A Goal Reset

It has been a little over 6 months since I set my yearly goals.  I have done well so far, completing close to half.  While the competitive part of me wishes I was further, I have realized that in the past 6 months, some other really exciting things have happened.  Though I did not make it to the finals for a Fellowship at Echoing Green, I did get an awesome new job at Echoing Green, and have now been there for two weeks, doing what I love. I moved in with my boyfriend, and we are hard at work redecorating and settling in.  I haven’t practiced my spanish all that much, but I am learning Brazilian Portuguese – and had the chance to practice it while in the country for 2 weeks in July.  I am signed up for a race, but won’t get to run due to a recent injury from my new favorite hobby, indoor rock climbing. And finally, I clearly have not written a post every week since February.  I have actually written less than I ever have.  However, I am now more excited about writing than I have been in a while.

With that said, it’s time to think of some new goals for the remainder of this year.  These are based on what I have most enjoyed in the past 6 months and what I hope to get out of the next 6.  My hope is that this goal reset will allow me to move forward in achieving everything I want to this year.

1. Write more!  I do plan on writing at least 1 post per week for the remainder of the year.  I will also submit to the HuffPo or Under30CEO.  I also want to get to work on that book.

2. Explore NYC again.  I used to spend hours or entire days exploring different neighborhoods of the city.  I have not had the chance to do much of that this summer while traveling and changing jobs, but it’s time to get back at it as much as possible.  I’ll be using my 1001 things to do in NYC book to help me get started.

3. Cook more. This week I have cooked quite a bit, and have loved doing so. I’m now settled in to my new apartment, and plan to spend some time each week planning to create new and exciting dishes.

4. Day trip more.  My boyfriend and I spent Labor Day weekend in the Finger Lakes and it was fantastic.  I often forget how many exciting day trip options there are around NYC, so I plan to do more this fall and winter.

5. Plan my next trip.  Spending 2 weeks in Brazil was fantastic, and I’m excited to put my passport to work again soon.

6. Solo Weekend Trip.  This goal is still important to me, so I will also plan a trip all by myself to make sure to stay in touch with the inner Kate.

7. Develop personal and professional development plans. I think it’s super important to set goals (think big, life changing goals) so I want to work on developing my next set of goals.

8. Enjoy life. Sit back, relax and enjoy. Spend more time with friends, on planning date nights, and with family. Make the things that are most important to me priorities.

I am excited to get started on these 8 goals, and look forward to sharing with you more often – especially around the awesome things I find in NYC.  As always, if you have ideas of cool NYC things to do, send me a note. Until next time!

The Power of 30

Today I said something that I absolutely never say – “I don’t think that I can.”  It was not quite 7am, and my yoga instructor saw what I was doing.  She came over and said, “You can do it.”  Perhaps it was the fact that I was working on this pose in class until 9:30pm last night and my arms were still exhausted.  Or maybe it was because I was still barely awake.  But for some reason, I said those dreaded words.  After saying it a second time, she said that she knew I could.  And before I could even think, I was in forearm stand for the first time ever.  It wasn’t glamorous – she was spotting me and I fell after about 7.4 seconds.  But I did it.

17 days ago I had no idea how badly I would even want to do a forearm stand.  However, if you’ve talked to me in the past 17 days, I’ve probably tried to convince you to do a 30 day yoga challenge.  1 class per day for 30 days.  You can miss up to two classes, but you must double up on two other days (within 3 days of the missed class).  This challenge has been one of the most challenging and rewarding things I’ve ever done for myself.  I am much stronger, more flexible, calmer and happier.  I won’t dive too deeply into the benefits of a yoga challenge, but instead I encourage you to find your thing.  And do it, every day.  Whether you write for 365 days, like my best friend Amanda Kusek, or do yoga every day for 30 days, or something else – pick that one thing, and just do it.  Is it easy?  Absolutely not.  You have to make sacrifices – if you want to have dinner with a friend, you better be up at 6am for a morning class.  If you want to enjoy weekend days it might mean going to 8am class on both Saturday and Sunday.  Or, it might even mean going to 5:30am Summer Solstice Yoga in the middle of Times Square, taking a break, and then doing your second class of the day at 11:15am, only a few hours later.  But it’s worth it, I promise.

I still have 13 days to go.  I’m sore (especially now that I’m “cross-training”) and physically tired.  But mentally, I feel like I can do anything.  So pick your thing.  Once you start, be prepared that the first 10-14 days are going to probably suck.  A lot.  But it’s okay.  You’ll learn more about yourself and begin a journey towards becoming the best you possible.  And you’ll never say, “I don’t think I can” again.

