Wednesday, December 30, 2015

I Still Love You, New York

A few months ago, Meghan and I talked about going to NYC for her birthday in early November. We'd visit Holly and have a fun weekend, which would be a good distraction from her entering a new life decade and escaping her grad school stresses. We bought tickets and got ready. And then week before, Meghan called with the news that she couldn't go to NYC anymore - she had to fly to the Bay area for a job interview, at a place she really wanted to work. Boo! I decided to still go, and I'm sure glad I did.

I arrived super late at JFK on Thursday night and had to trek way Upper West Side to get to Holly and Brandon's place. The AirTrain wasn't running from the airport, so I had to take a bus to get connected, and even if I wanted to just be quick and take a cab, there were probably 100 people in line. Ugh. They graciously waited up for me, and I got to their place around 1:15 or something. But I so loved that as I came up from the subway onto their street, there were still so many things going on so late at night. A welcome change from Utah nights.

Holly had to work on Friday, and I had planned to do the same, so that worked out well. I popped down to 250 Hudson and worked for a bit. Always good to see people in person. We popped over to Alidoro for lunch, where I was advised to order quickly, not ask questions, and get out of the way. Quite a delicious Italian sandwich.

After work I met up with Holly in Times Square to sort our options for a show that evening. The Curious Incident is one of my favorite books, and I'd been curious about the stage adaptation, so after seeing 50% off tickets, we picked that one. We popped over to Totto Ramen for a bite before the show, then settled into our seats.

I really loved how they pulled the writing and diagrams from the book and turned them into a visual display. It really helps you get inside Christopher's head. The minimal set up and multi-use props were interesting, and the lead actor did an incredible job.


Brandon finally got out of work, and he met us to pick up some cheesecake at Junior's. We grabbed it to go and cabbed home, thanks to his work paying for it.

The next morning Holly and I popped over to the Cathedral Church of St John the Divine, which is gigantic! We did a quick look in, and I wanted to see the Geography of Poverty exhibit, but we were short on time. Waking up on east coast hours isn't exactly my forte. We'd planned to even get up super early to try and get a cronut, but we failed. And I'm okay with that.

Holly and I popped down to meet Carol for lunch at Cosme.

I really dug it - we ordered a few things to try, and I think we all walked away very satisfied.


Still had room for a Dough doughnut after though!

We had to rush further downtown to meet a group for a tour of the Woolworth Building. When Carol realized that I'd been in town the same weekend she would, she invited me to join a group of people she was getting together. Holly and Brandon were game as well, and it turned out to be a fascinating tour.

You can go read up on it here - I won't bore you with details. Frank Woolworth was an interesting guy, and the five and dime stores are legends. Here are a few photos.

Coming in - we were late. Our tour group had already left for an outside viewing, so the very kind security guard told us where we might find them. We did a quick loop around the block, but had no luck. Luckily they came back inside soon, and we continued on.








The whole gang that Carol brought together.







After our tour we walked over to Brigham's temporary home, where he was recovering from surgery.

Great views from his place.


Carol and I ventured off for some shopping in Soho after visit, and then I met back up with Holly and Brandon for a quite bite at Shake Shack (hooray!) before we headed to Josh and Carly's pumpkin party. Angela came over too, and it was a solid Phoenix reunion.


Even at 1am, Holly's grocery store is bright and shiny, and I love it. We grabbed a few things for Sunday dinner.

Sunday morning we went to church (Primary Program, awesome!) and then I wandered off in search of an art gallery, which was sadly closed that day.

Remember that time I sang at Carnegie Hall in 1996? I do.


I meandered up into Central Park for a bit before going back to grab my things and leave town.



Broke the Sabbath at Levain for some cookies to take home, as well as a thank you for my lovely hosts.

Bye, Holly and Brandon!

LIRR is the way to go.

I got super sad as I flew over Manhattan on the way home. Love you, New York! Wish we could be in a steady relationship. See you again soon.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

November Stuff

During November I was participating in a six-week challenge at OrangeTheory - working out 4x a week and eating clean. Celisse was staying with me for a bit and made this super delicious, tasty, and healthy dish. Roasted veggies, quinoa, sausage, and I couldn't get enough of it.

Fall was on the way out.

Winter on the way in.

Sugar House Park was gorgeous one day.


I went to a bonfire full of random people that I'll never see again, nor remember, but at least they had great snacks and beverages.

I got a honey and salt body scrub, followed by a massage one Saturday. It was bliss. Here's a shower photo so I can remember how much I had to scrub to get all that stuff off of me.

Miles sold The Press! No more pie and cider. He had a send-off party, and we had a last glass.

Right after pie, I met up with Caroline, who recently moved back to Utah, and we went to dance our hearts out with Above & Beyond. I still love these DJs, and while I felt a bit old, I didn't care. We went to the back, got our dance on, and went home at a reasonable hour.

Cool kids.


I went to NYC. More on that later.

Had a hilarious laugh at work from a coworkers drawing of Gwen. I still roll when I look at it.

My refugee family feeds me so well when I go to tutor. Not sure how much I'm helping with English, but....

At work we finally did a team activity - a cooking class! They usually end up getting cancelled because we're all too busy, but we made this one. And it was great!


This was a sauce class. We did a couple pan sauces, including this marsala.


I worked on a salted caramel sauce that was SO good.


And then we got to eat it all! The salad dressing we made was AMAZING.

Also a cherry gastrique over pan-seared scallops.

I wanna drink that caramel.


Right after I got back from NYC, I had let Courtney know I was back in town, in case over the next week they needed some help with new baby coming. That same afternoon, she let me know they were on their way to the hospital, a few days early. And Quinn arrived! I hurried down to Provo and had a quick catch up day with Meghan, since she had missed our NYC trip (more to come) and then I went to the hospital to meet Baby Quinn.

Courtney is a champ.

Baby burrito!

Hallie had to come to the hospital since Quinn was arriving fast, but Courtney's parents came to get her. She was excited though.

Back at home, I made some chicken using a cooking class sauce, and it turned out well.

Back down south for more Quinn time. Taylor was sick and couldn't hold her for a few days.

I also stopped by Velour to see my Moth & the Flame friends and fans. These two - my favorites.


Somewhere that week I went to the first Ballet West performance of the season, and it was great. I'm glad ballet is back!

Jessica got a new studio and held an open house, so a crew of us gathered one evening. Lots of people I like in one place. Also we got a huge gang of people together to see Ryan Hamilton at Wiseguys Comedy. Why don't I do that more often? Who doesn't like to laugh? I should see more comedy shows.

Birdie's opened a holiday pop-up shop, and I went a lot! Her cookies are so good!!

More niece time with Hallie.

I always want to cuddle her, but she's too busy running around. However, she's now discovered Frozen and she sat in my lap to watch it for nearly an hour! I was amazed. I love her.

So long, sheets. You ripped to pieces while I was sleeping, and I got new ones.

Back to the Balkans! And I'm Getting Married...

Let's try something revolutionary. Let's try writing about a trip immediately upon return! So back in November or something, there...