Packing: A Cleansing Exercise


T-12 days until the big move (to Chicago).

I was finally forced to get to the dreaded packing portion of the life-changing exercise.

Where to begin!

After surveying the contents of my room, I found clothes I haven’t worn since 1998 (homage to my high school fashion glory), cell phone chargers for every model made since 1999 (hmm might need to revive that Saved By The Bell phone…) and jewelry I picked up during college travels that once was “silver” but is now a gorgeous pewter at best.

After giving it some thought, I decided not to give friends and family reason to nominate me for Hoarders and thus spent time going through everything.  I opened up pre-packed boxes, took everything out from under the bed and dug deep into bins that traveled (as is) from high school to college to NYC.

Favorite finds:

  • The ever popular “spank me it’s my birthday” t-shirt (size kids small) – KEEPER
  • Hair ribbon I wore in my last figure skating college nationals
  • Complete sequined one-piece suite (worn on Halloween 5 years ago)
  • 15 tube-tops (naturally)
  • Cards my roommates and I wrote to each other in college.  Absurdity at its best.

Ultimate favorite: card my college (and current) roommate gave me on my 23rd bday:

birthday card

birthday card

I can’t remember how the nicknames “poopy” and “crappy” came about, but I do know that 8 years later, I still yell “crappy!!” in public places when trying to find her.  Neither one of us can remember what the “little something” is that was provided for the start of my day.  I’m assuming a Keystone Light. Or beer pong paddle (?).  Either way: solid gold.

I donated bags of clothing, shoes and blankets.  I gave away skirts, tennis shoes and workout outfits.  I spent hours reading every note, postcard and diary.

The result is: a great deal less to move.  Some proper reminiscing.  A feeling of lightness.

Turns out cleansing and “spring cleaning” (in October) is Awesome.

Highly recommend it.

Relax, Recover, Rejuvenate

T-13 before I hit the road with a friend for our quickly approaching move to Chicago!

I have been working hard to sleep as little as possible in order to soak up as much friend, family and NYC time that I can.  Turns out the staying up is easy… the getting up in the morning is excruciatingly hard…

Today I took a break from my pressing social agenda (hehe) to relax, rejuvenate and stuff my face with chocolate covered peanuts.

Yes, on this week before I leave NYC, I took some time out to relax at my favorite Spa on the Upper East Side.

I made the migration from the UES with my roomies down to Murray Hill almost 3 years ago, but I still find myself taking the 456 train up to my old neighborhood in order to have a little Zen time.

This hidden gem sits a bit of a ways back from the rush of third avenue, diagonal from Dylan’s Candy Bar (perfect for post massage snack).  The front door’s wooden exterior is inviting.  One flight of stairs up and you find yourself inside a small yet cozy and peaceful waiting room complete with champagne, snacks and (most importantly) the foot massage machine.

Sometimes I bring my e-reader along and just sit there for hours sipping champagne, eating entirely too much chocolate and absorbing my latest chic-book (girl needs her trash in between book club books).

Ultimately, after over-indulging in the goodies, I was ushered into a massage room for my facial (the actual reason I came).  I’ve gone to the same lady every time.  I think she’s just plain Awesome.  I love the arm and face massage, I feel like my skin glows afterwards and I usually fall asleep on the table (awkward?) once I let go of the day’s stresses.

Today I had my last face massage in NYC.  Note to self: must find new spot for Zen in Chicago.

Stay tuned.

Leaving my 2837428-long to-do list to take a time out? …… Awesome.

Giant Statues and Pink Wallpaper

Day 47 commenced my official countdown to my move from New York City!

I know I’ve mentioned it in previous posts but here it is officially:

I’m leaving the big (crazy, yet fun) apple to head to the windy (more balanced and clean) city.

Friends, followers and random passerby’s, as of around 8pm on October 29, I will officially be a resident of the state of Illinois.

During these last 14 days, I am aiming to soak up the Awesome (what else) in my NYC life (no real complaints here).

I’m going to take this opportunity to count backwards…..

