Friday, January 31, 2014

{This Moment} Puppy Bowl Edition


A Friday ritual inspired by Amanda Soule & many others.
Please feel free to share a link to your own moment in the comments.

Recap of this week on Not Intent On Arriving:
What are your plans for the weekend? I'm excited to be getting together with some great ladies on Saturday and watching the Super Bowl commercials on Sunday!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Fiscal Fasting - My Month on a Spending Diet, Day 15


So, I broke the fast on two occasions and I feel I have to 'fess up:
  1. On Thursday, January 23rd, Day 8 of the Fiscal Fast, I bought $8 tickets to Albany for next month, because I knew they would go up in price if I waited until the fast was over.  I would probably have forgiven myself as that being in the spirit of the law, but then I also ordered a beer at happy hour even though I said I would only drink water. Total spending: $15.
  2. On Saturday, January 25th, Day 10 of the Fiscal Fast, I bought a beer to celebrate Shaelyn's going away party, even though I said I would only drink water.  Then I also bought a biscuit and 1/4 pound of burnt ends.  Total spending: $20.
We also went grocery shopping for the first time.  Purchased: sweet potato, spinach, chick peas, and garlic (dinner for the week); yogurt (breakfast/help with sweet cravings); apples (snack/help with sweet cravings). Total spending: $17.

So, it's not the end of the world, but I feel pretty bad about those two bar spendings.  I kept thinking I was strong enough to just not buy anything while I was there, but I guess I'm not quite there yet.  I may add an extra two days onto the fast to repent, but we'll see.  One thing I've learned in Weight Watchers is not to make yourself nuts over past failings, just to use them to do better in the future, so that's what I'll do here.

Otherwise, things are going pretty well.  Last week we ran out of lunch/dinner materials on Thursday night, so the weekend was pretty interesting and I was so glad for the lunch they served at the baby shower! We have a lot of grains and beans, so on Sunday I had some pastina, and that was also fine.  I'm missing snacks most of all - I would kill for some cookies (we found a few FiberOne bars in the cabinet, which was nice) or chips, but overall, I think I'm healthier (and certainly a little richer) because of the fast.

I'm expecting one more grocery trip this weekend (need two types of cheese and tomatoes for a lasagna bake, and brownie mix to bring something to the Super Bowl party), and hopefully I won't have many more slip ups for the next 15 days.  I'll let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Writer Wednesday - Kate from Nautical by Nature

 Now that we're really in the dead of winter, it seemed like the right time to bring the warmth and happiness that I always think of when I'm near the sea.  Kate from Nautical by Nature helps capture all the beauty of the seashore in her blog, which features lots of fun treats, including preppy fashion and home decor.  She and I are both big fans of elephants, pearl earrings and the coast, and her blog brightens my reader every time I see it.
 

Who are you? Kate, full time nanny by day, blogger by night

Where can you be found online? Do you have a blog or other online receptacle for your work? If so, how would you describe it to a stranger you've just met while on vacation? I started my blog, Nautical by Nature, in the fall of my junior year of college (2007) as a virtual shopping list. I wanted to keep track of my nautical shopping finds (bordering on obsession) and share them with others. My sister actually came up with my blog name, it's a play on the hip hop group Naughty By Nature

What inspired you to start writing/blogging? When did it happen? I was out shopping one afternoon and found the cutest elephant stationery. I wanted to find the pattern on other items so I googled the designer (Vera Bradley) and pattern. I found a blog written by a preppy girl in Canada. She had posted the same stationery along with some other cute, preppy items. I was inspired by the blog I found. It was like finding my own personal shopper! I told my sister about it and she suggested I start my own blog with my nautical shopping finds. As a college student I was on a budget (mostly window shopping) so this was a fun (free!) alternative to shopping. That was in November of 2007. In January of 2008 I moved to Australia to do a study abroad program. My blog that had started out as a place to share shopping finds soon filled with posts on my adventures traveling around Australia.

Why do you write? After my semester in Australia and college graduation my blog continued to change. While the subject matter has varied over time, my readers have stuck with me through the years. I write for many reasons. Originally I wanted to share something with others, starting with things I found and growing to include personal experiences. Now as a full time nanny blogging is a creative outlet for me. I can work on graphics, promote small businesses, and best of all, make friends.

