Category Archives: Family

Christmas 2012 in Pictures

Happy day-after Christmas, friends!  I hope you had fun with your family and loved ones!

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Santa gave this greyhound ornament to my sister, which was long overdue; it’s our first Zelda-related Christmas ornament.  I didn’t do too great on the picture front the past few days, but I will share some of my favorites.

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On Christmas Day, my sisters and I did our stockings first, and my parents opened a few presents, too.  Then, it was time for breakfast!  We made an egg bake with tomatoes, mushrooms, and red and green peppers, plus gingerbread pancakes with sautéed pears.

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This was the only food photo I took during the holidays, which is because the pancakes tasted super moist and delicious; we’ll definitely make them again next year.  After eating, we moved onto presents.

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My indoor bike trainer was my “big” (and early) Christmas present, so I got smaller gifts, which was totally fine—less stuff to lug back to NYC!

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This pile of books sums me up pretty well—ha!  My sister gave me Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle, which has some great recipes (and spice blend ideas!), and Santa got me Sex, Lies, and Triathlons and the Baby Lit version of Pride and Prejudice, which is super adorable.

A few hours later, we headed to my aunt and uncle’s house for our Yankee swap and Christmas Day dinner feast.  I didn’t take any pictures, but there were so many appetizers—shrimp and cocktail sauce, veggies and dip, crackers and cheese, fried fish, scallops wrapped in bacon, spinach and artichoke dip, etc.  We joked there were enough apps to last until Easter!

Later, we did our annual Yankee swap—similar to a white elephant gift exchange—which was a ton of fun.  This was my first year participating, but I had a good strategy thanks to many years of spectating.  In the end, I walked away with a bottle of very nice red wine (woohoo!), plus a jewelry set and some saltwater taffy.  My grandparents also gave presents to their kids and grandkids; check out these treats.

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Each bundle contained seven tiers of homemade cookies my grandma made.  So seven tiers times five kids (really six, but my uncle and his family live in Pennsylvania, and they couldn’t make it) equals a boatload of cookies.

After the gift exchange, more eating and drinking ensued, and we may have polished off a bottle of cinnamon roll rum.  Chocolate martinis also may have happened–ha!

Was Santa good to you this year?  What’s your favorite gift you gave/received?

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, friends!

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(And for those who are obsessed with Syracuse basketball like me, Happy Rakeem!)

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I wasn’t sure if I’d post today, but since we’re still waiting for a few family members to wake up, I figured I’d pop in and wish you a happy holiday.

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After doing stockings, eating breakfast (egg bake and gingerbread pancakes, yum!), and opening presents, we’re going to my aunt and uncle’s house for our Yankee swap.  I can’t wait to see everyone! (We had a small party of 11 last night for Christmas Eve surf and turf.) Enjoy the day!

Merry Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve, friends!

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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?

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

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

Snapshot Saturday – Home for the Holidays

Hello from Central New York!

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It feels great to be home for the holidays!  Even though I saw my family last weekend, we haven’t been together at home since Thanksgiving, so I’m happy and thankful we’re all together again.  Including Zelda.

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I missed her so much!  Today’s been a low-key, relaxing day.  I watched the Syracuse basketball this afternoon, which I do not want to talk about.

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Yep, Jim Boeheim was seriously peeved. (And yes, my beloved Orange lost to the Temple Owls.) I then proceeded to drown my sorrows by baking some Christmas cookies.  First, Margaret and I made fudge-filled sandies.

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We split one for “quality control purposes,” and they tasted yummy!

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We also baked a batch of gingerbread men.

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We’ll decorate them tomorrow, and we also have at least three more types of cookies to make, so we’ll be busy!  Oh, and between measuring flour, setting the timer, and moving cookies to cooling racks, I totally OD’d on my grandma’s homemade toffee.

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You can’t stop at one piece; the stuff is seriously addicting, so we call it crack–ha!  Hopefully there will be more at our family dinner tomorrow.

Do you bake Christmas cookies?  What’s your favorite type of cookie to make—or eat?

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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)?

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.

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

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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!

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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).

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Did I mention gorgeous Dan Stevens?

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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.”

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

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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?

Thanksgiving 2012 in Pictures

Good morning, everyone–I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!  We had a ton of fun yesterday–lots of food, laughs, and quality time together. (I owe you a turkey trot recap, too!) Here’s a glimpse into our Thanksgiving.

So much yummy food!  My plans for the rest of the day include shopping at Syracuse Bicycle and Fleet Feet–oh, and I got my swim in this morning!–before hanging out with my family for Thanksgiving part deux.  Enjoy the day, friends!

