The Latest of What I've Been Eating.
Ever since Serafina opened a few blocks from my office, I'd been wanting to go and try their pasta. (Yes, other people's Instagram photos were an influence.)
Perfectly al dente rigatoni with Bolognese a sprinkling of shaved Parmesan and a sprig of Sage. I could have had another bowl or two...
I always promise myself that I will start to eat more "healthy" meals in order to try and lose some of the weight I put on since starting an "office job," but it's easier said than done!
I'm still like a big kid in the sense that I'm not a huge lover of vegetables (other than potatoes), but I can usually find something that will fill me up.
Luckily, I had some errands to run near Union Square, so I stopped into Glaze for their teriyaki combo. I chose the salmon & tofu with brown rice and a side salad with carrot ginger dressing. And, oh yeah, a black cherry Boylan's soda.
Since reinvigorating my Broadway fandom, one of the shows that I enjoyed the most was Green Day's American Idiot, so when I heard that some of the Original Broadway Cast and the Touring Companies were getting together at 54 Below to sing songs from the show and other Green Day hits, I knew I had to be there.
However, any time you go to 54 Below, there is a food & drink minimum. Somehow, I wound up with the 5:30pm dinner seating for a 7pm show; so there was quite a bit of time to kill.
I went with the pan-seared Arctic char over black pepper & lemon spaetzle (one of my favorite pasta/noodle types), baby artichokes, olive oil & thyme roasted tomatoes. That along with "The Big Apple" - apple cider, cranberry juice & ginger ale with a cinnamon dusted apple slice, easily made up my F&B requirements.
The show was almost like a short rock show and it was fun getting to be up close to the action & befriend other "idiots!"
It had been a hot minute since I'd been down to Chinatown/Little Italy, so I decided to hit up one of the new off shoots of Nom Wah Tea Parlor in Chinatown; Nom Wah Nolita.
Now, while I really had a craving for beef rice rolls, I didn't know what the atmosphere would be like for this location. I soon found out that there was a much more limited menu at this location and settled for a scallion pancake and an order of chicken & chive dumplings.
Dim sum should really be done with other people or a group to get the true experience, but these two dishes were plenty for me and kept me fueled throughout my day downtown.
When my friend's said I could choose a restaurant for our belated Christmas gift exchange, I suggested Ozi Dumplings, which just opened up in Bushwick. Now, while Mimi Cheng's always has a special place in my heart, I was ready to see how these unique dumplings would compare.
I ordered the Cheeseburger dumplings with a "potato swirl." The dumplings were made with ground beef, onions, cheese and lightly fried before a drizzle of cheese sauce and pickles were added. I can't say that they were better than the "Emmy Burger" dumpling special at Mimi Cheng's, but since I can only get those once or twice a year, these are a great second place.
The "potato swirl" was nice and crispy; a nice addition to the dumplings. However, the highlight for me was the Ikezo peach sparkling jelly wine. Almost like a Jell-O shot, but with the fizz of my favorite Moscato.
In short, I would go back for the peach sparkling jelly wine and probably try another type of dumpling for round two.
Running errands in Union Square & Chelsea and I saw someone walk by with a Matchabar cup, so I knew they must have a location nearby.
Instead of opting for Starbucks for an afternoon pick-me-up, I went for the caffeine in a Matcha Chai with soy milk, always with ice, unless it's below zero.
Ask anyone who knows me and you'd know I can never turn down a good pastry. Today's special at the Gap-eteria (Cafe at work), was a chicken pot pie with a nicely sized piece of puff pastry on top.
Not as heavy or creamy as a chicken pot pie, say from KFC or Boston Market, but delicious and with some purple potatoes and Brussels sprouts.
Bonus: When the Cafe was going to throw away the excess puff pastry, the Cafe Manager gave me a bag of them to take home! Woo hoo!
I'm pretty sure that carbs will always be my first love and Bison Witches is one of my favorite places to load up on them.
Sometimes I change what sandwich I get (opted for a grilled ham & cheese on wheat this time), but the tortilla chips with CCQ (chili con queso) and bread bowl of potato bacon soup are always my standards.
And, yes, I'm fully aware of how much "brown food" is in this photo and I'm okay with that.
All of my other Nebraskan friends in NYC agree: why can't we find an Indian restaurant as good as The Oven in the city? Were we spoiled by really good Indian food in Nebraska and we never knew it?
Well, it's always a stop when I go home, for sure. I got a little taste at Thanksgiving, when I stopped by The Cellar for a little after drink snack, but this was going to be my meal - chicken tikka madras biryani. Yes, it was a "treasure of rice" - chicken tikka marinated in a spicy coconut milk sauce with rice, raisins, cashews and a sliced egg.
After an underwhelming trip to the Valentino's Buffet, I knew I had to get back to Yia Yia's for pizza before I went back to NYC. So, I met up with my friend, Adam (who I've known since elementary school) and we caught up over some slices.