Your writing inspires me. Who inspires you? I am inspired by my two older sisters. I am inspired by my readers that email me with their own personal stories. I have been able to share so many special moments through my nautical photo of the week feature. I know it’s a cliché but I find inspiration everywhere!

In keeping with the admittedly loose travel theme of Not Intent On Arriving, if you could have an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? I would love to do an African safari. Seeing elephants in the wild would be a dream come true!

What is your favorite place on earth? Australia! From snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef to hiking in Tasmania my time in Australia was unforgettable. I would go back in a heartbeat!

Anything else you'd like us to know? Thank you for featuring me, Kristin!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cooking with Kristin - Waffles

I sort of absentmindedly put a fancy waffle iron on my Christmas wish list this year, and then mentioned to my mother that I needed to take it off, because it was insane to ask for a hundred-dollar waffle iron. (NB: it is now $125.) At this point, she told me she'd already bought it for me. Cue epic shame. (Like, marginally better than the time I told her the strand of gorgeous pearls she bought me was too long and then ugly-cried in shame all the way to Theresa's house. Oy. I'm not the most graceful of gift-getters. Wow. This is getting real "real" for a blog post about waffles.)  Anyway, she told me to return it after I opened it on Christmas, but the shame of asking for it was too powerful (remind me to tell you the fun story about asking for a Keurig coffee maker one day), and the first thing I made when we got home from Christmas was waffles.

The best way to serve them is with local syrup, of course!


And actually, they were fucking amazing. And incredibly easy and there's no way to make them without a waffle iron so why not get the best one on the market, right? Anyway, since then, we've made them a few times, and we've tried experimenting a bit, which has been a lot of fun.  We're even planning a waffle brunch one day for friends, so if you're in the NY area, keep your eyes peeled for your invitations soon.

And in the meantime, if you have a waffle iron, you should try making these yourself. They're shockingly fast to put together and they're made out of all normal things that we usually keep in the house. (And if we keep them in the house, chances are you do, too.) No buttermilk in these babies.  We've made a few types by adding a 1/2 cup of peanut butter to the recipe, and a 1/2 cup of peanut butter AND banana slices (that one was delicious, but also made cleaning the waffle iron, a normally very easy task, a giant pain in the butt).  Our next experiment is going to be some sort of savory waffle (maybe these or these).

A quick NB on the recipe: for our waffle maker, halving this recipe makes an almost perfect 5 waffles (like, one full plate and then one single square), so it's perfect for two.  If you're especially hungry or feeding a crowd, go nuts with the full (or even doubled!) recipe.  They reheat well in the toaster oven. 

The Best Basic Waffles (Adapted from AllRecipes)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Preheat waffle iron. Beat all the ingredients together with a fork or wooden spoon, just until smooth. Spray preheated waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray if necessary. Pour mixture onto hot waffle iron and cook until golden brown. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Weekend Wanderings: Jackson Heights Baby Shower

This weekend went by awfully fast!  It seemed doomed when I returned home to find the house was still freezing (note that our thermometer doesn't go below 50*), we'd run out of food (those carrot sticks are two months old), and I've been called up for jury duty at the Supreme Court in March.  Awesome.  Basically, I read a little and went straight to bed.


Luckily, Saturday was a little better. I woke up with enough time to shower, remove my nailpolish, charge my camera, and wrap the presents for Becky and Carrie's baby shower.  Given my absurd inability to wake up lately, this was quite the feat, and set the tone for the rest of the day, which was lovely.

Moms-to-be!
The shower was a lot of fun, and I think they liked the group gift all the Nosies bought them.  One of their friends hosted it in her lovely apartment in Queens, and we had a nice little lunch while we got to catch up. 

Nosies!
After that, Keriann and I headed to Astoria to help Shaelyn say goodbye to New York for a while, since she moves to Alabama this week.  We stopped at a few of her favorite bars and had a fantastic time.  It's always sad to say goodbye, but I can't wait to hear about all her adventures down south!

On Sunday, I met up with a friend from work to buy yarn for a committee we're on together, and then the rest of the day was spent doing some freelance copyediting work.

