First Time Visiting Vermont

Over Halloween weekend this year, Kevin and I drove to Vermont. I wanted to go somewhere upstate to see the Fall foliage and since I had never been to Vermont, Kevin suggested we drive a little further to a state we’ve never been. We ended up staying at a bed and breakfast in Waterbury that we found on Airbnb which was a convenient five minute drive to the Ben & Jerry’s factory.We only had a little over 24 hours to explore Vermont before we had to drive back to the city, so we jammed in as many activities as possible on Saturday.

We weren’t sure if there would be long lines for the Ben & Jerry’s factory tour, so we woke up fairly early so we could be there right when they opened. The factory tour was pretty cool and it was neat hearing more about the history of Ben & Jerry’s. It makes me like their ice cream even more! After enjoying a little ice cream sample we changed clothes to go on a hike, but we stopped at a nice pizza placein town to get some lunch first. At lunch I had the opportunity to try the acclaimed Heady Topper IPA beer brewed in Waterbury by The Alchemist. It is not widely distributed so I’m glad I got a chance to try it when I was there.

For our hike we chose Stowe Pinnacle trail which was supposed to be easy/moderate in difficulty but it definitely ended up being more challenging than we were anticipating. It was mainly uphill and we were sweating as we climbed to the top. Once we got to the top though we got a nice view of the town below. Unfortunately we went to Waterbury about two weeks too late. It was still pretty but a lot of the trees leaves had already fallen. It was still nice to get some fresh air and exercise though.

After our hike we freshened up and rushed to the local cider mill, Cold Hollow, before they closed. It wasn’t as good as the Michigan cider mills I’ve grown up going to but it was still nice to include as part of our Fally weekend. In the evening we went to a nearby town to see a movie. We saw Burnt the chef movie with Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller at the cute local movie theater in the middle of town.

That was all we were able to fit in on Saturday and on Sunday morning we hit the road back to the city in time for Kevin to catch an evening flight. It was definitely a lot of driving (about 6.5 hours each way) for such a short trip, but I’m glad we got to experience fall in Vermont.

New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show

For my birthday the end of April, I went to the New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show in the Bronx. It’s the nation’s largest exhibition of orchids.

The vertical gardens of French botanist and artist Patrick Blanc–featuring structures covered in orchids, ferns, exotic plants, and epiphytes freed from the constraints of gravity–transform the historic Enid A. Haupt Conservatory into an exotic spectacle to dazzle the senses in The Orchid Show: Patrick Blancs Vertical Gardens. (http://www.nybg.org/exhibitions/2012/orchid-show/).

I attended “”Orchid Evenings”” which featured a DJ and a Vanilla Ginger Moon cocktail to sip on while strolling through the path of flowers. It was a trek to get there, but

once we were finally in the New York Botanical Garden, it was very enjoyable. I liked feeling temporarily

removed from the city in a garden oasis. I am a big fan of ivy, so naturally I enjoyed Blanc’s vertical garden. The arrangement was intricate, and the orchids provided a gorgeous pop of color. It was like organic art. You can see some of my favorite pictures from The Orchid Show below.

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Warrior Fitness Boot Camp

This past weekend I went to my second boot camp class at Warrior Fitness Boot Camp in Manhattan. My preconceived notions were that only people who are trying to lose weight and don't have the self-discipline to push themselves during a workout go to boot camp, but I was proved wrong during both classes. Boot camp is about more than just losing weight–the class helps tone, provides variety, and a sense of being part of a team. Although the instructors are marines and try to push you to the next

level, everyone is in the same boat and gives each other words of encouragement. I also like the fact that the instructors wear army pants with the Warrior Fitness Boot Camp tee shirt that is mandatory for all participants to wear as well. It provides a feeling of unity.

What is great about Warrior Fitness Boot Camp is that there are men and women in all different levels of shape. There are people who are marathoners and do boot camp as cross training, and people who simply want to get in better shape. The layout at Warrior Fitness is perfect to work all different muscles. We run up stairs

(sometimes with weights), there is a small running track circling an obstacle course with monkey bars, hurdles, walls to climb over, a rope to climb up, and a walled tube to climb through. There is also space on the sides of

the track where the team does jumping jacks, pushups, sit ups, etc. It really does have everything for a complete

workout in a relatively small space.

I was sore for two full days after one boot camp class, but it didn't make me want to quit. Quite the opposite in fact–it makes me want to continue to work hard to get in better shape and to transform my body. Warrior Fitness Boot Camp sounds intimidating, but once you're there, you will be given encouragement and you will feel good about yourself afterward even though you'll be sweating profusely and mentally begging for a water break throughout the 60 minute session. It is rewarding. You might even become so addicted you start doing back-to-back classes. Warrior Fitness Boot Camp brings out the warrior in you.

