Weekend roadtrip out of New York City

I have been too busy to breathe—I feel like I spend every second working that I’m barely getting a chance to hang out with Matthew these days and I’m barely getting to spend time with my new roommates, which isn’t good. So this past weekend, to try and rectify this time crunch, my roommate (Jeanie) and I planned a mini vacation getaway with Matthew and Bram (her bf) to Jeanie’s parent’s beach house in Southampton. We had so much fun—I think it was what we all needed: to spend some quality relaxation time away from the hot (and a bit rainy lately) city and to lounge around in a gorgeous house by a gorgeous beach and get to know each other a little better.

But we weren’t TOTALLY lazy. On the way out to the beach we stopped at Boomers where we made a bit of a scene on the go-kart tracks (we were asked to remember how old some of the children were around us…) and we played some mini golf. Friday night and Saturday we drank a lot of wine and grilled some burgers and really were totally lazy. and Sunday on the way home we stopped at another cheesy family park, Splish Splash, where we caused another raucous, which was worth every second of the lifeguard yelling at us. I know I sound like I’m 15 again… I’ll act more like a lady next time, mom, I promise….

Now I’m back in New York City and got back just in time to run to Central Park where my amazing friend Amy had secured us both tickets to see the last show of Hamlet in Shakespeare in the Park and it was with Lauren Ambrose (Clare of 6 Feet Under fame) so if you know me….you know I was happy. -)

And now…back to work. blah.
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Home Sweet Home – back in Phoenix, Arizona, and happy!

I had such an amazing trip, but it is good to be home. I was away for a month—do you believe it?! It flew by so quickly.

Last I left you, I was in Portland, Oregon, museum and park hopping, meeting interesting people, and relaxing. You know, when I used to travel, I’d always come back home a few pounds heavier; but this time, I’m proud to say, that I’ve actually lost a few pounds. For once food wasn’t my focus, but movement and activity. I must’ve walked from one end of Portland to the other, several times! I even went ice skating (at the Lloyd Center Mall) – something I hadn’t done in years! The Oregon Zoo was another blast from my past—when’s the last time I was at a zoo? I can’t even remember!

But it wasn’t all bustle and activity—staying at the Avalon Hotel & Spa, I ended up getting my second, third, and fourth massages of my life. Oh, dear—I really indulged, didn’t I?

But the highlight of it all was Smith Rock State Park, as I knew it would be. Robert was an amazing guide and showed me all there is to see. He’s a rock climber, as are many of the Smith Rock locals, and while he knew there was no way anyone was going to tie me to the side of a mountain, he showed me where some climbers were rappelling and it was quite a sight! The things people can do with (or TO!) their bodies is sometimes breathtaking.

And now I’m back home, and it’s like I’m seeing Phoenix for the first time. It’s not like I went off to see these beautiful things, great cities and the great outdoors, from a place where that doesn’t exist. On the contrary—I’ve got those things so close to my very own home, and rarely even notice them. Well not anymore…Phoenix, Arizona, here I come!
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Romantic New York City, take THREE

Here’s the thing about romance—it doesn’t really matter what you do. It matters who you do it with; and so, really, anything can be romantic if you’re with the right person. That being said, I suppose there are things which, with the right person, are more or less romantic. And I suppose there are things that EVEN if you’re with the wrong person, you can see how it’s possible that it COULD be romantic. (Jesus, there I go again.)

Meanwhile, I’ve FINALLY moved into my apartment in Spanish Harlem which is pretty sweet (I mean, considering the fact that my room is the size of an ice box and it’s got fake walls) and I started my temp stint as a paralegal. They’ve been working me pretty hard, (like sometimes til midnight—is that allowed?), but I’ve still found time to explore the great New York, New York.

More romantic ideas:

6. Orchard Beach, in Bronx, NY, is the only beach in the Bronx, located on the Long Island Sound, comes complete with volleyball courts, a boardwalk, and a band shell. Just so happens that the NY Times just came out with an article about Orchard Beach memories—Orchard Beach Journal; Slice of the Riviera, With a Familiar Bronx Twist.
7. Orient Beach State Park, in Orient, NY, is on Gardiner’s Bay where you can go swimming, fishing and kayaking. Nearby there’s hiking and biking along forest trails. It’s a few hours from New York City, but makes for a fantastic day trip.
8. American Museum of Natural History, in New York, NY, is one of my most favorite places on Earth. I love all the animal exhibits. Right now they have an exhibit on horses which is just breathtaking.
9. Hayden Planetarium – while you’re at the American Museum of Natural History, make sure you experience some romance under the stars at the Hayden Planetarium. I think this is one of those things where even if you’re not with the right person, you can sense the romance in the air. Beautiful shows.

