Piece O’ NYC: Work and School and a Park

I’m getting my Masters Degree from the institution where I work. It’s often an interesting ‘balance’ — and thank goodness for tuition remission! Funding for Masters Degrees is generally non-existent, and funding for graduate degrees in general seem to be disappearing over time. Isn’t that dreadful?

That said, I believe in Higher Education and its value. I’m a full-fledged Higher Education Advocate and I know there’s a fit for every student out there. You want to talk about going to college, I’m your girl. You want to talk about how it’s life changing, hit me up. You want to talk about the pains of college too, yep I totally understand and have a bazillion resources I could share. I didn’t want this professional path in the beginning, but becoming a Professional Unicorn Cat Princess wasn’t available as a job (nor would it bring home the money). So I fell into Higher Education and am now pursuing it … at least until I win the lottery and then attempt to buy College Board.

Classes start in a couple of weeks, and as the summer has slowly come to it’s close I realize that I generally look forward to the start of school every year. The flow of the academic calendar isn’t meant for everyone, but I love it. Fall is short and sweet. Spring is dreadfully long but then transitions into brightness. There are huge bouts of stress and tension around mid-terms and finals, and then comes the airiness right after grades are due. What a love story.

FullSizeRender 2FullSizeRender 4Getting to campus itself every morning doesn’t take me long (I know a lot of people who come in from NJ or Upstate, or other states…), and it includes one of the greatest things I can give myself: a walk through Washington Square Park on my way in. A lot of people do this to get to their offices around here, and some might even think it’s a ridiculously simple thing to mention, but it’s become a powerful tradition and daily habit of mine. Who knew a walk through a park right before hitting the office could be a serious preemptive to a good or bad day? This city has a lot of fun things to offer, and I hope I highlighted enough for you, but it’s very hectic too. I’ll take 10 walks in the park if I could to remain sane… Do you have any soothing things to to help you clear your thoughts right before the day starts? When I was in high school, my mom and I would get up early and watch Pokeman or reruns of Charmed right before we departed for our days. It became a thing that we kept looking for each morning, and it was pretty neat too ;p.

FullSizeRenderAnd…this is where we’ll part. I wish you all a beautiful Fall and thanks for reading my posts about this city, my life, and nothing related to quilts ;p.

Piece O’ NYC: Our City Cats

This post is dedicated to the animals I love the most: cats!

When Jeff and I first moved in together, back when we were wee ones in Baltimore, I immediately told him we were getting a cat. Wisely, he didn’t fight me on this. I’m a bit of a cat lady. Most of my friends — ok, ALL of my friends — know that if they spot something cat related to show it to me or get it for me. I’m just one of those crazies.

So, throughout our marriage, Jeff and I have had cats. Sugar, our first cat, sadly passed while she was still a kitten. She was very sweet and loved us both.

Then came Carlton. His full name is Carlton Butterworth Livingston Goldsmith, I. (At the pound his name was “Cookie”…short for Cookie Monster we think…). He was hovering on 17 pounds when we got him, but is now a nice and husky 13 pounds. He’s a gentleman and a scholar, and as his time with us progressed, it became clear that he and Jeff would become the closest of buddies. So that made me feel ‘cat-less.’
Carlton with his buddy, Jeffrey. Probably talking about girls and football...

Carlton with his buddy, Jeffrey. Probably talking about girls and football…

FullSizeRender copy 2Since I’ve never felt right without cat love, I had to get my own. Back to the pound we went, and home we came with Millie, (Millicent Butterworth Goldsmith — if you think these names are funny, wait until you hear what we have in store for our kids one day ;p). Millie is the perfect cat. She’s super sweet and loving, you can leave tons of food out for her and she doesn’t over consume (Carl is a glutton), and she plays with all of her cat toys equally (Carl only likes his princess pillows or squeaky mice). She also plays fetch and does this!

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She’s pretty protective of this quilt… I wouldn’t try to use it while she’s ‘guarding’ it.

