it.

And then I have thought...that when it comes down to it, we should spend our time doing what we truly enjoy. And this space has always been something I've enjoyed doing. There's one philosophy out there that always clicked with me -- If you had a few hours of true free time, what would you naturally end up doing? And whatever that is, THAT'S what you should do more of (or make a living doing). For me it's making/eating cookies, drinking really good coffee and being on a laptop writing blog...

So, with that said, here are a few things we've been up to lately: 

1. Saw two of my classmates on Broadway in "Bullets Over Broadway." And they were basically "starring" in the show, which was incredible. It's always a treat to see someone you know living out their dreams and no matter how long it's been, my CCM musical theatre class (17 of us graduated in 2004), is like my 2nd family. I'm so proud of all the success over the years from my class. And Betsy and Eric were perfection in this show.
2. "Nested." A lot. We, or maybe I should say "Josh", helped me to fulfill my nesting needs a lot this summer. We set up the new crib (it's gettin' real folks!), hung a cool Charley Harper bird mobile, installed 6 shelves around the apartment, set up our cool Stokke high chair, washed all the baby clothes, setup a bouncy thingy, got a new seat for the Bugaboo and bought a bunch of other random baby stuff to get "ready." I think we're basically done. For now. Sorry, Josh. I owe you. (Also, my little "wilderness, little adventurer" baby theme, see here, hasn't quite happened yet...I gotta work on that.)
 
 
3. Josh started his new job, which is super exciting. After 7 years at Crumbs, it was a big deal to start over again. He is now a Project Coordinator for H & M's corporate office here in NYC. (Did you know H & M is the 2nd largest clothing retail chain in the WORLD? Second to Zara. I didn't know that.) He will be helping to manage the massive H & M build-outs in the NE region. It's really a great company and we've been so thrilled with how they seem to treat their employees (they even offer pet insurance!). He has several weeks of training, including a week in the L.A. and Toronto offices. So happy he has a great, new gig...
4. We had a great dinner at Perla down in the West Village. Such an amazing restaurant that I almost don't want to tell the world about it. Thank you to my bestie Kira and her boyfriend, Chef Jack, for getting us a great table! I have one word: gnocchi. We've also had a lot of BareBurger and Shake Shack dinners this summer. I'm blaming it on pregnancy cravings...
5. Josh watched A LOT of episodes of The Simpsons b/c of the first ever Simpsons marathon that has taken over our TV with 12 days of straight episodes -- from the very beginning of the series to end. I think we're still in the 90s era! Ugh. 552 episodes y'all. That's a lot of hours of TV. Josh MAY have sad something to the fact of "I've waited my whole life for this."
6. I had, what I think, is the best cupcake in NYC at Two Little Red Hens on the UES. It's the best you guys. 
7. Had a perfect summer afternoon with my bestie, Kira, and had a DEEEELISH lunch at Cafe D'Alsace. This restaurant is my kind of place - a classic, neighborhood french bistro. Great omelette's, burgers, salads and fries. This place takes me back to our trip one year ago to Paris, and it's right around the corner.
8. Got really busy at work. My company is moving our office up a few floors to a big, beautiful new space and I am helping with the build-out process. It's been a great learning experience so far, but also very busy. I still feel grateful every day for the work I get to do. My company is now working in 18 countries, helping many deserving people gain access to safe anaesthesia and health care that they may not have had otherwise. I'm really proud to watch this company grow and I can't believe I have been with the entire organization for over 4 years now. 
9. Ouch. For the most part, I've felt great through this pregnancy...until lately at about 2pm every day when it all kicks in. Starting a few weeks ago, at about Week 30, this little guy really started kicking my butt (literally). I'm trying to stay active and walk at least 30 minutes every day (plus my normal walking around the city/subway) and think that helps some, but he's growing so fast now. Carrying a 4 pound weight in your stomach at all times (apparently the size of a pineapple now) is no joke. It's definitely worth every second, but I'm definitely feeling it now and it can - hurt. 
Lucy. (photo by my sis, Elizabeth Bogh)
10. I am getting older. My cute little niece, Lucy, turned 4 months; my niece, Isabelle is turning 15; my nephew, Coleman, turns 20 soon; I turn 32 and my mama turns 69! August/September must be a popular time to have babies. I also realized that I actually am getting older when I walked into H & M for the first time in a year or so and complained about the music being too loud.  
11. Josh and I met with a potential pediatrician and they had a little info session with a lot of parents all at once. It was so helpful and we learned so much about what we do/do not want in a baby doctor (i.e., we do not want a doctor who is liberal when it comes to prescribing antibiotics to a baby). We also registered for Tribeca Pediatrics' "baby care" class and I'm also doing a breastfeeding class soon. We decided to skip the super expensive childbirth/labor classes, because we figure the baby is going to come out regardless and it might be more worthwhile to spend money learning to change a diaper and swaddle.
12. We had some picnics and walks in our little neighborhood park. That's probably been the highlight of my summer – spending some good QT with my favorite person. Usually it goes something like this -- Josh runs a bunch of miles, I walk a few feet and then we come back a few hours later and sit on a blanket and stare at the East River.
13. Reading the book "The Conscious Parent." If I leave this blog here on one note, it would be that everyone (especially if you want to be a parent or are a parent) should read this book. Now. It should be mandatory to finish it before you leave the hospital with your newborn. It's incredibly powerful and will change just about every view you have of what kind of parent you want to be. Oprah and the Dalai Lama (and Josh) also say it's good. 
This is actually from today, August 29.
#33Weeks #ItHappens
14. I made it through 33 weeks (on Monday) - 8 months. That's something, right? I definitely remember it like it was yesterday that I was skiing in Tahoe at 5 weeks pregnant. And drinking A LOT of wine at my good friends birthday the day before I found out. Oops. Overall, this has been an incredible 8 months. I feel very lucky..and mostly because of the weather this summer in NYC. I have felt great for most of it and hopefully I can just make it through these last 7 or so weeks (god willing). 

