My day and a half in NYC

25 Jun

I really suck at keeping up this blog sometimes. I started writing about my mini trip with my husband to NYC about two weeks ago and never finished it or came back to it. At this point I don’t feel like pulling it back up and adding to it so I will just start a new post…..a much smaller one.

We had a great time and when we have more money and time to spend we are definitely going back! We stayed at a hotel in Astoria and I would love to have more time to go back and check out that area. It looked like there were lots of little shops, bars, stores, etc worth stopping into.

LaGuardia airport was much less crowded, confusing and crazy than I imagined it would be. In fact it was much easier to navigate than when I went to Colorado and had to deal with the Denver airport. It helped that the hotel provided a shuttle for us and we didn’t have to worry about getting a taxi.

We were pretty hungry when we got there so we found a place called Krave Cafe within walking distance. I really loved that place…..it had really big windows and was on the corner so I could watch what was going on outside without actually being out there. The service was great and the food was really good and inexpensive.

I rode a subway for the first time on this trip and I loved it! Actually it was one of the things I missed when I got home. I really wish we had something like that where we lived…..not to get around the city but maybe to travel to other cities. How great would it be to jump on the train and go out for the night, have a few drinks, maybe see a concert and then get back on the train for home. If whoever’s in charge of these things is reading this, can you work on that? Thanks.

Times Square was a madhouse! There was just so much to see, and so many people everywhere. We had fun but its somewhere I would only want to visit once. I’m more interested in checking out less touristy areas. I will say that the ToysRUs was amazing and we will have to take the kids. We could spend an entire afternoon in there.

Central Park was beautiful and enormous. We walked around there for an hour and barely scratched the surface. If I lived in NY I could image this is where you could find me and the kids on nice days.

On the advice of a friend, we checked out a place called Rudy’s Bar on 9th ave and I liked it. It was what I call a hole in the wall or dive bar, but in a good way. The beer was cheap and it was a nice place to take a break …..I didn’t take my picture with the pig or eat free hot dogs though. Maybe next time Rita 🙂

We basically walked and walked and walked, spent some much needed quality time together, took lots of pictures and saw some really great buildings, sights, etc. I really wish we would have had more time but I’m already planning another trip…..well, in my head but still.

There were many things I liked about NYC but the major attraction to me is that you can just get lost in the crowd. Where I live, you can’t take 5 steps any direction without getting the “up down” from someone who feels the need to be in your business. But there, no one cares what the hell you are wearing or doing which is a nice feeling. I also loved just people watching because there were so many interesting people, fashions, couples, etc to keep you interested for hours.

I only have a few pieces of advice for those of you who are going and never visited before. Keep in mind I visited once for a day and a half so this is the blind leading the blind.

– Wear comfortable shoes. My friend Angie suggested cute flats with gel inserts. Do that. Also, I carried flip flops with me because I had a feeling my feet would hurt by the end of the night. I was glad I did. If you do that, be careful on the subway!

– Don’t wear anything fussy that you will have to pull at, adjust, etc. We all want to look good, but this is not the time to put fashion before comfort. Wear something cute but that you would feel good walking 8 hours in.

– When crossing the street, do not be that idiot that thinks they are too awesome to wait for the signal. Just from what I witnessed, the taxi drivers will not hesitate to hit you. Seriously.

– I suggest taking the subway for travel…..its convenient, cheap and makes the most sense to me. Although, I have a really hard time with directions so if my husband wasn’t there guiding me I would probably still be lost.

– Have fun!ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Advertisements

I just packed like a man….

7 Jun

I’m leaving for a weekend trip to NYC tomorrow and normally I would pack 5 different outfits because well, you never know what you are going to need. In fact, I do this all the time….every time I go somewhere my bag is so full the zipper is struggling to stay on. My husband on the other hand throws a t-shirt and some shorts in a bag and he’s ready. I then decided to think like a man when I packed.

I really didn’t want to check a bag for just the weekend so I tried to keep it as light as possible. My husband’s clothes, my clothes, camera, makeup bag, shoes and toiletries all fit in one small bag. I really have no idea how this happened…..I have to say I’m very impressed with myself.