My only complaint is that it's really expensive. It's $60 for 3 introductory classes which is doable, but the cost only goes up from there. Three months unlimited can set you back $1500. Boot camp is highly addictive after you get over the being sore and being ordered around part. If you can afford it, it's definitely worth giving a try. There is no doubt that you will be in shape after attending Warrior Fitness Boot Camp for a few weeks.

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Zarkana

I saw Cirque du Soleil's Zarkana recently. I had never seen a Cirque du Soleil performance before, so I didn't really know what to expect. Plus, I was particularly interested in seeing the performance in Radio City Music Hall, which

I had never been to before.

“”Zarkana is an acrobatic rock opera that blends circus arts with the surreal to create a world where physical virtuosity rubs shoulders with the strange.The story follows Zark, a magician who has lost his powers – and the love of his life – in an abandoned theatre populated by a motley collection of off-the-wall characters and incomparable acrobats. He runs into the Mutants, four sirens as sinister as they are fabulous, who are determined to divert him from his quest.

Zarkana is a visual vortex set in a slightly twisted musical and acrobatic fantasy universe where, little by little, chaos and craziness give way to festivity and love regained.””

I loved how dark Zarkana is, and to be honest, I don't think I would have liked it as much if it weren't as dark. It was like an adult version of the circus. My favorite acts were the handbalancing and the wheel of death. I was definitely captivated by the show the entire time I was there. I was also in awe over the grandness of Radio City. Radio City Music Hall has a fabulous history:

“”When the stock market crashed in 1929, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. held a $91 million, 24-year lease on a piece of midtown Manhattan property properly known as

“”the speakeasy belt.”” Plans to gentrify the neighborhood by building a new Metropolitan Opera House on the site were dashed by the failing economy and the business outlook was dim. Nevertheless, Rockefeller made a bold decision that would leave a lasting impact on the city's architectural and cultural landscape. He decided to build an entire complex of buildings on the property-buildings so superior that they would attract commercial t

enants even in a depressed city flooded with vacant rental space. The project would express the highest ideals of architecture and design and stand as a symbol of optimism and hope.

The search for a commercial partner led to the Radio Corporation of America, a young company whose NBC radio programs were attracting huge audiences and whose RKO studios were producing and distributing popular motion pictures that offered welcome diversion in hard times. Rockefeller's financial power and RCA's media might were joined by the unusual talents of impresario S.L. “”Roxy”” Rothafel. Roxy had earned a reputation as a theatrical genius by employing an innovative

combination of vaudeville, movies and razzle-dazzle decor to revive struggling theatres across America. Together Rockefeller, RCA and Roxy realized a fantastic dream – a theatre unlike any in the world, and the first completed project within the complex that RCA head David Sarnoff dubbed “”Radio City.”” Radio City Music Hall was to be a palace for the people. A place of beauty offering high-quality entertainment at prices ordinary people could afford. It was intended to entertain and amuse, but also to elevate and inspire“” (Radio City).

Before the show, I grabbed a drink with my friend at Forty Four in the Royalton. I don't have drinks at nice hotel bars nearly as often as I should. Forty Four is a great place to meet with a friend. The sitting area is cool and dim, clean and spacious, and the drink menu has good cocktails. Overall, I had a fantastic evening out–a New York City kind of evening to be exact 🙂

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Meet Pants

On October 8, 2012 Kevin and I brought home our baby kitten, Pants. It was love at first sight. He was a tiny furball when we picked him up in Pennsylvania on a drizzly night after work. I knew he was going to be perfect when he layed patiently in my lap purring the entire three hour ride back to NYC.

Since that night, Pants has brought nothing but joy into our lives. Pants has so much personality. He is constantly looking cute as a button or doing funny things that make me smile. When he is hyper he gets into everything–boxes, bags, you name it. His favorite place to lay is on top of my shoes lined up along the window. He has a weird infatuation with water and has no problem getting himself all wet except when it's actual bath time.He's my little companion and followes me everywhere.

Pants is only aboutfour months old, and we've only had him a little over a month, but he has grown

a lot in the short amount of time we've had him. I don't love him any less though. If anything, I love him more every day because of his funny personality. Well that's enough gushing for now. Below are just a few of the manyphotos I've already taken of Pants.

If you want more pictures of Pants, check out http://catnamedpants.tumblr.com/


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Dead Accounts on Broadway

I recently saw Dead Accounts on Broadway starring Katie Holmes, Norbert Leo Butz, and Judy Greer. Although I've heard mixed reviews from my colleagues, I really liked it. It is a play with a rather intimate setting featuring only five characters throughout the entire show.

