Category Archives: Events and Outings

Tri-Mania Expo and NYC Half

As I mentioned yesterday, my friend Laura and her roommate Katie visited New York City this weekend for the Tri-Mania Expo.

tri-mania-nyc

Remember back during the Hurricane Sandy era when I ran with New York Runners in Support of Staten Island?  Dr. Jordan Metzel who organized the initiative spearheaded yesterday’s event, so I knew it would be legitimate and worthwhile.  Anyway, after completing a morning swim with some of my Full Throttle Endurance teammates, I went uptown to Columbia University for a day of trigeeking out.

tri-mania-nyc-seminars

The seminars fell into four general themes:  Optimizing Your Life in the Water; Optimizing Your Life on Land: Maximizing Your Run Performance; Triathlon Topics: Some Nuts and Bolts; and Hot Topics in the World of Triathlon.  After each the final presentation in each category, the experts participated in a panel discussion and answered audience questions.  The agenda also included a coaches roundtable and interviews with some reputable and high-profile individuals (most notably Amby Burfoot, winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon and Editor-at-Large of Runner’s World), plus a keynote presentation from Dave Scott, a six-time Ironman World Champion.

I arrived a little late from the pool, so I missed the first speaker.  My favorite presentation of the day was probably from Dr. Paul Weiss who addressed how to master open-water swimming anxiety.  He had me laughing out loud!

tri-mania-nyc-open-water-swimming

He also relayed some helpful tips like doing the catch-up drill to prevent being kicked in the head while in the open water.

Between sessions, we explored the vendor area (no pictures, my bad!) and trigeeked out big time.

tri-mania-nyc-triathlete-magazine

Can’t beat being on the cover of Triathlete magazine!

Other random tidbits of information I found interesting:

-During an Ironman (2.4-mi. swim, 112-mi. bike, 26.2-mi. run), triathletes burn 8,000-11,000 calories.

-Although it’s important to be flexible (especially in terms of riding in aero), it’s more crucial to be strong, aka triathletes need to strength train on a regular basis.

-Triathletes should train to run, not run to train.

-When riding in the saddle, the engine must be in the right place to maximize power and efficiency, aka triathletes need to get a professional bike fit.

During his keynote speech, Dave Scott talked about defining success.

tri-mania-nyc-dave-scott

His point about enjoying and relishing in the journey of training really resonated with me.  According to Scott, triathletes spend 95 percent of their time training and five percent racing.  We train to compete, and in order to swim, bike, and run at the level we desire (keep in mind triathlon draws perfectionists/type-A people), we log a lot of time to prepare our races.  If you don’t love it—truly love it—those laps in the pool, hours on the trainer, and minutes on the ‘mill will seem absolutely miserable.

I obviously love racing, and since moving to New York City, I’ve really fallen in love with the triathlon lifestyle.  Most mornings, I wake up before my alarm (that’s set for a time most would consider ungodly early) because I’m so excited to swim, bike, or run.  I’m also lucky enough to train with teammates who feel the same way:  we embrace our early bedtimes, and most of look forward to hitting the hay because we’ve been awake since 4:30 a.m. we’re so pumped to get after it the next day. (So guilty, so not sorry.) And above all, we support each other because we get it.

nyc-half-full-throttle-endurance

Even though we have different strengths, weaknesses, and race schedules, we’re friends, teammates, and each other’s biggest fans—so spectating the NYC Half on Sunday was a no-brainer.  Two of my teammates raced (one of whom PR’ed!), and three of us decided to cheer them on.  Hey, if you can’t run as fast as they can, then you can at least watch, right?

The race began at 7:30 a.m. with one loop through Central Park before the course headed south along the West Side Highway and finished at South Street Seaport.  Kudos to everyone who ran—the temperature hovered around 30 degrees!

nyc-half

My teammates and I planned to see the start and then make our way downtown and stop at several mile markers so we could see our runners multiple times.  That didn’t exactly happen, though.  We grabbed breakfast and plenty of coffee at Whole Foods, and by the time we arrived at the mile 12-13.1-area, one of our teammates had finished.  Fail. (On the bright side, we’ll have a chance to redeem ourselves as spectators at the Brooklyn Half!) At that point, we hung out at the finish and waited for the others to come in.

And I just realized how sappy part of this post sounds–whoops!  Hopefully some of you understand what I mean.  And if not, then please don’t make fun of me–ha!