Friday, January 24, 2014

{This Moment}


A Friday ritual inspired by Amanda Soule & many others.
Please feel free to share a link to your own moment in the comments.

Recap of this week on Not Intent On Arriving:
Have a lovely weekend! 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Truro Words Were Never Spoken - Cape Cod Wedding Weekend

This past Columbus Day, we had the opportunity to celebrate the marriage of one of my good friends from college, A, and her fiancee, M (who also feels like a good friend from college, since that's where I first met her). Of all our friends, they live the closest to us, and while we still don't see them nearly as often as I would like, I love meeting up with them for workouts and drinks in our neighborhoods whenever I can.  Plus, it gave us a great excuse to check out Cape Cod, a spot I hadn't visited since I was a kid!  Many thanks to both of them for allowing us to celebrate what I know will be a long and happy marriage!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

After a long (long, long) drive on Friday night, we immediately fell asleep at the hotel.  The trip the night before had been brutal, but I was so glad to wake up and be on vacation.  I checked out the beautiful gift bags that A and M had left for us, and took a little walk outside, only to discover we were right on the water.  We woke up a little too late for the group bike ride (and since I'm not a huge bike-riding fan, I wasn't too heartbroken), but we hopped in the car and headed into Provincetown to check out the sites.  We wandered around some really interesting shops, checking out antiques and buying a sweatshirt for me since it was so cold that day.  And, as we were about to head into a candy shop, we heard our names being called from across the street - A and M were on their bike ride, just returning from the dunes.  It was fantastic to see them and say hello briefly before they headed back to their hotel.

A pretty great picture of A in her bike gear, I think.

The whole biking group!

We did a little more shopping, and stopped in at Tim's Bookshop, where we perused the great selection for almost an hour.
 
 
After that, we made our way to their welcome lunch at the Sandcastle Resort. I'm not sure who catered the lunch, but the food was tremendously good (amazing sandwiches!) and it was great to meet some of A and M's family and catch up with friends from school, many of whom I hadn't seen since graduation.

At the welcome lunch!


We headed back to the hotel after that for a bit, and decided that given how cold the weather was, we didn't really want to spend much more time outside, and since a friend had suggested we try Captain Parker's, we decided to catch a movie a little further west on the Cape and then have a dinner of clam chowder. We ended up seeing Captain Phillips, which was pretty good and stirring, though not quite as stirring as the trailer for The Book Thief that we saw before it started (I was hysterical), but was maybe a little too stirring for a vacation movie.  Still, I was glad we decided to see it, and we headed to Captain Parker's afterward for what is some of the best clam chowder I've ever had.  (And after so many fruitless tries in Maine, it was nice to have a recommendation work out so well.  Thanks, Kiera!)  I'd highly recommend it, and even without seeing the movie (which was a fun, vacation-y thing to do, so I'd recommend that too), it was well worth the trip from Provincetown.  Kiera also suggested we try Sundae School, which apparently makes the best whipped cream anywhere, but unfortunately, they were closed when we drove by.  Next time!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

On Sunday morning, we woke up reasonably early, and took a nice long walk into town from the hotel.  On our walk in, we stopped at a garage sale in the hopes of finding an excellent gift for A and M, but unfortunately, there was none to be found, and all the awesome stuff that was there seemed too hard to carry back. Once we were in town, Roger met up with Sarah and Matty, and my three favorite students spent the rest of the morning at the Wired Puppy studying.
 
Sarah took this.

I headed out on my long run for the weekend, through the dunes where A had suggested biking the day before. She was completely right - it was absolutely gorgeous!  It would take a really long time to walk, I think, but for a bike ride or a run, it was perfect.  Mostly flat with some rolling hills, and absolutely gorgeous scenery the whole way through, it turned out to be one of the most beautiful runs I had during half-marathon training.  It was slow because I was taking so many photos of the beautiful landscape, which transitioned from beach to dunes to forest perfectly.




I met up with the gang at the Wired Puppy, and because I'm a wired puppy myself sometimes, I grabbed a latte and then went on another walk through Provincetown, picking up a few souvenirs and letting the three of them finish up with their studies.  We reconvened for lunch at The Lobster Pot, which was fantastic.  I think between us, we ordered four soups and four lobster rolls.  The chowder wasn't quite as good as at Captain Parker's, but it was still heads above any other chowder I've had in years.

