My First Time Skiing at Squaw Valley

This January I wentskiingfor the first time. Yes, you read that correctly, I just learned how to ski. Better late than never though, right?! I flew to Reno and my boyfriend picked me up at the airport and we drove to Squaw Valley in Tahoe. I was really nervous not just because my first timeskiingwas going to be on a huge mountain, but also because Kevin's co-workers we were going with are experiencedskiersand snowboarders.

Long story short, I ended up having a blast. I took lessons for the first three hours which was a really good idea. I have tried snowboarding (kind of) one time in my life, and it was a disaster. I went on a large hill in my hometown, Mt. Brighton, with some friends who knew how to board, and although I started off on the bunny hill, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I ate it getting off of the chairlift which didn't help my self confidence, and then every time I started picking up speed I got nervous

and panicked. So basically, I slide on my butt down the hill and spent the rest of the afternoon in the lodge until my friends were done. What's worse is that I was still in high school so I wasn't even able to at least drink in the lodge to pass the time.

Anyway, my three hour lesson went well. I had a great instructor and went quickly from beginner to intermediate. After my lesson was over I even skied on my own for two more hours.Skiingis addicting! Each time I went down the mountain I felt more and more confident. I didn't wipe out many times either which definitely helped. The view on top of the mountain was pretty awesome too. I could see Lake Tahoe from the top of the highest slope I skied down.

I now understand why people loveskiingand snowboarding so much. It feels like a special club and I finally just got an invite. Spending the day on the slopes and then coming to the lodge for lunch makes food taste much better than it actually is. Additionally, nothing tastes better than a cold beer after skiing all day. Exercise, socializing, and drinking? Sounds like the perfect combination to me. Skiing in Squaw was a blast and I'm really looking forward to goingskiingagain sometime soon.

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Trip to Paris

I traveled to Paris for the first time a few weeks ago. Kevin and I flew in on Friday night and arrived Saturday morning. After we checked into our hotel, Francois 1er, we took a nap and then walked three miles to have dinner. On the walk I saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time. It was dusk, so the Eiffel Tower was glittering with lights. Not to be corny, but it was beautiful.

After we woke up on Sunday we had tea and croissants at Laduree at theChamps-جنlysج©es locationwhich kind of became my obsession considering I I wanted to go there every day. It was also conveniently close to our hotel. Luckily, a Laduree location recently opened up in NYC, so I can still get my macaron fix.Champs-جنlysج©es is also a good street to go shopping.Kevin and I went to Guerlain, one of the oldest French perfume houses, and bought new cologne and perfume. It was fun because the sales girl let us test out everything until we found the one we liked most, and she also told us the history of Guerlain and the original golden bottle the perfume came in.

Since the majority of the stores on Champs-جنlysج©escan be found in NYC too, Kevin and I decided that the best way to see the main attractions would be to hop on one of the tourist buses. Since I had never been to Paris before, I figured it would be the best way to see as much as possible. It ended up being a great idea. The tour bus came with a head set to listen to the audio guide. We learned some history about the city while also seeing the famous tourist attractions.The last stop we got off at was the Eiffel Tower because I wanted to be there at dusk to see all of the lights come on. Kevin and I took some pictures as the sun was setting and then after dusk when all the lights came on. It was a really special moment. Even though the Chrysler building is taller than The Eiffel Tower, it is still a beautiful structure and I’m so happy I saw it in person for the first time with the person I love most (corny again, I know). Paris is the city of love after all.

On Monday after lunch and tea atLaduree, Kevin and I headed to the Lourve Museum. I mainly wanted to go to see the Mona Lisa but I ended up loving so many other things about the museum including the giant glass pyramids and the amazing view of the city from inside. I was actually surprised about the lack of security in the museum, mostly around the Mona Lisa where people were moshed together taking pictures. My favorite room in the Lourve is actually the Apollo room. It was beautifully dripped in gold and the ceiling told Apollo’s story while also representing all the months in a year and the seasons.

After spending a few hours in the Lourve, we had lunch at a vegetarian restaurant. It was kind of weird and therestaurantwas half health/vitamin store, but it was still an interesting experience. Though the portion sizes were moderate and it ended up being an expensive lunch, it felt healthy and it was nice not having to worry that I was going to be served meat considering I can read and speak zero French. After lunch we walked around the area and I lusted at some little Parisian boutiques and designer stores. I fell in love with a coat and dress but willed myself to give it up–the exchange rate is a killer.When we got back to our hotel area, we walked Champs-جنlysج©esto the Arc de Triompheto take some pictures, then we saw a movie. None of the French films had English subtitles, so our only option really was to see Gangster Squad.

On Tuesday we followeda friend’s advice and had hot chocolate at Angelica. It was delicious butprobablythe richest hot chocolate I have ever tasted.Then we took the train to theCatacombs. We waited over an hour in line, but it was totally worth it. The Paris Catacombs has about six million dead bodies buried underground. It was kind of weird because the bodies are all aligned–it’s almost like art the way the bodies are stacked on one another. Again, like with the Mona Lisa in the Lourve I was surprised there weren’t more guards around. Visiting the Catacombs was actually one of my favorite things we did in Paris.

After our fun adventure in the Catacombs, we hadtea and then we took the train to a street with a few designer resale shops–we’re talking about all the major designers including Chanel, Prada, Gucci, Louis Vouittan, etc. I could have spend hours going through racks of clothes and purses, but even with a large discount, the clothes and purses were still a few hundred dollars.

We were hungry after shopping, so we then tried to find a spot that had pizza. France is very meat and fish heavy so we ended up walking around for 45 minutes trying to find a spot. It was kind of fun because we had no idea where we were going and we weren’t concerned about time, so we just kept walking and walking. When we finally found a pizzeria, they ended up being closed. It was about 5pm and they weren’t opening up for dinner until 7pm. Everything works out in the end though because we ended up finding a spot that served good tortellini, and the bakery next door that I stopped in before heading back to the hotel had the best macaron I have ever had (even better than Laduree, believe it or not).

On Wednesday, my last morning in Paris, Kevin and I had a Parisian breakfast at the Four Seasons before I had to head to the airport. A Parisian breakfast consists of fresh squeezed juice, tea or coffee, and an assortment of pastries. It was the perfect way to end my trip. I had an AMAZING time in Paris, and I cannot wait to go back. Au revoir for now!

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Broadway Review: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

A few weeks ago I got to seeTennesseeWilliams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof starring Scarlet Johansson. I was really excited because I kind of have a girl crush on Johansson. Her raspy voice makes her sexy but not intimidating. She does not disappoint in Cat on a Hot Tin roof either; I think she did a fantastic job.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a long play, but it doesn‰غھt feel that long. There were a few times I was a little bored of the dialogue with Maggie (Johansson) trying to get Brick (Benjamin Walker) to open up to noavail, but luckily, the other characters bursting on the scene were good distraction. Benjamin Walker looks great with his shirt off too. The first thing I thought when I saw Johansson and Walker on stage was that they make quite a pair.

I also liked the stage setup, though it did seem a little weird to me that almost all of the scenes took place in the bedroom and centered around the bed. Perhaps that‰غھs the point‰غسMaggie and Brick’s whole relationship is rocky because what is not happening in bed.

The play made me want todissectthe meaning of the metaphor “”cat on a hot tin roof.”” What does it mean exactly? Perhaps it means it’s only a matter of time before the

cat will jump off. Maggie compares herself to a cat on a hot tin roof, restless and uneasy. In a 1957 interview with Williams he says the Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is about lying (. All the characters in the play lie about one thing or another. Williams said,

 

 

My favorite kind of plays are those which have issues broiling under the surface. Although I was a little impatient to learn the reason behind Brick’s distancing himself from Maggie, I think the way everything unfolded was timed well. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, especially with Scarlett Johansson, is definitely a Broadway show worth seeing.

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Broadway Show Review: The Newsies

I recently saw Disney‰غھs Newsies on Broadway. Of all the musicals I have seen on Broadway, I was least excited about my tickets to see Newsies. Because I‰غھve seen the movie before and I‰غھm familiar with the storyline, I didn‰غھt think it would be exciting. I was definitely wrong though. I enjoyed Newsies tremendously. It still felt like a fresh experience. Plus, I like the morals Newsies embodies including fairness, unity, persistence, strength in numbers, and standing up for what you believe in. Newsies is a feel-good musical that is appropriate for the whole family.

The show seemed well casted. Corey Cott, who playsleadJack Kelly is handsome and does a good job, and Kara Lindsay who plays leading ladyKatherine Plumber, does a good job as well. The stage setup is also cool; it makes good use of the steel stairs and accommodates the large group of characters running around on stage. I also really enjoyed the choreography in Newsies. The men in the musical were a good mix of manly with a touch of grace. The majority of the show's characters are orphan boys who live a tough life on the streets of New York City selling newspapers, yet when they dance it

brings back a sense of their youth and innocence. The choreography seems to incorporate a decent amount of ballet without making the boys seem too feminine. Lastly, the music consists ofcatchy, upbeatsongs by eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid) that you're likely to recognize and continue humming after the show has ended.

For those few who aren't familiar with Newsies, here is a synopsis:

“”Set in New York City at the turn of the century, Newsies is the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a ragged band of teen aged “”newsies,”” who dreams only of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. But when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsboys‰غھ expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies newsies from across the city to strike for what‰غھs right”” Newsies on Broadway.

During the show, I found myself thinking about how much the print industry

has changed since the Newsboys Strike of 1899 which Disney's Newsies film (1992) and musical is loosely based on. Print is almost extinct now, and people consume their news on TV, online or via mobile devices. I wonder how those same boys would make a living today.

I went in with low expectations, and was pleasantly surprised how good Newsies the musical is. It‰غھs a classic story and definitely worth seeing. The audience feels charged too. Newsies will leave you in a nostalgic and happy mood.

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Broadway Show Review: The Other Place

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to see The Other Place on Broadway starring Laurie Metcalf. I hadn't even heard of it before, so I was going in with no expectations, but boy was I pleasantly surprised. Laurie Metcalf does a phenomenal job and I enjoyed the plot and theme. Additionally, I like the steel feeling of the stage. It's very intimate with the small stage and few cast members. Going with the theme, it reminds me of the wiring of our brains. Unlike with Ghost the musical, the effects in The Other Place aren't overdone.

The Other Place is about “”Juliana Smithton (played by Metcalf), a successful neurologist whose life seems to be coming unhinged. Her husband has filed for divorce, her daughter has eloped with a much older man and her own health is in jeopardy. But in this brilliantly crafted work, nothing is as it seems. Piece by piece, a mystery unfolds as fact blurs with fiction, past collides with present and the elusive truth about Juliana boils to the surface”” The Other Place on Broadway.
This play hit home for me because my mom works in

an assisted living facility, and several of her patients have dementia. She often gets really sad when talking about it, and getting dementia has become one of her worst fears. I don't blame her; having no control over your own brain and memories would be devastating and frightening. What are we but our memories of experiences? The loss of self is a very heavy topic.

Part of thereason I enjoyed The Other Place so much isbecause not once did I find myattention wandering. My focus wasfixed on the stage throughout the entire performance as I tried figuring out what was truth as the story slowly unraveled. As The

New York Times review says, “”[Playwright Sharr] White‰غھs aim is to keep us wondering about everything we are told by the plays protagonist and narrator…the less we are sure of, the more we are engaged”” (The New York Times).

If you're looking for a Broadway show with a little more depth that keeps you actively engaged, I definitely recommend seeing The Other Place. Itis one of

my favorite shows that I saw in 2012.