Hopefully I will be back again sooner next time! And if not, Happy Labor Day (no laboring for me, please god) and Happy Almost September (my favorite time of year in NYC begins...now!).

Saturday, August 9, 2014

11 Photos From This Week

The first week of August is dunzo and all I can do is be constantly thankful for this amazing summer weather in NYC. This summer there have been only 4 days in NYC over 90 degrees. That's crazy. In 10 years here, I don't think it's ever been this mild. And I am very happy about that. Going into my 29th week of pregnancy, I've started feeling things just a bit  (well, a lot) more. I am getting more and more exhausted when commuting to work every day and it's getting harder and harder to be comfortable sleeping...or doing anything. Although, there are many moments when I still feel great. Pregnancy is a weird thing. Week 29 brought some new, much harder "kicks" from this little guy. He has some seriously strong legs. 

This week also involved: a trip to Bushwick, Brooklyn, for one of our best friends 30th bday, a walk through my favorite greenmarket in Union Square, lots of 7pm walks with Josh in our favorite neighborhood park after work, baby-related stuff and the usual work, sleep, eat, play. 

Here are a few random photos from the past week...

Somewhere in Bushwick, Brooklyn...7 months preggers.
Union Square greenmarket near my work. Nothing looks prettier on Instagram than fresh produce shots.
As you can see, we have been getting really excited about our bright orange Bugaboo stroller. So grateful to my sister, Andrea, for handing it down. I love it. And I also some of the great stuffed guys we are collecting for the little man. Can you get much cuter? No. 
More from our little venture to Bushwisk. Riding the subway with a pinata is a funny experience.
A delicioso tortilla factory in Bushwick, Brooklyn (the tortas were amazing) and Christian on his 30th bday with the pinata we brought him. I think he liked it!
I found this photo (on the left) this past week of me and my older sister Elizabeth ("Liz" to me). She was so happy to be an older sister - as she should be! And I had a ton of hair.  And the view from my new office which will be moving into soon. Not a horrible view...
And I will leave you with my favorite new quote...here.

