Weekend in San Francisco

I visited San Francisco for the second time this past weekend. I had a great time, though my trip was a lot different from my trip to SF the end of last year (you can read about it ). This time around I felt less like a tourist. I didn't go to Fisherman's Warf or to the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of going there with an agenda, I decided to just go with the flow and let my California native boyfriend take me for a ride–literally and figuratively. Kevin rented a 2012 Mustang for the weekend and was zipping around town like a little boy with a new toy.

We stayed at the Hilton San Francisco hotel in Financial District, andoverall, I was happy with the hotel. On Saturday morning we walked from our hotel to Caffe Greco for breakfast. We split a scone, almond croissant, chocolate chip waffles, fresh squeezed juice, and coffee in large saucer cups. It was delicious. We also ate outside in one of the “”parklets,”” which I thought was an interesting thing.A parklet is a small urban park, often created by replacing several under-utilizedparallel parking spots with a patio, planters, trees, benches, cafج© tables (Wikipedia). Kevin shared that the several parking spots the city of San Francisco allowed for the creation of parklets caused quite

a stir. It made me enjoy my breakfast on the parklet even more.

After breakfast, we walked around a bit and came across two awesome pieces of street art.

On Sunday we checked out the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. It had some cool pieces, but it isn't nearly as good as the NYC MoMA. Here are some of my favorite pieces featured in the SF MoMA.


The Fault in Our Stars and The Age of Miracles

I recently read two really great novels: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker. Coincidentally, there were a lot similarities. They both deal with themes of life, growing up, worry, things out of ones control, but most of all death. Death is omnipresent in both novels. The main character in The Fault in Our Stars, Hazel, has problems with her lungs. She lives strapped to an oxygen tank and with the uncomfortable feeling of never having enough oxygen. The people in the support group she attends also have varying illnesses and many of them die. In Julia's case, the main character in The Age of Miracles, earth is literally falling apart and speeding up the time not just of her eminent death but the extinction of the entire population.

Another similarity is the strong presence of Hazel and Julie's families. Hazel and Julia are both only children, and their mothers are alike in the way that they often want their daughters companionship. Their parents are

seemingly close, but the girls go through a lot that they aren't able to communicate or their parents just don't understand. Additionally,

both girls begin a happy relationship with a boy, and eerily, both boyfriends die towards the end of the novels.

The Fault in Our Stars and The Age of Miracles are both fantastic novels. It's a weird coincidence that there are so many similarities between the two novels, and I happened to read them back-to-back. The Fault in Our Stars is a little more light-hearted than The Age of Miracles. Hazel's relationship with her boyfriend Augustus is very fun and playful. Hazel continues to live life as normal as possible, and the things she chooses to do brings her happiness. The Age of Miracles on the other hand is much more intense. Fear and uncertainty is present throughout the entire novel, which leaves the reader feeling uneasy and anxious. Meanwhile, while earth is rapidly deteriorating and everyone is trying to adjust to the changes, Julia is also going through puberty. The poor girl goes through a lot. Puberty is already an awkward time, but it's even more uncomfortable when trying to cope with monumental changes in the world around you.

I don't want to give too much away, so while you're lounging around at the pool or beach this summer, I highly recommend reading both The Fault in Our Stars

and The Age of Miracles. Unlike the order I read them in though, I suggest reading The Age of Miracles before The Fault in Our Stars simply so you end on a slighter lighter note.

After you read them, share your thoughts below. Do you agree that they are interesting novels to pair together?


Kajitsu in the East Village

After living in Hell's Kitchen for two years, I made the leap and moved to East Village. Even though moving was a MAJOR pain in the a**, I'm excited to be checking out a new area of Manhattan. My office is in Midtown West, my former apartment was in Hell's Kitchen, and my boyfriend's apartment is in Herald Square, so I spent the majority of my time in midtown. Even though it will take me longer to get to work, I'm looking forward to exploring a new area.

To celebrate (barely) surviving the move to my new hood, my boyfriend took me out to a nice vegan dinner at Kajitsu. Areally nicevegan dinner. Michelin star rated in fact. And it was very fitting for the occasion too, becauseKajitsu means “”fine day”” or “”day of celebration”” in Japanese.


serves shojin cuisine, an ancient Japanese cuisine developed in Zen Buddhist monasteries. Following the Buddhist principle of not taking life, Shojin cuisine does not use meat or fish. Meals are prepared from fresh, in season vegetables, legumes, wild herbs, seeds and grains, chosen at the moment in the season that best reflects their flavor. AtKajitsu we make our delicious and wholesome dishes from high quality ingredients prepared with traditional Japanese culinary techniques.””They serve a four-course meal, “”kaze

“” and an eight-course meal, “”hana”” at Kajitsu. Kevin and I both had the hana because we were really hungry and wanted to try as many different things as possible.

