One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years. –Tom Wolfe

I know I’ve compared New York City to a hormonal teenage girl before. But after a year of living here, I’ve realized this is an injustice to this place. I don’t know how you really describe this beautiful catastrophe, but if there was a pms-ing, hormonal teenager trapped in the Dalai Lama and he also happened to be a place, he would be New York City.

IMG_0177

Weird comparison? Probably one of the most bizarre I’ve ever thought up of. But it’s the best analogy I can use to sum up my first year residing in the Big Apple. New York can pull a person’s emotions all over the place. It can wear you down emotionally, cause you to feel lost and confused. It has the power to leave you overwhelmed with chaos and at the same time, overwhelmed with opportunity. It will evoke inspiration, to be not just hopeful for the future, but empowered to create your life the way you thought was only conceivable in your dreams. You’ll discover yourself a dozen times only to realize you are stronger and capable of more than you ever fathomed.

whjoboffer

It’ll make you feel so poor that you begin to value the super saver coupons and Walgreen’s Value of the Week, but rich in intellectual stimulation from the fascinating people you’ll converse with when your subway is being “held by the dispatcher, we’ll be moving ‘momentarily’”.  You’ll feel fit as Jillian Michaels from carrying your life and groceries with you everywhere you go, only to gain back all that lost weight after devouring the best pizza, cookies, and cheesecake in THE WORLD. It’s true, New York is the city where you can be anyone you want to be, see and do anything you want to do, and wake up the next day feeling like you still have so much to grasp from what this city has to offer. Who would have thought such a place could actually exist?

best food

Originally, I had five pages to serve as a “brief” summary of my past year. But I didn’t want to lose anyone with my idea of “brief”/”rambling” and remembered there’s a reason I’ve been blogging about my adventures in the city this past year. At least I can use those pages as an opener for the book that I will likely put out there one day.

So what do I post on my one year anniversary with the city? I could compare the two days and share my terrifying taxi ride and grocery store experience on my first day. Or give 365 lessons I’ve learned while in the city, including don’t do talk to strangers on the subway and behind you in line at Trader Joe’s. I could talk about all the different people I’ve been blessed to meet and the friends I’ve made from all over the world.  I could talk about how making friends is harder than dating, but when you do make a friend, they’re your friend for life and you would do anything for them.

friends

I could steer towards the dramatic side and talk about how there were moments I didn’t think I would make it a year in this city as I broke down on nearly every block of Broadway and discovered that even thinking you have bed bugs is one of the worst feelings in the world. Or I could talk about my experience with finding an apartment and roommates on Craigslist and how my mom was petrified I was going to arrive in the city and find out I had been scammed and there would be no roommate and no apartment for me to arrive to. Craigslist and roommates are going to have to be their own chapter in my New York life story.

I could share my Big Apple Bucketlist and what some of my highlights have been from this year such as running across the Brooklyn Bridge, standing shoulder to shoulder next to Neil Patrick Harris walking down Broadway, ice skating in Central Park hand in hand with my love, watching fireworks on a rooftop in the middle of the summer, seeing the Yankees play against the Red Sox, running through Central Park with my sister during the biggest rainstorm I’ve ever been caught in, landing a job with my dream magazine to work for, playing a red piano in Prospect Park, finding my NYC soul mate, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the list goes on and on.

bucket

Instead, I figured I would share the best thing NYC gave me. It’s something I kind of already knew, but NYC reiterated it and made me realize the truth behind it.

On the day of my one year anniversary, storm Hercules caused the Rodale offices to be closed giving me an extra day to spend with Luke and also a day to get caught up on things around the apartment while he worked from home. I found this out after my early morning wake up and workout. New York always finds ways to surprise me. The next 48 hours were actually the perfect way I would have wanted to celebrate my one year. I made French toast for Alex, Luke, and myself followed by trekking through the snow with my bags of laundry and ordered in Luke’s favorite, Blockheads. Later that evening, we met up with a group of friends to go down the block and watch the Ohio State bowl game as Alex and I reminisced on our first encounter and memories from our first year in the city from our first “date”, losing phones, sharing cabs with strangers, the best pizza we had, accompanied by laughter and toasting to another great year in the city. The next day, Luke and I ice skated in Central Park and revisited the first place I went to in the city where I started to feel at ease with my move.
choose

With growling bellies, we walked over to my old neighborhood which happens to also be home to one of the best pizza places in the city. After each devouring an entire pizza to ourselves, it was time to go home for a How I Met Your Mother marathon and low key night before Luke’s departure.