On day -14 I found myself in a living room.  6 flights of stairs up from the ground.  In the middle of one of NYC’s busiest intersections.  Sitting on a (very comfortable and purple) couch. Staring up at the room’s centerpiece:  the famous 70-foot statue built in 1892 of Christopher Columbus.

discovering columbus

I wouldn’t have believed it myself had I not accompanied a friend to the exhibit (one of our last outings!), complained and moaned the entire 6 flights of stairs and spent more time than was allowed in the “living room.”

“Discovering Columbus” is an exhibit created by Tatsu Nishi that allows visitors to experience the famous Columbus statue as if it were in their living room.  The room’s expansive space, covered in pink wallpaper, adorned with modern furniture and over-sized windows, is a surreal and a one-of-a-kind experience for several reasons.

1)       Seeing a 70-foot statue brought to life in touching distance is not an everyday sighting.  Sitting on the couch, I studied the details of the work.  Everything from his dress to his face are etched in a type of accurate precision I would never have suspected

2)      The sheer idea of something so large and grand that one would never see up close to be in a home setting is bewildering (not something you pick up while “antiquing”).  Not surprisingly, my jaw dropped when we turned the corner on the top floor.

3)      The exact views we saw can’t be replicated.  Out the fake living room windows was a sea of lights coming from cars speeding down Central Park West.  The top of buildings on the other side of the island were peeking over trees and Central Park was spread out before us.

central park west

On a personal note, Columbus Circle is one of my favorite parts of this city.  It’s the place where I ate my mac and cheese and sushi rolls during lunch as an intern.  It’s the place where I’ve gone to clear my head.  It’s the fountains my brother and I played in just a few weeks ago (errrr I mean watched the children play).

I loved experiencing this part of the city in a completely different way.


Babs: The Early Years

Barbra Streisand hello, gorgeous book signing

On Day 46, I attended the William J. Mann book signing pertaining to his new work:

Hello, Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand.

Yes.  I was the only person there under the age of 62.

Yes.  The older folk and I gave each other weird looks.

Cat’s out of the bag: I’m a Babs fan.  I realize I was born about 20 years after her big break, but I was born to parents who went to Barbra’s concerts, bought me her CD’s and introduced me to her movies.

I’ve seen Hello Dolly about a hundred times and I’ve choreographed about a dozen figure skating programs (as a 12-year old) to Tell Him (a duet with Celine Dion).

Highly reminiscent of my mom’s love for soulful love songs, I immersed myself in her inspirational story.

Some info on Babs: she was born in Brooklyn and lost a parent at a very young age. She didn’t always have the means or the support that was much needed to pursue her dreams.  She fought hard and achieved unbelievable success.

She might be from a different generation, but her story is inspiring and relevant to me just the same.

I listened to people speak up from the audience who had gone to middle school with her.  I thought about how my mom would have enjoyed the event. I met the author (who gave me a surprising and great compliment ;)).


Polenta, Mushrooms and Celebrity Sightings

Day 45 had some random Awesome when I went to a work lunch and got the chance to try some exquisite cuisine and meet a celebrity chef.

I was less than enthused when I was reminded that I had a lunch meeting in the afternoon (and not ONLY because of the fish bone ER incident).

Intent on having dinner at my favorite Spanish tapas place in NYC before my move (Chicago here I come!), I invited a friend to dinner the evening before only to wind up with a smidgen of food poisoning (the restaurant gods are telling me to eat in I think).

Not surprisingly, I wasn’t too excited and headed to North End Grill like a child kicking and screaming (professional I know).

Lunch did not disappoint.

The menu intrigued us with simple yet curious combinations that left my colleagues and I scrambling to make an acceptable choice:  Grilled Egg, Celery and Onion with Paddlefish Caviar??  Block Island Swordfish??  Bacon-Shrimp Burger??

I settled on Fricassee of Wild Mushrooms with “Upma Polenta” and the chicken, lemon and egg soup.

