Amateur Swim Night

On Day 28, I took my inspiration to the pool.

I’ve been glued to the tv screen over the past week… watching the Olympics.

The athletes inspire me, they remind me of my own young Olympic dreams once upon a time and their stories make me believe that anything is possible.

Having found myself in a hotel with a pool open 24/7… I watched the end of the olympic coverage, fished out my suit from my bag… and did laps at around midnight.

Truth is, I had a little stint as a future olympic swimmer at the age of 11.  I’M KIDDING.  I couldn’t have been slower on that swim team.  Fortunately, my figure skating coach at the time told my mom that figure skaters couldn’t be swimmers (different muscle groups yada yada yada)… SO that short lived dream ended quickly.

But as mentioned before… I still love swimming.

And aside from the fact that hotel staff thought I was crazy (it’s open 24/7 for a reason!!), I lapped around doing the breath stroke happily.


Organic Living

Day 27’s awesome is about organic living.  Organic food.  Organic kindness. And organic friendship.

By organic I mean: without toxins or chemicals, in the case of food; without agenda, in the case of kind strangers; and straight fun with a good friend.

This week I indulged in a simple, healthy and organic meal with ingredients from local farms, was comforted on a bumpy flight by a stranger and celebrated a friend’s kick-ass promotion with some wine and a feast.

The restaurant?  – The Fat Radish (NYC) (I may have come close to trying everything on the menu)

The flight?  – A bumpy one heading south from New York.  (recently I’ve become a weeee bit of a nervous flyer)… add on some storms and a holding pattern over our destination, and I was ready to strap on a parachute and finish the job myself.  Fortunately, the individual next to me sensed my tense composure and went to lengths to distract me: ask me questions, drink some vodka with me and listen to me recount my life story…

The celebration?  – involved lots of laughter, an empty bottle of wine, a feast of great (Italian) proportions and some seriously great gelato (and some new friends). Naturally.


The “De”-lusional Self-Portrait

On Day 26 of Awesome, I found myself art-studio-hopping in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood with a friend (and artist).

The event: 2012 Chelsea Art Walk; a showcase of “Chelsea’s summer art exhibitions, galleries and art spaces.”

We were on a quest to find inspirational and interesting work.

Mission accomplished:

Ultra Violet Studios hosted a “self-portrait” exhibit, inviting guests to take photos through baroque “self-portrait” mirrors with the tagline “You are real — you are not real — but enjoy your illusion.”

Interesting concept.

We decided that in fact we are OK with our illusion.  Plus, taking pictures through mirrors is too much fun.


Stranger to Friend

On Day 24 I joined a friend and 4 other amazing women whom she wanted to introduce for a very tasty meal.

The company was truly Awesome and the food was a close second (roasted artichoke with truffle oil and parmesan is my new obsession).

This idea, although done informally here, to invite friends from different walks of life to dinner to get to know each other, is highly recommended.  I left the restaurant smiling, having just added four fantastic women to my circle of friends.

The dinner solidified the following anecdotes: The world is small (I’ve learned this over and over but it’s always surprising!), you can never have too many mentors and some good laughs over some cocktails really are the best medicine.

Truly awesome night.

Public Family Bonding

Day 23: an ode to family.

Today’s awesome extravaganza involved a pool, my siblings and my dad.  Like any normal loving clan, we engaged in family-bonding activities (if you will) that had the rest of the pool club wide-eyed. (what is wrong with people, really?)

One favorite pastime involves us stacking ourselves on top of dad’s back (like a monkey with its young) and making him jump as high as he can while holding onto our arms and then plunging forward while we wail and scream (with delight of course).

Other family pool activities that have onlookers frightened include:

– vaulting each other as high as we can go with the help of two people making a platform on which to stand with their arms (this is preceded by a charming Russian rhyme about an old grandma who plants peas —- don’t ask)

– racing across the Olympic-sized pool with the fervor of an Olympian

– letting one person stand on the other’s back while they’re underwater and then start to rise until you can’t stand anymore and plunge forward (or backward)

SO. We had a pretty good time. Sunshine + Pool + Sibs + Dad + No Inhibition = perfect summer day.


Sangria, Rowboats and Camp Memories

On Day 21 I found myself back in Central Park.

With one goal in mind: Rowing at the Boat House.

My family in tow (five sangrias deep), I convinced them that rowing in 95 degree heat would be the most superb way to spend Sunday afternoon.