Friday, August 1, 2014

i had a baby shower and it's featured in a lovely blog

photo by #mastenheath (Joshua Masten & Nicklaus Heath) 
I've realized that when you know someone who is awesome (like my friend Ashley Brown), then usually that means that she knows some equally awesome people (cue Nick + Josh). After knowing Ashley for many years, I have always seen Nick, and now Joshua, around NYC. I love these two guys. Not only are they the most stylish, classy and hilarious people, but they are so incredibly kind. And quite incredible at blogging

Last weekend, they came in for my baby shower (which I am still very overwhelmed by), that was thrown by two of my closest friends, Ashley and Kira. It was in NYC's Chelsea neighborhood at a beauitful photography studio space (Studio 909). It was a perfect day.  

Nick and Josh have been blogging up a storm this summer for Samantha Drew Interiors and they did an incredibly beautiful post about the shower. This blog blew me away. So beautiful and charming - just like them (and lots of fun mentions of my amazing mother!). 

If you do one thing today, you should read/follow all of Josh & Nick's social media outlets, because they will brighten your day. (They met through Instagram actually!). Find them on Instagram by searching for hashtag #mastenheath or follow each of them @joshuamasten and @heathteeth.

And without further a due, here is their beautiful blog about my incredible baby shower:


(photo by Joe Cantor Photography - bk@joecantor.com)

More photos from my baby shower to come! It was truly one of my favorite days ever.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

summer in the city

It could be worse. It could be 99 and humid. But it's not. This July has been beautiful. And at almost 7 months pregnant I am truly grateful for this somewhat cooler weather. Here's to summer polar vortexes. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Top 10: The 2nd Trimester

I swore I would never take "belly mirror selfies," but
now I get why people do. It's nice to document these months
and asking people to snap photos of me pregnant feels odd. 
And the 3 month baby countdown officially begins NOW (July 20 > Oct 20...approx.).  I can't believe it's been 27 weeks of this baby growing thing (for many of you -- that equals over 6 months  -– which means hopefully 13 more weeks to go, i.e., 3 months) and I must say, the 2nd trimester has been much easier than I imagined. I'm constantly knocking on wood. I feel lucky that (so far) I haven’t really experienced anything crazy, except for some annoying knee issues, and I totally get why they call the 2nd trimester the "honeymoon" trimester. The nausea (and the gagging on the subway every morning) wore off around Week 10 and it’s been fairly smooth sailing. 

I have been shocked at how many days go by when I actually don’t feel too different. Just bigger in the ole’ belly. I definitely (at this point) really love being pregnant. It’s a feeling that I can honestly say I did not fully understand or appreciate until it actually happened. It’s been an incredibly cool experience (minus #5 below). (New Update: As of Week 26, I think the 3rd "uncomfortable" trimester is actually starting to kick in. I shouldn't have wrote this so fast! And little man is kicking like Lionel Messi up in here!)

Here's a silly little video of photo clips I made of some 2nd trimester moments (including Josh at Target and my growing belly)...

