Wednesday, September 21, 2016

What Fictional Characters Are You Most Like?

The ever-brilliant Liz posted this question, along with three photos, on Facebook today. I stepped on a (live) mouse this morning with my bare foot and it sort of set the tone for the whole day so far. I've been packing like a madwoman (as anyone on Snapchat can probably tell you) for the last few days, and the longer I do it, the harder it is to keep up momentum. Plus my heel kind of hurts from running and--oh yeah, I stepped on a mouse this morning!

Anyway, this little meme was a much needed distraction just now, so I wanted to share with you my selections for myself. Sadly, though I may wish to emulate them, I'm just no Jenny Cavilleri, Charlotte York, or Elle Woods. Instead, I think I'm more a:

Jo March and

Hermione Granger combination,

with a very healthy side of Liz Lemon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Weekend in Hudson

Way back on the weekend of August 26th, we headed to Hudson to spend the weekend with two of my closest friends from Sarah Lawrence and their families. The town is super cute, and you can get there relatively quickly on the Amtrak.

On Friday, we wandered around the town, which is adorable, if pricey. We stopped in at a really gorgeous antique store that had some incredible modernist furniture, and then stopped at a tea and chocolate store for some refreshments. We also saw Gaby Hoffmann, star of Now and Then, perhaps the most-beloved film of my childhood.

Other than the one foray into town and a quick trip to Olana Castle, we mostly stayed inside at the house we rented, which was wonderful. It was a chance to really catch up and bond with some babies. We also had a ton of really delicious homegrilled dinners!

Obviously delighted to see an upping stone in New York!

On Saturday, Sarah, Matty, Roger and I all checked out Olana Castle, which was pretty incredible. I hadn't been since I was a little kid, so it was really fun to go back and check it out. The views were stunning and I can see why an artist would build a home here. If you go to Olana, I would definitely pack a picnic lunch and eat it on the grounds, which were really gorgeous.

On Sunday morning, we all enjoyed one last breakfast together before hitting the road. Roger and I made our way back to my parents' house to spend some more time with my sister and do a bit more packing for my parents' move.

I'm so glad we got to spend the weekend with all these incredible people and their wonderful babies. We're all so busy that we don't often get a chance to see each other, and so setting aside a full weekend to just enjoy being together was really powerful, especially right before we moved. I can't wait to do it again next year!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Jess and Madhu's City Island Wedding

On August 20th, Roger and I made our way to City Island, a spot we hadn't been to since way back when we lived in Harlem, for the wedding of Jess and Madhu, who you may remember from our trip to India.

Although the weather had been sweltering in the weeks leading up to the wedding, that weekend, the heat finally broke a bit, and we were able to enjoy the gorgeous views from the ceremony site at the Harlem Yacht Club. It's difficult to make out, but the beautiful couple came in on a boat, and walked down the dock, instead of down the aisle!

I wore one of the outfits I bought in India, which was even prettier than I remembered, and resolved to always wear pants to weddings from now on.

The ceremony was beautiful, and combined Buddhist prayers with Indian traditions. I don't know if I've ever said this before, but I actually haven't been a big fan of writing your own vows. However, Jess and Madhu's vows really changed my mind on that. They were so beautiful and personal, and clearly showed how deeply in love they are. It was an incredibly moving ceremony, and one I'm so honored to have been a part of.

The party afterward was a blast. I loved seeing Jess's family, including her mom and grandmother, neither of whom I'd seen since high school. It was so lovely to see them and hear what they've been up to, since when we were children, they were like a second family to me.

Jess's brother, Philip, was the hit of the evening, and I asked if we could hire him out for futhre weddings! Phil was just a little kid when we were all hanging out, and although we definitely did our fair share of tormenting him, I was so thrilled to talk to him and hear what an incredible person he has become. He reminded me that when I first started driving Jessie to school, we also took Philip to middle school (something I'd completely forgotten), and he told me that on the first day of middle school, Jess told me to drop him off at the high school and make him walk the quarter-mile or so to the other school, terrifying him on his first day at a new school. I was pretty horrified that he remembered this, but apparently I swooped in and rescued him, saying we should drop him off at the front door, and dropping him there. You can't imagine my relief that the story ended that way and not with, "And I just wanted to tell you I've thought you were a huge bitch ever since the day you abandoned me in the MHS parking lot!" Hahaha.