Not only was the food unique and delicious, the earthware it was served on was also fitting. Even the wooden table we sat at had soft, smooth

grooves, going along with the earth tone theme. As their website states, “”In traditional Japanese cuisine the dishware is an integral part of the meal. The dishes used atKajitsu were specially selected for this space, and include pieces created by master Japanese potters over 200 years ago as well as works by modern ceramic artists.”” I agree that the choice in dishware added to the experience. The simplicity of the dishware and decor compliments the presentation of the food.

I had a great experience at Kajitsu. Kevin and I were able to walk in without a wait on a Wednesday night, but reservations are usually recommended. We left feeling really full, but it was a healthy full feeling. Since the food isn't fried and fatty, even if you stuff yourself, you won't have that bloated feeling. Our meal was expensive, but it is quality food.

Yes, I'm paying more to live in

an even tinier apartment, but with all the amazing bars and restaurants nearby I think I'm going to like living in the East Village. 🙂

To read the New York Times review of Kajitsu go here.


Six Flags New Jersey

I love roller coasters. I have a pretty strong stomach, I like speed (when I'm strapped in), and I'm not afraid of heights, so theme parks are right up my alley. What I don't like though are crowds and long waits. Luckily, I can tolerate crowds when I'm not standing around impatiently. When my boyfriend and I went to Six Flags in Jackson, New Jersey this past weekend, we made sure to get a Flashpass. Last time I went to Six Flags about two years ago, we also got a Flashpass, but this time around we bought the Platinum one. It was kind of expensive, but definitely worth it. Not only did we hardly have to wait in any line for longer than 15-20 minutes, we were also able to ride twice in a row. We were able to ride on all the best roller coasters in no time. We got to the park right when it opened at 10:30am and were done by 3pm. Plus, our feet weren't aching from standing around for hours.

My favorite ride by far at Six Flags is Kingda Ka. Kingda Ka is the tallest coaster in the world and the fastest in North America. It shoots you 45 stories high at 128 mph. It's definitely a rush. My second favorite ride was Nitro. We rode that one four times actually. Kevin

really liked the Superman ride because he likes how it feels like you're flying (oh brother), but the way you're strapped in the ride was really uncomfortable for

me, so I had a hard time enjoying it. I did like how you ride on your back for a few quick seconds. It was a cool feeling. Finally, although Bizarro isn't the best ride, I think it should get an honorable mention for the overall storytelling experience. This was the only roller coaster with music and sound effects right in your ear, shooting fire, mist, etc. The only ride I really disliked was the Green Lantern. It shakes you around and if you lean forward, your ears are beat up and if you lean back, your temples hit the ride harness and it feels like your brain is jig

Luck was also on our side weather-wise on Sunday. It was overcast so it wasn't too hot that we were sweating, yet we were still comfortable wearing shorts without being cold. I actually think the fact that it wasn't very sunny worked in our favor because I think the park would have been more crowded had it been sunnier.


back a bit–Kevin and I planned our weekend around Six Flags. We had a low-key night on Friday and woke up semi-early to pick up a rental car. We stayed at the Westin in Princeton, NJ Saturday night. It only took us about 90 minutes to get there. The Westin was a decent hotel. There were four wedding parties there that weekend, so it was definitely a full house, but it wasn't too loud or anything.

What I mainly liked about the hotel location is that it's located in a little plaza. So basically, once we got to the hotel we didn't have to take the car out again. We had lunch at a cute sandwich shop across from the hotel and we were even able to get in for a massage at the salon spa. It was really nice to get out of the city for the weekend yet still be able to do what we wanted to do. On Sunday morning we had a quick breakfast in the hotel before heading to Six Flags. I'm glad we stayed overnight at the hotel because it was really easy highway driving to get to the Park.

Six Flags was a blast, and I'm really glad I got to get out of the city and do something I don't get to do that often. I don't care how old I am, I will always love riding roller coasters. 🙂 Advice to those who like going to the amusement park but don't like waiting in long ride lines: the Flashpass is definitely a good investment.


The Levo Leaguer

This summer has come and gone in the blink of an eye. And I've spent most of it in my windowless office. To my surprise, the workload this summer has not been light; in fact, it's been busier than ever. I've been putting in my time at work and learning quite a bit in the past few months, but unfortunately, I haven't had time to do much

else outside of work. The little time I have had to myself I've chosen to use for more career development. So while I haven't posted anything on my own blog

for a few weeks, I have written posts published on The Levo League. I'm an official Levo Leaguer now! The Levo League is an online career community for women in business to connect with and support one another in their careers. The site features posts on all aspects of career building including but not limited to juggling a personal/work life balance, perfecting your resume, interview tips, work appropriate outfits, etc.