As this blog is not only meant to share useful/fun info, it's also been a way for me to document everything in my life. So, 10 things about my 2nd Trimester...
  1.  Cravings are no joke. While I haven’t craved pickles or ice cream (or Skyline Chili...sorry Josh), I have craved nothing but lemonade and citrus for about 12 weeks straight. It’s a strange thing. If it has any hint of fruit in it, I need it. And apples with sharp white cheddar. Double yum. I also went through a period of craving nothing but Frappucino’s for a good few weeks. And I mean the kind with cookies and lots of whip. And cereal with whole milk. Cravings are a funny thing and I definitely indulge. On the days when I “crave” pizza and mac n cheese, I totally chalk it up to pregnancy cravings. “Oh…he must really love pizza!” Ha.  Also, I must note that I have definitely laid back on some of the "food rules of pregnancy." I definitely had a slice of prosciutto, a lot of goat cheese and even a bite of a hot dog off the grill...and all has been ok. I still haven't had any deli ham/turkey though and I totally miss that.
  2. No glow. My skin never “glowed.” Not once. The whole thing about “wow – you’re glowing” never seemed to make it’s way over to my face. My skin decided to do the opposite and many days I have felt like a 14 year old girl with her first breakout. That’s been fun. But I think it’s slowly getting back to normal now.  And the amount of weird moles that have mysteriously popped up everywhere is pretty weird.
  3. Belly stories. I kind of like this big belly. And I LOVE not having to “suck it in” – ever. Best perk of pregnancy for sure. Once I got the full on belly (and not just my normal belly fat), I have really grown to love it. Minus the times it gets as tight and hard as a rock, usually after eating. I like that I look pregnant and people know it right away. It makes things easier and definitely helps with scoring seats on the subway and the bus. And around 20 weeks when I started to feel little “flutters” or kicks, it became pretty awesome. I do miss sleeping on my stomach though…that’s definitely an issue.  They need a better invention for pregnant stomach sleepers. 
    Ok, it's a bit of a weird angle, but my new theory:
    There's only 9 months to really let it all out...
    So, why not let it out and be proud
    (instead of self-consious)?!
  4. Riding a subway. Speaking of subway and bus, I’ve been surprised by the number of people who will notice me (obviously pregnant) and not bother to get up or move over.  I can’t imagine doing that. I am fine standing at this point, but I just thought it was common sense to let a pregnant woman sit down. I hate to generalize here, but it’s usually the older men who just don’t seem to have a clue. Love that. Look up from your phone once and let the big bellied woman sit.
  5. The comments. This has been for me one of the only negative things about pregnancy so far. The things people will say to me are truly shocking sometimes. “Wow…you’re not due until October. That’s gonna be a big baby.” Really? Well, thank you, because the last person told me I look “small” for this time.  Or “Must be twins! Haha”  Yeah, that’s so hilarious.  I can assure you, sir, that it’s not twins and that you’re rude. MY ADVICE: Always tell a pregnant woman she looks awesome and just don’t say anything else. And then ask yourself “Would you make this comment to someone who wasn’t pregnant?” (Example:  “Wow…your boobs are massive.” My usual reply – No way! I didn’t seem to notice!)  I think it might just be easier to lie and say I am due next month. Saves some headache, ya know? But enough of that…I am healthy, the baby is healthy and I have gained 11 lbs (out of the suggested 25-35lbs) so apparently I am on some sort of track.
  6. Registering for a baby is no small task. After deciding where the heck to register (there are at least 10 good places), first-time moms have to consult every piece of advice and resource out there to know what she will need. And the opinions coming at you from all angles seem to all be different. Should I register for the cute burp cloths or the most functional or the cheapest? Should I register for baby furniture or is that our responsibility? Should I register for bath toys or just the essential things I need? Should I register for a breast pump or is that just weird? Should I register for the jogging stroller - we definitely need that, right? And a diaper bag....can't I just use one of my larger purses? Why do I need a whole new bag to hold diapers? Registries are hard and it took me a good 4-5 weeks to really get mine together – and I still change it every other day. And when it really comes down to it, babies don’t really need any of it. From what I heard they just need milk and a lot of love (and 8-12 diapers a day).
  7. Passing the glucose test. I have never been so nervous about the 24-week glucose test that checks for gestational diabetes. It’s one of those things you just don’t know if you will have or not. It’s very common and I surely didn’t want to have to worry about it. To prepare for it, I had to drink this orange “glucola” (barf) that had 50g of sugar in it in approx. 5 mins of less. Then they take your blood. After all the sweet citrusy fruits and juices (and m & m’s) I’ve been consuming, I just didn’t know.  Luckily and somehow, I had a very low score and the doctor told me to keep up whatever it was I have been doing nutritionally. Shocking. But a great day.
  8. Nesting. I don’t know if it’s truly “nesting” or having moved into a new apartment, but I have become overwhelmingly obsessed with getting our apartment in good shape not only for us but for a baby. We painted all three rooms (and a chalkboard wall), got a new bed, hung some curtains and shelves and I still feel like there's so much to do. I literally can’t stop thinking about what still needs to be done and I should probably just relax, but I know that in 3 months, apartment decor will take a major backseat. Ultimately, I love everything we’ve done with our little apartment and couldn’t be happier that we moved. We should have done it years ago. 
  9. Ultrasound Central. I've had way too many ultrasounds. At our anatomy scan at 19 weeks (it’s a BOY!), they take about 200 different measurements of the baby. And NY Presby Hospital won’t let you pass the anatomy test until they get every last finger, toe, etc. I had to go back 3 times because little man didn’t want to uncurl himself and get his picture taken. I was starting to get frustrated and worried that these sound waves could actually cause harm to the womb, but luckily they didn’t and all 10 fingers and toes were finally accounted for and I got a few extra photos for the books. I now have quite a few photos of his legs crossed...identical to how Josh sits on the couch, to prove it. 
    26 weeks...
    trying to be cool and looking crazy.
  10. Calm. Lately, I think there has been this overwhelming sense of calm that has come over me and Josh. Maybe it’s because this is the calm before the craziest storm of our lives, but I have noticed that things have been relatively stress-free. And I love that. (It could also very well be the Caribbean vacation we just took, but it's been a great few weeks where we’ve started to get excited about the idea of hanging out for life with this little guy.) I couldn’t be more excited to see my husband as a Dad. It’s something I have always looked forward to and that makes me just generally happy. I am holding on to these good, calm feelings for as long as possible and hoping the final trimester will bring more positive things (although I am sure a lot of anxiety and nervousness) into our life.
Onwards (and outwards)!