Have you attended a sport-related seminar or expo?  What did you think?  Do you prefer racing or spectating?

Syracuse Basketball at Madison Square Garden

As I’ve alluded to on the blog, I’m obsessed with collegiate basketball and basically live for March Madness.  I played quite a bit back in the day—from third grade through sophomore year of college, so 12 years—but what else was I supposed to do growing up in Central New York?  Well, I could’ve taken up cross-country skiing because it snows basically six months out of the year, but I digress.

high-school-basketball

Friday flashback–why not?

Even though I retired about three years ago (no regrets!), I still love watching the game, especially when my boys at Syracuse University take the court.  I’ve been bleeding Orange for as long as I can remember, and my devotion to the team truly solidified when my immediate family lived with my grandparents during our house renovation project.  As a seventh grader, I would watch each game with my grandparents:  my grandma would braid my hair, and my grandpa would yell at Craig Forth.  Good times!

craig-forth-syracuse

[source]

I got his autograph at Chili’s!

Over the years, I’ve attended lots of Orange games, including a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sit courtside in the Carrier Dome.

subballcourtside

Courtside seats granted us access to the hospitality suite, aka unlimited sangria.  Oh, and Chris Joseph talked to me.  I almost died.

So really, it should come as no surprise that when I faced the choice of cleaning, doing laundry, and working on a freelance assignment or going to the Syracuse game at Madison Square Garden (MSG), I chose the latter.

big-east-basketball-tournament-ticket

You need to take what the defense gives you, right? (One-hundred percent intended basketball pun.)

My uncle Jim and a few of his friends came to New York City for the Big East Tournament, and we went out to dinner Wednesday night after Syracuse put away Seton Hall. (Hey, an outing I didn’t blog about—shocker!) Anyway, the group had an extra ticket to Thursday’s showdown against Pittsburgh, so when uncle Jim offered me the seat, I took him up on the offer.  Obviously, I will never say no to watching a Syracuse game, and plus, I’d never been to the Garden.  This series would also be the last time SU plays in the Big East Tournament. (The team moves to the ACC conference next year, and since this isn’t a basketball blog, I’ll refrain from sharing my two cents.)

Anyway, I spent the bulk of the day spectating games—first Cincinnati-Georgetown, then Syracuse-Pittsburgh—and “broing out.”

syracuse-pittsburgh-basketball-big-east-tournament

Hanging out with the boys and analyzing the game is good for the soul!  My friends in real life can attest to the fact that my inner jock comes out when I watch games, and I’ve been known to yell at the TV and get into heated debates with fellow spectators. (That’s why scheduling my indoor trainer bike rides has worked so well–it keeps me under control and takes the edge off my anxiousness!)  I also tend to ignore everything that isn’t game-related, so if Syracuse is playing, then I won’t respond to your question, tweet, etc.

It was so cool watching the game at MSG!  Situated at center court, our seats gave us great views (not that there’s a bad seat in the Garden), and the crowd’s energy was contagious.

big-east-tournament-madison-square-garden

I like to think the Orange needed our support because they almost threw away the game, but ultimately won 62-59.  The team faces Georgetown tonight, and even though I won’t be at the game, you’ll probably be able to hear me cheering—ha!

Are you a sports fan?  What’s your favorite sport to watch?  Do you enjoy “broing out”?

Snapshot Friday and Saturday

Every time my family visits, I tell myself I’ll be a good blogger, take tons of pictures, and write a really detailed recap about our adventures.  And every time I fail miserably—ha!  This weekend, though, I managed to snap a few pics, so I’ll share those with you.

Friday

After rocking my wetsuit at Friday’s swim practice, I spent the day hanging out with my sister Margaret.  First, we ate lunch at Terri, an organic and vegetarian restaurant.

terri-nyc-menu

I ordered the “tuna” melt (aka chickpea salad) with a side of roasted sweet potatoes.

terri-nyc

It tasted great and kept me full during our entire shopping trip, which included stops at Zara and Kate Spade.

Margaret trying on shoes—YOLO.

zara-yolo

I took a class in college with Michele called “He Says, She Says,” so I found this iPhone cover oh so rhetorical.

kate-spade-he-said-she-said

Even though it was blizzarding in NYC, Margaret and I ordered our first iced coffees Americanos of the season.

iced-coffee

Spring better be on the way!