Dead Accounts is the story of a brother, a sister, and a surprise reunionthat turns their family upside down. A $27 million secret proves thatthe truth can be complicated.

The reunion takes place in Jack (Butz) and Lorna's (Holmes) parents' home in Cincinnati, Ohio. As one who grew up in the Midwest, it was interesting to hear what jokes/stereotypes they had about it including cheap china, linoleum floors, drab, unstylish wardrobes, boxed wine, inexpensive food, unexpectedly good ice cream. and lots of grass and trees.

Two-time TONY Award winner Norbert Leo Butz clearly steals the show in Dead Accounts because he is simply amazing, but I think overall it is a strong cast. While one of my colleagues didn't think Holmes was that into it, I thought she was very good and a good fit for the part. There is a scene where Lorna grabs the home wireless phone, but when she did during the

show I went to, the battery cover accidentally fell off. She was able to improvise and quickly work snapping the cover back onto the phone into the aggressive tone of voice as she was in the middle of dialog. Additionally, after reading The New York Times review of Dead Accounts, I like K

atie Holmes even more. She seems humble and down to earth. I didn't know she is originally from the Midwest too. Despite being a famous actress, I think she's actually shy and self-conscious.

Not only did I enjoy that the play takes place in the Midwest, I also liked the plot. Dead Accounts is the kind of play

that you continue to think about after the show is over. I've seen so many feel-good shows in which the protagonist lives happily ever after, so it was a little refreshing to see something that was more realistic and open-ended. Dead Accounts also leaves the audience to ponder over big life issues such religion, relationships, morality, and mortality.

There are a few parallels between Jack and my life which made me enjoy Dead Accounts even more. Jack moved to NYC and launched his career. When he comes back home (temporarily or indefinitely, we don't know) he appreciates all of the things the Midwest offers–like fresh air, space, and greenery–but he still can't help telling his friend about all the fun things to do in the city like Broadway shows and posh restaurants.

The religion aspect of the show didn't resonate with me, but I do have a lot of friends from home whose parents are strong Catholics. Lastly, and what made me think about the most afterward, the question of one's happiness. Does money make us happy? Family? Religion? Morals? Relationships? When is enough enough? Will/can we ever be fully satisfied?

Playwright, Therea Rebeck digs in a bit deeper about the issues Dead Accounts stirs up. She says, “”There is a sense [from Midwesterners] that the East Coast has lost its moral center…Meanwhile, the East Coast cannot believe how stupid the center of the country seems to have gotten”” (Broadway.com).

Norbert Leo Butz and Katie Holmes are both great in Dead Accounts. I recommend it if you're looking for a show with more depth. It is definitely worth seeing, especially if you're a Midwestern transplant like myself (and Butz, and Holmes, and Greer).

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Weekend in London

Last Friday I took a day off work and flew to London to meet up with my boyfriend and some of his coworkers who were already there for a work trip. We stayed at Sanderson Hotel which I am a big fan of. The interior design is very eclectic with fun, different shaped chairs and hardwood floors. The elevator is psychedelicwith a 3-D display of outer space. Our room was romantic with an all-white bedding, a deep bathtub, and sheer white curtains covering the walls. It’s one of the nicest and chicest hotels I’ve stayed in.

After taking my luggage to the room, Kevin and I had afternoon tea, or “”Mad Hatter’s Tea”” I should say, in the hotel. The whole theme of the tea is based on Alice in Wonderland. There were so many little details in everything from the tea set to the actual food. It was an awesome experience just having tea there.Friday evening Kevin and I had a few drinks with his co-workers before heading to see a West End show. I love theaters, so before I left for London I did a little research on the best shows playing in London. Last time I was in London, I saw Les Miserables which I loved, so I wanted to see something else that wasn’t currently on Broadway in New York. Kevin and I were able to get tickets to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.Believe it or not, I didn’t actually read what the show was about before requesting tickets. All I knew was that it got good reviews, and it wasn’t on Broadway in NY yet. Little did I know that it was going to be a fairly intense play about Asperger’s Disease.

I also didn’t know that the show is based on the book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by British author Mark Haddon. The play is shown through the lens of a 15-year-old boy, Christopher, with Aspergers. The audience sees how Christopher reacts to the world as he investigates who killed his neighbor’s dog. Luke Treadaway who plays Christopher does an amazing job. The stage was really cool too. It was set up like a graph paper and Christopher would interact with the stage by drawing on it with chalk. The stage is fitting to the boy’s disease because it is mathematical, and even though Christopher cannot understand things such as metaphors or he doesn’t like to be touched, he is very good at math. That is how he makes sense of the world. I’m really glad I got to see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time on West End in London and I’m sure it will be coming to Broadway in New York. Although it is intense, it is a great play and definitely worth seeing.

