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: 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!


All campers have to agree to the camp rules!


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.




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.


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


Hello there, stranger…

It’s been days since I posted and if I was sitting next to you on the subway, or standing next to you in an elevator, I might tell you about it. Yes, I am one of those people who can’t seem to help themselves: I smile at strangers on the street, I talk to strangers on elevators. It drives my NYC-son crazy.

Now it is my turn to say “Hah!”. It turns out that talking to strangers is a mood lifter for all concerned and there is data to support that. You can read about it here in the NY Times. It’s a short read and worth the time it takes. Hers’ a teaser, quoted from the article:

“The behavioral scientists Nicholas Epley and Juliana Schroeder approached commuters in a Chicago area train station and asked them to break the rules. In return for a $5 Starbucks gift card, these commuters agreed to participate in a simple experiment during their train ride. One group was asked to talk to the stranger who sat down next to them on the train that morning. Other people were told to follow standard commuter norms, keeping to themselves. By the end of the train ride, commuters who talked to a stranger reported having a more positive experience than those who had sat in solitude.”

CrystalBridges-Cafe-01I have come to realize that each one of us is actually living a life that is one, long story. Who doesn’t love a story?! We heard stories read to us as children, we watch them on screens, and we read stories in books. When a stranger and I interact, we offer each other a glimpse of our own unique story. You may not think your story is interesting because you are used to it but to someone else, it’s new and different.

Most of us like to think that we are open-minded. I know I like to think that of myself but I’m like everyone else… I don’t break out of my personal bubble often. Interacting with complete strangers is one way to that I put myself in a position to hear, and learn, something different. I can tell you that it works for me.