My parents and sister Ellen arrived later that night and brought some goodies from my grandma—homemade sauce and meatballs for the win!

homemade-sauce-meatballs

I cannot wait to break into this stash.

Saturday

My weekend started with a Full Throttle Endurance swimming practice at Chelsea Piers and brunch at my teammate’s apartment. (Er, triathlete brunch, I guess; we ate around 9:30 a.m.—ha!) I didn’t want to be a creeper and whip out my iPhone, but the spread was impressive:  waffles and whipped cream made from scratch, asparagus and goat cheese frittata, plus bacon, Italian biscotti, and sparkling apple cider.  Holy moley, everything was so good!  I also enjoyed hanging out with my teammates outside of swimming, biking, and running.  Yes, we talked triathlons the entire time, but it was great to focus on the conversation without keeping an eye on the clock to time our rest and intervals.

Back at my apartment, my family and I watched the first half of the Syracuse basketball game (I don’t want to talk about the final result) before heading uptown to see Jersey Boys.

jersey-boys-broadway-nyc

Absolutely incredible!

jersey-boys-broadway-nyc-playbill

And get this—one of the “swing” cast members played Frankie Valli, and he totally killed it!  He even had his own friends and family cheering section.

Speaking of family …

jersey-boys-broadway-nyc-family

Doing what we do best—goofing off!

Next, we wandered around Chelsea Market briefly, but it was a bit difficult navigation-wise with all five of us, so we didn’t stay very long.  I was also experiencing some stomach troubles and was so not in the mood to take pictures.

For dinner, we went to a Raymi, a Peruvian restaurant for dinner, and it was phenomenal!  Again, not pictures due to being girl-down, but we plan to go back.

How was your weekend?

A Trip to Finish Line Physical Therapy

Thursday afternoon, I had the opportunity to visit Finish Line Physical Therapy to run on their AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill and get a peak performance analysis.  Both Jess and Abby absolutely rave about these guys, so I was pumped!

finish-line-physical-therapy-sign

When I first walked in, my reaction was Whoa—this place is huge!  Oooo, look at all those tri bikes!  I didn’t take any pictures, but here’s a snapshot from their website:

finish-line-pt

[source]

This is only about half of the facility, and the treadmill in the back by the TV is the AlterG Anti-Gravity, which I tested out at the beginning of my appointment.  First, Tim had me put on neoprene shorts that effectively zipped me into the ‘mill’s airtight chamber.

finish-line-pt-alterg-treadmill

[source]

Not me, obviously, but this is what the setup looked like.

Like standard treadmills, this state-of-the-art one had buttons to adjust incline and speed, but what sets the AlterG apart is its “differential air pressure technology” that “generate[s] a powerful lifting force.”  This basically means it provides “unweighting” in 1-percent increments from 20 percent of your body weight up to 100 percent (or full weight).

I took it slow, warming up for 10 minutes at 75 percent of my body weight, and I couldn’t believe how the AlterG essentially lifted me up and relieved my lower body of pressure.  Even though I warmed up at my standard ‘mill pace, I felt like I didn’t have to work at all.  Case in point:  When running on a normal dreadmill, I usually become a sweaty mess after five minutes (I sweat very easily), but I didn’t start to perspire until the 17-minute mark on the AlterG.  Anyway, after getting used to running on air, I had some fun and played around with the settings.  It was absolutely crazy when I set the body weight percentage at 65 and increased my pace to 6:30/miles. (I know this pace is normal for some runners, but normally, I can probably sustain this for one mile and change—maybe.  And not off the bike.) Suspended in the antigravity chamber, the pace felt manageable, and I thought to myself, I could BQ on this thing!  Yes, the thought actually crossed my mind, which is hilarious on so many levels.

While running, I also talked to Tim a bit about the AlterG, and he said athletes who are just coming back from injury or rehabbing from surgery use it, as do people who need a low-impact workout.  Friends, you know how much I despise the dreadmill, but I would actually welcome the opportunity to run on the AlterG regularly.  I also wonder how running on this anti-gravity ‘mill compares to aqua jogging …

After running for 30 minutes—and rejoining the earth at 100 percent body weight—I had a peak performance analysis with Alison.

finish-line-physical-therapy-peak-performance-analysis

First, we briefly talked about my athletic background and current training, and then I ran on a seemingly normal treadmill for two minutes at a comfortable pace.  What I didn’t realize, though, were cameras rolling from all angles and devices measuring my stride length, airtime, etc.  Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from this part of the appointment.  As I’m learning from training with Full Throttle Endurance, I know my stride needs work, so I wasn’t sure what running quirks would surface.

