Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cape Cod Birthdays

At the end of February we took a little trip to celebrate a few birthdays. A long weekend at Cape Cod was just the thing for us overworked city-folk. And fortunately the weather cooperated.

We drove up from the city with Alison and Michael (and her dog Rupert, of course), Stephen drove down from Boston and Marisa drove up from the city later that evening. Things couldn't have started off better - we opened the fridge to put in a few groceries when we got there and look what awaited us...

Mom and Dad had been there a few days before we arrived and my wonderful mother, knowing how rest-starved we all were and how in need of a little R&R with our friends, left us 3 bottles of prosecco for celebratory purposes. It was The Best.

Friday night we just ordered pizza, had some wine and relaxed. I think we all went to bed pretty early. Saturday was coffee and toast and magazines and conversation in the living room for a few hours and then we went downtown to the Impudent Oyster for a fantastic late lunch. We strolled through downtown, popping into various shops, I swung by and got my bangs trimmed while the rest of the crew checked out some antique shops and bought some fudge and as the day drew to a close, we picked up lobsters for dinner. Lobster, corn and my favorite kale salad was a pretty killer dinner.

Sunday morning was a repeat of Saturday (with the coffee and the talking and the loveliness and whatnot) and then we headed to Hardings Beach for a walk.

(L-R) Alison, Geoff, Marisa, Michael (hidden behind Marisa) and Stephen

The Birthday kids...

Two of my oldest dearest friends from my early NYC days...

Rupert had quite the adventure at the beach. This is clearly not a water dog. But he had a great time.

Then we headed back to the house for a late brunch, as we were all starving. Alison set a lovely table (shocking, I know)...

We kind of made brunch up. I'd planned to make a whole wheat orzo salad at some point in the weekend, and ended up making it for brunch. Very easy - Whole wheat orzo with grape tomatoes, peccorino Romano cheese, lemon and arugula. I made up the ratios of everything and just kept adding things until I liked it. Stephen topped each plate with two poached eggs, because he is a kitchen wizard. And Alison made an orange & grapefruit salad with a little lime zest. Add some mimosas (OJ + that amazing prosecco -thanks mom!) and it was one fantastic brunch.

*sigh* I love traveling with other foodies.

And no, Alison and Stephen weren't on their phones during brunch - they were photographing their creations. Obviously.

After brunch I can't remember what we did. There may have been naps and showers and a bit of Downton Abbey watching and general down time. Michael's friends Jason and Jasmine made their way up to join us for the evening and once they arrived, we watched Chocolat before dinner. One of my favorite movies. Alison had promised Michael she'd make him a pie for his birthday - and make one she did. I believe this was a sage apple pie? Or a carmel apple pie? Or a caramel sage apple pie. Whatever it was, it was beyond delicious.

And Stephen made Alison a KILLER Guiness Chocolate Cake for her birthday. I think this even had a hint of orange in it somehow, which was beyond amazing. Alison promptly decorated it herself with things she found around the kitchen. She's resourceful, that one. (please forgive the horrendous lighting)

The birthday boy & girl

'Twas a lovely, lovely time. Lets do it again, please.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I'm a Jet Setter

I was asked to teach a few audition masterclasses in various cities around the country, which meant I got to travel to places I'd never been before. This winter it was Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. The trips were super fast and I mostly only had a couple hours to explore the highlights between my arrival and my class but it was still fun to wander.

Salt Lake was pretty cool. I stayed at the Peery Hotel, which is the only hotel on the historic register in Utah. It was apparently THE place to see and be seen in back in the 1920s and definitely has the old mining/railroad businessman feel to it while still being updated to modern life. That's one of my favorite combos - history + modern conveniences.

That kind of seemed to be a theme in downtown SLC - brand new buildings sat right next to buildings that felt like they'd been there for 100 years and hadn't changed much. Kind of cool. Like these old buildings - they were surrounded by newer brick structures.

The thing that struck me about the downtown area was that you were in the middle of the city, but if you looked down pretty much any street, oh, look, there'd just be some huge snow capped mountains. No big deal, just the Rocky Mountains there in pain view. I couldn't get over it - to have mountains so close to the city. Very cool to this east coast girl.

There was also a cool tram that ran right down the middle of the streets. Way cooler than a bus.

I didn't have much time downtown, and my friend Natalie, who is from the area, had actually recommended a bunch of fun options to check out including a place that had a super famous dessert apparently, but I couldn't make it everywhere and I knew I wanted to see Temple Square.

After passing by the good ole Joseph Smith Memorial Building...

And my good friend, Brigham Young (little Book of Mormon lyric reference there for ya)...