Good Luck!

How to see The Book of Mormon for under $35

This week I finally saw The Book of Mormon in New York City.  First of all, it was fantastic.  It was just as fun and hilarious as I had expected it to be.  One of the reasons I had waited to see it for so long, was that I wasn’t quite ready to spend well over $200 on one ticket.  To buy one at face-value, it would mean waiting over a year.  However, my boyfriend and I quickly figured out that there was another way to get tickets.  And ours were $27 each!  Here’s how:

Pick a weeknight where there is a 7pm performance.  We chose this past Wednesday.  Now, you do need to have a little bit of flexibility in your day.  Luckily this week, my boyfriend did.  He arrived at 3:30pm and got into the ‘standing room’ line.  He was about tenth in line.  Now, keeping in mind that other people may join the folks in front of you, and that each person can purchase 2 tickets, I would recommend getting there by 3:15/3:30pm at the latest.  Make sure to bring a good book (cell service is very spotty, even though it’s right off of Times Square) or your laptop to work, and take a seat.

While still waiting, from 4:30pm-5pm, you can put your name in for the lottery for the front row seats.  If you’re in the standing room line, they’ll bring over the entry forms to you.  You can put your name in as late as 4:59pm.  At 5pm, they pull the names for those seats – $32 each.  The @LotteryDude makes the process fun (make sure to follow him on Twitter).  As they called names, I felt like I was on The Bachelor, waiting to see if I would receive a rose.  I did not, and neither did my boyfriend.  We were bummed, but it was all good – we were still in the standing room line.  Around 5:30pm, they began to sell the standing room tickets.  We were told that there are typically around 28 given for each performance, though it may fluctuate a bit in either direction.  However, by 5:40pm, we had tickets!  And again…they were only $27 each!  We were then free to go next door for dinner at Serafina and come back for the show at 7pm.

Now a few things to note.  If you are the very first in the standing line, it starts at the box office window and goes west.  If you arrive and there are more than 20 people ahead of you, your chances of getting in are slim, so it might be better to come back another day.  Finally, if you do get a standing room ticket, you do indeed need to stand for the entire performance.  It’s close to 2.5 hours, but it wasn’t bad at all – you are so entertained by the show, that you hardly notice.  You even have a railing that comes up to your chest so you can lean when you’re tired (just don’t mess with the person in front of you…or you’ll have Spooky Mormon Hell Dreams)!

In short…GO!  I’m now on to the next show, since there are so many that have lotteries or standing room options.  Good luck!

The Book of Mormon | Eugene O’Neill Theater, 230 West 49th Street NYC

Dating in April

This week, I was so excited to be featured with my boyfriend on DateNightIs, an awesome site filled with date ideas and stories.  Our feature was called “Date Night Is…A Friendly Competition.”  It inspired me to begin a new series, which has my top 4 date ideas for a given month.  While my ideas will focus on NYC, they can definitely be modified for whatever city you are in!

April Date 1: Go to a baseball game!  I will be going to my first Yankee’s game of the season in mid-April, when the Red Sox come to town (I’m a Yankee’s fan).  Going to a baseball game, or other sporting event, can be a great way to really get into something together – you’ll sing, dance, scream and cheer on your team, while enjoying a few beers and indulging in some totally unhealthy but delicious stadium food.  My favorite meal at Yankee Stadium includes the garlic fries and gluten-free beer.

April Date 2: Go to a local Farmers Market and then cook a meal together.  I personally love the Union Square Farmers Market, and try to go most Saturdays in the spring and summer.  When you go with your honey, you can spend time tasting the local foods (cheese, meat, wine) and then pick up what you like best.  Later on, cooking together will really turn up the heat in your relationship and bring you two closer together.

April Date 3: Go rockclimbing and then to an open air food truck bonanza.  In NYC, I’m talking about Brooklyn Boulders followed by Smorgasburg!  Brooklyn Boulders often has deals on Gilt City or Groupon, so find a great deal and go for a day.  Once you’ve built up a huge appetite, head over to Smorgusburg and feast on as many items as you can.  I’ll be heading on this date in a week and a half, and I can’t wait!

April Date 4: Go to the Bronx Zoo.  By going in April, you’ll avoid the summer crowds which will start before we know it.  While you’re there, check out the New York Botanical Gardens and finish the day at Arthur Avenue for some great Italian food.

What are your favorite April dates?

 

Date Night in the Bronx

If you’re looking to get out of Manhattan for a romantic evening with great food and a fun activity, look no further than the Bronx!  It was my turn to plan date night, so I decided to start the date on Arthur Avenue, “the Original Little Italy”.

