Starting the holidays off with Mom

Last year it was hard to get together for the holidays. Not only was I pregnant, but Covid happened. So I’m not surprised that pretty much everyone is jumping on the holiday bandwagon early. I started the holiday season with my Mom at the beginning of November. We did an Ethel M Chocolate tasting and went to a holiday market to benefit The New York Junior League.

On November 5th, we participated in Ethel M Chocolates- Holiday Cactus Garden Lighting Online Tasting Experience. The event came with hot chocolate, a chocolate tasting kit for two, and some paperwork to remember and enhance our experience. This was the first virtual tasting experience for my mom, so I was excited for her.

The event kicked off via Zoom with speeches and the Cactus Garden lighting ceremony. Then our Chief Chocolatier did a hot chocolate demonstration focusing on three ways you could up your hot chocolate game. Lastly, it was chocolate time! We sampled a white chocolate peppermint silk piece, milk chocolate pecan pie, a pumpkin spice piece, dark chocolate egg nog, and then milk and dark chocolate fudge pieces. My mom’s favorite was the white chocolate peppermint silk, and mine was the milk chocolate fudge.

Chief Chocolatier- Mark Mackey
Mom getting into it!

We had the best time! Ethel M has tastings all the time. Check out their website; they should have a holiday and a New Year tasting coming up.

On November 12, Mom and I attended The New York Junior League’s Golden Tree, a shopping event where the vendors give 20% back to the nonprofit. The league’s mission is to promote volunteerism, develop the potential in women, and improve communities. I also volunteer with the league, and this was the first event that I brought my mom.

Here is the gorgeous Astor House
Mom and me

Before we shopped, we enjoyed tea and yummy bites from Kings’ Carriage House.

Check out the spread!

After tea, we enjoyed three floors of vendors.

Isn’t this bag cute!
Original ornament from Christina’s World
Bought a scented candle from Zagara Home
And a elegant necklace from Therese Custom Designs

Golden Tree is done for the year but looking forward to more holiday markets like the Queens Craft Brigade event.

via Queens Craft Brigade’s Instagram
List of vendors for 11/28 via Queens Craft Brigade’s Instagram

What holiday markets and events are you excited for?

The Edge’s City Climb Experience

It’s the season of giving thanks and one of the things I’m truly grateful for is my love of adventure.

My husband and I participated in The Edge’s City Climb earlier this month. We climbed an angled staircase of a skyscraper and leaned out over the edge. It was scary, thrilling and liberating all at the same time. Extra bonus is that you get an amazing view of New York City.

The whole experience was about two hours. The first hour is all about safety. You fill out waivers, get suited up and checked multiple times, and learn about using the equipment. The next hour is enjoying the climb on the staircase and enjoying the view. I found the climb a little strenuous, because you have to pull your gear with you, but the view is totally worth it. I highly recommend it!

Here are some photos of our experience.

Right before our climb
Climbing up!
Half way there!
I was so scared! Looking down was way easier for me than falling back.

Fun in the Catskills

It’s officially Fall, but I’m still reminiscing about summertime. This year I got to enjoy the Catskills twice. The first time, I went camping with friends, and the second time, I stayed in a house with family.

Camping was fun, even with a seven-month baby! We stayed at a Tentrr campsite. Tentrr locations are unique because they provide all the camping material for you, and everything is already set up ready to go. We had a huge canvas tent, chairs, an area for campfires, and an area for eating. Another bonus of Tentrr locations is that they are pretty private. The place we chose is part of an abandoned zoo, and it was great because we were able to explore the area if we wanted to, and even though we were camping, we were able to use some bathroom facilities it had.

Here are some pictures of us camping.

Our Tentrr Tent

While in the area, we enjoyed the local Farmer’s market and ice cream shop, hiked Kaaterskill Falls, and did a tasting at the Rip Van Winkle Brewing Company.

On our way to Kaaterskill Falls
Baby’s first hike
Family pic at the falls
Banana flavor
Tasting at Rip Van Winkle Brewing Company

In late August, Andrew and I, with his family, rented a house via Airbnb. The house was by Hunter Mountain. It was simple, but it had plenty of room for us and had a pool and jacuzzi; we didn’t need anything else!

Here are some of my favorite shots.

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