So long 2021

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.

January- I became a Mom! I gave birth to Maxine Amelia on Dec 19, 2020. My first month as a mom was rough and full of learning moments, but I’m thankful every day for my munchkin.
February- My mom turned 77 this year. With the pandemic, it was tough to see her and our family. This amazing picture (of three generations) was taken at my Aunt’s house. We celebrated my Mom’s birthday, and family members finally met Maxine.
March- With a new baby, it’s hard to get out, and it was tough to have time just for my husband and me. I signed us up for a beer and cheese virtual tasting as a date night. It was a lot of fun and informative.
April- I did many fun things in April, including an oyster shucking class and a cooking class with Daniel Boulud, but nothing can beat my Dad finally coming home from rehab after fracturing his hip. December 2020, my father fractured his hip, had to have surgery, and caught covid and pneumonia in the hospital. At the beginning of the year, my father was moved to a long-term care facility in Jersey first and finally placed in a rehab facility in Queens soon after. It was a challenging situation, mainly because of covid and I couldn’t see him. He finally came home at the end of April, and he got to meet his granddaughter for the first time.
May- I decided to sign-up for a flower CSA from May to October. It was a bit pricey, if I’m going to be honest, but so worth it! I picked up flowers every week; it was very refreshing. I even tried my hand at arranging the flowers. It was fun and relaxing.
June- Andrew and I celebrated our wedding anniversary by attending a virtual magic show by Dan White. It was AMAZING and blew our minds.
July- We celebrated Dad, who turned 79! My family has a house in Long Island that we share by the beach. My dad rarely visits, but my Aunt and Uncle threw him a little party, and he enjoyed the day and area.
August- We had a family vacation in the Catskills at the end of August. We rented a house with a pool and jacuzzi; it was amazing and much needed. I don’t have many pictures of my husband smiling, so I’m taking advantage and showing his beautiful smile.
September- Self-care became tricky during the pandemic. I finally decided enough was enough with my hair and chopped it off. Quite liberating if I say so myself.
October- I turned the big 4*0* this month. We decided to head over to Crystal Springs Resort for a few days and enjoy the fall season. The resort was fantastic with great food, and I took advantage of the spa. We went apple picking, pumpkin picking, went through a corn maze, and enjoyed wine and spirit tastings in the area. It was very low-key and chill.
November- Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I appreciate the time with family and the overall idea of gratitude. I shared my journal of things I’m grateful for already in another post. My husband had to work on Thanksgiving, but I still enjoyed the day, reflected on everything I’m thankful for, and cooked a feast.
December- This month was filled with friend and family activities, but I couldn’t help picking the time decorating the gingerbread house as my picture for the month. It gets harder and harder to find activities that my parents are willing to do and be a part of. Next year, I will continue to brainstorm ideas.

It was great to reflect on the year. I hope you had some time for reflection as well.

Cheers to 2022!

Enjoying the holidays

Recapping my year is a must, but first I want to share how I spent my holidays. This year looked and felt different, but I was determined to make the most of it.

Tree watching:

I kept it local and virtual. I watched the tree lightings virtually for Athens Square Park and Astoria Park.

Astoria decorations:

I honestly didn’t venture around the neighborhood as much as I wanted, but I still got to see some beautiful decorations.

Home decorations:

I didn’t do much this year. I confess I didn’t even open up my Christmas boxes. I went with simple and familiar. Each year, I do a tree of Christmas cards, and for a tree, I got a tiny one this year so that we could enjoy the stuffed toys from my daughter’s advent calendar.

Christmas parties:

I’m fortunate that I could celebrate with my groups of girls. Both parties weren’t fancy, but I had a great time, and most importantly, everyone got to meet my daughter, Maxine.

Family activities:

A big hit this year was the gingerbread houses! Two were made with my husband’s niece and nephew, and one was made with my parents.

The advent calendars were also an obvious favorite. We all enjoyed our own. Andrew had a whiskey one, Maxine had a stuffed toy one, PJ and BB shared a fancy feast one, and my parents and I had a chocolate one.

I had low-key family parties with great food, but I’m pretty proud of my Christmas Eve dishes. I went all out with a seven-fishes-themed spread. We had raw oysters, crab, salmon slices, mussels and clams in a white wine, fried shrimp, and baked fish. We also had steak, brussel sprouts, and mashed potatoes. For dessert, I made brownies.

Christmas outfits:

I was so excited to dress Maxine up this year for parties and PJs. I couldn’t help myself.

Christmas cards and gifts:

I went with both personal cards and virtual cards. I sent many of my older family members cards with personal notes and sent a virtual card with pictures to all my online family members.

I gave many food-related gifts and personal touch gifts this year. Below are some of my favorites.

Overall I had a great holiday, and I hope you did as well.

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!

Goodbye 2019

I’m not going to lie, 2019 was a rough year for me personally and professionally but I had some really great moments with the people I care about. So here is my year in review…

January was a tough month for me but Andrew and I were still able to have a kick ass date night at Secret Summer’s Aquarius party. Here I am with the naughty wolves.

In February, Andrew and I decided to get away from NY for Valentine’s Day and his birthday and headed to The French Manor Inn and Spa in the Poconos.

Early March, I celebrated my Mom’s birthday at one of our favorite restaurants London Lennies.

Enjoyed Cherry Blossom season in DC with my friends Dawn and Christie in April.

Kicked off the summer season with my girls at Jones Beach for Memorial Day Weekend. Got the weirdest tan which I still have till this day.

Andrew and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary in June. We enjoyed a beautiful boat cruise and then a few days later had dinner at our wedding venue. Here is Andrew messing around on the boat cruise.

Got to enjoy my family’s beach house in Shirley Long Island in July. I don’t go there enough. It was beautiful and peaceful.

I’ve been pretty obsessed with trying to hit all 50 states lately. After working on a small puzzle of the US for a team building exercise in August, I bought a bigger one and plotted my next adventure.

My next adventure turned out to be a road trip in South Dakota and Minnesota in September! Here is a picture of us in the Badlands.

October is a very important month because it’s BIRTHDAY month! I did a lot of celebrating but my fav was exploring the Sojo Spa in New Jersey. Multiple floors, hydrotherapy, infinity pool….I can go on and on. Here we are in the heated pool.

I kicked ass for Thanksgiving. I cooked a full menu, cooking a turkey for the first time, which included an apple pie. I really out did myself.

Here is a picture of my turkey pre-oven:

Here is my apple pie:

And lastly, December. I started the year rough and I ended the year rough but being with family this past week has been a god sent. One thing I’m really proud of this month is getting my tree. I’ve never really grown up with a tree so getting one was a big deal to me. I’m sure I’ll collect more ornaments in the future but it was the perfect first tree.

It’s been real 2019 but 2020 I’m coming for ya!

2019 Holiday Season Memories

This holiday season went by so fast, I really can’t believe it’s almost over. It feels like Thanksgiving was yesterday but lo and behold 2020 is just around the corner. Here are some of my favorite memories.

Kicked things off by watching the Rockettes. I started going to the show every year with my Dad not so long ago. This year my Aunt and Uncle came along.

One thing I’m really proud of this year is cooking for Thanksgiving. From turkey to apple pie, I took care of it all.

I also cooked up a storm this past month.

Fried Chicken

Baked wings

Green bean casserole

Really decked out my apartment this year.

This is the first year Andrew and I got a tree!

The cats loved it!

Also, had some great family moments.

My cousin Rosie’s baby shower.

Annual Christmas party with the girls.

Pre-Christmas meal with my family the Saturday before Christmas.Hosted my family’s annual Christmas Eve party.

Last minute trip to paradise

Andrew and I decided to get out of New York for a few days and booked a last-minute trip to the Dominican Republic. We’ve been twice before, and it has always been super relaxing and chill. This time around we stayed at the Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville.  I highly recommend it. We did all-inclusive and stayed in the adult only section, as the Grand Bahia Principe La Romana was right next door. It was perfect! We had access to two private pools, a private section on the beach and adult only restaurants but still had the opportunity to explore the family areas as well.

Here is the suite we stayed in, had a jacuzzi and outdoor patio area too =). The hallways had these amazing gate like pieces that made the place feel like you were walking in a castle.
hotel-room
One of my favorite things about the resort was the sculptures. They were everywhere and each pretty unique. I would say a nice blend of European and Modern.

sculptures

The pools were spacious, and there were plenty of spots. We didn’t have to reserve any chairs. Andrew and I even found a spot where he could smoke his cigar without it being an issue.

pool
The beach was beautiful. Pretty much all the seating had a cabana/hut feel, and there was plenty of space. The water wasn’t crystal blue but still a sight to be seen, and the sunsets were gorgeous. We took advantage of a free hour of kayaking on our last day.

beach

The food was pretty good, the best all-inclusive buffet experience I’ve had! On Friday, Andrew’s birthday, they had a seafood buffet with grilled lobster which was yummy. We also got to try their signature restaurant, Don Pablo, which had an AMAZING foie gras appetizer (we had two!) and their Brazilian restaurant.

food
The trip wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the spa. We got massages two days in a row and took advantage of their sauna and jacuzzi sections because why the hell not!

spa

Overall I had a great time. It’s been a while since I traveled to a country that doesn’t predominately speak English. It was a bit refreshing to have to try to speak and learn something else. This trip has reminded me how much I love to travel and to explore. Need to pick my next travel destination soon!

5th Anniversary @ Maze

Andrew and I recently celebrated our fifth anniversary at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant, Maze, at The London hotel in the city. Andrew and I are big foodies and are a big fan of his British show, The F Word, so it seemed like a good place for us to check out.

The space was amazing with beautiful chandeliers at the bar and blue seating everywhere. I also loved the bathroom area, which is basically a corridor of  individual bathrooms that include your own personal sink with a great selection of lotions.

The food was also amazing. Yes it was small portions and it was expensive but I knew that going in. I truly enjoyed everything I ate and the portions were good enough for us to share. We got the foie gras, spicy shrimp toast and scallops for appetizers. The foie gras was a bit messy to eat and the shrimp toast wasn’t really spicy but we didn’t mind one bit, they were all delicious. Andrew got the NY strip steak and I got the branzino. We also tried the brussel sprouts and the wild mushroom sides. If I could’ve licked the brussel sprout plate, I probably would have. To top it off we got complimentary dessert because they had to move us to another table to accommodate another party. It wasn’t really a big deal since our plates were already cleared when they asked but I gladly ordered and finished the apple tart and the chocolate mouse.

We spent easily around $250 but I’m worth it =). I would absolutely go back and maybe hang out at the bar before enjoying my meal next time.

Figuring out what to get

Figuring out what to get

scallops, the foie gras and the shrimp toast

scallops, the foie gras and the shrimp toast

very excited for my branzino and brussel sprouts...

very excited for my branzino and brussel sprouts…

wine and dessert

wine and dessert

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.