Half way through the mmmmmmmm’s of the meal a colleague mentioned that the head chef was actually Floyd Cardoz from the reality show Top Chef Masters.

Like any obnoxious and self indulgent corporate group, we immediately asked to meet the head chef.

Floyd was super friendly, chatted with us about the restaurant and gave us the inside scoop of the show. Reportedly, what you see is real and nothing about the challenges is fake or over dramatized (the only reality show to date to achieve this).

We finished our meal by agonizing over the dessert menu.

It was unexpectedly… Awesome.

Monograms, Trays and Zebra-Inspired Wallpaper

dabney lee store

dabney lee

On Day 44 I channeled my love of bright colors, stationary and designer cards (look at me be girly!) while attending the grand opening of the Dabney Lee store. (

Jumping at the chance to support a friend (who happens to be married to Dabney), I was psyched to check out the cute products, partake in a little wine and cheese and see a part of the borough of Brooklyn I seldom visit.

Finding the store was easy – Dabney Lee is located on a popular street in Dumbo, right in the midst of retail therapy, the Brooklyn Brewery store and delicious brunch spots.  The crisp blue awning and zebra wallpaper are enticing and the products are a feast for the eyes.

I walked in, waved at said friend, and immediately wanted to touch and look at everything.

Pretty sure a whole 20 minutes went by before I even approached the wine/beer/cheese (hard to believe I know).

Some of my favorite products:

  • Personalized monogramed trays (breakfast in bed… yes please!)
  • Cards that say “Everyone Wants To Be Us” (Already planning on purchasing these must-haves for friends)
  • Coasters with Obama AND Romney (Everyone’s happy!)

Witnessing this home-grown success was motivating.  Seeing the family-inspired personalizations on the products was uplifting.  Participating in the soiree that’s launching the store?  …  Pretty Awesome.

Love Stories, Boxes and Playbills

lincoln center opera house

On Day 43, I found myself enjoying a pastime I had not experienced or thought about in 15+ years.

I was probably around 10 years old when my mom took me to the Opera for the first time in effort to share with her daughter, her love of the art.

Unfortunately, my 10-year old self didn’t get the message regarding music’s trans-formative nature.  I wanted chips and popcorn and when that was done… to go home early (can you blame me?).

Cut to the present.

A friend invited me to the Metropolitan Opera House to experience Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot from private box seats.

I jumped at the opportunity to participate in this must-see experience (before my move from NYC!).  Plus, who can pass up an opportunity to get all dressed up and enjoy private seating (I was channeling Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman)?

After making our way to Lincoln Center (no easy feat during rush hour!), we walked towards the beautiful fountain and prepared to take our seats.  As the curtain went up, I was instantly mesmerized by the gorgeous sets and story-line.

Turandot is a fairy tale love story (romantic comedy from the 1920’s if you will) set in China about a princess who tests numerous suitors by offering riddles and has those who answer incorrectly beheaded (love this).

I loved the acting.  I loved the music.  I loved the happy ending (don’t want to give too much away!)

I thought about how much my mom would have loved this and found myself smiling by the end.


Fundraising, Walks and the Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

On Day 42 of Awesome I found myself waking up at 7am on a Sunday to participate in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s (JDRF) walk to cure diabetes (

This annual event raises money for research aimed at curing type 1 diabetes.

I was there to support a friend, participate in a great cause and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Uncharacteristically hyper for a Sunday morning, having devoured two packages of cream cheese (and bagel?) and armed with a great group of participants, I was ready to walk across this national historic landmark.

The Brooklyn Bridge does not disappoint.

The views are spectacular.  The rush of cars under your feet is exciting.  The sheer size of the cables is awe-inspiring.

Walkers were pointing to the sights.  Kids were kneeling to see cars pass by underneath our feet.  Participants were getting to know each other.

About 40 minutes later, we were in Brooklyn, waving JDRF fingers (like a baseball game) and feeling a bit hungry (heckling non-walkers works up an appetite).

After a delicious brunch in Dumbo, Brooklyn, we made our way back across the bridge.

Turns out the views in the other direction are even better.