 Then, it was time to get ready for the wedding!  It was a small, intimate gathering at Truro Vineyards.  It was so beautiful, but still so casual (the brides wore boat shoes!), and the food was absolutely incredible - a raw bar, plenty of delicious appetizers, and an amazing red velvet cake!  They had two signature drinks and the one named after M was a variation on my favorite drink of all time, elderflower and champagne - I drank far, far too many of those.  And the DJ was fantastic and kept the whole group dancing all night.





And, the last thing I remember is making a less than graceful exit, followed by the worst hangover of my entire life.  I can't even think about my favorite cocktail anymore.  Overall, I'd say that's the mark of a successful wedding!  Thank you, A and M, for letting us share in your profoundly beautiful day.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Writer Wednesday - Courtney Mirenzi

I first met Courtney when she was "studying abroad" at Sarah Lawrence.  We kept in touch through our blogs, and I've been so thrilled to read about all of her life changes, from getting married to going full-time with her blog, Those Graces, to her recent cross-country trip.  Plus, we share the same affinity for red lipstick and wearing heels but not walking very far in them. Though I think we have very different personal styles, she really is one of my style icons.




Who are you? Courtney Mirenzi

Where can you be found online?
Blog: http://thosegraces.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/mirenzish
Instagram: http://instagram.com/mirenzish
Facebook: http://facebook.com/thosegraces

Do you have a blog or other online receptacle for your work? If so, how would you describe it to a stranger you've just met while on vacation? Yes! I blog at Those Graces. I often joke that I write about a very niche subject--myself. My blog started off as a way for me to talk about clothing and makeup because my friends were bored with hearing about both subjects. Over time, it became more focused on social justice issues mostly pertaining to women's right and equality. These days I write a lot about traveling, married life and red lipstick.

What inspired you to start writing/blogging? When did it happen? I've been writing online since age 13, before there was a word for what I was doing, which amounted to putting all my angsty thoughts online. A year after I graduated college, I started Those Graces. The start of a blog is much less exciting than why a blogger continues to blog. After all, anyone can start a blog and abandon it. I stuck around because my readers continued to inspire me with their comments and tweets. I love the conversations I get to have with complete strangers who somehow morph into friends.


Why do you write? I started writing when I was very young, probably around age 10 or 11. It was a way to create my own world and imagine new realities. Today I still seem my blog as my own little world where I get to share about topics that I'm passionate about. Ultimately the answer to why I write is because I always have and hopefully always will.

Who inspires you? I'll keep this to bloggers and journalists though I certainly do read outside the internet.

Autumn Whitefield-Madrano of http://the-beheld.com
Vahni of http://gritandglamour.com
Virginia Sole-Smith of http://virginiasolesmith.com


If you could have an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? I hoped I would immediately say somewhere exotic-sounding like Japan or Thailand. But, I must admit I'm boring and I'd go back to Paris in a heartbeat. I would go there and eat all the crepes my stomach could hold.

What is your favorite place on earth? Having just traveled across the country and back, this is such a hard question to answer! After much debate, I would have to say Big Sur, California.

Anything else you'd like us to know? Not that I can think of!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

West Coast Wedding Extravaganza - Day 9

Sunday, August 25, 2013

On Sunday we woke up pretty early to catch the bus to Sarah's father's house for their wedding brunch before our afternoon flight out.  After a few transportation snafus, we made it to their beautiful home for what turned out to be my favorite part of the whole wedding.  Sitting in the sun in the backyard where Sarah grew up, everything felt relaxed and happy.  They had an incredible spread of latkes, bagels, and lox from Kenny and Zuke's, the wonderful deli where we'd eaten lunch on Friday, and of amazing doughnuts from VooDoo Doughnuts.  With the VooDoo Doughnuts at brunch and the Salt and Straw ice cream at the wedding, it was if Sarah and Matt knew exactly which places we wanted to try but wouldn't have time for, and brought it straight to us.  (For the record we had their maple bacon doughnuts and their apple fritter and couldn't decide which was better because they were both out of this world.)