Apple Picking and the Arrival of Fall

Hi, everyone!  How was your Moan Monday?  It’s been a busy day over here, but first, here are some more pictures from Sunday’s apple-picking trip at Beak & Skiff.

We picked Cortland and Macouns yesterday, and the apples were really small.

Ellen and I attempted to make a human ladder.

Apple-picking fail.

Oh, well—we had a ton of fun, and I can’t wait to start baking some apple-based recipes.

Workout – Run

After two cups of coffee, plenty of water, and a GU energy gel, I hit the pavement for a 5.25-mile run this morning.  Although the run itself was uneventful—just an out-and-back loop with some fartleks sprinkled in for good measure—today’s apparel is worth noting:  long-sleeved Under Armour top and bottoms.

This means fall has arrived.  Following my run, I also did some upper-body strength training and ab exercises.

Breakfast

My morning meal came in the form of overnight oats in a jar.

This never gets old.  Today’s mixture contained frozen strawberries and blueberries, plus Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup old fashioned oats, 1/2 cup almond milk, cinnamon and chia seeds.  I love using frozen fruit because it thaws in the fridge and leaves tasty juice that the yogurt soaks up.

Lunch

My mom asked me to go grocery shopping at Wegmans (more on this shortly), so I picked up soup and sushi for lunch.

I used to have this combo nearly every weekend in college, but it’s been a while since I enjoyed some S&S.  To start, I had spicy red lentil soup.

This was my first time having it, and I’m a fan.  Sriracha might make an appearance in the future—the spicer, the better!  After polishing off the soup, I dug into the spicy shrimp jalapeño roll.

I topped each piece with some Wasabi—delicious!

In other news, here’s what the eating area of the kitchen looked like earlier today.

And now.

Ah, the joys of window replacement.

Off to cook dinner–we’re trying a new recipe tonight, Paleo Pad Thai.

What’s your go-to lunch combo lately?

Happy 77th Birthday, Grandma!

Last night, we celebrated my grandma’s 77th birthday with dinner at Canal View and a delicious chocolate cake from Wegmans.

That’s our version of 77—“76 plus 1.”

What a great evening!

Workout – Bike-Run Brick Run

Originally, a bike-run brick workout was on the docket for today, but the weather had other ideas.  With showers all morning and afternoon plus a tornado watch beginning at 3 p.m., a ride wasn’t going to happen. (Note to self: Get bike trainer ASAP.) Instead, I swapped today’s multisport workout for Thursday’s 30-minute run; I’ll complete the brick tomorrow and bump my final pre-DeRuyter Lake Triathlon OWS to Thursday.  Anyway, I hopped on the treadmill for half an hour this morning, and it wasn’t bad.  Definitely not my best run ever, but far from the worst.

Breakfast

Soaking in sweat, I knew a cold morning meal would hit the spot; after rummaging around the fridge and freezer, I compiled a yogurt bowl.

Come to think of it, this mess looks more like a deconstructed parfait.

Banana slices and frozen blueberries lined the bottom, Greek yogurt comprised the middle layer, and Fiber One cereal, Seitenbacher muesli, and more banana slices topped the mixture.

Lunch

My mom and I met my dad at Zabroso’s this afternoon.  I’ve been to this Spanish eatery once before—many, many years ago, and I loved it—so I had high hopes.  Unfortunately, though, lunch was a bust.

All three of us ordered the chicken and rice special, but it wasn’t good.  Chicken and I are acquaintances—I don’t love it, but I’ll eat it if no other health options and/or protein sources are available—but this dish didn’t exactly help our trying friendship.  There was barely any meat on the bones, and the chicken that was present lacked flavor.  I ate two pieces and half of the rice before throwing in the towel; it just wasn’t worth it.

Afternoon Snack

After a disappointing lunch, a more substantial snack was in order.

First, I sliced an apple and microwaved it for one minute.  Next, I added some cinnamon and 1/4 cup instant oats, 1/2 cup water, and zapped the combo for another minute.  Topped with a heaping spoonful of peanut butter, this hit the spot.

OK, so changing gears a bit, you know how I found a big-girl apartment in New York City this weekend? (Here are the recaps, part one and two.) So, I received more paperwork this morning via email, and one of the forms listed restricted dog breeds.

No joke.

Luckily, the building is greyhound friendly, which means Zelda can visit.

Do you have any pets?  Did you have any growing up?  Does your building allow pets? (Is this list normal for an NYC apartment?  Just curious.)

