New York Vacation

20140801-163039-59439249.jpgIt’s been awhile since an update. I know. I’m going to continue as if that never happened.

We left New York when Alice was just 4 months old. When we made the decision to leave we promised we would bring her back regularly, that she’d know that city as well as our new one.

One full week, and instead of fretting over rent, affordable childcare, transportation and all the distracting realities of life in New York we so eagerly left behind, we focused on just enjoying the city. We visited friends, old neighborhoods and restaurants. We swam in warm ocean water and ate bagels and pizza. We did all the romantic things we had meant to but rarely had time for while we were living there: Central Park, The Museum of Natural History, Jane’s Carrousel, the High Line Park and The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.

20140801-164147-60107865.jpgThe most amazing aspect of our entire trip was experiencing the city with a very outgoing almost-two-year-old. Where there were once tense, crammed subway rides at rush hour there were now friendly, outgoing individuals smiling and talking at length with Alice. Diverted eyes and random pushes we’re replaced with smiles, waves and the concerned “pardon me.” Even cabbies and uber drivers were double checking her carseat and asking of the baby was comfortable.

IMG_547220140801-164151-60111700.jpgI’m not sure how we’ll recover once we no longer cart around this precious toddler who calls out (“close it!” to the subway doors and “sit down” to each new passenger), waves and dances to anything resembling a beat. I guess we’ll need a really cute dog to carry in a handbag.

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Greece.

I am dreaming of Greece.  I’ve been wanting to go for ages, and despite having been away for far too many things recently, it still feels as though I’ve managed to avoid a vacation entirely.  School starts in just a few days and I’m already dreading it, which is sad, because I want to be excited.  Perhaps it will just take a bit to set in–the excitement.

In the meantime, I’ll try to sooth myself with images of beautiful Greece, a simple island and time in the sun (without getting wrinkles) and the illusion that some how I’d be able to coax Kitty Viv to accompany us without being terrified and peeing on herself in transit.

I’d drink mimosas and white wine mixed with lemonade on this patio while spending hours reading, stopping only to eat tabooli with fresh mint, arrange flowers and wear sandals to an bountiful outdoor market with gorgeous, shimmering fruit.  At night after simple dinners I’d make in the spacious kitchen I’d learn to make baklava, take long baths and sleep…

Oh summer.  It’s always so hard to say goodbye, but I can feel it fading away!  Seasons are so much more harsh than I’d remembered.all images from here.

Summer Meals

It’s too hot to cook inside.  I try to resist and do it anyway (i.e.: a quiche for a friend’s shower, a lemon custard cream pie with graham cracker crust), but each time the apartment gets so hot my guests aren’t very appreciative of the food I’ve made.  So here are a few summer meals I CAN make inside, involving limited stove time but that seem just a good tasting as regular dishes I’d make.

Quinoa with asparagus, summer squash, avocado, spinach and an egg.

Boil the quinoa (I boil it with veggie broth for more flavor), the sauté cooked quinoa with other ingredients and finally one egg, which gives it texture and a little fat, so you feel full.

Broccoli, carrot, cabbage and avocado salad.

So, this one’s the best.  The cabbage can be bought pre-shredded at Trader Joes and the broccoli can just be washed and cut very fine (with scissors, which I think is the best way to cut it).  Mix it all together in a giant bowl with some sliced or food processor purred avocado and you’re set.

Quinoa and salad together.

Lemon in absolutely everything.

It makes everything better, from quinoa to salad and event water.

Strawberries in fresh vanilla cream

Since pie crusts are now officially out, I try to just keep fresh fruit and cream on hand, which is easy to do, and if we get dessert cravings I just make some whipped cream and dice up some berries.

Beer.  Beer makes it all better.  Much, much, much better.

The Urban BBQ.

It’s raining here this afternoon, thank goodness, because it’s been unbearably warm the last few days.  But of course, now that I’m tucked away inside enjoying being able to cook at home for the first time in a week (an oven on in an already hot apartment is just awful), I’m half wishing it were sunny and warm so we could talk someone into having a bbq.

Ready for a surprise?  I think I actually prefer cooking out in New York MORE than LA.  Or, at least, I appreciate it more.  In LA we cooked out so often it just felt like an outdoor kitchen, but here to be invited out for a cook out is an “event.”  It also feels so urban and impossibly quaint, to be precariously situated between huge buildings with beautiful little gardens.  Most of these photos are from our friends Hollie and Sean’s garden, which is the best I’ve ever seen in Brooklyn.  Lucky for us, it’s just down the street.

And while I’m at it, another thing New York does best is stoops.  I love them.  Stoops are the one aspect of New York I had high expectations for and have absolutely NEVER been let down.  Every time I see one I think about how it looks like I’m in some great “New York” movie (the picsuresque ones like “You’ve Got Mail”) and I remember to be excited I’m fortunate enough to live here (even if there are garbage cans concealed cleverly just out of sight-range).