What does all this have to do with what New York has given me? It has reiterated that life is about living with no regrets and making the most of whatever happens. If life gives you a snowday…by gosh you go out and play in that snow! And if you can get things done at the same time then it is a double Whammy. Take chances and don’t hold back. Find strength to go out and get what you really want in life. Be positive, be optimistic, and surround yourself with people who encourage you to be all these things and more.IMG_0489

The growth that has come with living in the city has created a woman who knows what she wants and makes sure that it happens. A woman whose increased curiosity has led her to not only discover the city that many people love, but has fallen in love with herself. I don’t know what the next year will bring, but I do know this hot potato will be taking on the big apple with all she’s got and living up every opportunity. Here’s to another year for the books!

fall

 

 

I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance. -Nora Ephron

Advertisements

Playgrounds, chocolate chip cookies, and pumpkin spice for days

When life hands you pumpkins, incorporate pumpkin into every meal you prepare during fall. When life informs you that you have been living across the street from the world’s best cookies, you better put together one darn good workout and reward yourself with one of those cookies. After all, life is too short to not enjoy pumpkin spice goodness and eat freshly baked cookies!

954884_10151927082044380_1005393160_nLife is also too short to not rock bright, funky sunglasses and milk the summer like weather
in October we’re experiencing here in the city. Colorful trees, crisp mornings, and warm sunny days…
I think I’m getting spoiled this fall, I love this weather!

Why am I talking about pumpkins and cookies today? These were my motivation to get through my training for this past week especially since my playground circuit workout with CeCe on a hot, humid October morning required extra motivation. We had already picked out our inspiration, and it wasn’t just to condition ourselves for the Urbanathlon. We needed something a little sweeter, something a child would crave after running around on the playground for a good couple of hours. Mom’s freshly baked cookies! Since our moms couldn’t be there to do the trick, we were finally able to give Levain Bakery a try to see what makes them “The World’s Best Cookies”. But first, we had to get through our playground circuit. Don’t be fooled by the phrase “playground” and think this is just a simple, fun workout. Fun? It can be. Simple, anything but!

We started out our workout early, hoping to beat all the kiddos to the playground and beat the heat. Central Park was gorgeous, absolutely stunning as the sun started to peek through the trees revealing the first glimpse of fall painting over the city. We started out with a 2 mile run and then headed to the park for another 45 minute sweat sesh.

6028playground_swing

Go through each circuit 3 times. If you do this with a partner, have one person run while the other person performs the circuit and then switch. As we were finishing, a little girl came with her dad and wanted to join in on our workout, but not before asking CeCe why she was all wet. It was definitely one of those “did you just get out of the shower, or have a really vigorous workout?” An exercise like this should definitely be followed by rewarding yourself with cookies or your treat of choice!

With the humidity, neither of us were craving something super sweet, especially at 9:00 in the morning. We decided to still go get our cookies and at least take them home.  Of course we had to try their signature cookie, chocolate walnut and chose the oatmeal raisin cookie as well. It’s funny because you wouldn’t think a world famous cookie would be tucked away in a little tiny basement café. The verdict? We both loved the oatmeal raisin the best as the chocolate one had just a little too many chips for our liking. I know, weird! I took mine back to my  apartment and froze it so it would keep longer. Later in the day I had worked up an appetite though and thought I’d try a bite of it. Because it was so moist on the inside, it tasted AMAZING frozen. Kind of like an ice cream sandwich. YUM! That’s going to be self control at its finest since the bakery is literally a 2 minute walk from my apartment.

LevainBakeryCircuitWorkout

While on the topic of cookies, I’ve been obsessed with putting pumpkin in everything lately. I do believe pumpkin has replaced my watermelon addiction. It goes in my oatmeal, protein bars, smoothies, cookies, I even want to try a pizza recipe with it. Like I said, slightly obsessed. Good thing pumpkins provide many health benefits including being a mood booster, rich in potassium, heart healthy, good for the skin, and strengthen the immune system.

pumpkinspiceoatmealcookiesDirections: Combine the dry ingredients first. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients and then mix the dry and wet ingredients together. Refrigerate for about an hour, then preheat the oven to 375. Roll into small 1/4 cup sizes and bake for 10-14 minutes, depending on your oven’s power. Then, turn up your favorite feel good song (mine was The Proclaimer’s- I’m Gonna Be {500 Miles}) and get ready for your whole home to fill with the smell of fall goodness!

What’s your favorite part about the beginning of fall?