Trip to New York City, Part Two

Part One left off at Friday night after two days filled with traveling, interviewing, apartment hunting, and eating some delicious food.  Time for part deux!

Saturday

My morning began at 5:10 a.m.  No, it wasn’t for a workout.  Well, it kind of was—I went to Chelsea Piers to observe a Full Throttle Endurance (FTE) swim practice!

Before leaving for New York City, I emailed Scott Berlinger, the head coach of this triathlon club, said I would be in town, and asked if I could watch a practice.  He invited me to his Monday morning swim session, but since I would be gone by then, I tagged along to Coach Danny Viera’s practice.  I liked Coach Danny immediately.  He’s young, fit, and very knowledgeable about all things triathlon.  Everything about the practice—the facilities, the atmosphere, the athletes—I loved (more detailed blog post to come!), so it’s safe to say I found my NYC triathlon training club.

Next, my parents and I went to Made Fresh Daily for brunch.

We had to work for brunch because it took some walking to find this café.  By staying in the Financial District, we experienced firsthand how the neighborhood essentially shuts down during the weekend; nearly every bar, restaurant, and most convenience stores closed Saturday and Sunday or kept very strange, abbreviated hours.  Made Fresh Daily, however, was quite busy, and the food was fantastic.  I ordered the summer veggie frittata.

Stuffed to the brim with mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini, and cheese, it totally hit the spot.

With our bellies full, we took the subway to Chelsea and met Alex at the apartment (“the one”) my mom and I loved.  My dad ended up loving it, too.  Although we were ready to say yes then and there, we discussed a few additional options Alex found.  We vetoed places two immediately, but decided to see the third apartment, which was located way over on 11th Avenue.  I knew it was too far away from everything—subway, grocery stores, etc.—but both my parents and I wanted to see one more to ensure our favorite was “the one.”  Twenty-minutes later, we entered the posh building—it felt like a hotel turned dance club—and basically went through the motions (looking, asking the right questions, etc.).  Not surprisingly, it didn’t top “the one.”

During the 40-minute round trip, Alex and I bonded and “broed out.”  He’s three years older than me and went to a Big East school, so we had a ton to talk about in terms of Big East Sports, basketball rivalries, and other general NYC sports stuff. (Remember my obsession with Syracuse Basketball and March Madness?) I’ll tell ya, I can be a bro.

Anyway, as we filled out paperwork for “the one,” I noticed the management company’s name on the top of the forms; it’s the name of the boathouse at my alma mater’s campus.  After some quick Googling, I discovered the management company individual donated the money for the boathouse.  What’s more, the individual is on the board of trustees—what a small world!  So, folks, this means I officially have a big-girl apartment!

After taking care of all the logistical stuff, my parents and I went to Tarallucci e Vino for a celebratory drink.  Being a lightweight, I decided it would be best to bypass the booze until dinnertime, so I ordered tea instead.

This pot, called Chaucer’s Cup, contained apple, spices, ginger, and mango; fresh and light, it was a perfect late-afternoon pick-me-up.

And with Rosa Mexicano conveniently located next door, picking where to eat dinner was a no-brainer.

At the bar, we started with a pitcher of sangria and guacamole.

I tend to order the same dish here time and time again, but I looked at the menu away.

A few options sounded good, but I really wanted salmon.

Anytime salmon, pineapple, and black beans appear on one plate, I’m a happy girl.

Since we were in the area, we hit up Soft Serve Fruit Co. one last time, too.

I went with apple again, and added Barbara’s Puffins.

It was the perfect blend of cold, creamy, and crunchy.

Sunday

On Sunday, we packed up and shipped out.  Breakfast came from the Dunkin’ Donuts at Penn Station.

Veggie egg-white flat bread. (As I ate it, I tried not to think about The American Way of Eating; I knew it wasn’t freshly prepared and littered with preservatives.)

Our train was late getting into Rhinecliff, so as soon as we arrived, we picked up my sister Margaret and headed to the Me-Oh-My Pie Shop in Red Hook.

Craving eggs and spiting the study, I ordered the scramble with mushrooms, onions, and red peppers.

My sister and I also split a side of multigrain toast.

After taking Margaret grocery shopping and seeing her dorm, we headed home.  Dinner was Thai takeout.

Chicken with sautéed vegetables and peanut sauce.

Whew, what a whirlwind trip!  It passed super quickly, yet it seemed like I was there forever.  Either way, I can’t wait to make the move!