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: 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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Piece O’ NYC: Internet Groceries and Meals

Do you have a favorite local grocery store? We don’t… In fact, we hate our grocery stores. We live close to Central Park, which inevitably means that a lot of people venture to our larger (and more preferred) grocery store to get picnic supplies and various other things. The other stores around us are great for different things, but never produce or meat, so we’re limited and/or make many stops. My husband is a superhero. Since we have to navigate the mass crowds, Jeff wakes up early on the weekends and battles through them to get us weekly supplies. After fighting through the crowds for years, even Jeff has had enough. So, now we order things from the internet. Not often, but often enough. Even that’s not perfect – online produce is often not good, you guys – but it’s a major improvement. And besides, hauling up cat litter boxes along with other heavy groceries by myself at peak elevator traffic time isn’t my favorite pastime.

FullSizeRenderWe get delivery from restaurants every once in a while (Seamless and Grubhub are decent resources), but we also order ready-to-make meals from Blue Apron. I’m not an avid spokesperson for this company (nor do I always like their recipes), but for those of you who hate thinking about what to make and/or can’t come to terms with your local stores, I recommend it. Jeff and I used to get into really silly arguments about what to make for dinner (we’re both indecisive) and this helped us avoid that sort of thing. The delivery box comes with ice packets to help keep your items chilled and we have a standard delivery time every Tuesday. Also, our groceries are atrociously high in the city, this is shockingly cheaper for us to use…

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The back of the recipe cards have step by step instructions with images!

DSC_0024DSC_0026In a perfect world (or back home with my Momma), I could peruse aisles of groceries and enjoy a visit to a store (give me a Wegmans! Give me a Krogers! I don’t care, I used to love grocery shopping!), but not anymore. The times are a’changing and now we eat internet foods.

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Love and happiness in the kitchen always makes a recipe extra delicious :P!