My memories of rowing stem back to my young camp days at Kingswood Camp for girls.  As a child, in between figure skating practice, I spent my summers honing my archery skills, dancing, swimming inside the 319-acre National Historic park and to my serious dismay: Canoeing.

I say dismay because I may or may not have had irrational fears of this wonderful pastime and avoided it like the plague…

So.  For nostalgia sake, I was looking to remember those sunny days fondly and put the fears of my 11-year old self to rest.

It took a few minutes to figure out how to get going but soon I was rowing like a champ and preparing for the Olympic rowing team (ha. ha.).

Aside for the fact that I wore a white dress with heels (brilliant) and we played bumper boats with some of the other rowers (woops) – I’d say it was a pretty AWESOME afternoon.

Family time at the Intrepid

Day 20: Planes, helicopters and submarines

My family came to visit the city today so I took this golden opportunity to do something I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do: Visit the Intrepid.  Quick history:  The Intrepid is an aircraft carrier initially commissioned in 1943 to serve in World War II.  Additionally, Intrepid was afloat during Vietnam and performed submarine surveillance in the North Atlantic during the Cold War.

I find it fascinating.  Having waited about five years to see it I was like a kid entering Disneyland for the first time. (The fam was less excited in the 95 degree heat).

We had a fantastic time.

We toured a strategic missile submarine.  We stood in the captain’s quarters of the Intrepid.  We touched authentic WWII era planes.

I found the experience to be AWESOME and I loved sharing it with the fam.

Oktoberfest in NYC

Day 19: Oktoberfest IS year-round!

One of my fondest work trips took me to Munich during Oktoberfest.  A colleague and I happened to arrive the Wednesday before festivities began and upon finding out this very fact (and our company’s encouragement of the festivities), we quickly made plans to participate.

Fast forward about a year and a half (give or take a couple months) and here we are at Bierhaus NYC hoping to taste some real German “bier,” enjoy some dancing (on tables??) and spot interesting dirndls. (note to self: next Oktoberfest experience must include my own dirndl).

What a spectacular way to spend an evening.  The music was excellent.  The potato pancakes were delicious, Bier Cheese was just what my pretzel needed and the authentic mugs make the beer that much better (which I drank from a straw.  Classy. 😉


Champagne and Live Music

Day 18: live music is AWESOME.

A friend and I decided to go out on the town mid-week.  We wanted to be a bit adventurous and check out different places to see if anything interesting was going on.

Despite the quietness of the night, we stumbled into Winston’s Champagne Bar, where you would think it was a Friday.  Upon entering, Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” came to mind and I felt like we were being transported through time to the 1940s.

Velvet is everywhere.  High ceilings are accentuated by walls lined with Champagne.  A circular staircase gives the allusion of something grand.  A bright yellow piano completes the look.

Lucky for us, on this night, the piano was in use.  A live band was making the environment something of a dream.  Every song they sang spoke to me and the soulful voice of the lead singer kept my eyes glued and a smile broadly drawn on my face.

Fell asleep humming ‘Summer of ‘69.’  Awesome.

Running Towards Awesome

Day 17.  Time to recenter after my travels and engage in my new found hobby: running.

The thought that I would run races and enjoy this form of exercise never crossed my mind before last year.  In fact, growing up I would dream up any excuse possible to get out of any running requirements set by my coaches.

So here I am years later finding myself signing up for races and looking forward to my run after work.  A  year ago I had to summon every ounce of mental strength during a 3.5 mile race (you can do it, you can do it, you can do it, you can do it…).  This year?  I’m summoning strength to run a half marathon and going on 4 mile jogs as a wind down from work.

How did I get here?

I started off slow.  On the treadmill.  I ran every couple days and started with 2 miles, then 3, then 4, then 5… I learned how to pace myself, control my heart rate, take a mental break and stay in tune with any discomforts or injuries that might come up.  Then one day I felt great during my run and ended up running 7 miles.  More than I’ve ever run before.

I started thinking about doing longer distance races and got the push I needed when my friend asked if I would run a half marathon with her.  The training took time and I found myself more mentally preparing than expected, but crossing that finish line was pretty amazing.

Currently, you can find me on the west side highway running along the Hudson River a couple times a week.  I love being out there with the other runners and I love taking in the view.

Its become an AWESOME part of my week.