Sunday, July 29, 2012

Garden update

Today, I staked out the tomatoes (cages were falling over) and picked the first of the green beans.

 Banana peppers


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Home improvements

Last weekend, Mom helped me paint the entryway.  Here are the before and after shots

I am so excited to have this project done - and to have broken my streak of picking paints that I end up disliking once they're on the walls ;)  I got the paint from Ace Hardware and it is Charles Bridge Paint/Primer from Clark + Kensington.  Next up, curtain, fixed curtain rod, new light fixture, and something (?) for the walls.

Also - the first lamp I've ever rewired - now complete with lampshade!

More Garden

These pictures are from this morning.  All of my replanted seeds have started to come up, and I thinned them today.  The tomatoes plants are getting huge and the green bean plants are going a little crazy, too.

My first harvest of the year!

Roma tomatoes

Green pepper

Cayenne peppers

Overall shot (and me!)


These garden pics are from July 15th - at that point, most of the things I'd planted from seeds had died (except for the green beans) and had to be replanted.  The cucumber/zucchini and the three sprouts I'd started inside from seeds had also died and I'd replaced that whole square with wildflower seeds.

Green beans and herbs

Close-up green beans

Cherry tomato


More NYC pics


Museum of Natural History

Walking to The Strand

Central Park


In June, I got to go to NYC for work (to set-up and man the booth at the Bar and Restaurant Show).  I flew out on Sunday, June 24th, successfully got a cab from the airport to The Gem Hotel (was a little nervous about that), and spent about an hour trying to figure out how to get to the places I wanted to go, and then I was off! 

First stop was MoMa.  I walked through the sculpture garden and then had to stop at one of the museum restaurants for lunch (chickpea salad deliciousness).

Then I explored the whole musem and got to see so many cool things!


After MoMa, I went and drooled in the museum shop (but just bought a couple postcards) and then I walked up 5th Avenue to Central Park.  I found a spot to sit in the grass and just relaxed for a bit (but the traveling and hunger caught up with me, so I headed back to the metro and back to the Penn Station area to look for something to eat. I was starting to flake out a little when I saw a Greek Restaurant with a good health code rating and a bunch of people in it (figured those were the signs to look for) and had a gyro plate and took baklava to go (but no fork = messiness ;) ) 

On Monday morning, I woke up at 5:30ish and was too wound up to sleep. By 6:45, I was out the door in my workout clothes to go jogging around the Reservoir at Central Park (because it would be totally like living in a movie!!) even though it looked/felt like rain.  I got to the park and started my jog and it was AWESOME...and the rain coming in made the sky and views that much prettier.  It was also great to see all the joggers and runners and bikers and people there with their dogs - by far the prettiest place I've ever jogged.  I did get rained on, but the path was tree-lined and I (thankfully) didn't get soaked.  The trail was also almost the exact perfect length for my workout AND I got asked for directions (felt bad that I couldn't help but good that I seemed like maybe I belonged there).  Then I decided to take a different way back to the metro station and managed to get somewhat lost in the center of the park (but if you don't mind, are you really lost? ;) ).  I saw parts of the Ramble, the Bethesda Fountain (beautiful!), the Boathouse, saw the Obelisk, and in trying to get back to Central Park West found myself on 5th Avenue (oops).  I decided to try again, saw more of the park, looked at maps more often, and found my way back to the other side of the park.  It was POURING down rain when I got out of the metro near my hotel but I had a folded newspaper to help keep my glasses dry and just let the rest go to heck (needed a shower once I got to the hotel anyway).

I was running a little later than I planned, so I had leftover baklava for breakfast, got ready and headed back out the door to go to the Natural History Museum.  This is how it looks right when they open in the morning.

I knew I probably wouldn't have time to see it all, so I started on the top floor with the dinos and worked my way back down.

I only had about two hours before I had to eat lunch and get to the conference to set up, so I missed a chunk of the second floor, all of the first floor, and I didn't read any of the display information (pretty much anywhere).  Ended up being less of a "learning trip" and more of the "look at as many cool things as quickly as possible" trip ;)

For lunch, I went to the Shake Shack (Brenna's awesome recommendation and right around the corner from the museum) and got a Shack-cago Dog and a chocolate shake (both awesome).