In the summer, I got ambitious and ordered two slices, so I opted for one this time and some garlic herb bread. "The Atlantic" is a delicious white sauce based slice with grilled chicken, bacon, potatoes, broccoli, mushrooms with mozzarella cheese. Pretty much what would have been on a custom slice, if I had made one, but cheaper.
Imagine my surprise when Dad suggested that we go to Cracker Barrel for lunch!? Usually, it takes some prodding to round up the family and encouraging them to go here.
I always know that I want hashbrown casserole; something about that cheesy, onion-y, potato goodness always gets me, but I was pretty happy that their mini chicken biscuit sandwiches were back!
My only regret, getting medium poached eggs vs. soft. Do those even look like eggs (on the left)?
Always a must-stop on my trips back home, Goldenrod Pastries, is owned and operated by my friend, Angela. She and her team of wonderful ladies make all sorts of delicious treats and you can't beat the Nebraska prices!
I made sure to load up on some of these colorful macarons, especially since they're only $1.90 each!
Of course, my first dinner with Dad would be Asian food! He chose Yami (which he pronounced as "yummy") in South Lincoln. (I had to start to get reacquainted with my hometown, since Dad was now living on the opposite side of the city.)
I was anxious to see how the Korean food in Lincoln held up with some of my favorite places in K-Town. I chose the dolsot bibimbap, so it was in a hot stone bowl and some fried dumplings. Dad ordered off their newly added Thai menu and asked for it to be spicy, "on a scale of 1 to 10, I want an 11!" Phew!
The food was good and seem fairly traditional, but nothing can ever compete with the sukiyaki bibimbap from Gyu-Kaku!
I'm not sure how I worked just a few blocks from Ootoya for so many years, but never went to eat lunch there. Oh well. I was lucky that my flight back home for Christmas wasn't until the evening on the 20th, so I was able to grab lunch with my friend, Lily, while she was back in NYC.
She picked Ootoya and I quickly found out why. Wow. The food was spectacular and there was plenty of it! I opted for the mini Oyako Don (grilled chicken and onion simmered in broth and with a layer of egg on top), which also came with a plate of cold soba, miso soup, seaweed and savory egg custard.
One of my coworkers helped us plan our Holiday team outing, so we went to The Bar Room in the Beekman Hotel for food and Happy Hour. We were given a bottle of prosecco and while everyone ordered fancy drinks and food, I opted for the Baked Alaska.
However, I did sample this amazing onion dip, which I should have known was going to be amazing, since Top Chef's Tom Colicchio oversees the menu. The onion dip had caramelized onions in it, fried onions on top and came with housemade Gaufrette potato chips! I'm actually drooling thinking about this now...
Just before I was about to go home for the holiday, I made the trek up to Jackson Heights to make Christmas cookies and exchange gifts with my friend, Tempestt and her family.
Her daughter, Ellie, is 3 and it's so adorable when she calls me "Chenny!" We had several colors of icing and load of various sugar candies to decorate with, but I kinda think Ellie used most of them, piling them up on about 3 or 4 cookies.
I ended up making some "gingerbread men" looking like Sesame Street character or Muppets with my candies. We ended up making a few dozen cookies, which worked out nicely when I went to a holiday party right after and the guests gobbled them up.
For the past few years, my friend, Whitney & I have made a tradition of getting soup dumplings and going to view all the holiday window displays on 5th Avenue. After our November "dumps of the month" excursion, my friend, Deirdre, asked to come along to more of our outings.
We met up after work and went to Joe's Shanghai, where we split two orders of pork xiao long bao, some fried rice cakes, scallion pancakes and some broccoli beef. It was great to load up on some salty goodness before wandering around 5th Avenue in the chilly weather.
I finally got a ticket to see M. Butterfly before it closes, so I quickly looked up a place to eat on Yelp, which pointed me to Sapporo, just a few blocks from the theatre. I knew I wanted something hot, since it was freezing outside and the show was the only reason I went outside at all today.
However, I underestimated the size of the portions! I got a miso soup and order of pork gyoza. What I wasn't ready for was how large the chicken katsu curry was going to be! And it's definitely not the type of meal I could take into the theatre, even if I wanted to.
As the holiday break quickly approaches, I realized how much I need a break from the city. I got a nice break from the day to day, when my boss suggested that our whole team go out for a lunch break.
Now, while trying to find a place for all of us to agree on may have been a challenge, but once I suggested Two Hands, it seemed like everyone could find something there to suit their palates.
I opted for the "breakfast roll" sandwich, which I had the last time we were here, but this time with a shittake mushroom vs. bacon. A nice whole wheat roll topped with avocado, watercress, pickled shallots, a fried egg and homemade spicy ketchup; it was messy, but delicious! (And all the handsome Australian waiters didn't hurt either...)
It's funny how I've waited SO long to have regular weekends off and now that I do, sometimes I struggle to find something to do. Sundays have been particularly lonely, since they were usually occupied with talking to my Mom on the phone, after she went to church & breakfast with the family.