Photo is totally stolen from Sarah's amazing photographer without permission. Who I hope doesn't sue me.

And, most importantly, we got to spend some time with Sarah and Matty.  With so many guests at the wedding and welcome dinner, we only got to say hello and congratulations to them briefly, so it was perfect for us to get to the brunch early and chat with them a bit.  Everyone was relaxed and the atmosphere was casual and fun.  With the bloody Mary and mimosa bar all set up, I can't imagine a better way to end an incredible wedding weekend and our entire trip.

Sarah drove us to the train, another first for us, since Steph and I had always been the drivers in college, and we headed out to the airport, ending our fantastic vacation.  We flew home through Chicago, where we bought deep dish pizza and a Chicago hotdog at the airport, and saw a TON of people from the wedding who were all flying home at the same time.  After an uneventful flight, we arrived at Newark totally exhausted and unable to find the public transportation home.  So, we took an insanely expensive cab ride home and finished our week of extravagances in style.  Overall, it was a fantastic trip, filled with friends, food, and wine.  Thanks so much to Sarah and Matt for having us at their wedding and giving us an excuse to go on such a wonderful vacation!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Weekend Wanderings - Museum Time

I hope everyone is having a nice long weekend, and thinking at least some of Martin Luther King, Jr. today. His fight for equality has made some amazing progress in the past 46 years, but we still have a long way to go.

On Friday, I met up with my coworkers for our annual happy hour, celebrating the work our committee does.  They're a group I don't work with much outside of the committee, so it's always nice to get together with them outside of our meetings.

On Saturday, we had a long, leisurely breakfast of waffles (so many types! regular! peanut butter! peanut butter and banana!).  Roger didn't realize that the last time I made them, I halved the recipe, so he doubled it this time, using up all our stores of flour. We could definitely done with about half the waffles, but it turned out to be a great mistake, because he used about 25% whole wheat flour, which really added to the texture and taste of them.  We'll definitely be making them that way in the future.



After that, we took a nice long walk down to The Jewish Museum. The museum is free on Saturdays, so there was an enormous line out the front, and we waited about 20 minutes to get in. I'm well-accustomed to waiting on lines in museums now, but I was just super cranky about it at this one, mostly because I was hoping for a quiet stroll around the Chagall and Art Spiegelman exhibits, and it was so crowded that I knew they'd be packed. They were. It was still fine, but I wish we would have gone on a less nutty day.  Their permanent collection, though, was quiet and lovely, if missing a few objects.

Me at the Jewish Museum

On our way home, we decided to stop in at the Museum of the City of New York, a museum neither of us had ever visited before. They had some great shows up, including one on Superstorm Sandy and one on the Gilded Age (which, ironically enough, had a short line as well). The building they are in is gorgeous, and it was a nice little stopover on our chilly walk back home.

Roger woke up extremely early yesterday morning to head to Boston, and I spent the day eating leftover waffles, reading, and writing.  Today looks like it will be much of the same, and in my book, that's always an ideal way to spend a day off!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Fiscal Fasting - My Month on a Spending Diet, Day 5

 
So far, the Fiscal Fast is going pretty well. Roger decided to take an impromptu trip this weekend to Boston to visit friends, and while I really wanted to go, it seems like the absolute least I could possibly spend going was $75, and so I decided to skip this one. I have a lot of work to catch up on, and I know I'll enjoy Boston more when we go back in the spring anyway.  Still, it was hard to say no.  I love traveling, obviously, and I love spending time with him on the weekends, so, you know. I'm proud I'm sticking to my guns.

Otherwise, things have generally been pretty easy. I had a work-sponsored happy hour on Friday, so that was a nice, free treat, and Roger and I spent yesterday walking down to the Jewish Museum and the Museum of the City of New York for some more free entertainment. I've also rediscovered the library and I've been racing through books recently. (After the pitiful showing I made of reading in 2013, this is a welcome change!) The library also offers LOTS of lectures, classes and exhibits, so I know I'll be checking out more of those soon.