But plenty of things made themselves known.

For starters, I basically don’t swing my right arm when I run, so making that single adjustment will help increase my cadence.  Alison also pointed out that I’m a heel striker, and the data she collected revealed that I spend more time in the air on my right leg (as opposed to my left), and I take longer strides with my left leg. (And my stride length is generally longer than it should be, so here’s to embracing “shorter, shorter, quicker, quicker.”) She also noticed my hips are very tight—aka I don’t engage my glutes, which can probably be attributed to not stretching after biking.  My bad.

Alison’s most important observation?  She pointblank asked me if I have tight calves.  Uh, YES.  If you’ve been reading a while, then you know my calves absolutely killed me during longer races this summer, and they’re always the first part of my lower body to feel distressed when I run off the bike (like during Wednesday’s brick).  And backtracking a bit, during the pre-Fitness and Frozen Grapes days, my calves gave me so much trouble during college basketball.  I constantly had to stretch them out during drills, and our team trainer would wrap them for games, practices, and lifting sessions; everyone thought I suffered from perpetual shin splints.  However, based on this analysis, Alison concluded that I lift my heels too early when running.  This prognosis, taken into consideration with the whole heel-striker thing, makes so much sense.  I guess I always thought my calves were weak and would eventually get used to running off the bike/longer distances, but now that I actually know the source of the problem, I can fix it.  Friends, this is so exciting!

Finally, after reviewing the data, Alison showed me some stretches that will help open up my hip flexors and stretch my calves, both of which I did after yesterday’s indoor bike trainer ride.  And you better believe I’ll do regularly.  Thankfully, I’ve been very lucky in terms of injuries—aside from my meniscus and ACL surgery in high school—so now, it’s all about prevention.  Although I’m relatively young, I know making these changes and doing these exercises can help prevent future injuries and prolong my triathloning career, so 10, 20, 30 years down the road, I don’t have any serious problems.  Thanks again, Finish Line Physical Therapy, for an incredibly helpful appointment!

Full Disclosure:  Jess hosted a giveaway for a complimentary appointment at Finish Line Physical Therapy, which I entered.  She later announced that everyone who entered the giveaway won, so I was contacted by a member of the Finish Line Physical Therapy team.  I was not asked to write a blog post, but I figured you would enjoy reading about my experience. (And I was also super excited to learn about my calf issue!) As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Snapshot Saturday – The Best Day Ever

Hiya, friends—hope your Saturday is going great so far!  As you know, one of my best friends from college visited yesterday, and we had so much fun! (I used the Twitter hashtag #bestdayever quite frequently.) Here’s a quick look at how Melissa and I said TGIF.

While wandering around Grand Central and waiting for Melissa’s train, I walked into Pylones and immediately noticed these handbags.

pylones-grand-central

Yes, those are chocolate bar purses; yes, they smelled like chocolate.  And yes, I considered buying one.

Once Melissa arrived, we grabbed lunch at Guilty Goose, and then officially kicked off #TheBestDayEver with a trip to Crumbs.  Obviously.

crumbs-nyc

We struggled to select our desserts—not that you can pick a bad cupcake, know what I mean?—and we eventually bought three:  chocolate red velvet (in the back), starlight, and peanut butter cup.

crumbs-cupcakes

Look at these stars!

crumbs-starlight-cupcake

Talk about intricately detailed.  We left the cupcakes at my apartment and headed to The Strand, aka the best bookstore in the city.  After flipping through a Downton Abbey book, we poked through the gizmo and gadget areas, and I almost bought this for my grandma.

strand-bookstore-holy-toast

Ha!  Next, we made a quick pit stop at The City Bakery to try the best hot chocolate in New York City.

the-city-bakery-hot-chocolate

Friends, if you visit NYC, you must stop here.  Hands down, this was the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had—rich, creamy, and not too sweet. (It tasted like semi-sweet chocolate, not milk.)

the-city-bakery-hot-chocolate2

Melissa and I actually split a small (they poured the portion into two cups) and even opted for marshmallows.  Neither one of us love marshmallows, but this tower convinced us to go for it.

the-city-bakery-marshmallows

If there’s a marshmallow tower, then chances are the sweet fluff tastes incredible.  We decided to further fuel our chocolate highs, so we came back to my apartment, opened a bottle of red wine (more antioxidants!), ate one of the cupcakes, and watched a few episodes of Say Yes to the Dress.  Talk about perfection!  A few hours later, we went to Room Service to meet up with Melissa’s roommate (small world, right?) for drinks.

room-service-nyc

Some sangria was consumed before we went to Brgr for turkey burgers.  No picture because I inhaled it!