I didn't have much motivation to go into the city, so I walked the less than two blocks to Sally Roots for some brunch. A little smoked salmon benedict to help clear up my Sunday Blues (which is what I should call them now). I'd only ever been here for dinner, which is mostly Caribbean food, so a more typical American-style brunch was a pleasant surprise on their menu.
As I've never been a fan of side salads, that was my least favorite part of the meal, but everything else was delicious and only a few minutes from home.
I was also fortunate that when I was home, there was also a home football game in Lincoln. Now, while the Huskers haven't lived up to their late 90's/early 00's glory, there's always something special about home for a football game. In this case, it mean that a lot of my high school and college friends were also home for the Holiday.
After the game, (which we embarrassingly lost to Iowa) I met up with one of my Youth Leadership Lincoln friends, Bryce, at The Other Place; a hidden speakeasy, where it was nice to get away from all the usual football game patrons. We posted up at the bar, caught up on life and chatted with the bartender, who ended up being my high school choir's piano accompanist.
Since I had recently gorged myself on a burger at Brewsky's, I wasn't too hungry, but offered to go to The Oven with Bryce to eat and partake in one of Lincoln's best restaurants. We ended up going to the wine bar below the restaurant, The Cellar. While Bryce picked out some food and wine, I opted for a lighter course of mulligatawny soup and garlic naan. But you can rest assured that I will be back at Christmas time for a full meal!
A usual stop on any trip home: Goldenrod Pastries! With a rotating selection of gluten & dairy-free snacks, I always load up a box to eat while I'm home and bring a few things back to NYC!
I picked out 3 macarons: vanilla, hibiscus and an apple cider (which didn't make it into the photo, before I ate it), a cherry almond cookie and a devil's food cake loaf.
I'm alreadying thinking about what I want to get for my trip home at Christmas...
As my first really "retail free" Thanksgiving in ages, I took the opportunity to fly back home to Lincoln, Nebraska and spend some time with my family. (Since my brother & sister-in-law rotate Holidays, we usually only see each other every other year. I knew I didn't want to miss out this year, so I took a 4 day trip back to the Midwest.)
The only downside, I forgot how early everyone eats in the Midwest! While I might have been expecting a 2pm Thanksgiving lunch, I got an 11:30am Thanksgiving meal! My flight didn't get into Omaha until almost 11:30pm, due to delays, so I made it out to my Dad's new house, just after 1:00am on Thanksgiving Day. I did not get up in time to help prep, but did get to watch some of the parade (I had to see Dear Evan Hansen perform, after all)!
All the usual suspects were at this meal, so I heaped my plate full of all the best things: mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, broccoli, green bean casserole, a croissant and, oh yeah, turkey. My brother made some great poultry gravy, which I put on everything.
Ever since Whitney & I have enjoyed the "dumps of the month" at Mimi Cheng's, we usually look forward to getting the November special - the Thanksgiving dumpling.
This time around, I brought a long a new friend and co-worker, Deirdre, to revel in the experience of the dumplings and a Thanksgiving croissant at Momofuku Milk Bar afterwards.
Besides the Emmy Burger dumpling and the Brunch dumpling, the Thanksgiving dumpling rates as one of my favorites. Fresh turkey, stuffing and gravy in a pan fried dumpling with a side of cranberry sauce. I'm drooling just thinking about it! Is it November 2018, yet!?
Can you tell that our head chef at the Gapeteria (i.e. our office Cafe), loves Halloween? The staff whipped up some great treats for our Halloween party at the office!
Here are some ghostly risotto balls, covered in little pieces of cheese!
It's still hovering in the 50's/60's and it's almost November!? Makes sense that I would still be craving ice cream, then. In between shifts for Broadway Cares, I swung by Ice & Vice's pop-up truck in Times Square.
They were serving some new sundaes and regular scoops of their best selling flavors, along with some basic soft serve (literally, it's vanilla soft serve and it's called the "basic bitch"). After convincing a mom & her daughter that they should get the "Milk Money," I opted for a scoop of "Justice is Sweet" - chocolate ice cream with a szechuan peanut butter shell in a dark chocolate chai cone from the Konery.
The I SCREAM booth was also sponsored by Waitress and was there to help raise money for charity, so double the goodness!
Ever since I saw Yo! Sushi open up on W. 23rd Street, I'd been thinking two things: 1. This has to be better than the last conveyor belt sushi place I went to and 2. When can I go? So, when I got the chance to catch up with a former Madewell buddy of mine, we went to Yo! and perused all the choices.
I got a few plates, but these salmon nori tacos were hands-down the best part of the meal! Pieces of nori (seaweed), fried in tempura batter and molded into taco shapes, then filled with salmon, siracha mayo, yuzu salsa and tuzu tobiko. Slightly sweet, slightly salty and nicely crunchy; maybe I'll get two orders next time!
I'm consistently surprized by the variety of food around my office, so whatever my craving, it's easy to find something to satisfy it; albeit to my wallet's despair. So, my weekly TB with my manager took us downtown, towards the Financial District.
And that's where I was cheating a bit on #fatfriday with some cheesy tots and a patty melt grilled cheese from Melt Shop. My sandwich didn't look the prettiest, but oh boy, was it tasty!
I couldn't begin to count the number of times that I've walked by B Bar & Grill near my old office by NYU/Astor Place, but I had never eaten there. So, when my college bestie, Phil, suggested it for brunch, I was all in.
While my main brunch struggle is debating between sweet or savory and my almost constant craving for eggs; I went the sweet route for this meal.
These thick-cut slices of French toast with blueberry compote and maple butter were delicious! Not to mention the perfectly tangy fresh squeezed orange juice and getting a chance to eat outside.
Um, excuse me!? Veselka has BRUNCH PIEROGI!? I was expecting them to be like the breakfast dumplings at MImi Cheng's and perhaps I should have ordered them boiled instead of fried, but I was a little disappointed.
8 Varenyky filled with bacon, scrambled eggs, Vermont cheddar cheese and potatoes with a side of chipotle ketchup. They were slightly chewy and a bit bland.
As much as I love Veselka, this didn't give me much faith in coming back for brunch, nor did my waiter who kept interrupting my friend and me to say we were his last table and he wanted to leave...oy.
The Latest Shows That I've Seen.
The Latest of What I've Been Doing in NYC.
After a lot of ups and downs, I walked by this window display at Maman Soho. A little inspiration and a hope that something good will happen soon. Maybe Mom is looking after me...
Over the last 5 years, I've been able to watch the Pride Parade from inside of Madewell. I was very excited to get to watch the parade from the street and not have to worry about being at work!
I met up with some friends for brunch, then we walked over towards the corner of 19th Street & 5th Avenue to post up and watch the floats. We got there shortly after the start of the parade made it downtown and were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Gap float.
The parade is always sensory overload, but in the best way possible! Imagine my surprise when I looked up on the Logo float and saw Robby from Finding Prince Charming!? Yes, I shouted at him and was super happy when he turned and waved at me! (To be followed a few minutes later by Javier Munoz from HAMILTON and I died even more!)
Now, some of my friends aren't parade people, but we still wanted to spend part of Pride Weekend together. We met up in the neighborhood to catch up and to enjoy some drinks at Brooklyn's Kings County Brewers Collective (KCBC).
The selection rotates and there are some snacks, but the ambience is cool and there's board games!
Months ago, I purchased tickets to see Bianca del Rio's show in NYC...little did I know that VH1 would change the date of the RuPaul's Drag Race finale and the promoters would suddenly turn my comedy show tickets into a chance to view the finale episode and the crowning of the newest queen!
A few of my Nebraska friends were in town for Pride Weekend, so we all got to experience the show together and even watch local Brooklyn queen, Sasha Velour's coronation! (Plus, performances by the Top 7!)
In a way, it was a blessing that I came back to NYC just in time for Pride Weekend. My first day back at the office was a rainbow-filled one. Lots of love from my friends for me & my Mom and of course, a chance to celebrate Pride!
There were lots of fun treats and a little rainbow photo booth with Pattaya Hart, who instantly lifted my mood!
After a very tough two weeks, I headed back to NYC to try and get back to "normal" life. It was nice to fly back over Flushing Meadows and Corona Park, where I could see CitiField, the Unisphere and the home of the US Open.
I took advantage of the nice weather in my neighborhood and went for a walk. It's nice to get lost sometimes.
I was struck by the contrasting styles of architecture in these two buildings. The new and old New York.
I consider myself lucky to have friends in so many places around the artistic and creative community! It's through these connections that I was able to spend an afternoon at the Whitney Museum of American Art for free!
There were so many great pieces, but I couldn't resist this short of an installation on one of the many roofs of the museum. I love the way the colors fade and the contrast of the smaller squares inside of the larger ones. Something about those clean lines.
I don't remember when my fandom for Jeff Koons' work began, but whenever I get a chance to view some of his work, I take it.
The 45-foot tall "Seated Ballerina" was installed right outside of 30 Rock on Rockefeller Plaza and unlike some of his other "balloon" pieces, this sculpture was actually made of nylon and not aluminium. From Koons' "Antiquity" series, the balloon was put up for a few months on the plaza.
As part of our team's diversity activities, we spent one afternoon at MOCA (Museum of Chinese in America) to attend their exhibition on Chinese food: Sour Sweet Bitter Spicy. I learned a lot at the exhibition about trying to make traditional Chinese food in America and how the various chefs decided to alter or keep the same their recipes for the public.
After watching several of the videos, I explored the rest of the museum and came upon this sign for "the Chinese question." In many ways, I think we've progressed so much as a Country, but it's also hard to deal with the everyday racism that takes place in my own life and many others like me. I just think about every time a cab driver asks me "where are you from?" and I say "Nebraska," which is never the answer they are looking for!