In the past few weeks, four of my articles have been posted on The Levo League. You can read

them below:

Even though I've had a very busy summer, it has been a good kind of busy. It has been an important summer centered around preparation for the next step in my career, and I'm looking forward to what the fall may bring. Additionally, I think communities

like The Levo League are beneficial to be involved with in order to better navigate through the workplace. Whatever industry you are in, I definitely recommend getting involved in a relevant organization to not only gain contacts but also for personal enrichment.


Peter and the Starcatcher

Peter and the Starcatcher has been high on my list of Broadway shows to see, and I was fortunate to get tickets to see it last week. I knew it was going to be good–it won 5 TONY Awards after all–and I was not disappointed. Peter and the Starcatcher is like an adult version of Peter Pan. The show is very witty with clever plays on words. I laughed a lot throughout the show. The cast was also great. Matthew Saldivar who plays Black Stache was amazing (Christian Borle who originally played Black Stache won a TONY for Best Featured Actor in

a Play). He has the best facial expressions. Celia Keenan-Bolger who plays Molly was also notable.

Peter and the Starcatcher is a very entertaining show. It was so good that I'd see it again. If you're visiting NYC for a short trip, I'd recommend seeing Peter and the Starcatcher.


Alexander Hamilton House and Bear Mountain State Park

This weekend I took a trip upstate to a charming bed & breakfast, the Alexander Hamilton B&B, in Croton-on-Hudson. Kevin and I left on Friday right after work, and luckily we didn't hit much traffic. It took us a short hour and a half to get there, and the was pleasant. Thirty minutes out of the city I was surprised to see so many trees. Living in the concrete jungle, I forget that the rest of New York actually

has grass and trees and stuff.

Compared to the bed and breakfast we stayed at in Hudson which was kind of creepy, we really liked the Alexander Hamilton House. We stayed in the Victorian room which had a little room off the bedroom with a daybed and a big bathroom with a little boudoir. There were several other bedrooms on the second floor and the first floor has a few sitting rooms, the kitchen, and the dining room. The B&B also has a pool. While it was a little too cold to go swimming, it was the perfect temperature to keep our windows open at night. It was peaceful not hearing cars zooming by and sirens and cars honking. Instead we could be lulled to sleep by the soft chirps of the crickets.

For breakfast on Saturday morning, we had coffee, juice, fruit, chocolate chip muffins, and french toast. After breakfast I took a little nap and then we headed to Bear Mountain State Park to go hiking. We used AllTrails to help us select a trail. We chose the Major Welch Trail loop which was about 4 miles and took around 3 hours to complete. Difficulty: strenuous. I'm in pretty good shape, so I figured I'd have no problems climbing the mountain, but I was definitely breathing hard and sweating profusely climbing up the steep incline. That mountain is no joke. In fact, Kevin admitted he was a little sore in the morning. On the way down we took the Appalachian trail because…well because going up a steep mountain is one thing, but without hiking shoes, the descent is a little scary and I had visions of

losing my footing and injuring myself as I bounced down the mountain.

I'm not the only hiker who took that route. A commenter on the trail page wrote,

“”It is a very steep incline up mostly rock on the Major Welch trail. Going

down this way would be difficult. The Appalachian Trail section makes for pretty much the easiest descent you can ask for. The views of the Hudson in both directions are stellar. I wish there wasn't a road to the top though. The bikers like to ride up there and the traffic noise is present through some of the hike. I recommend this for anyone who is looking for a challenging hike that doesn't want to spend all day out on the mountain.””

Once we got down the mountain, Kev and I had a late lunch at the Bear Mountain Inn restaurant. I've been wanting to stay at the Bear Mountain Inn for a while, but they recently underwent renovations and with the nice weather and wedding season madness, all of the rooms were booked every weekend I looked into staying there. There were a lot of people at Bear Mountain State Park and in the Bear Mountain Inn restaurant and gift shop this past weekend. It was a gorgeous day out and perfect weather for hiking, so it was no surprise many others had the same idea.

On Sunday morning, we had an early breakfast at the Alexander Hamilton House before driving back to the city. Breakfast consisted of coffee, juice, blueberry muffins, and an egg casserole. We left full and satisfied. The inn keeper at the Alexander Hamilton house was extremely nice and welcoming, and I'd definitely go back. Kevin and I had a really good weekend. If anyone is looking for a little retreat, I definitely recommend staying at the Alexander Hamilton house and driving to Bear Mountain State Park. The fresh air and time spent in the “”wilderness”” was definitely something I needed to ease my mind before getting back into the daily grind.