Sunday, July 13, 2014

Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Know About The Exumas

I am tempted to just post a bunch of photos of our trip to The Exumas and call it a day. The images really speak for themselves. Although I do have to say that I was shocked at how many people have no clue where The Exumas are (or even what they are). I would say most people we talked to about our upcoming vacation would say "where is that?". Honestly, I kind of love that. Our little vacation secret. When really, the Exumas are just a 25 minute flight (on Bahamas Air or Sky Bahamas Air) from Nassau, Bahamas. And probably an hour or so flight from Miami. So easy to get to, yet so remote, rustic and quiet. From NYC to The Exumas, it took a total of 5 hours of travel time (and we had layovers...).

Whether you go to swim with the pigs, go fishing/diving/snorkeling/kayaking or just veg out for a week (ex: me - above), the Exumas are definitely an exotic yet calm place. I would recommend for anyone who truly needs to get away from it all and have some peace and quiet. There is no "entertainment" or shopping on the island (although there is a Sandals resort on Great Exuma)...so if you need that, this is not your spot. There are quite a few celeb homes – Johnny Depp, Faith Hill/Tim McGraw, the Hennessey man and David Copperfield's private cay are all nearby. I can basically count all the restaurants on one hand. The grocery store closes at 10AM some days and you won't see a person sometimes for miles as you drive down the island. If you don't have gas in your car Saturday night, then you're basically out of luck until Monday. It's magical and my kind of vacation. 
The Bahamas Outer Islands

The Exumas Island are all about the water. And let me just say, I have NEVER seen water this color in my life. The most perfect – and i mean perfect – turquoise ever. Not even in Belize, Eleuthera, the Virgin Islands, Mexico or DR had we seen water this blue/green. Photos really don't even begin to capture it. 

We had learned about the Exumas awhile back when we honeymoon-ed on the equally-awesome island of Eleuthera (which most people also don't know of). We had always wanted to visit all of the Outer Islands of the Bahamas, because they are truly spectacular (and easy to get to). When Josh's cousin, Amber, and husband (Josh's good childhood bud, Dan) said they would go in on renting a house for the week, we were booked! Nothing excites Josh or I more than knowing we get to travel somewhere new. It's what gets us through each long NYC day...just knowing that an amazing trip is in the near future. For us, traveling to cool places is everything.