Yes, I understand that I'm a part of the problem. But the longer I live in NYC, the longer I understand the struggle. Over the past 7 years, my building has changed from young doctors working at the nearby hospital to almost all young 20-something's who can't afford to live in Williamsburg.
I was this graffiti on the side of a building in Downtown Brooklyn and couldn't resist taking a photo.
Sometimes you have to take a break from the office and sometimes that break leads you to Saks Fifth Avenue at Brookfield Place. Now, while I do enjoy looking at things I can't afford, I can't wait until the day that I have the amount of disposable income to buy whatever I want, whenever I want!
While wandering through the handbag department at Saks, I couldn't help but be drawn in by this display. The colors. The shapes. Right up my alley.
It's a tough world out there, and by that, I mean the NYC dating scene. I'm about ready to give up on regular dating sites...I've tried to go outside of my usual "type" and so, met up with a guy for some fish tacos at Los Mariscos.
Our conversation was fine and the food was good. but have I heard back from him since this date? Nope.
I intentionally tried to crop out all of the scaffolding and construction in the background. Some day, the building that was torn down in mid-2015 will turn into more luxury apartments and retail...
Until then, at least we've got some pretty blooms on the street.
Another great benefit of having a regular 9am-6pm, M-F job is being able to spend more time volunteering. So, not only did I finally get to work with BC/EFA, but I got the chance to work at Housing Works' Annual Design on a Dime event and act as a Room Ambassador.
So many people came out from the art, design & fashion communities! I got to work with a designer from a Miami shop, but my favorite room was the Nickelodeon room! You could'n't beat the giant "Happy Happy Joy Joy" neon sign, the orange "NICKELODEON" dog bone, framed art pieces of the faux taxidermy of Stimpy's Butt.
For my first time at the 92nd Street Y, I got a ticket for "Ben Platt and Michael Greif in Conversation with Ira Glass."
Most of the crowd seemed to be there for Ben Platt, but I was also there for Michael Greif. Growing up in Nebraska, I read so much about his direction of RENT during it's inital run, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see him in person.
I had the priviledge of getting to see Ben Platt perform as Evan Hansen during previews in the Fall and I'm excited to go back to see him in May, as part of my b-day week of Broadway with my friend, Katie.
Much has been said about his performance and how he's going to win the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical (nominations aren't even out yet), but he's almost a shoe-in. Ben talked about how he gets into character and the process of him coming to be involved with the show since it's inception with Pasek and Paul. It was easy to see how thousands of teenage girls (and boys) are quickly falling in love with him and this show!
In the last few years, the months of February-early June have been filled for me. Why, you might ask? Well, that's when all the new shows are opening on Broadway and vying for those late April Opening Days, so they can qualify for Awards Season; Outer Critics, Drama Desk and most importantly, the Tony Awards.
I didn't quite understand the concept/story of Come From Away, but when my "insider" sources said that it might be the dark horse of the season, I figured it couldn't hurt to see the show (plus, I'm a big fan of Jenn Collela).
The show is based in the town of Gander, Newfoundland and around 9/11. When this small town more than doubled the size of their population as planes going into the US were being diverted. In a compact 90 minutes, the ensemble of the show morphs into the Newfoundlanders and the plane passengers; telling a multitude of stories.
In the basement of the theater, there's a map with small tags, where you can write where you're from; where did you "come from away." I thought about putting down Lincoln, Nebraska, but hesitated and found myself writing "Daegu, Korea" on my tag. Can you see it there?
After years of wanting to get involved with the Broadway Community, I finally was selected to help collect donations for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. I could almost recite the monologue: "Twice a year, the Broadway Community gathers to help those..."
I was very proud to hold a red bucket as shows released the masses out back into the real world. I got to help with collections at so many shows, including Waitress, HAMILTON, School of Rock, CATS, Kinky Boots and The Lion King. (Bonus: At The Lion King, there was a hyena mouth that you could "feed" with your donations!)
I can't wait for October, so I can do it all again...just maybe not 6 collections in one week. It was exhausting, but so fulfilling!
Admittedly, I don't end up in Soho as much as when I first moved to NYC. I found myself a little bored on a weekend and decided to wander through the shops.
After spending over a year working in the Noho Urban Outfitters, I felt it was time to take a walk through and see how the spaced had changed (yes, they remodeled and helped clear up their rampant rodent problem).
I found this neon NY in the lower level, the Men's Department, where I had spent so many hours folding graphic tees, running to put stock out on the floor, coaching my team and keeping the stockroom running.
On my way back to the train, I spotted this boulder; usually used to help divert traffic in the Meatpacking District and to avoid pedestrians from getting run over, someone had etched this sad little face onto it.
My Mom seemed to think that it warranted a little boulder friend, maybe with a happy face.
The 2016-2017 theatre season seems to be when I see all sorts of Sondheim shows! The newly reopened Hudson Theatre is the home to Sunday in the Park with George and marks my first time seeing Jake Gyllenhaal in a musical.
