Ferry Life

NYC is all about commuting. When you meet someone for the first time they will often ask where you work, live and how the commute is.  The transportation options are endless depending on where you are coming from and where you are going.  Walk … drive … New Jersey Transit … Light Rail … Path … subway … bus … MetroNorth … Long Island Railroad … taxi … Uber.  Most likely it is a mixture of these options.

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I am different than most New Yorkers because I don’t commute to the same location every day. I spend several weeks at one place and then move on.

Since being in NYC, my longest commute was a little over 2 hours each way. I took the Path (NJ subway system) to the MetroNorth (train) and walked the remaining half a mile.  It was brutal but only one week and anything is doable for just one week.  Some people have similar commutes EVERY day!!!!

I am weird and almost enjoy riding the subway. I don’t like to drive so it automatically wins.  I enjoy watching (more like staring) people.  You will not see a more diverse group of people then on the L line.  Browse through the peopleofpennstation on Instagram sometime and you will quickly understand.

The subway is far from glamorous. Most likely the seats are taken and you will have to stand while be jolted around.  In the winter you get all bundled up for the cold weather and by the time you walk to the subway and climb the 5,192 stairs you are sweating to death.  Summer is just as bad when people are sweating outside and then enter the smoldering tunnels just to be packed into the train like sardines.  Trust me the feedlot smell in Southwest Kansas has nothing on the smell of the subway.

It is not uncommon for the train to come to a halt and be delayed due to “train traffic”. I sat on the train for 45 minutes last Friday due to problems on the tracks ahead.  As you can imagine people get a little cranky in these circumstances.  I haven’t even experienced the worst.  Just on Monday my coworker walked in late and said, “What a commute.  Someone got sick two people down from me.  It went everywhere and everyone went running.”  You can imagine the sanitary concerns I have.

During my most recent assignment I discovered a whole new way to commute. The best way to commute.  I have been taking the ferry.  I am moving up in life.  I walk 8 minutes to the ferry.  It takes 15 minutes to go down the Hudson River around the south side of Manhattan and up the East River to Wall Street.  I then walk down the pier and into work.  Total commute time of 20 minutes.  The ferry leaves every 15 minutes like clockwork.  It doesn’t stop in the middle of Hudson or East River due to “boat traffic”.  If it is too stuffy you can crack the door or windows.  If it is nice out you can sunbath on the roof deck while the wind blows in your hair (maybe a little melodramatic).  Although it doesn’t make for great people watching, the patrons on the ferry tend to be a bit classier.

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It wasn’t that long ago I thought ferries were only for getting cars across bodies of water. All this commuting is a bit different then throwing your bags in the car and driving anywhere you need to go in Kansas.

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Whole30

This post has been sitting in my draft folder partially written for over two months. I couldn’t decide if anyone would really care.  Then I received messages from multiple people asking for tips and recipes for completing the Whole30.  So here it is …

About 2 years ago, a friend introduced me to the Whole30. I am always leery of fad diets and quick to point out the flaws.  HOWEVER, this friend happens to be a dietician and clearly knows more than me so I listened.  She was specifically talking about how much more energy she has had and how her complexion has noticeably cleared up since changing her eating.  The Whole30 program has since blown up in popularity, which I believe is a testament to its effectiveness.

According the Whole30 website, the program is “a short-term nutritional reset designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.” The idea is some foods groups could be wreaking havoc to your body and you don’t’ even realize it.  The program asks you to cut out legumes, grains, sugar (of any form), dairy and alcohol for 30 days.  Like Paleo but stricter.  During the 30 days your body will heal and recover from the harm caused by these food groups.  After your body is clean, you are supposed to reintroduce these foods one at a time to see which food groups affect you personally.

After learning about the program I went home, did some research and began. I had no hopes or desires to lose weight.  I just wanted to start from scratch and feel good.

I would be lying to you if I told you I noticed my acne had cleared up, I was sleeping better, my digestive system improved or I had more energy and focus. I most definitely did not find the program cured a disease I had.  Yes, people do claim all of these and some.

What I can say is I feel dramatically better. My cravings have decreased significantly.  In the past I have been told, “I can’t imagine what you will be like pregnant considering the cravings you have now”.  During the 30 days, I developed an appreciation for real food.  Somehow food just tasted better.  In fact, I did not miss the foods I had eliminated so I kept going.

Since doing my first Whole30, I am much more conscious of what is in food. I would say I eat Whole30 75% of the time.  Every once in a while I fall off a cliff just to remind myself how bad it feels.  I have fully completed the program at least one (maybe two) other time and partially a handful of times.  I have not yet completed the “reintroduction phase” but still intend to.

As requested here are my tips: Continue reading

Workout Evolution

After graduating college, I told myself I would form a habit of working out on a frequent basis. And almost 6 years later, I can say I have actually stuck with it … for the most part.  My work out habits have definitely evolved over time.

Post college, I immediately began a routine of running outside. At first I hated and dreaded running but I learned to enjoy it most of the time.  I refused to run on a treadmill.

Then in graduate school, my roommate introduced me to a Jillian Michaels DVD. I was sooo sore the next day, I knew I either got a crazy good workout or I was severely out of shape.  The videos were added to my regular routine as an alternative to running.

When I was training for my recently completed half marathon, I was working in a town that didn’t have sidewalks. Not wanting to kill my training, I broke down and began running on a treadmill.  There is something to be said for the reliability and consistency of a treadmill.

Recently I ran into a dilemma. Continue reading

New Year’s Resolutions

I was going to create the usual cliché post about the New Year but didn’t get around to it by the 1st and gave up on the entire idea. And then I saw a photo with the caption “it will still be 2016 tomorrow” and brought the idea back to life.

Typically, the New Year approaches and my life continues as it was before. I don’t resolve to lose weight, spend less, or read more.  This year is a little bit different.  I have recently spent a good amount of time reflecting back on the many major changes I made in the last year.  Some of the changes were easy, others not so easy, a few were hard as hell, and many more I am still adjusting to.

When reflecting, I recognize there are small things I can do to make the adjusting easier and life in general more enjoyable.

Stay busy and do more –  Most people know I can only sit on the couch for about 10 minutes before I find myself suddenly getting up to do something or finding something to read.  However, lately I find myself sitting and doing nothing more and more.  In addition, I regretfully must say I have not taken advantage of the many opportunities living in the city presents.  I am aware staying busy helps my attitude tremendously and let’s be honest my attitude can always use a little help.

Meet people – I might be the most introverted person ever.  I typically welcome the idea of being alone. But everyone needs a little bit of social activity in their life SOMETIMES.  Meeting people in New York has been one tough task for many reasons.  First, the typical “lets meet for drinks” does not attract me.  Second, between June and November I was traveling each and every week for work.  The travel restricted me from joining any weekday groups or activities.  Keith has done his part to “make friends for us” but when I am home for the weekend, I just want to enjoy being home when not preparing for hitting the road again Monday. I still don’t like bars but this year I no longer have the traveling excuse since I won’t be out of town as much.  I am not sure how yet but somehow someway I will make friends.  My not so introverted husband has big ideas for this … we will see how they work out.

Judge less – Attempting to judge less has been a continuous battle for me.  I am aware the dark negative cloud is lifted when you are not focused on how others dress, what others do, or what others say.  In addition, when I care less about others, I am not near as worried about what others think of me.  I have made strides on this since moving to New York.  Judging is much more difficult in a city where there is one of every kind.  However, I will probably always have room to improve in this category.

I can only hope 2016 is full of as many great memories as 2015.

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Spontaneous Toronto Trip

Mid-afternoon on Friday, Keith and I decided to head into NYC to shop for bedroom furniture. We were on the subway somewhere under the Hudson River when Keith turned to me and asked “Want to go to Toronto?” I am sure he expected me to come up with a gazillion reasons why I couldn’t or we shouldn’t go but I surprised him and said “sure”. I have never been to Toronto but it is Keith’s favorite city. He has been trying to finagle a trip for a while now. 

We hopped off the subway at the first stop and hopped back on to head right back home. We each packed a small bag, grabbed our passports and hit the road. I booked the hotels while Keith drove. Thank gosh for our hotel point accumulating job. It sure makes trips a lot cheaper.

Our first stop Saturday morning was a Canadian furniture store we had visited in Montreal during a trip we made last year. We were more successful than planned and left the furniture store with bedroom furniture ordered. Not only did we accomplish our initial mission and reason we were heading into NYC but we also got the furniture at 50% off. Score! And if that wasn’t enough, we later realized the purchase price was in Canadian Dollars and thanks to the recent devalue of the Canadian Dollar we realized we got even more of a steal.

We then headed to downtown Toronto where we ate brunch at Momofuku Daisho.  We shared whitefish buns and hanger steak.  The hanger steak was amazing.  Typically, I like simple dishes and this was quite the opposite.  However, the number of flavors in this dish amazed me in a good way.

  
We spent the day walking around the city and popping in stores when we felt like it. It was a brisk day at 45⁰ but I managed. We found one art gallery and happened to find a piece we liked at a decent price. After debating, we decided to snap a picture and mull over the purchase while we continued to explore. On our way out of the store, we snapped a picture of another piece catching our eye.    We finished our day with dinner at DaiLo.  The restaurant puts a modern flair on “reimagined dim sum type” dishes.  I don’t think anything I write can do these creative dishes justice.

Sunday morning we explored the Ontario lakefront area of the city. Of course we had to walk by the CN tower.  I learned it is the tallest structure in the western hemisphere, which I find pretty impressive because I am continuously amazed by how massive the Freedom Tower stands.  You can’t even look up at the CN tower without getting dizzy.  Finally, we returned to the art gallery with plans to offer a lowball price for each piece in hopes they would meet in the middle. I let Keith do the negotiating while I stood back trying not to listen. I think Keith was okay with this only because he knows I am useless when it comes to decisions. I was pleased when he informed me we were purchasing both pieces at the price we planned to offer for one.

We clearly had a pretty successful trip. Without any intentions, we made a lot of progress on furnishing our home.

Currently

I have seen this survey on Carrot’s N’ Cake blog in the past, and I thought it would be a fun post.

Current Celebration: Weekends at home. I have been all over the place lately and really miss my couch. This past weekend both Keith and I spent the weekend at home and it was amazing. I only left the house for church and to run.

Current Confession: I went to bed before or at 8:30 p.m. each night last week. I just couldn’t stay up no matter how hard I tried.

Current Product Find: Coconut Banana Cashew Butter.  Keith saw me eyeing a little jar of this at Chelsea Market a couple weekends back and in typical Keith fashion surprised me with it.  I opened up the cabinet one day and there it sat with a note affixed to it.  I already ate the ENTIRE jar … and wish I had more.

Current Plan: I start a new position in the middle of November. I am not changing employers just the line of work. My life after beginning the position is in limbo because I don’t know many details about the position. With the change fast approaching, my planning mind can’t help but wonder and want answers.

Current Book: I’m not reading “books” right now. Instead, I have been studying for a test I have to take at work in the upcoming months. I am currently reading a lot of laws and regulations. Don’t worry; I won’t bore you with the details.    Current Purchase: I just purchased a new SPIbelt. My mom gave me this little gem several years ago for Christmas and I rarely run without it now. Mine went missing recently during a trip to Washington D.C. I called the hotel but of course they didn’t find it. After beating myself up, I finally purchased a new one. The new one is larger and fits my phone better. The old one also had a hole. Maybe it was for the best.

Current Drink: There is nothing current about anything I drink. I have always been a water girl and nothing is new. I supplement my water with coffee.

Current Holy Moly: Lamb. Up until a couple month ago I would have swore I didn’t like lamb and it smelt like wool. And then …. Keith bought lamp chomps when I wasn’t looking. He fixed them and I felt obligated to at least try them. I have definitely bought more lamb since.   Current Show: The Affair. A new season just started, and anytime Keith and I have a free moment together we indulge.

Current Want: If I must narrow it down to one item … this is tough …. I would say … winter boots. The cold weather is definitely here and it is only going to get worse. I am trying to convince myself if I have the appropriate attire it will be more bearable.

Current Obsession: Grapes! I have been eating multiple pounds of grapes for a couple months now. No I am not exaggerating.    

New England with the Family

My mom and cousin made a trip to the Northeast last weekend and we road tripped around New England.  My mom has been talking about seeing the fall foliage and Maine coast for quite some time and I am always looking for an excuse to go to Maine.  Fitting foliage and the coast into one weekend meant A LOT of quality time spent in our tiny little car but I think it was worth it.

Keith and I picked the two up from the airport Friday afternoon and we immediately hit the road.  We took the scenic route from Newark, New Jersey to Manchester, New Hampshire to see the best foliage possible.  The trees were absolutely beautiful.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t get very good pictures from the car.

Saturday, we hopped back in the car to drive to Portland Maine.  On the way we made a quick stop to see the ocean.  I don’t think the car was parked before mom jumped out and darted to the beach.  She “needed” to put her toes in the sand.  She is like a little kid when it comes to the ocean.  I didn’t get this gene.  I want nothing to do with the sand.  The closest I need to get is to take a picture of her.


Keith and I can’t go to Maine without stopping at our favorite lobster truck.  We both prefer the Connecticut style lobster roll with butter as opposed the Maine style with mayonnaise.

The lobster truck just happens to be located at the beautiful Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, which is home to Portland Head Light.  This lighthouse is the oldest in Maine.


Brylee did a little off trail exploring.  If you look very very closely she is the little speck out on the edge of the rock.


We finished the day with a brief tour of Providence, Rhode Island led by Keith.  He went to college in Providence and still gets a little excited anytime Providence is mentioned.

Sunday we headed back to Hoboken.  Along the way we stopped in Windsor, Connecticut for “Chowdafest”.

Chowdafest is a chowder and soup competition with 40 restaurants from all over New England.  Upon entrance we were give a wrist band, spoon and ballot.  We were tasked with voting on the best 1. New England Chowder, 2. Manhattan Chowder, 3. Creative Chowder and 4. Lobster Bisque.


We started strong and fast tasting each chowder.  Brylee, Keith and I didn’t hassle with voting.  All we cared about was sampling.  Mom on the other hand attempted to make notes about specific spices and unique flavors.

About 10 chowders in, we needed a break to reset our pallets.  Of course, mom found the ocean.

Keith used this opportunity to work on his photography skills.  He doesn’t quite understand the rule of thirds.

We attempted to finish the tasting but just couldn’t.  We sampled 22 chowders  before we all started to feel sick and threw in the towel.  It will be a miracle if any of us eat chowder all winter.


We ended the adventure with a tour of Hoboken.


Even if we spent most of our time in the car it doesn’t diminish the amazingness of having family visit.

Thankful Thursday X

I am thankful for college football.  If I had it my way, Saturday’s would consist of getting all errands done in the morning so I can spend the remainder of the day posted up on the couch flipping back and forth between football games. Unfortunately, my weekends seem to always be busy and I have to resort to checking my phone frequently for highlights and updates.  Either way, I get a little more pleasure out of life during football season.

  Go Pokes!

I Ran a Half Marathon!

I did it! I finally ran a half marathon!

Leading up to the race, I received numerous texts asking if I was ready and wishing me luck.  Normally, I appreciate nice thoughts but this occasion was different. I was doing everything I could to not even think about the race.

Micaela and I prepared for the race by eating a carb loaded dinner the night before the race.  Both Micaela and I struggled ordering. We knew we needed carbs before the race for energy and protein after the race to rebuild muscle but we weren’t sure about protein before the run. We are clearly amateurs. I played it safe and got both.

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We arrived at the race site bright and early.  I became suddenly nervous as I observed all the other participants. They all looked so professional.

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My bad habit is unconsciously biting my cheeks when I nervous or concentrating.  I was clearly nervous in this picture above.

The race started downhill and extra fast.  I was overwhelmed by the little room I had to move (I knew I would be). Luckily, the full marathon and 10k runners split at about 1 mile, giving me a little room to breathe. Continue reading

Thankful Thursday IX

This week I am thankful for budgeting.

Anyone that knows me will tell you I am ALWAYS worried about money and I spend frivolously. I worry about the future and what if I need money for something unknown. Neurotic I know! Thankfully, Keith and I merged each of our saving practices and he forced me to begin budgeting immediately after getting married.

Prior to marriage, we both had savings methods but they were very different.

Keith always established an amount he wanted to save and came up with a plan to get there based on what he knew his income and expenses would be for that period of time. If something costs less than anticipated or he received unanticipated money, he considered it a bonus and could splurge however he desired. Example: If Keith received cash for his birthday he would treat himself to a nicer dinner or buy those pants he had been eyeing.

I was completely opposite! I had no idea how much I wanted to save. I just wanted to save everything I possibly could. If I ran across unanticipated money it never crossed my mind to spend it let alone splurge. Example: If I received cash for my birthday it was immediately deposited and forgotten.

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Now we are attempting to merge the two methods. Continue reading