FullSizeRenderLiving in tight quarters with two cats does have several challenges, though. There are hair ball nuggets everywhere and no matter what you do, there’s never enough floor space for all of Millie’s toys or for Carl to lay out on. We have random corners where Carl has to have his cat bed — he’s big enough that instead of cat beds, we get him small dog beds. Plus, our litterbox is an eye sore. Jeff and I can totally see why many people here have dogs. (Jeff has never had a dog or puppy, but one day I totally plan on getting him one. One day when we have that house we’ve always dreamed of…).

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NYC is interesting for cats. Millie loves our high rise view and I know Carlton’s happy just as long as you feed him on time. Some people in this city walk their cats in strollers, and we’ve seen cats on leashes in the park. I really think Carlton could be down with this, but Millie is too much like a dog. She’d want to explore.
When Jeff and I talk about our marriage, we immediately think of the cats we’ve had during that time in our lives. For example, it was Sugar who comforted me as I scrolled through bridal magazines looking for DIY wedding ideas, but it was Carlton who moved with us to a new apartment in Baltimore as a married couple. Aren’t pets just the greatest?!

Piece O’ NYC: Romancing the Weekend

There are a lot of weekdays when Jeff and I get home really late from work and school. We often feel like we don’t have enough time to connect and it can feel like we’re more married to our work than to each other — even when we do have time during the week, it’s used to run errands, clean the house, or do all the other little things that build up at the house (a major reason we started up Blue Apron was to save time and headache). I guess this is what you go through during this stage of life, but boy is it distressing sometimes. Honestly, the weekend should have three days and not just two…
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We should probably put down our phones during brunch, huh?

But in efforts to keep the romance alive, Jeff and I try to do fun and special things together. We have a great city to take advantage of, so it should be easy right? Sometimes it is, and sometimes we really just want to chill and veg out on the couch with our cats. Lately we’ve been going for long walks and runs in Central Park. A few times, we’ve tried a new brunch spot we’ve never been to and consumed copious amounts of fun brunch cocktails. Last weekend, we went to the only Cat Cafe in NYC, Meow Parlour — leave it to me to find something to do with cats during “us” time ;p. The upside was that Meow Parlour also has a patisserie down the street that sells cat shaped macarons…and they were yummy!
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This is Carlton, our own cat. He always needs a little weekend romance too.

Another day we went to the Whitney Museum. Jeff loves modern and abstract art and, though I’m not a huge fan of modern art, I loved the new museum. It’s in a great location and is down the street from ‘bruffins‘, so I was content to visit with a pit stop along the way. If you visit the Whitney, get lunch at Bubby’s afterwards and go for a stroll on the High Line. Bubby’s had an amazing corn salsa that we tried and we will definitely be replicating this weekend.

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Nice views at the Whitney Museum, no?

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Since we know that as soon as the academic year commences, and our stress levels elevate, Jeff and I are on a serious mission to try as many new brunch spots and new things together! Gotta keep the romance alive! Do you and your partner do anything special to connect or reconnect? We’re all ears!

Piece O’ NYC: Camp Lolanor Recap

Our apartment is back to being quiet. We had a lot of fun with Camp Lolanor! We did a lot, ate a lot, and enjoyed observing teenagers — they’re like research experiments to us! Ella and Lola are both great kids. I hate how fast Ella is growing: it breaks my heart. That’s what having and giving these fun memories with her is all about though, I suppose. We asked the girls to name their favorite things that they did while at camp, and it was the smaller things — like finding latte art — that got to me and squeezed my heart. While I hate to see them grow, it’s nice that they’re developing an appreciation for chilling like adults. It blew my mind away that Ella just wanted to sit in the park and read a book. How nice is that?! We’ve got too many similarities now, Ella. Sitting, reading, and drinking coffee is what I’m all about.
 

We did several touristy things, like going to the Brooklyn Bridge Park, a musical, Times Square for the Toys R US store and a Hunger Games Exhibit, etc… We even took them on a sailing trip (but I don’t recommend the Friday sunset sail with two teenagers — it sorta ruined the romance for other couples we think … lol). We also played it by ear and made impromptu visits to Top of the Rock, walked to a cool bookstore in Brooklyn, and had a spa night where us girls put up our hair and put on face masks. It was loads of fun!My husband was the best camp coordinator and went to the musical with them (I took the night off). He also very adorably eaves-dropped on their conversations because he’s a ‘nosy’ uncle and all (I knew he wanted to be sure they weren’t talking about boys, he just won’t admit it…). And though we’ll miss our little coffee partners in crime, camp season is officially over for us! I’m whooped and poor Jeff had to catch a red-eye to Brazil the same night he dropped Ella off at the airport. I can’t wait to have him home for a little ‘us’ time.

More pics can be found below. I took plenty of the girls together, so that’s the stream you’ll see mostly. They’re the cutest “besties”!

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Piece O’ NYC: Camp Lolanor has begun!

Camp Lolanor is underway. We have not been killed by glitter or hormones…yet ;p. So we’re all pretty happy. We’ve done many things already and still have a couple of days left! Today was a Brooklyn Bridge kind of day, so we woke up early and headed out to see the bridge. Neither Lola or Ella have seen it, so it was lots of fun!

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All campers have to agree to the camp rules!

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Then we parked it and had some lunch. Built NY supplied us with a few lunch bags/totes to help us keep our picnic goodies extra cold. Aren’t they cute? After testing them, I’ve gotta say – I really love the large one. It held a smaller lunch tote inside of it, three bottles of water, and various other things. After all of those things inside, I thought it would weigh a ton, but surprisingly it didn’t (super plus!). It’ll come in handy when I have to take my work lunch, laptop and books for classes to work this semester too. Ella likes using her own tote as a purse, it’s pretty cute ;p.

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Yeah, a typical Camp scene… Technology wins over talking any day it seems.

Jeff is taking the girls to see a musical tonight and they’re all currently making some sort of goodies in the kitchen right now. What more could kids want from camp?! They’re being fed, we’re letting them stay up late, and we’re watching all of their favorite movies! I’ll show more pictures next week, because there are tons…and these kids are super cool.

If you’re interested in sending your kids to Camp Lolanor next year (we’ve already gotten a few of Lola’s friends who want to attend), send me a million dollar prepaid check and I’ll think about it ;p.

Piece O’ NYC: Kid Stuff

I’m not sure why a lot of people ask me this, since I don’t have any children, but I get a lot of inquiries about things to do with kids in the city. Perhaps it’s my love for cats, glitter, and unicorns that leads them to think I know what a child would like?? HA! Seriously though, I do love doing “kid” things. I love watching children’s movies — no curse words, usually great music (“EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!”), and lots of positivity. And I love crafting — like so much that there’s still glue on my dining room table ;p.

Lately, I’ve had to really think about things to do in the city with kids because my niece Elanor and her friend Lola are coming to stay with us next week. We’re going to call it CAMP LOLANOR! We live in a one bedroom apartment with one bath and the girls will share the pull out sofabed … this is going to be quite an experience, you guys. They’re also “tweens…” Jeff may end up covered in sequins and requesting therapy afterwards … we’ll see! Should be loads of fun (or our doom) — yay!!!

So if you’re visiting with kids, I do highly recommend the following activities in the city (even if they are fairly touristy).
1. Central Park – Pack a lunch and go for a very long walk. I’d like to think this is both a fun adventure and a great opportunity to wear those kids out!!! Come on, nap time! Also, the park has lots of playgrounds like this one and boats on the pond for the kids to paddle you around in! Many free events are also available during the Summer months in the Park.
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2. Brooklyn Bridge Park – Did you know that in the summer they have a pop-up pool? What kid doesn’t love a pool … next to a bridge?!
3. Washington Square Park – in keeping up with the park theme, this one is nice and small. One of the big arches in the city lives here and so does NYU (which I think is a lovely campus ;p ;p ;p).
4. Times Square for a show and the Toys R US Ferris Wheel. They keep hinting that they’re going to close the Times Square Toys R Us. So in the event that they do, try out the ferris wheel while there’s still time. Jeff and I think it’s loads of fun…you know, when we take kids to do it and all…
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5. Sailing after seeing the Highline and getting a crepe from Bar Suzette in Chelsea Market. I fully believe sailing along the Hudson is the best way to see the Statue of Liberty, but if you choose to take the ferry over instead, book it here.
6. Museums GALORE! Pick one! Elanor loved the rooftop at the Met Museum when she visited last.
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Dr. Jeff Goldsmith, Biostatistician and Grown Up Kid.

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Museums are a great idea to visit with kids…especially in the snow. This is the American Museum of Natural History.

7. Cat Cafe – it’s a cafe with CATS! It’s a great spot if it’s raining and you just need a few minutes to sit down. Plus, the proceeds go to helping them take care of the cats.
8. Movies on the Hudson – every summer various parks will show free movies beginning at dusk. Bike rentals are common to find on the Hudson Greenway — rent one and ride along the path for hours.
9. Top of the Rock, Empire State Building, and One World Observatory – Pick one and go up! I like the Top of the Rock myself, but I heard the latter has a good new bar ;p
10. 9/11 Memorial – Unfortunately I haven’t been yet, but I’ve heard really powerful things.
11. Upper East Side for Shopping – Just get it out of your teenage kid’s system (if they’re the type to love shopping) and take them to Bloomingdale’s on the UES. You could get lucky and it’ll be crowded enough that they”ll want to leave asap ;p. Then just stroll around the corner and get an ATM Cupcake from Sprinkles because you’ll both deserve the treat for enduring that experience.

And if you don’t hear from me next week, it might be because the girls are exhibiting this sort of attitude, but I sincerely hope not ;p.

Piece O’ NYC: Favorite Spots

Jeff and I have some favorite ‘spots’ in the city where we like to go and relax. Shhhh, these are top secret so don’t share them with everyone ;p.

One of the spots is at Lincoln Center. We live around the corner from LC, so we mosey over fairly often. It’s a really neat area. During the summer, they project free operas on a large HD screen for all to see. The chairs at Hearst Plaza are my all time favorite chairs in the world. They’re not particularly great (in fact they hurt my back), but they certainly say ‘relax here by the water … chill out for a second … ‘ which can be rare in the city. When your day-to-day hassles can start as soon as you step out the front door, you need to find some sweet spots that motivate you to chill and stop thinking for a bit. This is mine. If we ever move, I will be stealing one of these chairs. You may have yoga, I have Lincoln Center chairs. They’re my zen.

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Another spot is at Riverside Park South. Every summer since 2012, I’ve gotten an ‘adult smoothie’ from Pier i. It’s my summer tradition. Nothing beats sitting by the river, drinking a few beverages, and watching boats goes by. Add a sun shade or umbrella and it’s ‘just right.’ You can walk all of the Hudson Greenway, along the west side of Manhattan, for a good workout. And on the weekends, there’s free kayaking in the river offered right at the pier! Though I’m scared of literally everything, so I can’t recommend it personally ;p.

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Finally, we adore the Central Park Conservatory Water. You may have seen it in movies – it’s the location with the small sail boats. The little cafe (which apparently is transitioning into a Le Pain) next to the pond offers up a few local beers, mixers, and some cheap wine along with various food items. Jeff and I love sitting here on windy days to watch the boats and to spot French Bulldogs (we play “Slug Frenchie” instead of “Slug Bug”). Then we sadly amble home and start working all over again.

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Dr. Jeff Goldsmith, Biostatistician and purse protector ;p.

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