Then it was back to the hotel and to the Javits Center to set up our booth.  The booth wasn't hard to get set-up, and I was mainly just waiting around waiting for our rented TV screen to show up (ended up that it was going to be 2+ hours after set-up time was supposed to end. Luckily I could just leave them directions for where to put it and leave).

When I was thinking about what I wanted to do in NYC, I kept think I'd have to choose between things, but in the end, I just went out and DID most of the things on my list.  

So Monday evening, I headed to S'Mac for dinner  (Jason's awesome recommendation), which turns out was in walking distance to The Strand, and then the metro ride back from there put me at Times Square  (awesome!).  Not having a smart phone, I had directions to/from all of these places written on a piece of paper in my purse (and a map). 

So it was POURING when I got out at the Metro stop near S'Mac (had my raincoat though) and it poured for maybe 5 minutes and then stopped.  I found S'Mac and went in and ordered, waited and took my food.  Two steps out the door, I realize that I've missed the restaurant entirely and just gotten food at their to-go area (oops!) but I figured I could find a place to eat it so I kept walking toward The Strand.  Everything was beautiful, just having been rained on, and I was itching to take some pictures, but I had my hands full with the mac'n'cheese (so no pictures).  I did get sidetracked by The Cure Thrift Shop and found an adorable juice glass and a Banana Republic sweater vest that had to be mine (I also seriously considered snacking on my dinner in the dressing room - it smelled SO good - but I thought that would really make people wonder).

I kept walking until I got to The Strand, but I didn't see anywhere good to sit and eat, so I resisted the books and went on to Union Square Park.  I found a spot on the steps and dug in. 

Mmm...their Mediterranean mac'n'cheese was delicious - and I totally killed it.

Then I headed back to The Strand.

I couldn't resist the bargain book racks outside and ended up buying "The Taliban Cricket Club" for a dollar and some change.

The inside of the bookstore was awesome, too.  I loved the strand totebags, found a Neil Gaiman quotation that I really liked (turns out the had different quotations for every sign on each different table - I did not have the time or energy to give that the attention it deserved, but I did get this one - "Picking five favorite books is like picking the five body parts you'd most like not to lose" - Neil Gaiman), and coveted What to Cook and How to Cook It: Fresh and Easy by Jane Hornby.

 The metro ride back closer to my hotel dropped me off a couple blocks from Times Square, so I walked over to see it (at dusk!!) and took some pictures.

And then got this shot on the way back to my hotel (it was a one-of...popped off quickly while I was waiting to cross the street).

Tuesday morning I woke up sore ALL over (Monday was kind of a big day), so I mainly just got ready for the conference, stopped at a coffeeshop on the way over for breakfast, and made sure that the tv and everything was working for the show.

It was an interesting exhibit hall - there were actually models giving out free liquor at a LOT of the other booths (turns out handouts about online responsible serving training are not quite as popular...but I did my best ;) ).  I was across the aisle from the New York Times booth, and those guys were a lot of fun (and also didn't have free alcohol to handout).  Tuesday evening, my boss arrived and we got Thai for dinner (and Magic Hat #9!!!) and finished up the Prezi presentation afterward.

On Wednesday morning, I went back to Central Park with my camera (not jogging this time).  I saw the castle, the Alice in Wonderland statue (with no one else around - had been MUCH busier the last time I'd been there), and so many dogs out walking and playing (loved that).

Wednesday afternoon was back to the conference with my boss. Afterward we walked up to Times Square and had dinner at Heartland Brewery, where I got seared rare tuna and Summertime Apricot Ale.

Thursday morning was my last one in the city.  I wanted to give myself plenty of time to get to/through the airport (turned out to be a breeze) and I also didn't get up very early, so there wasn't much adventuring (in my search for a breakfast spot, I did walk by one of the doors into B&H Photo Video).

The flight home was uneventful, except for almost missing my flight from Dallas to Sioux Falls (was a looong layover and entirely my own fault - oops ;) ).