 

Basically, I’m wearing the black shirt and capris on the plane so I don’t even need to pack anything for tomorrow and then I will probably just wear the same capris on Sunday with the blue shirt. I’m also bringing a tshirt and yoga pants for lounging at hotel and then a white cardigan that goes with both shirts just in case it gets chilly. I have a black pair of flats for walking around the city and I’m also putting my flip flops in my purse in case my feet start to hurt. I threw some jewelry in my makeup bag and my camera is fully charged…..I don’t even know myself right now.

Now allI have to do is get over my nervousness about flying and I will be good to go! I don’t have a set plan…..we have just decided to take the subway into the city from the hotel and wander around, see some sites, eat some good food, maybe meet some interesting people and have a great time. I will make sure to take lots of pictures 🙂Image

Eat me.

17 May

I imagine this is what my carrot cake would say if it had lips. I don’t usually love anything I make because well, its me. I have a tendency to be a bit hard on myself because most of the time I think I can do better. I have to say thought that I think I have perfected my carrot cake. Its really the first cake I came up with where I didn’t use a base recipe. I was curious one night and wondered what would happen if I just made my own amounts up and threw everything in a bowl. Apparently what happens is yummy goodness. I will warn you that this cake is neither low calorie or healthy. But it is delicious!

And of course, what is a carrot cake without the cream cheese frosting? Well, I don’t know what but definitely not as good. A couple of weeks ago I was at Panera and my daughter chose a big carrot cake muffin…..it was really good and it had cream cheese in the middle. My husband really seemed to love this idea so I thought I would try it out. Delicious! If you are looking for a good cake or muffins to try out or bring to an event you won’t be sorry.

I couldn’t find any good muffin tins so I decided to make it as a bundt cake. It came out moist (sorry, I hate that word!) and full of flavor. The original recipe can be found under “carrot cake” ….I made a couple adjustments. Yes you are reading it right….there is cayenne in it. It brings out the flavor and gives it a kick but its not too spicy.

Carrot Cake

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsps baking soda
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins (optional)                                                                                               I imagine this would be good with chopped walnuts or pecans but I haven’t tried that yet.

Cream Cheese Filling:

1 8 oz package cream cheese

4 tbsp butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 package cream cheese (8oz)

4 tbsp butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla

powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 a spray a bundt pan with cake release spray, or grease and flour.

Cake:

Mix together the eggs ,vegetable oil, sugar and vanilla. Add other ingredients in order one and a time until well mixed. Spoon 2/3 mixture into bundt pan.

Filling:

Cream together cream cheese and sugar and then add other ingredients until well mixed. Spoon onto carrot cake mixture.

Add remaining carrot cake mixture and bake for 1 hour or until toothpick or fork comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool before frosting. I suggest letting cake cool for at least an hour and then putting in freezer for about 45 minutes. When cake is completely cool, ice the cake.

Frosting:

Using a mixer, blend together the cream cheese and butter until well mixed. Add vanilla and keep mixing on low. Add powdered sugar a little at a time until it gets the consistency of icing. I don’t have a good measurement for this since it depends on a few factors….but maybe 1/2 a bag. If you use too much, thin it with a little milk.

Oh and one more thing. I took terrible pictures of this cake so please don’t judge on looks alone. I was way too lazy to get the good camera out and worry about lighting. I took them from my phone and I was lucky to get a picture before it was gone.

This is a pic of the filling spooned on….before the final mixture was added.

Image

Image

New York in a month…

3 May

Next month is my husband’s 40th birthday and I wanted to do something special with him. We never really had a honeymoon or celebrated our 10th anniversary and I didn’t really want another milestone to go by without marking the occasion. Plus, I’m really looking forward to having almost two days of just “us” time. So a few months ago, I bought plane tickets for NYC. I’ve never been there before and I knew that my husband would love to go. Unfortunately right after I bought the tickets, we got a $3000 bill from the mechanic which wiped out my trip money….and then some.