Kev and I were starving by the end of the show so we found an Indian restaurant not too far from the theater. I’m not sure if it was great because we were starving or because it was actually really good food, but either way, we devoured our meals.

On Saturday after sleeping in a little, Kevin and I headed to Fortnum and Mason for afternoon tea. Fortnum and Mason is a London department store that carries wine, tea, and food. We headed to the top floor where we were seated in a nice Tiffany blue room with matching china. Tea at Fortnum and Mason was more formal than tea in Sanderson Hotel, but it was equally as enjoyable. I had black tea with strawberry and it was so delicious that I had to buy a tin full to take back to the States.

After tea we walked to the London Eye to meet some of Kev’s co-workers. Last time we were in Paris it was overcast and a little chilly, so we didn’t ride the Eye, but it was a beautiful day out, and none of us had been on it before, so we took the opportunity. We were also smart about time and chose to pay a little more for the fast passes to get through the line quicker. Instead of waiting up to two hours we only waited thirty minutes.

Riding on the London Eye isn’t something I’d want to do every time I go to London, but it was definitely worth going on at least once. The view of the city from the observation wheel is pretty spectacular, especially on a nice, clear day.

After riding on the London eye we walked around a bit to see Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. When we were done sightseeing, Kevin and I met up with one of my friend’s at Vista at The Trafalgar for drinks. The view of the city from Vista is what we went there before, but unfortunately, the weather took a turn and got pretty cold, so we left. We went to another local bar for drinks. Apparently a drink favorite in the UK is Pimm’s Lemonade, so I had to try it out. It kind of tastes like Jagermeister actually.

It was nice to catch up with my friend, but after a few drinks, we were starving for dinner. We went to nice Chinese restaurant, Hakkasan, for dinner. There is actually a Hakkasan in New York but I have never been. Kevin and I both had the prix fixevegetarian menu and it was soooo good. In fact, it was so good that I plan on going to the Hakkasan in New York sometime soon.

On Sunday morning, my last morning in London, I woke up at a decent hour to do some shopping 🙂 I walked along Oxford Street and popped into a few stores, and of course it was only a few stores I needed to go into before I hit my shopping budget max. Once I had my shopping fill, Kevin and I went back to the hotel to enjoy the high tea experience with his co-workers. I literally drink two whole pots of tea myself in addition to scones, cucumber sandwiches and a bunch of other sweets before tapping out. We all decided we needed to walk some of it off before heading to the airport, so we went to a local bookstore and we also briefly checked out the National Gallery.

I was very sad to leave London, but I had such an amazing time and I cannot wait to go back. I also liked the location of the hotel we stayed in this time around, so I wouldn’t mind staying there again. Cheers!

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Fall Festivities in New York

I lovelovelove Fall. It is by far my favorite season. As a girl who was brought up in the Midwest, some of my fondest memories are of the changing colors of the leaves on the trees, crunching through dead leaves on Halloween, hot chocolate, pumpkin spice lattes, pie, etc. Therefore, since I couldn’t make it home to go with my family to our favorite cider mill, Kevin and I decided to rent a car for the day and drive upstate to a local New York cider mill.We ended up going to Salinger’s Orchard in Brewster, NY. It was a little over an hour drive, but it was an easy, rather peaceful drive without too much traffic. Salinger’s had everything we wanted: apples, caramel and candied apples, cider, doughnuts, pickles, hot sauce, olives, apple pie. It was a beautiful, sunny day, so we were able to enjoy fresh sugar doughnuts and hot apple cider on a picnic bench outside.

To end theweekend off right, I did a little shopping and went to Barnes & Nobles to pick up a new book. I love books. Seriously, bookstores make me really happy. I had a good time just browsing and reading stories’ plots on the back covers. I ended up buying Dark Places by Gillian Flynn–the same Gillian Flynn who wrote the widely popular book, Gone Girl. This author is amazing. I’m a big fan of her writing style, her inner morbidness that she can bring out through her characters, and the way the plot twists and turns throughout the novel.