I found myself staring up at the Temple - pretty beautiful architecture....

And the Angel Moroni on top..

I also went briefly into the Tabernacle, which was open and is (obviously) where the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings. I will say, there was something about it that creeped me out a little - I think largely because I was in there by myself and it was eerily quiet, and I have a little bit of a "omigosh, I'm breaking the rules!" complex, so I scooted out pretty quickly. But it was still cool to see. And I bet the acoustics in there are AWESOME.

I feel it's almost insulting to say I've learned more about the Mormon religion from the Broadway musical, which I work on, but I have. And because I work on that show, it was extra cool to see the center of the Mormon Faith, even though it's not my own. I know there's more to SLC than the Mormon religion and I would've liked to have seen more of those parts too. But after my big adventure downtown and at Temple Square, I had about 90 minutes before my class and I was starving - so after many attempts to locate the cool restaurants Natalie recommended, I finally gave up 'cause my boots that day were not exactly made for walking and I had a lovely scallop and spinach salad and a glass of sauvignon blanc at the bar Macaroni Grill right next to my hotel. It was kind of heaven, if less adventurous than I originally intended.

A few weeks later, and just for something COMPLETELY different, I was off to Sin City.

I mean, they start you off the moment you step off the plane. Didn't realize there would be slot machines in the airport, but it makes sense...

Vegas virgin that I was, I thought it was super clever that the airport shuttle tickets looked like poker chips. Oh Vegas, you're know how to be cool...

I stayed at the Luxor hotel, which kind of has an Egyptian thing going on. It looks like this from the outside:

And like this from the inside of that pyramid - I'm standing on the hallway to my room on the 21st floor, looking down.

Crazy right? This was the window in my room...

Also, its true about what they say - if you're inside (and really the hotels are so big you can feel like there's no need to go outside) it's dark and kinda feels like night all the time. I had a lunch and wandered around the hotel and casino, contemplated a massage or pedicure and as I approached the spa, I noticed it was near the pool, so I popped outside briefly. It.was.gorgeous.out. And I'd had no idea - I'd been in the hotel for almost 2 hours and had forgotten it was a gorgeous day. So I promptly went up to my room, put on my bathing suit and sat by the pool for an hour. Um, it was pretty great. Especially since it was the beginning of March.

I attempted to gamble a bit, since I never have and it felt like a "when in Rome" sort of thing.

But mostly, I wasn't into it. I tried to play a few slot machines and mostly I just put my money in and then nothing happened. I only tried twice, but both times, I put my money in, the wheel spun like once or twice and then it was over. Not worth it. So then I figured i could play blackjack 'cause I can count to 21, but those tables were intimidating. It was all very fast with lots of hand signals and I didn't want to piss anyone off by not knowing what I was doing, so then I just wandered around and watched a bit and that was plenty fun for me.

I also spotted this T-shirt in a gift shop that made me laugh out loud. This may be offensive to some, but I thought it was a riot. I was tempted to buy one for Geoff.

Then after my class I got a mini tour of The Strip. Which was pretty fun. Some of these pictures are lousy out the car window but it was fun nonetheless.

Vegas was fun, though it wasn't as fun to do on my own. I really wished Geoff had been there and also thought it could potentially be a fun girls weekend place, but only because the pool was so great and sitting around a pool with cocktails and girl talk is my idea of a good time. But they have pools and cocktails a lot of places. Was glad to experience it though!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Everything-But-The-Kitchen-Sink Update

It's spring somehow. Already. I am unprepared. I was supposed to be skinnier by the time short sleeve weather rolled around. And I just bought a gorgeous chunky teal infinity scarf on sale at Nordstrom a few weeks ago that I love and have barely been able to wear. But I've decided not to care, because the breeze coming in my window today is beyond lovely. And we've walked to Panera for lunch twice this week, which I love. So. Take that, jiggly arms. Life is too short to worry about you.