We are still going, but just on a more limited budget. The good thing is that our plane tickets and hotel room are taken care of so we just need to figure out food and entertainment. I looked up food and there are tons of food carts, little restaurants, etc that are budget friendly and  supposed to be really good. And I can’t go to New York without buying a hot dog from a truck or finding a place for great cheesecake.

I also found a site that sells  day passes at a reasonable rate and they are supposed to be good for many of the things we may want to see……museums, Empire State building, etc etc. We are going to be there less than two days so I’m planning on making the most of our time. When I get back there will likely be a post about visiting New York on an extreme budget and I’m sure there will also be a post about packing light for a two day trip. That will be a little harder for me than my husband, but I think I can handle it. I’m only taking one carry on so I have to fit my clothes, makeup, camera, and whatever else I will need in it. This also means I pack one(yes I said one!) outfit. I will already be wearing clothes for the first day so I just need something for our 2nd day. I’ve never packed without bringing tons of different outfits and shoes, just in case. 

If anyone lives in New York, visits there or is a pro at packing please chime in. I can use all the help and advice you have to offer. I would love to hear about great places to eat or visit or what I shouldn’t leave without seeing! I promise to take lots of pictures and will definitely post about all the places we visit. 

I’m really excited…..hopefully this month flies by!

My Haircut Before & After

29 Apr

I know you guys are just sitting on the edge of your seats waiting for this post. So I did it…Thursday I went into the salon and showed her the haircuts I posted on here and cut my hair off. It feels so much better! It takes me about 15 minutes start to finish to do my hair instead of 45. I was a little unsure at first because I wasn’t used to it, but everybody at home seemed to like it a lot & now that the shock has worn off I really like it too.

The best thing is that now I look “done”….if that makes any sense. I’ve even had random people in the store and at my son’s soccer game come up to me and compliment my hair. I’m thinking I’m going to keep it this way for awhile …or at least until I get bored, which is NEVER  a good thing for me. It usually involves my hair turning a color not found in nature.

I took a before and after……just something to keep in mind- I do not take good pictures so you might have to use your imagination a little.

Image

Image

Cutting off all my hair today.

25 Apr

Ok, I’m a bit dramatic….I’m not cutting it all off, but I am cutting it short. I’ve grown it longer just to see if I like it & I don’t. I’m lazy when it comes to doing my hair and I really hate how long it takes to dry it and make it look done. Plus it always ends up in a giant knot after sleeping on it and well, wah wah wah. Its just time to cut.

I’m a little nervous about it because unlike color, if it looks bad I can’t just redo it but I guess it is just hair and it grows back. Fortunately mine grows pretty fast so if its a disaster I won’t have to wait too long. I love how I rationalize my crazy decisions to myself.  

I will take a before and after and come back and post them later. Wish me luck!

These are some of the cuts I’ve been thinking about: 

ImageImageImageImage

 

 

 

What a difference a coat of paint makes!

17 Apr

For those who know me or have followed me for awhile, know that I’m kind of addicted to painting. The feeling I get when I transform something blah or yucky looking is awesome, so I try to do it as often as I can. I’ve painted about every room in my house so it was time to take it outside….it definitely needed it!

I started with my deck on the back of the house and then decided the back door needed help. I paint this stupid deck every freaking year! With the wear and tear from the dogs, people walking on the steps and the salt and snow it looks awful come spring. This year was a bit of a challenge to keep the dogs of the porch since they are both active puppies and they can pretty much jump over or climb under any barrier I put in place. They are lucky they are so damn cute.

I didn’t like the color green I painted the deck last year so I had to figure out a new one, but it had to be in the green family since thats what color the garage door and side door are. I went to the store, found one I liked and brought it home. Apparently I’m getting better at this stuff because I picked out the exact color of the outside doors.

I started with the deck….which is a pain in the ass with all the slat things and railing. Then I moved onto the door that my one husky/shepard loves to scratch, jump on and basically try to tear apart.  I’ve never painted an exterior door before and am way too lazy to take it off the hinges so I just opened it, painted it and let it dry. Much easier!

The paint cost me $22 and I already had a paintbrush, roller and tray so I’m pretty happy with how thrifty this ended up being.

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage