New Site

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A few days ago marked my 2 year anniversary with WordPress and as I’m hard-pressed to have a hobby for so long, I decided it was time to invest in what has become a rewarding and constant project, a catalog of everything I’ve learned and all the directions I’ve gone off in.

Which is why I’m moving all operations to my new site – which has all the old posts but a new domain name and layout.

Have a great weekend and I hope you like what I’ve done with my new site!

 

Elderflower Gin & Tonic : Fake Vacation?

Gin Collage.jpgTo kick off my second weekend in the city, I thought I’d share my new obsession – gin and tonics. This was my aunt’s favorite drink back when I was first loosed upon the world of legal 18+ European partying the summer of my senior year (I had a Sex on the Beach and lots of Peach/Singapore/whatever Slings) and I have been amazed by it since. So minimalist, so good and you can eyeball the measurements. So perfect for this stressful summer.

While we’re on the note of being overly influenced by my German maternal aunt, she also put elderflower into everything -mint lemonade, champagne (which is technically a Hugo and was totally the IT drink in Europe in 2013…) –  so it’s always been associated with that hip euro vacation when I thought I was an adult.

This article suggested you spice (sweeten?) it up with syrupy tonics (and lo and behold they recommended Jack Rudy’s Elderflower Tonic) so here is my first step towards preparing for that bar/winery/speakeasy I will one day own.

Combine, in a highball glass or a mug or a bucket, in this order:

2+ oz. gin (the possibilities in your Brooklyn wine & spirits store are endless – Back River Gin and Bluecoat are nice and we have yet to try the fancy vintage-looking California gin)

.75 oz. Elderflower Tonic (or any other tonic, be fancy, be free, it’s summer and you’ll sweat off the hard alcohol calories)

as much or as little ice as you want

-5 oz. tonic water

Enjoy! And let me know what other tasty combinations you come up with!

On Leaving

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“You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place, like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way again.”   – Azar Nafisi

Currently freezing in New Hampshire after a whirlwind week of moving out and going to Mexico and coming back to start classes. I often wonder why I am so addicted to leaving – there’s not a place I’ve been to (for more than a few days) that I did not want to leave by the end. I think it’s because I’m forced to acknowledge reality while I’m physically in a place, but when I leave my natural optimism only remembers the good things and that place at that time and me at that time become a perfect dream. And so we are perfectly reborn over and over when we leave.

In other news, I’m very excited to share my trip to Mexico with you!

Happy Monday!

 

Red Bricks and Churning Seas

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Events have begun to converge again, so that I am torn apart by all the possibilities. In my 20 year experience of life on this planet, little as though it may be, it always seems to me that life unfolds like an accordion, sending out forever-oscillating ripples. Periods of hard work and no play and bleak prospects followed by everything happening all at once, all the doors flung open and so much luck and joy it feels unreal. Not that I won the Powerball or anything, but I feel things shifting and gears groaning forward, reacting slowly to the backbreaking work it took to push them into motion again. Maybe it’s the start of spring and the beginning of a very interesting season for me, full of so many decisions whose ripples I cannot foresee. When I’m 70 I shall maybe write a book about it all because maybe everyone will think I lived through a crazy time and will want to know what went on in the minds of the strange people that were alive back then. And who knows, maybe I will have.

This past Sunday I had to get out of the house so I took Jake to walk around lower Manhattan and stumbled upon Little Italy, which was only a block away from my office. It was great to see a familiar part of town in a different light and the Instagram has been blowing up ever since.

A(r)t Home

IMG_9256.2.krWhile I am the first to ooh and aah over a beautiful image, I also have begun to suffer from the feeling of duality that often accompanies those photos. Don’t get me wrong – I want to have a life as curated as a flat lay, in all white and black and neutral tones with matching latte art and on-demand lighting to match my Insta “feel” but, you know, I get bored when it’s all the same (good-bye solid branding strategy) and unfortunately, I also don’t live like this. Beautiful things are beautiful things and I appreciate all the photographers, bloggers and Instagrammers out there who make me think I should redecorate my life, but I think that’s precisely why it’s harder to glorify every day moments when all of a sudden they just won’t do.

Hence this photo. I secretly hate having my photo taken because I’m so picky when I take photos of others and I know how it all can go wrong, but I felt I had to suffer through a brief moment and take an un-posed photo of a moment I felt was gorgeous – me not on my phone, reading my favorite things and my hair, for once, was behaving. It just kind of struck me, how cozy I was and so un-Instagrammable.

That being said, since I promised to never take myself seriously, please expect more artful arrangements of latte art (tomorrow is Thursday, coffee day at my fave Café Integral) and faded photos of streets. But back to being philosophical and serious, this could be a new series, thoughts?

PSA: I am reading philosophical musings on travel, so you can bet this mood and the photos, will continue. At least until I finish.

NYC Survival Guide: 5 Tips for the Winter

It’s cold and the winds are vicious, but there’s rarely any snow (unless it’s a freak storm, hello Winter Storm Jonas) so your average expat from other regions is hard pressed to find the justification for suffering in the city. So here’s how I, a Siberian who goes to school in New Hampshire but was raised in the South, am dealing with a New York Winter:

1. Power Through the Reading List

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I know you have one. I have one, separated into: Books I should read but never do (to be an educated intellectual equipped for cocktail parties, pictured above…ok I read some), books I want to read, and magazines. Now that I’m off campus working in New York, I have all this free time to read and I sometimes use it to my advantage (still poring over Suitcase Magazine and Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels). Reading is my lazy person’s excuse for being lazy because…ahem…technically I’m being mentally productive.

2. Stay (Become?) Active

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I know I just had a whole blog speech about reading, but quite naturally we all want to hibernate in the winter and eat wonderful, warm, bread-y things (I wear over-sized sweaters and parkas…no one can tell until spring). I am also monumentally lazy, but last winter, when I had to go to the gym daily to practice for fencing (winter is the official fencing season…we wear so many layers we might as well compete in the cold) I felt energized and not as sluggish as during most of my winters. Depending on where you are, there’s a gym or a yoga studio on every street corner so you don’t even have to freeze to death before you get there. If you push yourself to go a few times, set up a routine, it’ll get that much easier to go. (Also I’m going to Mexico in March…and the thought of wearing a bikini terrifies me into a proper gym routine.)

3. Parks & Rec

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Not the TV show, although that’s another great way to never go outside unless absolutely necessary. New York has so many wonderful parks – Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Washington Square, the Highline, the list goes on – that it would be a shame not to grab a moment’s peace. Which btw, looking at the color green has been scientifically proven to help alleviate eye pain and even improve vision (after hours of staring at computer screens) and going outside to get even 5 minutes of (clouded) sunshine helps alleviate SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder – so you can come right back to hiding in your apartment, staying warm.

4. Coffee (Surprise!)

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…or a warm drink of choice. As an anemic with low blood pressure, I have to have coffee to kick start my circulation and get myself up in the morning, but it’s also been proven to lower the risk for stroke, depression, Alzheimer’s, liver cancer and other illnesses. Grab a drink and walk around a park until it’s all gone and you’re cold again (or just stay inside the cafe…you can congratulate yourself on the fact that you made it out today). Plus, imagine the Instagram opportunities – but choose wisely, not all latte art is created equal. I recommend Birch Coffee (they got my name right!) and Cafe Integral (friendly staff and inside an amazing boutique, American Two Shot)

5. Get Away

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Because sometimes surviving a winter in New York means leaving for a place with more snow (jokes, Winter Storm Jonas), a beach, or at least some change of scenery (Jersey? Mass? Upstate NY? The possibilities are endless). On MLK-day weekend I took off to visit family in Maine and it was a restful break. Sometimes I need the space and the greenery that NY cannot provide…but we love it anyway.

Then there’s a whole slew of tips on homemade wellness for the winter, complete with Theraflu and Ricola and long underwear, but that doesn’t make for great pictures!

Enjoy the winter!