Getting back to the swing of things

It has been quite some time since I’ve written. 2020 was a mess and motivation is hard to come by these days (especially since it’s taken till April to write this lol) but I’m trying to move past it and so it’s 2020 recap time to cleanse my soul.

Last year, I started January the right way, as queen! I’m half French but this was the first year I celebrated the beginning of the new year with a la galette des rois (king cake). My family never made it a tradition in my household. The dessert is served to celebrate Epiphany (or Three Kings Day). The cake is usually a puff pastry tart and has a single charm hidden inside. The person who finds the trinket becomes king or queen for the day. Here I am proudly showing my trinket and crown.
February was filled with celebrations including my husband’s birthday and my mom’s birthday. For my husband’s birthday we ended up renting a house for a few days in the Poconos. It was a lot of fun. My parents and his parents were all about the local casinos. We enjoyed Kalahari (an indoor waterpark for kids) and went sledding. My mom is a leap year baby so every time we have a leap year I feel like I have to do something for her. I held a little birthday party for her at a Greek restaurant in Astoria called Akrotiri Seafood Tavern. They have amazing seafood and good food in general!
March is when the year turned into sh$t and Covid happened. My last meal before lockdown officially started was at Sugar Freak in Astoria. I got my drink and food on but didn’t know at the time that it would be my last restaurant experience for awhile.
Despite Covid, in April, I got to enjoy cherry blossom season. To get out of the house for awhile I would walk around my neighborhood and enjoy the local cherry blossoms. The Brooklyn Botanical Garden also did a virtual tour of their cherry blossoms so I got to watch and enjoy the lovely view from home.
I have to say last year people got really creative with ways to see each other and experience things virtually. In May, a group of my girlfriends got together to celebrate two birthdays via Zoom. We had a tarot reading experience. Each of us was able to get a reading, it was very interesting!

In June, my husband and I started a little herb garden. We started a little late in the year and a couple of months later all the herbs died but it was a fun experience.

In July, we went camping! We found an amazing abandoned zoo campsite in upstate New York through Tentrr and stayed for a few nights. I wouldn’t normally recommend camping while pregnant but our Tentrr campsite was amazing. It included all the necessary camping equipment, including a canvas tent and bed. A few highlights of the trip was actually exploring the abandoned zoo and enjoying Haines Falls (which is pictured above). The waterfall was really beautiful and has two individual sections you can enjoy. The hike to the waterfall is not bad either but there are a lot of stairs to climb and that was not fun while pregnant.
I ended August enjoying the Queens Drive-in movie theater located in the parking lot of the New York Hall of Science. I watched 2001: A Space Odyssey. The movie was a bit weird but the overall experience was pretty cool. The best part was the food vendors you can order from and it wasn’t the normal movie theater snacks, it was more like real dinner food.
In September, I made the best decision of my life. I bought crawfish from Louisiana Crawfish Co. I was in the mood for crawfish so I did a quick Google search and found this company. They sell a variety of seafood goodies!
I did all the fun fall activities in October. The top two pictures are from Terhune Orchards. I met up with my two cousins and their significant others. This was the first time we got to hang out given the pandemic. The orchard had a beautiful sunflower patch, a cute corn maze we enjoyed and most importantly a wine tasting area. I clearly enjoyed the mocktails. We originally went to this place to go apple picking but that section closed earlier than expected. At least I was able to get some apple donuts. The bottom two pictures are from the Queens County Farm. They had an amazing corn maze! It was quite impressive, it was shaped to Van Gogh’s Sunflowers and had an interactive game element that I loved.
November was a blur but one of my favorite moments was my baby shower. I planned it myself and since it was virtual I wanted to include as many people as possible. I ended up hosting a family version and a friend version. I shared all the ultrasound pictures I had, asked everyone to make guesses and predictions, and we played virtual bingo. I sent custom designed oreo cookies to prize winners. It was a good time!
In December, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. It’s been a hard year and at this time my dad was in the hospital for a hip fracture and caught Covid. My mom was in quarantine for visiting my dad but given all that, my husband and I had a lot to celebrate this holiday season. We really kept it simple this year. Just us, no tree, hardly any gifts, we just cherished our new baby girl.

I have many plans for 2021. I’m excited to see what I can make happen.

Winter Lantern Festival

Last week, Andrew and I accompanied my Aunt and Uncle to the Winter Lantern Festival at Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden in Staten Island. The holiday light show had over 1000 lanterns of various figures – mostly animals and flowers.

Here are my favs:

It was def. fun as a group. We had a blast.