So, here are my 10 favorite photos from our trip (many of these taken by my cousin-in-law, Dan, who has the best underwater camera ever):

1.
One of my favorite photos from the trip. This almost captures the color of the water perfectly. Josh and Dan kayaking is another story. Lesson: Make sure your kayak has a plug (Josh) before getting in. Good thing the kayak washed up on the shore the next day...
2.
Josh swims with the wild pigs off Big Major Cay (or Pig Island). To do this, you must take a boat (therefore splurging on a tour of some sort). The cheapest we found was through Exuma Water Sports with Capt. Ray.
3.
Josh found this in the water (because the water was that clear). It's about 1 inch in diameter ands this photo somehow came out amazing - thank you iPhone. One of my favorite photos.
 4.
We stayed on "Tropic of Cancer Beach" in Little Exuma, which is literally on the Tropic of Cancer line
5.
Dan's underwater camera captured this on Stocking Island. These friendly sting ray would come right up to you and brush against your feet. I did not really enjoy this, but this photo is amazing.
6. 
Any photo of the water on Tropic of Cancer beach is my favorite. Josh and Amber on the best $1 floats ever.
7.
Fresh conch chowder being made for Josh at Chat N Chill on Stocking Island (and by fresh I mean...he went to the ocean to get a conch shell before he made this). Take a day (or half day) ferry trip over to this fun little island right across from Great Exuma. "First you chat - and then you chill, child!"
8.
Looking down from the big salt monument on Little Exuma. Not so ugly.
9.
Santana's Bar & Restaurant on Little Exuma. 4 items on the menu and 3 ladies who know how to run this joint. Also where Johnny Depp and much of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" crew ate during the filming of all three movies. 
10.
Tropic of Cancer Beach, Little Exuma. Perfection.

And a few more just because... (photos from an Olympus TG-2 Tough Camera)


Friday, June 27, 2014

Top 10 Things In My Beach Bag

This is obviously not a fashion blog (and judging by the looks of my wardrobe, probably will never be), but I always love getting a a little peek into someone's "bag." Is that weird?! 

After I got my new Ban.do "hooray" tote, I had to do this little post - and July 4th weekend is coming up, so what the heck! I am off to the beach next week and I'm already getting my things together (I'm a little too excited...). I always like to keep my bags as simple as possible with just the right amount of stuff – overdue it and the back hurts for days! So...these are my absolute essentials. 

From L to R (clockwise):
  1. An Awesome Tunic - Roberta Freyman (Roberta Roller Rabbit) Classic "Kurta" w Border" (Piperlime.com or RobertaFreyman.com - on sale now) THIS IS BIG Y'ALL. My most favorite beach tunic ever is on sale. I would run, because this was one of the best purchases I ever made. I paid $75 and they're on sale now at Piperlime for $39.97 - although I must warn you – most sizes are sold out. Ha! It is super lightweight, looks really flattering and will last for years. Even at full price, it's worth it. 
  2. Jambox (by Jawbone or $116 on Amazon.com) - Bluetooth speakers are a must for the beach. These are pretty awesome. Super light and great sound. (And of course your iPod, iPhone...or some form of a music player.)
  3. Nalgene (or any reusable BPA free) water bottle ($8.56 - Amazon.com) - Probably the most important thing actually. Fill up your own bottles and take a lot with you when going to the beach. I actually like to have a few of these on hand for day trips. 
  4. Alba all-natural sunscreen ($7.99 Amazon.com) - Ever since we did some research awhile back as to what is actually in your usual Tropicana sunscreen, we started buying more natural sunscreens. No more ezcema! Alba is a great brand at a great price. And there is no crap in it. 
  5. Fun (and cheap) beach sunglasses ($15.95 - American Eagle) - I was on a mission this year to find some fun "beacy" sunglasses that are cheap and a little crazy. I love these from American Eagle. 
  6. An apple - I actually think it's important to pack some sort of healthy snack. Fruit always does the trick at the beach. 
  7. A great beach hat (J. Crew) - A good summer hat is worth the one-time splurge. I've worn this on A LOT of beaches and it's the best! Similar one here.
  8. A great beach/picnic blanket ($34.99 on sale at West Elm) - This blanket has come in handy so many times. Great for just about anything outside. Similar one here.
  9. Ban.do "Hooray" tote - (Shop Ban.do - $20) You can't have a bad day with this bag. And if you sign up for their e-newsletter you get 15% off! 
  10. Your awesome self. A great beach read. And some cool people. (Because I need a 10th thing...obviously.)