It's been busy as per usual and April and May will likely kick my butt too, so I figured I'd pause a bit today for an update. What I've missed telling you about:

1) I've gone to Salt Lake City and Vegas in the last month for work. I'd never been either place and both were fun to see - there's another post coming about that.
2) We managed a quick trip to Cape Cod with some friends in February - post coming about that too
3) Our nieces had birthdays in February and they had a "critter party" where an animal wrangler brought things like turtles and lizards and a chinchilla (which is super soft) and the hugest snake I've ever seen in real life, whose name was Junior.
4) We set a date in August for a Barn Girls reunion and that will be great fun.
5) I purchased a pair of "jeggings" - and while I hate their name, they have absolutely changed my life.
6) Our friends had their first baby. His name is Judah and I am way overdue for a visit. He's 3 weeks old almost and is already wearing clothes for a 6 month old. He's huge and awesome and I miss him.
7) Did a fun photoshoot with Ms Alison for her business. Post coming about that too. In theory. That's the third additional post I've promised - don't want to get ahead of myself.
8) Am finally learning Lightroom (a photo editing program that all the legit photographers use). It's pretty rad.
9) A friend who works at Coach hooked me up with a 65% off deal at an employee sale and my new bag makes me feel WAY fancier than I am. Plus, a fabulous bag like that will obviously pull focus away any potentially jiggly arms.
10) "Jiggly" is almost as terrible a word as "jeggings".

I'm basically taking the small sliver of time I've had on my hands lately and have been trying to enjoy my life. Hence my absence here. I loved walking down 45th Street the other night on my way to the theatre. It was spring, my iPod was giving me a great soundtrack, and I was all on my own to soak it in. Made me love this city.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Subway Art

Saw this as a banner on the downtown N train today and loved it. This is just half of the banner. Artists' name is Sophie Blackall and she hit it dead on. Have absolutely seen every one of these people on the subway-and probably all in the same car. From the musician with the giant upright bass and the kid looking out the window to the blue haired, knitting Willamsburg-er, the teenage couple making out and the woman with the ginormous plant.

New York: Life happens on the subway. Love it.

Well, love it in art form at least.

- Posted from my iPhone

Location:Broadway,,United States

Saturday, January 28, 2012

2012 So Far -

It's been busy. Shocking, I know. And I'm so bored of writing that sentence that I almost can't stand it.

What you've missed in January -

Geoff had a birthday. Couldn't quite top last year, but I surprised him with tickets to War Horse, and we had dinner at Bar Baloud, which was pretty great. And this Chocolate-Mocha-Crazy-Awesome-Did-They-Put-Crack-In This-Thing? cake was pretty amazing too.

We took photos of a BRAND NEW BABY for some friends and he was pretty killer. Somehow I left without actually holding him once, which seems epically wrong, but he was working suuuuuuper hard at his photo shoot and I didn't want to interfere.

I made Tomatillo Salsa on a whim for the first time. I previously had not really been able to understand a Tomatillo (like how I don't understand Twitter, or health care deductibles). But it was super easy and pretty dang good, even if I did smell like garlic for days.

We made plans with friends for a long weekend away in February and I CANNOT WAIT.

I got offered two new casting jobs, which I'm trying to figure out if I can take on.

Geoff is booking weddings like it's going out of style and it's shaping up to be a busy summer. And it's only January. Yipes.

We keep saying that one day soon we'll get to a pause in all the madness and actually be able to take a bit of our lives back. I'm hoping that's true. I've made it through a big push at work and there might be a minor pause in the next couple weeks where we can take stock of things and start to prioritize a bit. It was supposed to start today but Geoff got sidelined by food poisoning last night and is in no position at the moment to Discuss The Future.

I hate politics. All the Republican Primaries and debates have been reminding me just how much. It's not just the Republicans either - I'd hate it just as much if we were sitting through the Democrats do the same thing. And I'm sorry but the political commentators are the worst of the bunch. JUST STOP TALKING ABOUT IT AND ANALYZING IT AND LET PEOPLE LISTEN TO THE CANDIDATES FOR THEMSELVES, FIGURE OUT WHO IS LYING LESS AND MAKE THEIR CHOICE AND BE DONE WITH IT! JUST.PLEASE.STOP.TALKING-YOU'RE ONLY MAKING IT WORSE.

Whew. Interesting. Didn't really know all that was in there.

I wonder if I'm kind of over the whole blogging thing. I honestly can't think of anything to say these days and I'm barely taking any photos and there's definitely no time. I guess we'll see, but my apathy seems to be ever-increasing.

And most brutally, for the last 6 weeks I've been following the journey of a college friend who just last night lost his battle with Central Nervous System Lymphoma, leaving behind his wife and 2 year old daughter. I haven't seen or spoken to him since college and have never met his wife and daughter but I've been a bit haunted by it, I must confess. It's sobering. And it puts a lot of things into perspective.

So for now, I'm grateful to be in a cozy apartment with a glass of wine and finally a little spare moment to think through some things about life. I guess I'd like to say I'm ready to Take Charge and Make Changes and Kick Some Ass and Take Some Names. But at the moment, I'm just pondering many things. I've not had too many spare moments to do that in the last few months/years. So it's pondering for now. Maybe the ass-kicking part will come later.