One Short Day, The Sequel

Monday, March 28, 2011

I absolutely adore New York in the summer.  I mean, love it all the time, but summer is my favorite.  I love how you can literally spend hours walking from one place to the next.  You just never know what you'll discover along the way.  My favorite New York days are the ones when I practically walk the length of the island, but don't even realize it until later.  You just shop a little, eat a little, drink a little, and start the whole process over again.  Maybe you find a cool farmer's market or meet up with friends or spend a little too much money on summer dresses at Anthropologie.  It's fantastic.
If I spent a great deal of time in New York, here is how I would spend the day...

Grab coffee and a bagel from the place on the corner, then just start walking.  I like the flat, skinny, whole wheat everything bagels.  Better than it sounds, and they leave more room for cupcakes later.  After that, I would probably just start walking.  Maybe head to one of the parks to enjoy the bagel and coffee.  Read a bit of the book I'm carrying or the Sunday New York Times.  (Sidenote: I LOVE the Sunday New York Times.  This in itself is practically a whole day's entertainment.)

As for the rest of the day, I would spend a little time shopping.  Just wander through cute stores in SoHo or Union Square.  I could spend hours in paper stores, so check out Kates Paperie if you're in the area.  It's right around the corner from Dean and Deluca SoHo and is just so much fun.  Hopefully, if I had a place to cook that night, I would grab groceries at D&D, Eataly or Whole Foods.  Again, this could take me hours, and I would love every second of it.  

On a perfect summer day like this one, I would probably end up at Boat Basin with friends... 

It's one of those places that makes you feel like you're not in New York for a bit, but is still SO New York.  Boat Basin is in Riverside Park along the Hudson.  You know, there's a place in Riverside Park where the path curves...I'll be waiting.  (Anyone?  My favorite movie?  The one I think will really happen someday?)  It's a great place to pass a Sunday afternoon. 

And folks, that's about it.  Wandering New York is seriously my absolute favorite thing to do.  This basically drives baby sister nuts, but it's ok.  I just tell her everything is two blocks away and keep lying my way across Manhattan.  She loves it too.

Anyone want to spend the day wandering around New York with me?

Oh how I wish you would...

Speechless Sunday

Sunday, March 27, 2011

One Short Day

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Oh there's so much to do...

Recently, I've had several friends and family members ask for recommendations in New York.  Where should they eat, shop, play, etc.?  This got me thinking about perfect New York days (I know, you're shocked).  So, the next two {the ivy project} posts will be my perfect New York day recommendations.  I'll start with the tourist, classic New York, and then share my off-the-beaten path, real-life New York.  I am by no means an expert...if you love the city as much as I do, feel free to comment with your own recommendations. 

If I only had one day to spend in the city, and I'd never been before, here's how I would do it...

Go in September and stay at the Waldorf.  It is New York...classic, beautiful, right where you want to be.  New York in the winter is beautiful, but it is a completely different city when it's warm and sunny, and September is just perfect.  Still warm enough to wander instead of rush.  Warm enough to eat outside and watch the city pass you by.  Start with brunch at Sarabeth's Central Park South.  Sit outside, right across the street from Central Park.  After brunch, wander through the park, making your way past Wollman Rink, the zoo, and Sheeps Meadow.  Take it all in. 

Cut through the East Side of the park and head down 60th to Bloomingdales.  Ah, Bloomingdales.  Ladies, spend some time getting lost on the first floor.  The handbags/cosmetics/accessories section is amazing.  Guys, you probably just want to find a bench.  It's going to be awhile.  Spend more than you had planned to, then head just down the block to Serendipity for lunch.  The frozen hot chocolate is definitely worth the wait.