Of course, I was also excited to see Ashley Park, Annaleigh Ashford and the rest of the cast, but I wanted to see if Jake could really sing live. Little did I know that I would also get to see him impersonate a dog; barking, rolling around on the floor and all.
This neon sign was in the lobby of the theatre.
Anyone who's known me since the mid-90's, knows that I have an obsession with artistic gymnastics. While I never was a gymnast, I've always found the sport fascinating. (My cousin even trained with Peggy Liddick for a stint in Nebraska!)
The last few years the American Cup (the biggest International annual meet held in the US) has been in the NYC area. So, I trekked to Newark, NJ on a Saturday morning to watch the new crop of US gymnasts compete for the title, it this post-Olympic year.
I knew that Ragan Smith would win easily, after all, she was an alternate on the 2016 Olympic Team and she's coached by Kim Zmeskal! I was very suprised by the Men's field and Yul Muldauer from Oklahoma, who blew away the competition.
While I will always miss the Perfect 10.0 scoring system, you can't beat the entertainment value of watching these athletes perform crazy stunts in any venue.
Oh, Cha Cha Matcha, how you get me! In a shop truly designed for the Millenial generation, you can get all sorts of matcha treats - iced or hot drinks, pastries, soft serve.
I love this pink neon sign in their shop!
Another great Incarcerated Jerkface piece! Storm Troopers and that spooky masked man from "V for Vendetta." This one went up on the wall outside of what used to be Lasso Pizza, the same place I got my Wu-Tang Care Bears photo.
While there were no sightings of Ben Stiller, I did have a good night at the museum. A little First Saturday, to see some great art and performances. I really should come out here more...
A trip to Do, Cookie Dough, near NYU was foiled by the cold, 40+ minute wait and our hungry stomachs. Jesse and I went to Favela Cubana across the street to get some brunch.
Now, while it took them almost 30 minutes to take our order and the table almost fell over on me, but at least the atmosphere made it feel like summer in Cuba!
Ever since I found Incarcerated Jerkface's Wu-Tang Care Bears mural in Nolita a few years ago, I have been an avid follower of his work. I didn't make it over for the Great Wakkorotti/Mickey Mouse wall, but was walking around in Williamsburg and it seemed like a good idea to see what was up at the former Grandma Roses spot.
I found that this would soon be a Sizzle Pie (by way of Portland, OR) and a fun Charlie Brown themed wall.
New Yorkers have been waiting decades for the completion of the 2nd Avenue Subway system and we might have to wait a little longer. However, on New Years Day, MTA opened up three new stations along the Q line; 96th/86th/72nd Street along 2nd Avenue, bringing a new way for thousands of New Yorkers to get to the Upper East Side.
Since this line did not really affect any of my travel plans, I went out of my way after work to see the new subway stops and to take a few photos.
I'm thankful that my boss understands my obsession with Broadway and Hamilton. On our weekly TB, we walked a little farther than normal to Trinity Church, so I could walk by Alexander Hamilton's grave.
The popularity of the grave has only grown with the popularity of the musical. However, on this slightly gloomy day, there were not many visitors. And, oh yeah, Angelica and Eliza are here, too.
Just across from the Flatiron Building, there's a little cement area where NY Public Art Fund has rotating displays. This time, there were these amazing lighted arches with hammocks in them.
I didn't have time to relax in one, but the view of them against the Empire State Building in the dark night of the winter was too pretty to not capture.
The Latest of Travel.
The Latest Stories of Growing Up.
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Happy Summer Fridays! I decided to take advantage of the shorter workday and head over to the Brooklyn Museum and see the Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit before it closed.
I didn't know much about O'Keeffe other than her flower paintings, so the exhibit was very informative. I really enjoyed seeing the various garments and pieces that she inspired. One of my favorites was this robe with the rainbow colored stripe.
Sometimes it's annoying setting up tons of work events, but never getting to reap the benefits of them. But this time, I knew I wanted to partake in the 4th of July treats and it was another excuse for theme dressing!
I broke out my new RSVLTS shirt (featuring rocket pops and the State of Liberty) with my Old Navy short overalls and some more themed enamel pins. The mini corn on the cobs and a borrowed beer for this photo opportunity, were the best accessories!
Well, I guess you can see how much the color has faded since my last post of my purple hair! The front is almost a plum color, while the back is still a vivid purple.
Of course when Boy Meets Girl announced that they were going to have a Care Bears collaboration, I knew I had to get something. I chose this Share Bear tank top, as she was always one of my favorites and she's purple!
On a little work field trip, I found this camo denim jacket at Anthropologie and although I hadn't purchased anything from Anthro in forever, their "Mother's Day" discount made it an easy decision. And, I'm glad I tried it on, (since I hate trying things on) because I only needed a small!
For the last several years, I've always taken my birthday off of work and visited the Met Museum to see the Costume Institute Exhibit. The first Monday in May is always when the collection premieres with the Met Ball, so it's a perfect time to visit.