Hooray! 
Happy Almost 4th of July Weekend! 


Friday, June 20, 2014

Top 10 Must Have Apps When In NYC

NYC Compass app
A good friend of mine is traveling to NYC soon and asked if I would do a list of "must have" mobile apps for visiting "The City." YES! Now that I can do! While I don't think you need all of these as a tourist, these are 10 apps that I use either on a daily basis (as a New Yorker), have used in the past and loved or I think are just useful. 
Me. Every day. Waiting. For a train.
  1. iTrans (iPhone - $3.99) - My most used NYC app. An easy to use subway map app that works smoothly, even when you don't have cell service underground. Worth every penny. Also has service advisories and arrival times. 
  2. HopStop (iPhone - Free) What's the fastest way to get from the Upper East Side to Tribeca at 5pm on a Friday? Well...you should just download this asap. My 2nd favorite  NYC app gives you the quickest route (lets you choose from subway, bus, walking and taxi). Always seems to be right on! And to UES to Tribeca? Good luck! 
  3. MTA Bus Time (Website Link - Free) "When will the crosstown bus get here?!" I have said that about 1000 times. No more, I tell you! Add a shortcut to this web page link to your phone's homescreen immediately. I use it daily to see when my local bus will arrive. It's accurate down to the second. I pull it up to see when I need to leave the apartment to make the bus that's rounding the corner. 
  4. ZipCar  (iPhone & Andoird - Free) A no-brainer if you live in this city and like to get out often, like me. Rent a car by the hour (after joining). There's also Hertz Car-on-Demand.
  5. ScoutMob (iPhone, Android, Blackberry - Free) This app gives you deals to lots of cool local restaurants, bars and fun places. It's free, so why not?! 
  6. Meridian (iPhone & Android - Free) This app has info about a lot of different cities, but for NYC...this app will tell you about all of the artwork down in the NYC subways. It's actually fascinating and you will definitely find some things you have never noticed before. Down in the 77th Street 6 train subway station, this app tells you about the "four seasons" artwork on the walls. I would have never known!
  7. Seamless (iPhone, Android, Blackberry - Free) I'm sure you already have this, but if you don't, you've been seriously missing out. This app is how we order dinner most nights of the week (and how we order lunch at my office). Get a grilled cheese delivered right to your door whenever you want – or a steak – or nachos. Capiche? And all without having to give your credit card to the restaurant over the phone. The Ryan's LOVE Seamless...
  8. Uber (iPhone & Android - Free) & Hailo Free (iPhone & Android) It's Friday at 5pm and you can't get a taxi? You're at the airport and the taxi line is a mile long? UBER y'all. This beautifully designed app (with Ashton Kutcher as one of the investors), is super handy. Pull it up, request a car and watch the driver on the map as he's on his way to pick you up. Tip and all fees included in the cost (you put in your cc info). And it's usually the same price (maybe a few dollars more) than a taxi. And you get the luxury of a black sedan! And I highly recommend this app if you're ever in San Francisco (where it started).
  9. NYC Compass (iPhone - Free): A simple app that tells you very clearly which direction you're going - "uptown," "downtown," "east side" or "west side." I know A LOT of tourists that need this! And if you really need help, just ask someone. New Yorkers actually love helping people with directions. 
  10. Field Trip (iPhone & Android - Free) - A mobile history lesson. Google's fun app alerts you to the cool, weird, historical and interesting things around you - and even some crazy real estate listings as you walk by them. Running in the background on GPS, this app can be fun when you're a tourist. It can even read the info to you. This app also helps you "live like a local" when traveling to a new city. Get to know the Settings and turn it off once it gets annoying.
And of course, there is ALWAYS the ole' Google Maps. It's a must. When you get directions in the app, just click on the "bus/subway" icon and it will give you up-to-the-minute bus times. It's a hidden feature that most people don't use...and super useful.

What are your fave NYC-related apps? I could probably list 10 more here! So many apps these days...it's hard to keep up. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

NYC: Things I HAVE Done


To follow up with my NYC Bucket/"To Do" List blog from the other day that lists things I haven't done in this city, I thought it would only be fair to stop and think about the cool things I have done. And really...I've (or we've) done a lot of this city. So, because I really like making lists, here we go!