After lunch, shop your way back down Fifth.  Check out F.A.O. Schwarz and the Big piano.  Definitely hit Bendel''s my favorite by far.  And just so you know, Tiffany & Co. is at 57th and 5th.  (To the two men who read my blog...take note of this location.)  Stop by all the big Fifth Avenue retailers, ending at Sax Fifth Avenue.  It's next door to Saint Patrick's Cathedral, one of the most beautiful churches I've ever seen...stop in while you are there.  Also, Sax shoe department has it's own zip code.  Yep.  Heaven.

Head across town on 49th through Rockefeller Plaza and check out the Today show plaza and Radio City, then grab a cupcake at the famous Magnolia bakery.  You'll burn off all the calories walking across the city (at least that's what I tell myself).  From Magnolia, grab a cab to 34th and 5th for the Empire State Building.  The experience isn't quite like in the movies (never is, right?), but definitely something everyone should do once.  Take a's cold up there.

Check out Macy's while you're in the area, then take the subway to Brooklyn.  (To all my Manhattan-loving friends...please don't stop reading since I said Brooklyn.)  Get off on the first stop, then walk back into the city across the Brooklyn Bridge.  It. Is. Amazing.  You absolutely have to walk towards Manhattan, not away from it.  Bring your camera.

Take a left when you get off the bridge to see Trinity Church, Wall Street and the World Trade Center site.  It will leave you speechless.  Look for the cross made of WTC wreckage.  From here, cab it back to SoHo.  SoHo is this wonderful, totally different part of New York.  Great shopping, great food, great views.  Get lost in the flagship Dean and Deluca...and get a snack if you really need it.  You're probably hungry, so grab an early dinner at Lombardi's.  It was the very first pizza place in NY (or so they say), and it's right around the corner.  Try the white pie.

Grab another cab back to 42nd and 7th...Times Square.  It's almost show time on Broadway.  See something classic.  I do love "Wicked."  It makes you want to sing along.  I promise it won't be the only time you ever see'll love it.  So New York.  If you're up for it afterward, head uptown to 83rd and Amsterdam after the show.  Grab a late night snack at Cafe Lalo, the "You've Got Mail" cafe where they first meet.  The black and white cheesecake is amazing.  It's a perfect way to end a perfect day in New York...


Monday, March 21, 2011

"I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on.  And there will be an end to these troubles, but until that day comes, still I will praise You." (Matt Redman)


Hold on a minute. 

So, ummmmm...


Here's the deal with taking a step of faith (or a great big giant leap of faith)...  It sounds really good in the planning stage, when both feet are still on solid ground.  You get a really great sense of clarity.  You know with absolutely no doubts that the next step is the exact right one.  Just like when Dawson moved to Los Angeles to be a superstar film-maker.  Or when Joey and Pacey took that summer sailing trip (oh man, that was a good summer).

And then you actually cross the line.  Take the step.  Jump forward a bit. 

And you feel INSANE.

You can't see the yellow brick road anymore.  Or even the next brick.  Was that a tornado that just swept through?  What in the world just happened?

But without the faith, what good is the step?  Faith is being sure of what we do not see, right?  So you step, and hope and trust and pray that every tiny little step after lands on solid ground.  And you believe God when He tells you that it will.   

Because He is good, and it will be good.

Chances are waiting to be taken, and all I need...

Speechless Sunday

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Somewhere with You

Saturday, March 19, 2011

2 a.m. 

Irish pub in old town Philadelphia.

200 or so twenty-something student affairs professionals.  (We are a super fun bunch.)

Every single person knew every single word to the "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" song.

True, authentic, Barney on "How I Met Your Mother" awesomeness.

My friends are amazing.  The kind of friends more people need, and the kind of friends that I need more often.  You would be lucky to have them.  (But I don't know if I'm willing to share.)  

Big things happened this week.  Epic, life-changing, really exciting kinds of things happened.  Things other than the Melting Chocolate Heart Truffle Cake at Max Brenner Philadelphia (check out the earlier post).  Things more important than the 3 a.m. cheesesteak excursion in South Philly.  I'm not quite ready to share the details (unless you call, really beg, and offer Mexican food), but I promise I will soon.  And it will be great.  