Exploring The Met Museum with Mom and Andrew

 

In February, I was lucky enough to visit the museum twice, once with my Mom and another time, on Valentine’s Day <3, with Andrew.

Mom and I focused on seeing the exhibits that were closing. I especially wanted her to see the Michelangelo one because she is quite religious. Here are my favorite shots (one not of the exhibit!).

Michaelangelo

We also got to see the Rodin exhibit, which was displayed in a single corridor. These sculptures were amazing. Mom and I spent the most time here, taking in all the beauty and laughing at some of the more interesting ones. Here are our favs!

Rodin's Sculptures

Our last stop was the Japanese Bamboo exhibit and the Chinese Courtyard. They had one huge bamboo sculpture, which I believe was specifically made for the room, but I could be wrong. It was pretty interesting. It reminded me of the bamboo exhibit many years ago on the rooftop. That was one of my favorite rooftop exhibits at The Met. Mom LOVED the Chinese Courtyard; I took a lot of solo shots of her in here.

Japanese Art

On Valentine’s Day, Andrew and I got to explore the museum after hours. It was pretty cool, less of a crowd and they had curators in various locations to give you more information. The whole museum wasn’t open, only certain sections but we still got to enjoy the beautiful paintings at the Thomas Cole exhibit, the Frank Lloyd Wright room in the American Wing and our favorite, Temple of Dendur. It’s usually crowded in the room, so it was pretty sweet that we got to see it so up close and personal. Andrew and I ended our night of exploring in the Dining Room at The Met where we had a very romantic dinner =).

MET AfterHours

Thomas Cole

Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812

I first heard about the show through my boyfriend, Andrew. I got tickets to see Sleep No More in October and he mentioned a couple of interactive shows he heard of that would be great to attend, this show being one of them. I finally got tickets to see it with him and two of my friends, Adrienne and Christine, on a Friday night.

The show is actually inside a pop-up space with the best outdoor bathroom trailer I’ve been to so far :). The atmosphere is very dark, clubbish, with old school paintings everywhere to set the mood and show timeline of Russia in the 1800s. Seating is a combination of bar stools, tables and lounge tables. I paid for bar stools but once we got there, we were given a table, BONUS.

The show is based on the novel War and Peace, which I never read but overall I enjoyed my experience. It was very interactive, the performers dance and sing all around you. Due to our location, we always had a performer near us and  we also had a few sit at our table as part of the show. The performers and wait staff also do there best to try to get you to understand who is who.  I also like how they modernize the music and how they give you some what of a small summary to follow if you want via the program. It might have been too whimsical for Andrew but the ladies and I enjoyed it.

Here are some pictures:

Program...you'll need it

Program…you’ll need it

Atmospherics

Atmospherics

The Ladies

The Ladies

Ghostly painting

Ghostly paintings

Pricey food snacks

Pricey food snacks

I spent about $134 per ticket. We received some snacks (perogies, bread and pieces of vegetables and olives) but we bought a cheese and charcuterie plate, shrimp cocktail and plenty of drinks. Andrew, I believe, spent around $200 on us ladies.  I don’t regret my night trip to Moscow, it was quite entertaining,  but I’ll pass on the food and drinks next time.

Holiday Train Show

I have been wanting to see the Holiday Train Show at the Botanical Garden for some time now and I thought it would be fitting to start the new year with an adventure.

I went with my friend Adrienne on New Year’s Day. I met Adrienne on the D train, we then took the bus to the garden.  I don’t normally ride buses so I was amazed to find out that you could actually track the bus by accessing a QR code at the bus stop. People must use the service as Adrienne and I were the two lonely birds at the bus stop but as soon as we saw the bus 10 people magically showed up. It’s a great tool to use in the future to beat the cold, lesson learned.

We got there around 3pm but had to wait to enter for 3:45pm. We found the holiday food court, while we waited, and ate but it was pretty expensive and there was a just a small selection.

The train show itself was great. All the materials used were apparently plant based. All around were NY bridges and mostly well known buildings and landmarks. Here are few pictures of my favorites:

Queensboro Bridge

Queensboro Bridge

Building with train

Building with a train

MET

MET

Frick Museum

Frick Museum

Guggenheim Museum

Guggenheim Museum

Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium

NY Landscape

NY Landscape

Spent a total of approx. $40 ($25 admission, $10 for food, $5 for transportation). I would definitely go again but next time I might go at night, when they have ‘Bar Car Nights’. The garden had a couple of nights in Dec, where adults can go and see the show and have cocktails. Probably more my scene and hopefully a lot less crowded.