I got to play tourist again but in a different capacity.
I volunteer with the New York Junior League, an organization of women whose mission is to advance women’s leadership for meaningful community impact through volunteer action, collaboration, and training.
I’ve been a volunteer for nine years and have had many roles.
This year, I’ve had the pleasure of being part of the Personal Advancement and Leadership Committee (PAL), which focuses on mentoring young women (ages 14-18) on continuing education opportunities, broad career aspirations, and life skills.
One of the workshops was a tour of Radio City Music Hall. We were able to tour the whole venue and got to meet a Radio City Rockette. It was an excellent opportunity for the young women to see the space and hear from various employees on how they got their jobs and what their roles and responsibilities are.
It was an inspiring and fun workshop. Here are some pictures of the tour.
In April, I had family from California visit. They explored NYC for many days, and I was able to spend some time with them and enjoy some sites I hadn’t been to before or hadn’t been to in a while.
I have been wanting to check out Little Island for a while now, so we went there first. It’s a great little park with lovely views.
From Little Island, we went straight to the High Line. I haven’t been in years! The High Line is a public park built on a freight rail line elevated above the streets of Manhattan’s West Side. The park is from 14th Street to 34th Street and has impressive views and great artwork along the path.
The High Line goes directly into Hudson Yards. We enjoyed the mall there and some yummy food.
Overall, it was a great relaxing day, enjoying the city.
Two weeks ago, I attended my first ‘Eat Something New in Queens’ meet-up at Hug Esan, a Thai restaurant in Elmhurst.
I had such a great time. It was a date night/food adventure/reunion kind of night. An old friend from high school, small world, planned the event, and Andrew and I got to venture out, try new things, and meet new people.
In March, I took part in the ‘Eat Something New in Queens’ Challenge. The purpose was to step out of your comfort zone, try new restaurants and food, and support local restaurants around Queens. Although I took a little staycation during the challenge, I still tried to participate. All the food I tried was excellent!
Here are the restaurants I tried.
Nneji is a West African spot in Astoria. It’s more a pickup type of place but has fantastic food. Don’t feel shy and ask the owner for recommendations on what to eat.
Coco Malaysian Cuisine in Elmhurst.
I’m half Filipino, so Filipino food is life, but I did find a new dish I had never had before at Kabayan Authentic Filipino Cuisine in Woodside.
My family stayed at the TWA Hotel in JFK, in Jamaica, during the challenge (more on the hotel in another post), but we still tried some great food.
Yardie Bistro was in the food court area of the hotel.
Splurged a little at the Paris Cafe by Jean-Georges. It was well worth it!
I had a blast trying all the food. The challenge has an awesome Facebook group page that offers food ideas and recommendations year round. If you love food and live in Queens, or don’t mind traveling to the borough, join the group!
I randomly came across the company Fahlo. Which partners with non-profit organizations to create bracelets that come with an animal to track. Some wildlife organizations they work with are the Sea Turtle Conservancy, Save The Elephants, Polar Bears International, and Saving the Blue.
For Earth Day this year, I decided to support the Sea Turtle Conservancy, so I bought the sea turtle bracelet.
I love it and I wear it all the time. The best part is that the bracelet comes with a QR code to track an actual sea turtle. I’m currently tracking Pop Tart.
It’s a really cool concept and something I enjoy and feel good about supporting.
My next goal is to have my own small edible garden. Let’s see if I can make it happen this Spring!
It’s only fitting that on Earth Day, I would give a shout-out to my go-to park, Cunningham Park.
I have been going to Cunningham since I was a kid. Now my husband and I bring our daughter here all the time. The park has a great playground, space for sports, a path for running/walking, exercise equipment, and even a dog park.
The park also apparently has some walking/biking trails that I never knew about! I haven’t had a chance to explore those yet, but when I do, I’ll share my thoughts.
Here are some shots of little Maxine over the last few weeks.
My daughter Maxine celebrated her first birthday on December 19. She is growing up so fast. I really can’t believe it! My cousin’s girlfriend told me about a fun Chinese ceremony when a baby turns one. It’s called the zhua zhou ceremony, where symbolic objects are laid out in front of a baby to grab. Whatever the baby reaches for and plays with can indicate future employment prospects or interests.
We are a little late, but I thought it would be fun to do! I researched and found more information and potential objects to use via Gathered Gifts’ blog story.
Here is a list of some objects and meanings.
I substituted the following:
Abacus to Cash; Paint Brush to Hair Brush; Calculator to Whiteout; Chicken leg to Bamboo; Lego to Puzzle Piece; Microphone to Fan; Stethoscope to Thermometer; Sword to Shield
Moment of truth. Maxine’s top three…
1. Shallot = Intelligence
2. Measuring tape = Designer/Architect
3. Shield = Law enforcement
Rounding out top 5…
4. Cell phone = Tech Entrepreneur
5. Celery = Industrious
Not bad! LOL. I can’t wait till she is older to see what she likes and is passionate about.
My 2021 wasn’t terrible. I became a Mom, and I celebrated and enjoyed life as much as possible. I explored and pushed myself to try new things. I got creative with ways to motivate myself, and I continue to move forward. It sucks that I’m spending the last day taking care of a sick baby, but such is life.
Below is my picture recap of the year. I choose one picture to sum up each month.
It was great to reflect on the year. I hope you had some time for reflection as well.
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.
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.
Before we shopped, we enjoyed tea and yummy bites from Kings’ Carriage House.
After tea, we enjoyed three floors of vendors.
Golden Tree is done for the year but looking forward to more holiday markets like the Queens Craft Brigade event.
What holiday markets and events are you excited for?