But maybe, just maybe, they wouldn't have happened without a little help from my friends.  Or maybe they would have.  Who knows...but, at a time when I had big decisions to make, my friends came through at just the right time, with just the right amount of questions and wisdom and love.  Thanks to a couple of friends in particular, we had great conversations about what true friendship really means.  Sure, I have hundreds of friends on Facebook, but how many of them have any clue about what's happening in my life.  Even many of them do I have any idea about lately?  Status updates do not create community.  Friendships, like marriages, should be intentionally created and nurtured.  They should be the select, super special handful of people who know the questions and issues and big decisions you encounter...and they should be the ones who ask tough questions back.  

How many real friends do we really have?  Not the ones you chat with online, but the ones you can call in the middle of the night?  Friends are not necessarily the person in the office next door (although that one worked out pretty well in my case!) or the first person you meet in college.  

Think about it.  Talk about it.  Work on it.

In the mean time, I would always rather be somewhere with you...

Halfway Gone & On My Way

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

If you know me even remotely well, you know I like to change my mind.  A lot.  I am very easily influenced by pop culture and random things happening at any given time.  This mostly plays out in my choice of careers, hobbies, and future life goals.  After "You've Got Mail," I really wanted to run a children's book shop.  When I discovered Magnolia Bakery cupcakes, I had big plans of opening a cupcake bakery.  I spend hours in Barnes and Noble thinking about writing books (and have even started a few), but have yet to finish a manuscript.  One day I will, and I will live my dream life of wearing jeans to work, writing in Bryant Park all day, and shopping at Whole Foods on a daily basis. 

I like to think of it as creativity and inspiration, not so much a lack of commitment or unwillingness to grow up.  I am plenty grown up.  I just like options.  Crave them.  My desire for options also extends to whichever city I have recently visited.  The first time I saw San Francisco, I just knew I would live there.  There are days when all I can think about is that New York apartment (today is one of them).  I spent all of three days in Seattle two years ago and still dream about packing up and moving, just for a little while.  (I certainly don't already have an apartment in Seattle picked out, but if I did, it would be the Harbor Steps.) 

Here is the problem.  The entire American school system sets students up for this need for change.  Every four to five years, we are conditioned to expect a major life change.  From the time we are five years old, we learn not to get too comfortable, because things inevitably change.  We go to Kindergarten for a year and then change to a whole new big building, full of big kids and bigger playgrounds.  We go to elementary school for five years and make the super scary transition to middle school.  Again, new place, new faces.  We spend three years there (hating most of it) before finally arriving in the world.  American high schools are the worst, because they spend four years preparing students for their entire world to change.  In between football games, Hall Dec and SUN dances, we are constantly told how to prepare for college, what we're doing well, and what we should have already done.

And just like that, you get to be a full-fledged, real-life, pretend grown up...

For four years, all anyone hears is that those are the best four years of your life.  The person sitting next to you on the first day of chapel could be your future spouse.  The friends you meet here are the ones who will matter fifty years from now.  Oh, and by the way, you might still be paying for the best four years of your life fifty years from now, too.  It's just the best.

But then what happens?  Like any good upper-middle-class college graduate who doesn't know what to do next, grad school is the obvious choice.  We work for a year or two, maybe even do something like Teach for America or the Peace Corps (you know, because we are givers), and then apply to graduate school.  It's the only thing we have known our entire lives.  And we are good at it. 

But then what happens? 

New jobs, maybe a wedding, maybe babies (or puppies).  But deep down, whether or not we know it, we are going to need something new in approximately 3.5 years.  Change is all we've ever known.  And there are days when doing something different sounds like the most fun thing in the entire world.  And it will be, for another couple of years.

"Halfway between somewhere and nothing, woke up and I'm twenty something." (Graham Colton)

Speechless Sunday

Sunday, March 6, 2011