I've been a fan of Comme des Garcons for awhile, but seeing so many pieces of Rei Kawakubo's work in person is an experience in itself. There were so many intricately constructed dresses, jackets and garments, it was hard to not take photos of everything.
This look is one of my favorites. Not practical at all to wear, but the colors with the red wig caught my eye.
Every other year, Nebraska alumni, fellow former Nebraskans and friends gather at the Husker Bar near Penn Station for the "Taste of Nebraska!"
I knew I wanted to be a little "festive," as my Mom raised me to appreciate a good theme to dress up for. I found a new red & white striped t-shirt from Madewell (naturally), and paired it with some Gap overalls. I had to add a few enamel pins: a vintage Nebraska pin, an emoji corn cob and my Waitress pie slice with a Nebraska baseball cap. I think I did a good job, don't you?
After finally changing jobs, I knew I wanted to color my hair for the first time in over 5 years! I did some research, (thanks, Pinterest!) and found some great shades of purple to show my stylist.
I was really happy with the way the color was looking this day, so I snapped this photo in my new cactus print Courier shirt from Madewell and one of my favorite pieces of Madewell jewelry.
I can't take credit for this pun, but once I saw it on Bow & Drape, I knew it was the t-shirt for me! I personalized it with the food emojis, but I knew my love of carbs and bad reality TV made this the perfect purchase.
I broke it out at work and it got lots of great responses!
For a little winter break, I got my team tickets to visit the Taylor Swift Experience when the Grammy Museum brought it to the South Street Seaport. I knew I had to wear my sequin bomber jacket, since I remembered Taylor wearing one during the "1989 Tour" and wouldn't you know; it was there!?
Here I am wearing my jacket, a Chance the Rapper "MALIA" t-shirt and standing infront of Taylor's costumes from the tour.
I took a short vacation from NYC to visit my friend, Jonelle, in Columbus, OH. Since she said to work, I took some time to visit the Columbus Art Museum and was very impressed by their collection. I happend upon an Isabel Marant installation and it was amazing!
Here's a sampling of some of her pieces that were on display. I really want that pink layered top in the lower left corner...
I can't seem to quit my Madewell addiction. My all black Transport Tote was looking a little worn, so I went to find a new one. I decided to get the Burgundy one and then head to the Meatpacking Store to get it monogrammed. And, yes, I'll always be "CHEN."
It's a nice deal when your Company has a Holiday Pop-Up Shop within walking distance from the office! I went with Brynn to check out the store in Soho, just a few days before it closed.
Of course, these days, everything needs to be Instagram fodder. This lightbox was filled with light bulbs and Gap logos, perfect for those square photos.
I was lucky enough to get chosen as Verameat's "Cute Customer," so I got 40% off any item of my choice! So, what did I pick?
-a "engagement ring"
-a spine ring
-a Chinese takeout enamel pin
I think that sums me up, right? After all, I'm not on any track to get proposed to and the ring doesn't scream "engagement ring."
My friend, Whitney, and I have started our own holiday tradition of spending an afternoon or evening each year strolling the holiday windows on upper 5th Avenue. (This year's viewing was only slightly impeded by the barricades out of Trump Tower.)
My favorite window of this year's displays was at Bergdorf Goodman, where this Roberto Cavalli clad mannequin was posed upon a giant rabbit and surrounded by oversize cactus plants. That multi-colored fur jacket!
One of the cool new things about my job is all the rich history that Gap Brands & Gap Inc. has. I got the opportunity to visit the Brands' Archives in the basement of our HQ.
One of the Archivists was showing us Sharon Stone's infamous turtleneck, Stella McCartney for Gap Kids' Bandleader Jacket, Missy Elliott's spray painted t-shirt and even Richard Simmons' bedazzled Old Navy tank top; but the highlight for me was this vintage Gap sweater. Why? You ask, because it was worn by none other than Lin-Manuel Miranda in the October 2016 Issue of GQ Magazine. Will this be the closest I ever get to LMM? Only time will tell...BroadwayCon was a close second...
As of late, I've been really impressed with the designs at Coach. I got my first Coach bag at my high school graduation from one of my Dad's business partners and I didn't know the importance of that saddlebag at the time.
Now, as they partner with Colette for their "Rexy" dinosaur collection, I was just browsing around when I saw these boots. Super soft leather and suede patches, Chelsea-style pull-on and actually comfortable; I knew that they had to be mine.
The salesgirl was very friendly, and offered to let me know when the Oxfords in a similar style went on sale. I can't wait to break these puppies in!
It's easy to say that you might be scared in these days, post-election. How can we find our fellow Americans who will keep up safe? Someone started a small movement with safety pins as a statement, so I added one to my coat today.
Will you join me?
A little piece of flair for my jacket for Election Day! You can feel the excitement/anxiousness in the air...could we have our first female President of the United States?