Everyone gave really fantastic speeches. They were all by turns funny, poignant, and meaningful—everything a wedding speech should be. I especially loved the moment when Madhu's friend said she wanted to pass on the best wedding advice she'd ever heard: "Your wife is always right."

Jess and Madhu served appetizers, homebrewed beer, and delicious wedding cake, and I think scaling back on the food was a really wonderful idea. It got everyone dancing right away, and made me realize that dinner at weddings is often a bit of a distraction. I've had amazing meals at weddings, of course, but what I'm really there for is seeing the couple in love and dancing! This wedding was full of both of those things, and I can honestly say it was one of the most fun weddings I've ever been to.

Jess and Madhu, being able to connect with you in India and at this wedding brought me so much happiness, and seeing the joy you bring to each other was the most wonderful part of this wedding. Thank you so much for inviting Roger and I to celebrate with you. It's a day I'll never forget.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Dispatch from the US Open

I just wanted to share these extra tennis photos from the US Open. If you have any photos you'd like to share in my "Dispatch From" feature, please email me and we'll get them posted! I'd love to see images of your recent or distant trips!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

#KrogerNYCBucketList: US Open 2016

Two weeks ago, Danielle and I headed to Queens for the US Open Qualifying Rounds.

Do you know about these? They are free to attend, and they offer great views of really excellent tennis. There were no crowds (a joy and a rarity at cool things to do in New York City), and the weather we had for them was absolutely perfect.

Although the Arthur Ashe Stadium wasn't open, the courts around the stadium were, and you could wander in and out to check out the different tournaments. Below, some kids play kiddie tennis outside the stadium.

The views we were able to get of the tournaments were phenomenal. It was such a blast to see such great form up close, without any crowds. The people who were there were really into the games, though, and it was fun to be a part of that.

After a few rounds, we stopped at the food court and split a Fuku sandwich, which was delicious and a spontaneous thing to cross off my bucket list! (So was going to the open, of course. I can't believe in all the years of being here—and all the years of my old boss telling me to go—this was the first time I actually made it out!)

The sandwich is Momofuku's fried chicken sandwich, and it is delicious. It is also about half the price if you get it at their shop on 2nd Avenue instead of at the stadium. But it was seriously so good that I did not mind at all.

Afterward, there was more wandering around, taking in the games and checking out different courts.

Afterward, we walked through Flushing Meadows Park, one of my favorite spots in New York. (I can't believe I hadn't been back in more than two years!)

And we made our way to the Golden Shopping Mall, yet another spot on my bucket list! Their $1 bubble tea was definitely more than $1, but it was also delicious, and I immediately regretted not buying a large. Afterward, we walked around a bit more for dim sum, and exhausted, headed back to the subway. Danielle stayed in Queens with Jeff, and I took the G train back into Brooklyn, perhaps for the last time.

It was, honestly, the most perfect day of the whole summer.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

What I'll Miss About New York

When my friend Caitlin left New York for Seattle a few months ago, I was despondent. She was just one in a long line of people I've felt close to who I'd felt like I had far too little time with before they decamped to another location. When she came back for a visit and we got coffee, I asked if there was anything she missed about New York, and she said, "Other than the people, no." Not even her beloved Park Slope Food Coop? "No. They have similar ones in Seattle."

I probably should have been glad that she was so quickly adjusted to life on the West Coast, but hearing this strangely made me really sad. If even someone who genuinely liked living in Brooklyn couldn't find anything to miss, what about this city was worth sticking around for?