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2012 Family Christmas Cruise

This Christmas my family and I went on a week long cruise to the Caribbean. I was looking forward to relaxing and getting some vitamin D after a few suntan-less months in NYC. Christmas tends to be a lot of work in my family with putting up decorations, fighting the crowds of people shopping for presents, and shopping for all of the ingredients for the dishes to be prepared for the special day. My family knows it's a lot of work for two short days (we celebrate on Christmas Eve and Christmas), so my parents were the ones to suggest we just go on a cruise, and I certainly did not argue against it.

My family and I have been on a lot of cruises in our day, so instead of lounging around the whole time, we decided be a little more active and book excursions at each of ports. In Key West we went on a jet skiing tour around the island, in Grand Cayman we went to stingray city to see and feed the sting rays and then we wentsnorkeling, and in Jamaica we climbed Dunn's River Falls.

Kevin and I flew to Ft.Lauderdale on the Saturday before Christmas. Even though the cruise ship didn't depart until Sunday, we wanted to play it safe. We stayed at the Westin, had dinner at The W hotel, and went to the movies to see This Is 40 (which is hilarious and I highly

recommend seeing by the way). We got to sleep in on Sunday, get a workout in, and have a sit-down breakfast all before taxiing to the port.

As soon as we got on port of the Carnival Freedom, the party had begun. We were greeted with champagne and my parents and brother already had a table on deck with fruity drinks. Sunday was a short sailing day because on Monday we spent the day in the Key West. I have jet skied in Cabo before and I didn't like it that much because the water was so choppy, but I had a blast on our jet sky tour in the Key West. The air was warm and the water was smooth. I didn't exactly like that we had to stick together as a group and ride behind each other in a single file line, but luckily it didn't prevent us from being able to go fairly fast (we got up to 49 MPH on the jet ski) and I enjoyed hearing facts about the island from the tour guide.

On Tuesday we spent a day at sea before reaching the Cayman Island on Wednesday. GrandCaymanwas my favorite port. It is a beautiful island. For our tour, we took a boat to Sting Ray City to swim with and feed the sting rays. It was my first time getting up close and personal with a sting ray and it was a lot of fun. Normally I would be too scared to get close to a sting ray, but with the guide there handling them, they seemed like gentle, almost harmless, creatures. After hanging out with the sting rays, we drove out for about two minutes to some coral reef to snorkeling. Snorkeling is my favorite thing to do in the ocean, and the reef that the tour guide took us to snorkel happened to be wonderful. I am always in awe when I see all of the bright colored fish in different sizes. The ocean ecosystem is pretty spectacular.

Thursday was our last port in Jamaica, and we hiked up the Dunn's River waterfall. We had a good time, but of all the tours, the unanimous consensus was that this was our least favorite of all the tours. Not only was the fall crawling with people, the people were also very pushy about us buying things. It was so bad that people didn't even want to leave the boat to go wander around or check out the shops. We had lunch at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville after the tour which was nice, but we were anxious to get back to the boat and get away from the island after. I do not think I will be going back anytime soon, which is a shame, because they could use all tourists they can get.

Friday was our final day to relax and catch some sun before getting back to the Ft. Lauderdale port. I caught some rays, went down the water slide on the ship a few times, and consumed a fair share of frozen drinks 🙂 I felt relaxed and was finally able to stop thinking about work, but towards the end of the trip I

felt ready to get back to reality (and home to my kitten, Pants!!). Overall, this was a great Christmas, and I'm happy I got to spend it on a cruise ship in the ocean with my family. I hope everyone had a happy holiday!

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Remembering to Live Each Day

A few weeks ago I learned a valuable piece of wisdom at an unexpected time from an unexpected person. One morning as I was riding up the elevator at work I made small talk with an old man that I often see around the building. I said something like, “”It's only Tuesday and I

already can't wait until Friday”” and the man said, “”Honey, if you spend your life wishing it was another day, your whole life will pass by you.”” All I could quickly say before exiting the elevator was “”Very true”” but I've been thinking about those few words ever since. The man, whose name I don't even know, made me realize that I should look at each day head on.