Since it was also my second to last day at work, I had to pair with a little bit dressed down look: a camouflage HAMILTON/NYC t-shirt, my Madewell jean jacket and topped off with my new Monsieur Coat.
I didn't want to wake up too early for the Kenzo x H&M launch, but decided to swing into the store next to work before heading in for the day. Even a few hours after the launch, there wasn't a line and there was quite a bit of product left.
I'd already scoped out the collection online, so I knew the few pieces, if any, that I wanted to pick up. The crossbody bags were a little different in fabric/hand than I wanted, so I just went this this crazy, awesome sweater!
Of course, when I arrived at work, everyone wanted to know what I had purchased. I got a few "that's ugly" responses, but overall, mostly everyone agreed that it looked like something I would wear. It will need a special occasion for it's debut, for sure!
I'm not one for bag charms, but I couldn't resist this little sherpa llama bag tag! I named him Lorenzo (Lorenzo Llama, get it?) and only a few of the sales associates got the joke.
I hope he'll keep my Transport Tote company for awhile.
Although, not quite "fashion" per se, the carpet at the Portland International Airport gets it's fair share of attention. I didn't have much time to wander around the airport, but I had to take the obligatory photo of my Converse & the carpet pattern.
I admit, I was SUPER late to the Gilmore Girls game. I only just watched all 7 seasons this last year, once they were available on Netflix. I became easily obsessed, which worked out well for the new revival/reunion episodes that are premiering next month.
I wanted a way to show my fandom, without being too obvious, and this Luke's Diner keytag seemed like the perfect way. Since my house keys already had other buddies, it only made sense to put them on my work keychain.
A little welcome to the new Meatpacking Madewell store! As part of the Grand Opening, b.kaspr was in store, hand-painting leather goods.
I didn't need a new Transport Tote, so I opted for a small leather zip pouch with my last name on it. This little guy became a social media star on his own, showing up on b.kaspr's Instagram Story & page. My friend also found it, when she was shopping, sitting on the table to dry.
Last year, I missed out on the Instagram sensation, 29Rooms by Refinery29 and was suffering from a major case of FOMO. This year, the rooms moved to a bigger space and it was only about a 10 minute walk from my apartment in Bushwick.
So, I grabbed a giant iced tea and prepared to wait outside in the sweltering sun until they opened at noon. I got there shortly after 10:30am and was only about 25 people back. My friend, Ashley, came to meet me and shortly after noon, we got to go in and explore the space.
Of course, one of the first stops for me HAD to be the RuPaul Wig Room. There were various fun shapes and colors, but this yellow wig underneath his signature saying, "You Better Work" was calling my name.
After my first-ever Mets baseball game, Emily & I walked through Flushing Meadows/Corona Park to see The Unisphere. Of course, I had to sport my blue & orange zebra striped Marc by Marc Jacobs dress! What better event than a Mets game!?
Also, it didn't hurt that it was nice outside and that Laurie Hernandez (from the Final Five 2016 Women's Olympic Gymnastics Team) was throwing out the 1st pitch. I mean, it's like they knew I was coming!
On my co-worker, Jordan's last day, we had to take a photo with our matching Nebraska pins! We weren't quite as matching as I have been other times at work, but how often do you find another Nebraskan in the city, let alone the same work place?
Funny story: we "met" when Jordan called to schedule her interview and I took down her number, which still had the 402 Nebraska area code. I might have scared her, when I said that I was also from Nebraska, but it made for a nice bond.
GO BIG RED!
A little belated birthday gift from my friend and boss, Melissa! This Britney Spears pin is everything! In fact, it gets lots of compliments. You can't be classic Brit-Brit!
Hit me, baby, one more time!
I don't remember how many years ago it was when I first watched the documentary film, Unzipped, about Isaac Mizrahi and what it was like to bring a fashion collection to life. I've been a casual fan of his for years, but my Mom is pretty obsessed with him, seeing that he's a regular on QVC and all. So, when she kept pushing me to go and see his fashion retrospective at The Jewish Museum in the city, I finally decided to go.
The exhibit, Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History, featured the collection from the movie and so much more. Galleries were filled with videos, clippings, original sketches & swatches and accessories.
This was one of my favorite pieces from the exhibit and the movie and the colors reminded me a little of Sulley from Monsters, Inc.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I hardly ever wear skirts or dresses. This summer has been the exception; it's been so hot outside and in the subways that I've had to resort to buying some skirts and dresses.
So, it was equally amusing that I showed up to work and was in almost the exact same outfit at my Store Director, Melissa. I guess great minds DO think alike! Our layers were slightly different, but the theme was still the same!
Was it a coincidence that my friends and I ended up in red, white and blue shoes on the 4th of July weekend? We didn't plan it, but it was a great fashion choice!
Enjoying the long 4th of July weekend at Brighton Beach with some friends! I decided to break out my Hamilton snapback for fashion and for sun protection.
It was a perfect beach day, until my sunscreen failed me. Two sunburnt legs later, I was painfully trying to sit down and make it back home...