What’s your favorite kind of cupcake?  What’s your favorite way to spend a girls’ night?

Merry Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve, friends!

12:24-lights-on-the-lake

We went to Lights on the Lake last night, a two-mile long drive along Onondaga Lake Park that features a ton of (you guessed it) light displays like the Victorian Village, Land of Oz, and the Wide World of Sports.  We go every year, and it’s fun to see new additions.

In other news, we’re done baking Christmas cookies for now!  Can you believe we made five different types of treats?

12:24-christmas-cookies

Oh, and Margaret even baked a special Christmas Eve cake.  Hopefully Santa—and the family!—enjoys everything.

12:24-christmas-tree

I hope you have a great holiday filled with lots of family, friends, and laughs!

This Week in Photos – Christmastime in New York City

Hi, friends!  It feels like I haven’t talked to you in forever because of the one two three weekend recaps, plus a race report.  Like the weekend, this week has been packed with activities—finishing up some freelancing assignments, doing some last-minute gift shopping, and packing for my trip home.  Honestly, I didn’t take a ton of pictures this week, but I will share the ones I snapped and Instagrammed.  My alma mater has a weekly website feature called “This Week in Photos” (or TWIP for short), so I’m borrowing that concept for this post.

It’s wine o’clock somewhere.

glenora-finger-lakes-wine

This bottle of Finger Lakes wine was conveniently left behind from my family’s visit.  Oh, well; someone needs to drink it.  Time to get merry! (Kidding, sort of.)

At the end of one of this week’s runs on the Westside Highway, I saw this billboard.

bike-billboard

Kudos to the marketing department; they know their audience!

“Santa!  I know him!” (In Buddy the Elf’s voice.)

christmas-shopping-container-store

Finishing up some last-minute Christmas shopping at The Container Store, aka heaven on earth.

On Tuesday night, my alma mater held a holiday gathering, and before the event, I met up with some friends for drinks. (We needed some liquid courage to get our networking juices flowing.) Anyway, aren’t these lights gorgeous?

christmas-lights-midtown-nyc

It’s a blurry picture, but these Christmas lights took the shape of actual lights.

Remember my pre-season triathlon training plan that calls for one run per week in Central Park?  I finally made it there yesterday morning.

central-park-nyc

This was my first run in the park ever, and I will never forget it.  The crisp temperature and gorgeous scenery made tackling the hills more bearable. Kind of.

central-park-nyc2

Since I’m from Central New York, I’m no stranger to hills, but I haven’t ran them in … uh …three months?  It was a wakeup call for sure, especially because the run course of the New York City Triathlon goes through Central Park.  I definitely have my work cut out for me, but I’m ready!

Speaking of triathloning, I went to the Full Throttle Endurance holiday party last night.  No pictures to share, but I had a blast!  I was a little nervous because the only person I knew there was Andrew (so I essentially went to a 150-person party only knowing one person), but it was totally fine.  Triathletes are super friendly and welcoming by nature, so I knew making friends wouldn’t be a problem, and it was great to meet some future teammates.  It was funny, though, because I was the youngest person there by at least five years, so I got called a baby a few times!  Everyone seemed incredibly passionate about the sport and had nothing but great things to say about the coaches and team–is it Jan. 7 yet?

Happy Friday!  How are your Christmas preparations coming along?  Where will you be spending the holidays?

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

It’s the final weekend recap!