I'm slowly replacing the buttons on my coat instead of paying someone else $20 to them, and boy, is it slow work! It takes about 15 minutes for each button. Never again will I scoff at paying someone else $2 per button. Other than that, things have been much the same as my normal routine, except without take-out or little spontaneous purchases. I'll face my next real challenge tomorrow when I cook for our dinner share for the week.  I'm going to try and get through one more week without any grocery shopping, but it might be hard. We'll see - I'm thinking of making lentils and quinoa.

In other money news, we found out that we've been getting a $4 low-balance charge taken out of our savings account for the past several months, which was a pain, but now that we know about it, it's pretty easy to fix. We talked to the bank and got set up on an automatic deposit that should clear it up, and we're working to put a little money into savings each week with the hopes of building it back to its original glory (you know, before a stupid vet bill sucked it dry) and then, maybe, one day, to having a few months of expenses saved up. I'm also waiting for the last of my tax forms to come in, in the hopes of getting some sort of refund, which would be nice to have for the coming year.

And lastly, we're hoping to go skiing for my golden birthday at the end of February.  We'll be off the fast by then, but would still love to save some money. We'll be renting equipment and know that the cost of that and the lift ticket is pretty non-negotiable, but we still need things like snow pants, gloves, and goggles. Any ideas for where to get these cheap? Or, if you're in NYC and want to loan yours out for a weekend, let us know!

Friday, January 17, 2014

{This Moment}

A Friday ritual inspired by Amanda Soule & many others.
Please feel free to share a link to your own moment in the comments.

Recap of this week on Not Intent On Arriving:

Make it a great weekend!  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

West Coast Wedding Extravaganza - Day 8

Saturday, August 24, 2013

And then, all of a sudden, it was Saturday - the big day of the wedding! (To see some truly gorgeous photos from the wedding, you can check out Sarah and Matt's photographer, Lauren B. Photography or Style Me Pretty.  The images are absolutely gorgeous and capture their day much more than I ever could!  Seriously, get those babies loading while you're reading the rest of this. I wrote up this chuppah square!)


We started out the morning feeling a little rough from the night before, and headed to Sunday Market to meet up with friends and pick up some breakfast.  On the way, we saw the river and some of the bridges for which Portland is so well-known.  I have absolutely no idea what we ate.  I think it wasn't the elephant ears that the market is famous for.  It might have been Indian food.  Did I mention the morning was a little rough?



After hanging out at the market for a bit with the big group of us, Leah, Roger and I hopped a train and headed to McMenamin's Kennedy School, which was amazing!  Sarah and Matt actually considered having their wedding there, but it ended up being too small.  It's an old school that was purchased by McMenamin's and turned into a hotel and entertainment center.  There are tons of murals on the walls and several bars that looked amazing.  It was such an interesting spot, and I felt like I'd never been anywhere quite like it before.  If you're in Portland, the company has a number of bars, and I bet any of them would be awesome to check out.

This is just a tiny example of how cool this place is - the old boiler room!

Doing some weird poses in front of the Kennedy School.

I think Leah looks so beautiful in this picture!

As we were walking around the grounds, we saw a garage sale and picked up the PERFECT wedding gift for Matt and Sarah: Our Wedding Anniversary Book!   As Bed, Bath and Beyond says, "Ideal for couples embarking on a life shared, Our Wedding Anniversary Memory Book helps you build a lifetime of memories together."  And for $2, who could resist?  (I actually think this is adorable and would love to receive one if I ever get married.  But don't worry - it isn't the only gift we gave them.)

Roger is SO excited about our find.


After that, we headed to Meat, Cheese, Bread for what turned out to be one of the very best meals of the entire trip: the green bean sandwich.  It's an unlikely combo - grilled green beans, bacon relish, soft boiled egg, parmesan and aioli on sourdough bread - but oh my, it was absolutely out of this world.  I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!

Then, we headed back to the hotel to get all prettied up for the wedding.  It was held at the Leftbank Annex, and although it was a large wedding, it felt intimate and full of love.

Right before the ceremony

Me and the bride!

Sarah, who has been one of my very dearest friends since we were roommates in 2004, looked absolutely stunning and was easily the most beautiful bride I've ever seen.  Their band was fantastic, and the dance floor was packed with people.  And, at the end of the night, they brought in an ice cream cart from Salt and Straw, for some of the best ice cream ever, strawberry balsamic!  It was the perfect endcap to a gorgeous evening.