To go along with my Fall kick, I also tried a pumpkin pie doughnut from Dunkin Donuts. I’m a little over the whole Pumpkin Spice Latte craze at Starbucks, but the pumpkin pie doughnut from Dunkin Donuts is seriously underrated. I also made a trip to Dylan’s Candy. I initially went just to get some gummies, but thenI was so excited by all the cute Halloween themed candies that I ended up getting Kevin and I small adult Halloween presents–little jars with our names on it filled with our favorite gummies. It’s also perfect because now Kevin can’t get away with eating all the candy since we have separate jars 😉

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Me Before You and A Gentleman’s Guide

Some of my favorite hobbies include reading, going to Broadway shows, and seeing movies. Therefore, I was really excited after reading a really good novel (perhaps one I may even classify as one of my new favorites) and seeing a musical on Broadway that I had never even heard of that turned out to be awesome.

The book I read was Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. My favorite kind of books are the types that make me think even after I stop reading or those that make me feel something whether it’s sadness, excitement, wonder, or amusement.Me Before You did exactly that. The story is about a young, active, successful guy who had everything going for him and then after an accident became a quadriplegic and a girl, who doesn’t really know what she wants to do with her life, that is hired to keep him company/help him out. I kid you not, I sobbed at the end of the book. My heart felt heavy, I had tears and snot running down my face, but I still felt in love with the story. I don’t want to give anything away, so I highly recommend that you just go out and read it for yourself.

As for the Broadway show, I recently saw A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.Even though I had never heard of the play until I got tickets, I had a feeling it was going to be at least decent after checking out the website which is fun and quirky. Here’s a description about the play’s plot:

“”Monty Navarro has just received some really great news! He‰غھs a long-lost member of a noble family (the D’Ysquiths’) and could become the next Earl of Highhurst. There are only eight minor issues, namely the other relatives who precede him in line for the title. So Monty does what any ambitious gentleman would do: he sets out to eliminate them one by one, all while juggling his mistress (she‰غھs after more than just love) and his fiancج©e (she‰غھs his cousin, but who‰غھs keeping track?). Of course, it will all be worth it if he can slay his way into Highhurst Castle‰غ_ and be done in time for tea.””

A Gentleman’s Guide was a riot. Bryce Pinkham who plays Monty Navarro is super cute and does a great job. The actor who steels the show though is Jefferson Mays who literally plays every man in the D’Ysquith family. Mays is such a good actor and is hilarious in the show. Broadway shows can seem like they go on forever sometimes, so I really appreciate and like the ones that seem to speed along the best which is another reason I likedA Gentleman’s Guide so much.

Definitely see A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder on Broadway if you’re looking for a laugh, and if you’re looking for a tear-jerker, then pick up a copy of Me Before You. Cheers!

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Miley Cyrus Concert at the Barclay Center

Staying in the city two weekends ago was a lot of fun. On Friday night I saw Casa Valentina on Broadway. I thought it was going to be a hit or miss, but I figured it was worth checking out, especially since it was written by Harvey Fierstein (he wrote Tony Award winning show, Kinky Boots). Casa Valentina takes place in the 1960s in the Catskills at a hotel where men would stay and dress up as women on the weekend. The show had a lot of good one-liners and I laughed quite a bit. I was only planning on staying for the first half of the show, but I was enjoying it so I ended up staying for the whole thing. Casa Valentina touched on a lot of important struggles and stereotypes that transvestites face. I’m glad I saw it.

On Saturday night Kevin and I went to the Miley Cyrus concert at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. I surprisingly won tickets through a ticket giveaway contest with VEVO. I have Miley’s new album and I actually really like her new music, plus I’ve been wanting to check out the Barclays Center, so I was pretty excited for the concert. Miley put on a great show, and I was thoroughly entertained. I was also entertained from people watching before the show. We didn’t even watch the opening acts (Icona Pop and Sky Ferreira) because after ordering food I wanted to just sit and eat it while observing what everyone was wearing. Not gonna lie, it was the first time (like ever) that I felt a little old while watching all the young girls, who were probably still in high school, dressed in crop tops and ripped leggings bouncing around being obnoxiously loud with their friends.

Anyhow, regardless of what any critics might say about Miley’s oversexualized performance which included a lot of twerking, crotch grabbing, and expletives, no one can deny that she actually has a good voice. Kevin’s favorite part of the show was when she sang Lana Del Rey’s “”Summertime Sadness”” and Coldplay’s “”The Scientist.”” While I like her Bangerz album, I’m looking forward to her future, more mature work that showcases her strong vocals more. Lastly, the Barclays Center is really nice and it’s actually super easy to get to from my apartment in Gramercy, so I’m going to start looking out for more events there that I want to attend.

Overall, it was a great weekend. I’m lucky that I got to see a Broadway show and go to a concert all in the same weekend. It was a very “”New York”” kind of weekend. Love this city. Cheers!
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