Now that it's my turn to decamp for greener pastures (literally, I hope), I thought I'd share a few things I do expect to miss a bit when we're in New England. That our friends are first on that list, of course, should go without saying. The best part (sometimes it feels like the only really excellent part) of New York has always been the community we've had here.

What I'll Miss About New York

The Shopping
I try not to shop very much, both to save money and to feel better about my impact on the environment, but it happens to the best of us and New York is one of the best cities in the world to do it. I've loved perusing sample sales for OXO, J. Crew, and tons of other great stores. Housing Works is one of the best thrift stores I've found for both home decor and clothes. Big department stores and fancy brands all have a home here, and I'll miss Roger's being able to buy a suit before work and have it tailored before an event that night at Century 21 and being able to peruse insanely expensive jewelry at Tiffany and Harry Winston any time I want. Even just being able to quickly get to pretty much any chain store, like Old Navy or DSW (to say nothing of Barbour or Woolrich), has been great, since I prefer to try clothes on before buying them, instead of getting them delivered. I don't do it often, but I know I'll miss shopping here quite a bit.

The Food
Do you know that my favorite food in the world is still pizza? I'm really, really going to miss having access to amazing pizza, from fancy stuff at Zero Otto Nove and Juliana's to my perfect crispy neighborhood slice at Luigi's. And, I'll miss having access to all the other incredible food we eat on a regular basis: my favorite samosas at the Dosa Cart, bahn mi at Saigon Shack, french fries at Pommes Frites ... and that's just places I like to go for lunch near work! I've been able to explore so many incredible cuisines here, from Cuban and dim sum to Ethopian and Ecuadorian. I've been learning to cook some of our favorite take out dishes lately, so I know I'll be able to satiate cravings for curries and tacos, but I'll definitely miss having access to pretty much any type of food I want, exactly when I want it.

The History
I know New England has it's own very deep sense of history, and I'm so looking forward to exploring that. But, I've been learning New York State history since I was a kid, and I'm definitely going to miss feeling such a deep connection to a place. We also just started watching Turn (at Nancy's recommendation), and don't think I've missed that all the locations seem to be in New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. We'll be leaving without having made it to all the historic houses I wanted to see, and I'm a little bummed about it. I sometimes gripe that NYC doesn't respect its history in the way Philadelphia and Boston and many European cities seem to, but that lack of respect also means that history is woven into the most interesting and unexpected places, and I'm really going to miss that.

So, there's definitely a lot to miss, but I'm still very much looking forward to this next step in our lives. Hopefully all the good about living in New England can help alleviate the things I'll miss about life in New York!

Friday, September 2, 2016

#KrogerNYCBucketList I

When we found out we were moving, I started making a little list in my head of all the things I wanted to do before we moved. Spoiler alert: A lot of it is food I've wanted to try or have again. When Molly and Laura decided to come up from Philadelphia for the day on August 13th, it was the perfect time to knock a few things off our bucket list. (You can also follow along with me on Instagram if you'd like.)

Despite the truly terrible heat, we started the day off perfectly: with a nice long walk to Brooklyn Farmacy, an ice cream parlor and soda fountain I've wanted to go to since I lived in Brooklyn the first time.

We each ordered a different sundae, so we could try each other's. Mine was the Mr. Potato Head, which was excellent, but if I went back, I'd definitely go for Molly's, which was a peanut butter sundae with chocolate ice cream.

After that, we continued our long, hot walk to and across the Brooklyn Bridge. Usually I avoid the bridge like the plague, because it's so packed with tourists, but because it was so hot, the crowds were much thinner than normal, and it turned out to be a perfect time to visit and take in some of the breathtaking views of the skyline.

We walked from the bridge to a friend's apartment in FiDi, where we sat on the roof and chatted with her and other friends for a few hours. For dinner, we headed to Nom Wah Tea Parlor, a dim sum spot I've wanted to check out for ages. Their air conditioning wasn't working great, which meant we got a table right away and the food was fantastic.

It was so great to see Molly and Laura so quickly again after seeing them in Vermont, and I'm really glad they could come and help us kick off our bucket list adventures!