Party friends!

Sarah and Matt walking in for their first dance.

We tried to make the evening last a little longer by having an after party in the bridal suite at The Nines, but like most parties Sarah and I went to together in college, we got a noise complaint and had to be shut down.

Sarah at the after party!
After so many months of talking about the day with Sarah and traveling to various events before it, the wedding came and went in a blur of joy.  We had such an incredible trip, and the whole reason for it was this one night.  With so much love, happiness, and beauty, it didn't disappoint!

And, there was still one more day to go!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Writer Wednesday - Jennifer Hanks

I was lucky enough to meet Jennifer Hanks while we were both at Sarah Lawrence.  We met for the first time freshman year during an extremely short-lived writing group (funnily enough, one of the founders of that group also went to NYU and graduated a year before me), but really grew close while we worked together on the Sarah Lawrence Poetry Festival in 2008.  Her poetry is as beautiful as her heart is kind, so I hope you'll read some of it after you finish this interview.

Jen's pretty amazing author photo.


Who are you? I'm Jennifer Hanks. I'm a poet currently pursuing an MFA at the University of New Orleans. I live in a small green house with two cats and (several) ghosts.

Where can you be found online? Do you have a blog or other online receptacle for your work? I have some poems up/forthcoming on Muzzle Magazine, Word Riot, and Soft Blow Poetry Journal. I also have a poetry tumblr where I post drafts in progress at: http://azura09.tumblr.com/

I'm interested in the apocalypse as a metaphor for the ecological disasters looming in our planet's future, and I'm currently working on a series of poems related to this. I've also been working for a while on a series about cabinets of curiosity. My poems tend to feature girls, sea monsters, and my cats.

What inspired you to start writing/blogging? When did it happen? I've been writing poetry for as long as I can remember, but I started sending my work to journals after graduating from Sarah Lawrence. I am the opposite of web-savvy, but my girlfriend convinced me to start a tumblr, and I admit it's been a really nice way of keeping track of drafts and connecting with other poets.

Your writing inspires me. Who inspires you?  Anne Carson is my favorite living poet and William Blake is an enduring influence. I'm inspired by contemporary writers like Traci Brimhall, Ada Limon, and Richard Siken.

In keeping with the admittedly loose travel theme of Not Intent On Arriving, if you could have an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? I would go to Cairns, Australia to scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef!

What is your favorite place on earth? My favorite place is in a large body of water. I not so secretly think I'm from the sea. As far as cities go, New York is the place I think of when I think of home.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Fiscal Fasting - My Month on a Spending Diet

You may not know this, but Roger really enjoys watching TV. Since we don't own a television, we often watch Netflix before bed, and this has led to a lot of interesting choices in shows. Just as the New Year was turning, our interesting show of choice was Extreme Cheapskates. I really hate reality TV, and I think it's our modern day equivalent to a freak show - voyeuristic, exploitative, and usually a little sick - and this was pretty much exactly that, except for one thing: it showed us what a Fiscal Fast was.




If you've never heard of the concept, it's pretty simple: a set period of time where you spend no money at all.  That's right - $0.  After reading up a little bit on it, most people do it for about a week.  It sounded like a really interesting idea to me, and after talking with a few internet buddies, Roger and I decided to take on the challenge for a month along with a few friends.

As you know, one of my goals for 2014 was to spend more mindfully, and I think starting the year out with a Fiscal Fast is going to help immensely with that.  I'm hoping it gets me more in touch with the many free things to do in the city, along with reducing my carbon footprint a bit.  We're both lucky enough not to have any debt, but we aren't as good about saving as we should be.  Since my school stipend ended last May, I haven't adjusted to my new lower income very well, and with some big trips on the horizon, we need to get better at putting away money, so this should help with that as well.

Of course, because it's a month and not a week, we're going to have to make some exceptions.  Here's what the group agreed to:


1) It's okay to buy some groceries if necessary, but you must first try to use things you already have in your pantry. Plan your menu and stick to your grocery list.  I'm hopeful that we'll be able to keep our groceries truly minimal, because we already do a dinner share, so some of our weekly food comes from that.