We often spend so much time thinking about the bigger picture that we forget that the things we do on a daily basis are just as important and are necessary in order to achieve the bigger picture goal. A few weeks after, I read a great article on Thought Catalog by Ryan O'Connell titled, “”Why Being in Your 20s Is Awesome”” that similarly got me thinking of life, my career, and my age. The article is about ones twenties; it encourages us to take the good and the confusing and frustrating times and just live our lives without stressing that

there's a certain path or order one must follow.

My favorite three points in the article are the following:

1. “”Being in your twenties allows you to start carving out the life you want for yourself. Everything is on your terms now wh

ich seems daunting but is actually liberating. For the first time in your life you‰غھre the boss.””

I've heard many of my peers complain that after high school or college no one was there to guide them to the next step in their lives. But part of being an adult is making the kind of decisions like determining what you want to do with your life. Life would be much more generic if there was always someone telling us what step to take next. It's called freedom. Love it. Breathe it. Roll in it.

2. “”It‰غھs important to talk about why your twenties are great because it seems like we spend so much of our time wanting to be somewhere else other than where we are.””

I'm definitely guilty of this one. My 25th birthday is approaching yet in my mind I feel older and I want to say I'm older. I need to remember to embrace my age today because I won't be able to get these years back. Our 20s are damn hard, but I keep reminding myself that the hard work I'm putting in will just help to elevate my career even more when I'm at a senior level.

3. “”Anything is possible. People are ready for you. They want to hear what you have to say. They look at you and are curious about what words are going to come out of your mouth. You‰غھre the new generation. What do you have to say? Don‰غھt bite your tongue. One day you‰غھll be pushed aside for a younger ‰غدfresher‰غ‌ perspective so you better get it out now. Make a mark. Make a stain. Make something.””

Because I've always looked up to older leaders, I've never considered that likewise, there are things they can learn from me too. I also haven't thought about the generation behind mine that is still growing up and will someday in the not so far future be the fresh out of college person with fresh, new ideas.

So, to all of my friends who are stressing because they don't exactly know what they want to do with their lives yet, don't stress too much. Just take it a day at a time and remember to “”leave your mark.””

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Skiing in Park City

This past weekendmy boyfriend and Iflew to Salt Lake City for a little ski trip at Park
City. It was my second time skiing to go skiing in my lifeat. My first time skiing was at Squaw Valley, so the bar is being set pretty high. It was a quick trip; I flew to Utah on Friday after work, skied for a few hours on Saturday, and flew back to NYC on Sunday morning. Although we went at the end of the ski season, we still had a good time and it was nice getting out of the city for a weekend. Being one of the last weekends to ski, it wasn’t very crowded which was nice, but the conditions weren’t the best for skiing. Whereas in Squaw it was a little icy, in Park City this weekend, it was a little slushy.

The first few hours on Saturday I took lessons. I worked more on my form. I’m not too bad, but I definitely recognize that it’s going to take practice and discipline to get better. I wiped out a few times and unfortunately sprained by left wrist on one bad fall, but it’s not going to scare me from going skiing again next time the opportunity arises (aka when my boyfriend wants to plan another ski trip). I also rode my first ski tow which isn’t difficult but it was fun and exciting because I’ve never used one before. I’m becoming a skier!
My instructor at Park City wasn’t as attentive as my instructor at Squaw, but my boyfriend said in order to get the most out of a lesson, you have to almost push your instructor to take you to the next level and tell them what you want to learn. Because I’m still a beginner, I don’t know what I don’t know. I did get a few good pointers from my instructor about form that I will hopefully be conscious of next time I go skiing. I’m not sure I will take lessons again the next time I go skiing, but at least I have a little foundation to work off of now.
I think I liked Squaw better than Park City, but I would still go back. All of the staff members were really nice and I liked the Sundial Lodge at Canyons. On Saturday night as I was drifting off to sleep, I felt the motion like I was still skiing. Even though as I am writing this post, my wrist is bruised and swollen, I can honestly say that skiing is addicting. I’m looking forward to going again soon.

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