Ok, gotta get some sleep. I hope you get a chance to experience romantic New York City!
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Solo roadtrip: So far so good!

I find so much comfort in my daily routine, waking up in my home, going to the office, and returning home, that I was worried about changing that routine for the duration of a 3 week roadtrip. But something tells me I’ve got nothing to worry about. So far I’m adjusting quite well to life on the road. Of course, it’s only been a few days. My drive up to Las Vegas was phenomenal. I made a spontaneous decision on the way up to stop at Lake Mead National Recreational Area (home of the famous Hoover Dam), and while I had already gone out of my way, I decided to drive through Valley of Fire State Park, which had come highly recommended. And WOW, it was all worth it—what a beautiful state I’m in! The blue of the sky against the red rocks and the tan dunes—apparently Red Rock Canyon is more spectacular in terms of the color contrasts, so I’ll be seeing that tomorrow on my way out of here (I know I’m doing this area a little out of order…). I actually got to the Hoover Dam just in time for a tour that was leaving from the Visitors Center and we had a lovely tour guide who said she enjoyed all my questions! And then I joined another family who was renting a boat out on Lake Mead – Lake Mead is the largest man-made lake in the U.S.; it’s twice the size of Rhode Island!

So how did I have time to do all of this BEFORE I even got to Las Vegas? I woke up at 4 a.m.! I just couldn’t sleep. (You’ll understand when you’re older.)

The Venetian is a beautiful hotel, and I got there hot and exhausted and my room and the view were welcome sites. I’ve never been to Venice, so I suppose this is the next best thing, right? Cirque de Soleil was good, though, to be honest, not really my style. The music was a bit loud and while it is neat to see the amazing things that the human body can do (and the guts that people have!), I think the ballet is more beautiful and shows off just as much physical splendor. Also, there were 2 young girls in the row behind me who were screaming and cheering every 5 minutes and they gave me a headache.

Yesterday I walked around a lot – actually I just realized that my massage starts in 15 minutes. I’ll continue later… My first professional massage – wish me luck!


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Verdict is up: NJ is NOT the armpit of America!

I’ve been traveling all over lately that if finally just feels good to stay at home for a bit. My paralegal job is in the city and I’ll be sharing an apartment (if you can even call it that!) in the city, so I guess I should try and appreciate my parents’ large sprawling home while I’ve still got it.

People call New Jersey the “armpit of the U.S.” but somehow, how do I put this…I guess when it’s your own armpit, it’s really not that bad. In fact, I’d say NJ is the forearm of America, or wrist even. Whatever, drop the analogy—my point is the NJ is not so bad!

Anyways, I’m going on the road again, but this time, on the road to the malls of New Jersey! Woohoo! I need to buy a TON of stuff to furnish my half of our apartment so I’m trading cars with my mom and taking her mini van all over the state to get the best deals. Not to brag or anything, but I happen to be a fantastic shopper… just one of my many talents! 

I already went to Monmouth Mall since it’s the one right by my house. I sometimes just stop there to pick up lunch because they’ve got a Salad Works and I’m trying to lose a little weight so I can move to NYC thin (is that pathetic?). Anyways, to encourage myself I bought something at Jessica McClintock that pulls just the tiniest bit too much (is that dumb?).

Tonight I’m going over to Freehold Raceway Mall with some friends, mainly to check out the collection at Kirkland’s Home Furnishings, but I’m sure we’ll also pop into Forever 21 and Dead Sea Cosmetics…hello?…i’m moving to NYC, I gotta look good!

Tomorrow my mom and I and said friend (hi Carly!) are all are going to go to Ocean County Mall in Toms River. We figured we’d make a day of it and drive down to Point Pleasant Beach and then stop at the mall on our way back. We’re going to go canoeing on the Manasquan River and eat cheese fries (not good for diet)—I’ll make up for by getting a salad for lunch…Ocean County Mall has an Everything Yogurt & Salad Café.

I guess it’s not such an extensive tour, but 3 malls are probably adequate since I don’t actually need so much (though I like to pretend that I do).

Wish me good weather tomorrow!