Shirley House

Sadly enough, this summer just flew by. Before it is officially Fall, I want to recap some of my summer adventures.

I was able to visit my family’s Long Island house in Shirley twice. Once to celebrate my Dad’s birthday and another to have a relaxing week away from the city.

Here is a pic of my Dad.

Looking good for 79!

My Aunt found these gems of my Dad.

My Dad and Grandma ❤️
My Dad and Uncle ❤️

My Aunt and Uncle are really into clamming, so much of what we had eaten was clam-related, but it was delicious. My Aunt and Uncle work wonders in the kitchen.

Clam Chowder
Clam Casino
Clam Rockefeller
Fluke and veggies

During our week away, we enjoyed the house, visited the beach, and even went clamming ourselves. My husband Andrew, friend Patrick and I got to enjoy my Uncle’s boat. I need to come to the Shirley house more often.

Here are my favorite pics of the week.

Enjoying the canal
Exploring with the boat
Clamming time
Just a sample of the clams we got
Our cats PJ and BB lounging
BB exploring
Snuggles with Maxine
Peaceful times at the beach

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.

My decade in review

Oh my, so much has happened in the past ten years. The good, the bad and everything else in between. Here is my decade in review of some of my best memories.

2010

I was working at Interference, an event marketing firm in Soho, and been with Andrew for almost two years. We decided to go on a romantic vacation to Costa Rica. This was the first trip we did an all-inclusive package and got SPOILED. Here is a picture of us getting ready to zipline and me on the beach. To be that thin again… le sigh.

2011

I turned the big 3 0!!! We went on a Carnival cruise to Mexico. The port was in New Orleans, so of course we had to stay an extra couple of days to explore. Here is a picture of me clearly enjoying my birthday!

2012

I started working for nonprofits around this time. My first one was the Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation. Now they are known by a different name but their mission is to mentor young chefs. I had the privilege to help plan their 2012 competition at the Culinary Institute of America. The winner represented USA at the Bocuse d’Or competition in Lyon, France. No big deal right! Here is a photo of the competition set-up.

2013

I became a condo owner!!

2014

I began running this year. My first ever race was The Color Run. We had so much fun. I’m not sure why I’m the only one that got color blasted but ok.

2015

I joined the Volunteer Training and Leadership committee at the New York Junior League this year. The committee is now known as Volunteer Education and Training and is pretty dear to my heart as I become the co-chair two years later. The league is one of the oldest and largest women volunteer organizations and the committee I chose to volunteer with focuses on training women on various topics to help with their professional and volunteer career. This picture is of my very first event that I helped with as part of the committee. I’m now part of the Annual Fund team.

2016

I started Grad school! I decided to get my masters in Nonprofit Leadership.

2017

I did the unthinkable, I ran the NYC marathon. Well I ran/walked it but still. I worked my butt off and I raised $5K for the New York Junior League. Look at all my medals.

2018

I got married!!!

2019

It’s been a year of me creating my own traditions with Andrew. This holiday season I did a lot of firsts. I carved my first pumpkin, I made my first thanksgiving meal all by myself and we got our first tree.

I had a great decade, cheers to the next 10!

NYC Holiday Windows

There is nothing like New York City during the holidays. I always visit Herald Square, Rockefeller Center and 5th Avenue at this time of year. It’s become a tradition!

Carnival games seem to be the theme for Macy’s and Bergdorf.

Here are my favs from Macy’s:

Here are my favs from Bergdorf:

Saks had an amazing Frozen display. Still haven’t seen the movie yet though!

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.

Macy’s Annual Flower Show

 

I look forward to the flower show each year. It always makes me think of spring. The beautiful flowers are a tease of what is to come and a reminder of what I will never ever accomplish in my own garden and I’m ok with that :).

This year’s theme was ‘Once Upon A Springtime’ and it definitely had the fairytale look down with a storybook entrance, dragon and villain throne lol. I especially loved the detail on the throne and overall loved the lovely flowers. Here were my favs.

Flower Show 1

 

Flower Show 2

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

Shen Yun Performance with Mom and Dad

One of my goals for this year is to spend more time with my parents. In January, I took them to watch Shen Yun, a Chinese dance and music performance, at Lincoln Center. It was amazing! Full of color and culture.

The show had a great combination of old school and modern elements, with traditional Chinese dances and clothes that were breathtaking, and more modern elements that included crafty ways of using video and projection. Each dance or performance told a different story. My personal favorites were the more traditional ones that featured the females in elegant over the top dresses of the time period. One focused on these long sleeves that the women used sort of like ribbons when they danced. The other one focused on these huge platform shoes that they mastered at the time to make beautiful movement. Kudos to the women of the past who made these outfits and styles work, and work well, at the time of their lives!

Could not capture any photos or videos of the performances but both my parents enjoyed themselves :). This is an annual performance in NY, so I look forward to next year!

Shen Yun

Romance Under the Stars

This month is all about love and celebration, well for me it is! Before our amazing trip to the Dominican Republic, Andrew and I celebrated Valentine’s Day at the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium. We enjoyed the open bar, some snacks, and some tunes but what made the night was viewing the night sky in the planetarium. Astronomy gurus identified some of the constellations and shared some romantic stories about them. It was pretty amazing seeing them up close considering I can never identify them EVER just by looking at the sky =).

I was slightly disappointed with the food, though they did advertise hors d’ oeuvres only, the servers hardly got around to us because of the crowds and the small sampling sections they did have were limited. However, they did have three bars to make it up to us patrons! Overall it was a fun night.

valentines-day