Things I HAVE done in (and around) NYC:
  1. Seen many Broadway shows
  2. Carnegie Hall
  3. Statue of Liberty
  4. Top of the Rock
  5. Top of World Trade Center (1999)
  6. Top of Empire State Building
  7. Times Square (More times than I care to think about.)
  8. Macy's Thanksgiving Parade
  9. Rockefeller Christmas Tree
  10. Saw the Radio City Rockette's
  11. Went to a party at The Plaza Hotel
  12. Had a cocktail at The Carlyle Hotel at Bemelmans Bar
  13. Had my most expensive cocktail ever on top of The Penninsula Hotel ($26)
  14. The MET Museum
  15. MoMa
  16. The Guggenheim
  17. American Museum of Natural History (and also once after hours!)
  18. National Museum of the American Indian
  19. Frick Museum
  20. The Whitney Museum
  21. 9/11 Memorial
  22. NY Botanical Garden (Bronx)
  23. Picnic (lots) in Central Park
  24. Rowboat in Central Park
  25. Ice skating in Central Park
  26. Saw a concert in Central Park
  27. Carousel in Central Park
  28. Belvedere Castle in Central Park
  29. North Woods/The Ramble in Central Park
  30. Central Park Zoo
  31. Bronx Zoo
  32. Governors Island
  33. Randall's Island
  34. Fire Island
  35. Watched many US Open Tennis matches
  36. Mets game
  37. Yankee game
  38. Nets game
  39. Knicks game
  40. NY Red Bulls Soccer Game
  41. Ate at Gramercy Tavern
  42. Drinks on many rooftop bars
  43. The High Line
  44. Tour of Grand Central Station
  45. Walked Brooklyn Bridge
  46. Saw a musical and a ballet at NY City Center
  47. Cabaret at Birdland
  48. Concerts at Madison Square Garden, High Line Ballroom, Bowery Ballroom, Rockwood Music Hall, Jones Beach, PNC Bank Arena and many more...
  49. FAO Schwartz
  50. Ghost tour of the Village
  51. Kayaked the Hudson River
  52. Chelsea Piers
  53. SoulCycle
  54. Got a grilled cheese delivered at 2am
  55. Got a scoop of ice cream delivered (yup...)
  56. Cupcakes from: Magnolia Bakery, Sprinkles, Sugar Sweet Sunshine, Baked By Melissa, Two Little Red Hens, Crumbs
  57. Frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity
  58. Ate at Old Homestead steakhouse
  59. Dinosaur BBQ
  60. Pork buns at Ippudo
  61. Shake Shack burger (x100)
  62. Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien
  63. Tea and scones at Alice's Tea Cup
  64. Italian food in Little Italy
  65. Chinese food in Chinatown (Wo Hop)
  66. Had many NY bagels and NY "slices" 
  67. Ate a lot of Motorino's and Patsy's pizza
  68. Eataly
  69. The Frying Pan and 79th Street Boat Basin Cafe
  70. Brooklyn Flea
  71. Park Avenue Armory
  72. Inside the NYTimes Building
  73. Jury duty in NYC!
  74. Rode the Staten Island Ferry
  75. NY Public Library
  76. Bryant Park
  77. Rode a CitiBike
  78. Sailed in a yacht around NYC Harbor
  79. Witnessed Manhattanhendge
  80. Taping of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
  81. Rehearsal/Taping of The Tonight Show w/ Jimmy Fallon
  82. Taping of The Daily Show
  83. Sex & The City bus tour (yes, I actually did this. And it was awesome.)
  84. Feinstein's at the Regency
  85. Sang at Brandy's Piano Bar
  86. The Cloisters
  87. Watched July 4th fireworks on the Hudson and the East River
  88. Beaches: Coney Island, Long Beach, Jones Beach, Fire Island, North Fork, Montauk & The Hamptons
  89. Explored/hiked the Hudson Valley
...to be continued...