Where did I leave off?  Oh, right—my mom and I went to the Open House at Random House on Friday.  That evening, my dad and my sister Ellen came to the city, and on Saturday morning, Margaret joined us to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall.

radio-city-music-hall3

radio-city-music-hall

Even though there were multiple shows per day—four on weekdays and six on weekends—our 2 p.m. viewing was sold out; there were easily 15,000 other people packed inside.

radio-city-music-hall-interior

This was my first time going to Radio City Music Hall and seeing the Rockettes, so it was cool to play tourist for a few hours.

radio-city-music-hall-interior2

radio-city-music-hall-interior3

The show itself lasted nearly two hours and featured 14 scenes; there were a few “plot lines”—Santa, the Rockettes, and a young girl and her mother—which helped keep the production moving.

radio-city-christmas-spectacular-program3

radio-city-christmas-spectacular-program2

Photography wasn’t allowed during the performance, but here are a few pictures from the web:

rockettes

[source]

rockettes2

[source]

rockettes3

[source]

The show itself was good—definitely not something to see every year, though—but one of the most memorable parts of the event occurred after we left Radio City Music Hall.  Remember those 15,000 other people who attended?  Yeah, getting everyone out—while ushering another crowd inside—was absolute chaos.  I couldn’t even get a picture because my family and I linked arms so we wouldn’t get separated; it took us easily 10 minutes to walk three blocks.  We thought about going to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, but we knew it would be just as bad crowd-wise, so we passed.

Have you ever seen the Rockettes?  Do you prefer musicals (with singing and dancing) or plays (like The Heiress)?

Open House at Random House

Time for more weekend posts!

So after seeing The Heiress on Broadway Thursday night, my mom and I headed back to my apartment and went right to bed; we had a busy day ahead of us—the Open House at Random House.

open-house-at-random-house-banner

Originally scheduled for Nov. 2, the event was postponed due to Hurricane Sandy.  They say good things come to those to wait, and boy, did Random House have an exciting day planned for the 200-plus attendees.

9:15 a.m. – My mom arrived at Random House, got our nametags, and picked up our two complimentary books.

open-house-random-house

The day’s speakers included Marcus Samuelsson (Yes, Chef), Anna Quindlen (Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake), Lucy Danziger (Editor-in-Chief of SELF magazine and author of The Drop 10 Diet), and Kurt Anderson (True Believers), so each attendee got to select two of these titles.

open-house-random-house-books3

Does it surprise you I went for the food (Yes, Chef) and nutrition (The Drop 10 Diet) ones?

10-10:15 a.m. – The event kicked off with a short welcome from Random House Publicity Director Theresa Zoro.

random-house-open-house-theresa-zoro

[source]

How cool is this live Twitter feed on the left?

open-house-random-house-opening

So many attendees—including me—live-tweeted the conference.  These short, 140-character text bursts succinctly sum up what each speaker said, so I’ll share some of my favorites.

10:15-11 a.m. – The publishing team behind The Passage trilogy talked about what went into acquiring, editing, and publicizing Justin Cronin’s bestseller.

open-house-random-house-the-passage

[source]

Before their talk, they shared a video about the novel’s back-story.  Did you know Cronin conceptualized the idea with his daughter?  She wanted him to write a book about a girl who saves the world.  So cool!  Two noteworthy tweets:

random-house-open-house-tweets-the-passage

random-house-open-house-tweets-the-passage2

11-11:15 a.m. – Short break and Samuelsson book signing.

open-house-random-house-samuelsson-book-signing

11:15 a.m.-12 p.m. – Samuelsson, his editor Andy Ward, and Huffington Post Food Editor Carey Polis discussed the memoir-writing process.

yes-chef-tweets-random-house-open-house

random-house-open-house-tweets-yes-chef

random-house-open-house-tweets-yes-chef2

12-1 p.m. – Obviously, I was pumped for lunch, and it turned out to be a nice surprise.  There were four boxed choices available, and each was inspired by a Random House cookbook.

open-house-random-house-lunch2

I chose the Thanksgiving one, which included a turkey-cranberry sandwich, apple, quinoa, and a cookie.

open-house-random-house-lunch3

As we ate, a panel discussed the best books to give for the holidays.

1-1:15 p.m. – Quindlen book signing.

1:15-2 p.m. – Quindlen and her editor Kate Medina discussed their unique publishing relationship.  As a Writing and Rhetoric major, I love hearing about an author’s brainstorming, writing, and editing process.  Plus, since I was also a Writing Colleague—basically a peer editor who helped other students with their papers—I also enjoy hearing how other editors work.

anna-quindlen-tweets-open-house-random-house

random-house-open-house-tweets-anna-quindlenrandom-house-open-house-tweets-anna-quindlen2random-house-open-house-tweets-anna-quindlen3

2-2:45 p.m. – Although I enjoyed the Quindlen-Medina panel, Lucy Danziger’s discussion was my favorite of the day.