2) Transportation spending is okay, within reason. Our metrocards come straight out of our paychecks, so we're going to continue to use the subway rather than find a way to walk/bike the 5-10 miles to work every morning in January.  But, we're not taking any cabs or planning any non-subway/bus travel for the month.

3) Emergencies happen.  If one of us gets sick, we're going to the doctor.  For the group, if their furnace or car breaks, they're getting it fixed.  We're not going to be penny wise and pound foolish here.

4) The fast will happen over Valentine's Day, and also covers some birthdays.  Some people might start the fast a day or so early and end a day or so sooner, but we're going to try and make our own fun instead of a fancy dinner out.
 

5) We'll all be paying our regular bills- rent/mortgage, cell, Internet, insurance, student loan payment or credit card payment. For us, this also covers the gym, which we're hoping to use more often during the month. 


The fast begins tomorrow!  You're not supposed to stock up, so we've tried not to, but we're down to one roll of toilet paper and only $2.50 on our laundry card, so tonight I'm planning to buy toilet paper, milk, and fill up the card.  Then, I'm putting all my credit cards in a drawer so I won't be tempted, and won't be spending another dime until February 15th.  I'll post updates sporadically and let you know how it's going.  Wish me luck, and if you're interested, feel free to join us for a week or longer!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Weekend Wanderings - Chelsea Piers Wedding

This weekend, we celebrated the wedding we've all been waiting for: my cousin Michael and his fiancee, Cari's.  On Thursday night, Roger and I met my parents and sister for dinner at the Merchant River House, and had a wonderful meal together.  We all headed back to their hotel, the Marriott Downtown, for drinks with the rest of my extended family.  Roger, Jill and I babysat for my cousin Lisa and her fiance Jimmy, so they could enjoy the party, and then we joined everyone at the bar.  It was nice to see everyone in a more relaxed setting before the wedding.

My aunt walks through the church she was married in 45 years ago.

Cari and Michael exchange vows.

Family portrait at Our Lady of Mount Carmel

On Friday morning, I woke up and headed to the Aveda Institute to have my hair done up in a beehive (yay!), and then met everyone at the hotel to take the bus up to Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the Bronx.  My aunt and uncle were married there, as were my aunt's parents, so Michael is the third generation to get married in the gorgeous church.  It's rare to find such a spectacularly decorated church that also feels so small and intimate.  I think it's one of my very favorites that I've ever visited.

After taking some family photos and a brief break back at the hotel (when I got to hang out with Rachel very briefly!), Roger joined us and we all headed to The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers for the reception.  Filled with details that perfectly reflected the couple, not to mention the best food I've ever had at a wedding, it was a real blast.  Abigail Kirsch did the catering, and it was absolutely exceptional.  The appetizers were served at two stationary tables; one with Middle Eastern cuisine and the other with Asian-influenced foods (I was a huge fan of the duck buns and falafel).  The dinner itself was wonderful, and their wedding cake was just perfect.  The DJ kept everyone dancing the whole night, and there was never a moment that the room wasn't filled with love.  It was absolutely perfect, and I'm so excited to have been a part of it.

All of us before the reception!

Roger and I hanging at the reception.
Mike and Cari cutting the wedding cake.

On Saturday, we spent a little while recovering from the wedding and had a visit from the plumber, who thinks he should be able to fix our heat by mid-week.  After that good news, we headed to Times Square to see Machinal, for which our friend Beth kindly got us comp tickets.  The show was incredible - really moving and so, so beautifully composed.  If you have a chance to see it, I would highly recommend you do.  Plus, the American Airlines Theatre where it is being put up is just gorgeous.  Beth was able to come say hello to us quickly after the show, so it was great to see her.  Afterward, we headed to Astoria to make burgers with Rob, and as usual, stayed way too late drinking and talking.
The ceiling at American Airlines Theatre.

Sunday was a day for accomplishing things: my first run in 2014 (it didn't go so great, but I'm still pumped for a marathon in 2015!), cooking for the week, laundry and returning some things to the hardware store.  A nice, quiet way to end a weekend full of love and fun!