Alright.  Soon enough it will be hot and sunny all over again, so for tonight I’d better just enjoy the cozy rain.  Tomorrow I start my new job.  I’m very nervous/excited, and starting anything is always stressful.  I hate walking around and being told the names of a million people, only to retain zero.  So tonight I’ll have a nice dinner (Moses and I are making civiche and fresh chips) while enjoying our new wine club latest from Lindcourt.  Can’t wait.

Bombs bursting in air.

Summer makes for the best desserts–cherry and strawberry hand pies with vanilla bean ice cream while we watched the “works.
Everybody always ask what you did for the 4th.  As a result, I’m not traditionally a fan of holidays–too much pressure.  But this year we wound up in a building in Dumbo to watch the fireworks from afar (thanks Ant!).

Back of my neck getting burned and pretty.

Now that it’s officially summer the weather’s decided to take a spring-ish nose dive and we’re back in April showers.  I’ve also been incredibly busy (and will be until classes end later this month) and spend every day wanting SO badly to post but feeling compelled to do school work in any downtime.

Here are a few summer photos from a few weeks back mixed with some recent pictures, giving the illusion it is still warm here (as I type this the rain has stopped and a late afternoon/early evening sunshine is coming through the windows).

Moses works in SoHo now.  My first “real” job was in publishing (at Scholastic), which is down a block from his office now.  It’s always strange to be there since I instantly slip into nostalgia and remember the interior of the building, rushed lunch breaks and “Harry Potter” fanfare.

Old Greg and Rion (Ryan) in SoHo.  They were walking behind me and it seemed cool to have them as members of the crowd.

Another summer thing that weirds me out is babies in sunglasses.  I guess there’s no reason why they shouldn’t wear them, and there are probably lots of good reasons why they should, but it still seems hilarious.  They all look so sophisticated and cool.

My self-portrait in the window of a closed Pret-a-Manger.  One of my internships (Sports Illustrated) requires that I work on Sunday.  It’s actually not so bad, since Sunday was always a day spent dreading the week ahead anyway.  Why not just work and be done with it?  The coolest thing, however; is that when I get off the Q at 9 am Times Square is EMPTY.  It was also rainy, so that probably had something to do with it, too.  But I was very impressed.  (I could do that thing where I tell you everything I’m wearing and where I got it, but it’s pretty much all H&M, except my shoes, which are Repetto flats with new ribbons I sewed in).

Ol’ Greg, Rion and Mandy in Williamsburg.  We had rushed from East Village to go to a (not kidding) “Vampire Murder Mystery Dinner Party,” which was being held at some bar.  As soon as we came in and saw the other “players” we excused ourselves and found another bar.  It looked way less like the “Clue” set up than I’d hoped (it was three other people eating french fries and drinking coke…I’d def need a little wine to do a dinner party murder theme).

I made a galette for a bbq our friend Sean had.  This one was strawberry rhubarb.  I’ve since done another that was creme fraiche and peach.  Because I moved without a pie pan (or tart pan or the millions of other fun kitchen things I thought I wouldn’t care if I left in LA for a bit), all my pies are now galettes, which the oxford defines as: a free form pie crust.  Every always asks me what it is.

Ol’Greg, Rion and Mandy relaxing at our house after their long LA flights.

Fast Forward.

The weekend goes so quickly, just like summer and spring and, quite frankly, everything but the winter this year.  When I was little I thought summer and school year were equal.  I suppose that says something about a child’s perspective on the passing of time.  

Summer was absolutely the greatest when I was a kid.  I went to bed when it was still light outside and would lay there listening to the older kids, my brother among them, play out in the field across from our house.  Since most of the older kids were boys, they played a lot of baseball.  

My mother likes to tell the story of how I got up once, (probably more than once) after she’d put me to bed and “walked” myself to the park.  A neighbor found me swinging in my nightgown alone with no shoes.  I got a spanking, another bath and put back to bed.  I was three.

But, while summer isn’t upon us just yet, it’s got to be close.  Saturday was jacket weather and we went on a nice, long run (to counter act the pasta from Friday night), and Saturday night we went dancing, which is really, really rare for us—but fun, nonetheless.  Sunday we did our usual Chelsea Market and Highline walk, but it was made even better because Nate and Lisa came and we stopped and had a beer at the Standard’s Beer Garden.

So, while it isn’t summer, we’re getting ready for it.  And once it’s here, I’m going to live in Prospect Park.  But, this time I’ll wear shoes.  I promise.

Vivi on a bench

Kitty Viv on the new/old bench we got (found) in our neighborhood streets.  The best kind of find.

The prettiest sunset.

Our first “summer-ish” sunset.  We stood out in the street after dinner taking photos.

Moses and Nate at the Standard Beer Garden.



Carrying our Sunday night groceries on the Highline.

 shoes with no socks!