open-house-random-house-lucy-danziger4

Immediately, she reminded me of my triathloning cousin MB—animated, passionate, and super knowledgeable.  Oh, and Danziger is also a triathlete and a two-time Ironman.  No big deal.  I bet going for a ride or run with her would be so much fun!  She discussed “the social diet,” and how you can diet and exercise without sacrificing any of the fun stuff.

random-house-open-house-tweets-lucy-danziger random-house-open-house-tweets-lucy-danziger2 random-house-open-house-tweets-lucy-danziger3 random-house-open-house-tweets-lucy-danziger4 lucy-danziger-tweets-open-house-random-house

random-house-open-house-tweets-lucy-danziger4

I loved her concept of “happy calories,” which lets you incorporate splurges into your daily eats.  Hello, red wine and dark chocolate!

2:45-3 p.m. – Danziger book signing, aka me being totally starstuck.  Yeah, she has my dream job, does triathlons, and she’s just such a boss in general.

open-house-random-house-drop-10-diet2

3-3:45 p.m. – Anderson and New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg joined Slate.com editor Emily Bazelon to discuss current affairs.  Honestly, I was totally hyped up from Danziger’s talk, so I started reading The Drop 10 Diet.

3:45 p.m. – Anderson book signing and wine tasting.

open-house-random-house-wine-tasting

Don’t worry—there was white, too!

Jam-packed with ideas and inspiration, Open House at Random House was a great event; I hope to go again next year!

Have you ever been to a conference?

Seeing The Heiress on Broadway

Let the weekend recaps begin!

On Thursday, my mom came to the city—we were going to the Open House at Random House the next day—and we brainstormed what to do that night.  Seeing Anna Karenina was an option, but earlier that week, I had seen a TV segment highlighting The Heiress.

the-heiress-banner

Although the show sounded intriguing, it was Dan Stevens—aka heartthrob Cousin Matthew from Downton Abbey—who peaked my interest.

dan-stevens-downton-abbey

[source]

When I mentioned seeing the Broadway production to my mom, she told me she saved a newspaper clipping about the show; we were totally on the same page—like mother, like daughter—so getting tickets was a no-brainer.  Cousin Matthew, here I come!

the-heiress-broadway

Held in the Walter Kerr Theatre, the show featured well-known actors like Jessica Chastain (The Help), David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck), and Judith Ivey (two-time Tony Award winner).

the-heiress-broadway-walter-kerr-theatre

Did I mention gorgeous Dan Stevens?

the-heiress-broadway-dan-stevens

Set in the mid-19th century in Washington Square, the story centers on Catherine Sloper (Chastain), the shy and sheltered daughter of a prominent New Yorker (Strathairn).  Caught between the demands of her emotionally distant father and the attentions of a passionate young suitor (Stevens), Catherine must navigate the terrain of love and regret, desire and duty, a chance for happiness and the burden of fortune … “as only an heiress can.”

the-heiress-broadway-playbill

Photography was prohibited during the show, but here are a few pictures from the website.

the-heiress-broadway-dot-com

the-heiress-2-broadway-dot-com

the-heiress-dan-stevens

Overall, I really enjoyed it.  Beforehand, I read some reviews, and for the most part, critics were split.  A lot of them said people who’ve read the novel it’s based on would be disappointed (Washington Square by Henry James), as would folks who’ve watched the 1947 Broadway version (starring Wendy Hiller, Basil Rathbone, and Peter Cookson) and/or the 1949 film (featuring Olivia de Havilland, Ralph Richardson, and Montgomery Clift).  Since I’m unfamiliar with these versions, I had no comparison to make, so I liked it.  Both Strathairn and Ivey were phenomenal, and I also appreciated drooling over watching Stevens portray another character. (It’s possible my mom had to restrain me when he walked on stage for the first time; we sat in the third row, so we were super close!) It almost didn’t seem like him when he spoke in an American accent, which helped me keep noble Cousin Matthew and dodgy Morris Townsend separate.  However, as some of the critics articulated, Chastain fell short for me.  When you’re watching a movie, do you ever feel so embarrassed for a character that you literally can’t watch?  Like you close your eyes and look away?  I anticipated that level of awkwardness, so it was disappointing in a sense that I never felt embarrassed for her.  Good show overall, though!

Have you ever seen a big-scale play or musical?  If you could see any show on Broadway, which would you pick?