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After a bit of research, I found two restaurants that have gluten-free options: John’s Pizzeria and Mario’s.  I decided on John’s, as they had more options – including gluten free pasta and pizza – and orchid show ticket holders received a 15% discount.  We took the the 4 train from 59th street to Fordham Road, which took about 20 minutes.  We then hopped on the BX12 SBS.  While talking, we accidentally missed the stop which would have let us off right near the start of Arthur Avenue, so had to backtrack about 10 minutes (in the rain!) to get there.  When we finally arrived, we went into the back dining area.  When I asked for the wine list, our waitress informed us that it was BYOB…score!  We ordered, and then my boyfriend ran across the street to grab a bottle of wine.  A few minutes later our food arrived – mine was Gluten-Free Penne a la Vodka (my favorite pasta dish) and his was regular PALV with chicken.  We also had a side of broccoli rabe.  Though the restaurant is nothing fancy, the pasta was traditional and delicious.  The portions were huge (we easily could have shared one dish).  The sauce was creamy but filled with enough tomatoes that the texture was great.  While I’m not usually a fan of “chain” Italian restaurants (John’s has two other locations in NY/NJ), this experience did not disappoint.

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Filled and satisfied, we left the restaurant to go to Orchid Evenings at the New York Botanical Gardens.  We got absolutely soaked while trying to find a cab in the pouring rain, but we eventually found one and got to the Garden.  This year’s theme is “Key West Contemporary”.  You walk in to a beautiful room with a fountain and massive plants as the centerpiece.  The space was beautiful, and was filled with orchids from all over the world, as well as many other beautiful plants.  While certain parts were filled with people, there were moments when we felt like we were alone in the jungle or in a beautiful garden – it was super romantic!  Each evening has a special guest DJ, so you may even be able to steal a dance with your date.  Your ticket also includes a signature cocktail: last night featured Four Roses Bourbon – it was light, refreshing and very smooth.  There are also a couple cash bars, so you can purchase wine and beer.  Tickets to Orchid Evenings are $30, but you may be able to find a deal for a little bit less.  We spent about 1.5 hours there, and then hopped on the Metro North (Botanical Garden Station) and were back in Manhattan in 15 minutes.

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Despite the downpour, this date night was perfect.  Orchid Evenings is ongoing through the end of April, so grab a ticket and go soon.

John’s Pizzeria | 2376 Arthur Avenue, Bronx NY

New York Botanical Garden | Bronx NY

 

 

Quick Eats – February Edition

There is no denying that I love a long, leisurely delicious meal.  Having drinks to start, several courses and trying to save room for dessert is fun – especially when you are with great company.  However, sometimes as busy New Yorker’s, we just need something fast…without the sacrifice of deliciousness.  So this month I’m sharing my three favorite “quick and delicious” joints, that are not remotely “fast-food”.

Untamed Sandwiches.  Conveniently located by my office (and Bryant Park), Untamed is the best place to get a sandwich.  My first need in a great sandwich shop is  gluten-free bread.  Check!  Beyond the bread, these sandwiches are like no other that you’ve tried.  The focus is on slow-braised meat made with fresh, sustainable and delicious ingredients.  My favorite is The Butt: made with cider braised pork butt,  broccoli rabe, pepper jelly, dijon mustard and sharp cheddar.  It is melt in your mouth amazing- the gluten-free bun soaks up the juiciness of the pork and it’s simply divine.  Others I’ve tried are the beef-brisket, chicken tinga and ciambotta style vegetables (yes, there are options for all the veggie-lovers out there!).  I will most certainly be returning soon to check out the already famous Chupacabra (braised goat) and the Ray Ray (Habanero BBQ Duck – $1 of every sandwich also goes to a great cause).  The lunch rush is pretty crazy (though still relatively quick) so I recommend going in the evening – they also have local wine and beer, so you can truly make your next quick meal amazing.   43 West 39th Street 

The Halal Guys on 53rd and 6th.  If you live in NYC, you have heard about The Halal Guys.  While there is no lack of street food (especially halal) in the city, there is one that is so infamous, people report waiting in line for over 45 minutes just to get a platter of their gyro and chicken.  This week I went on a cold night around 6:30pm.  No line.  I couldn’t believe it!  I got the chicken and gyro mix over rice (no pita bread, though my boyfriend said it was amazing) with white sauce on top and hot on the side.  It was actually really fantastic.  The meats were cooked wonderfully, and the rice was flavored well.  The white sauce was perfection and the hot sauce packed a punch (seriously, get it on the side).  And, for only $6, the plates are huge.  I could have easily made two meals out of it, but as we were going to a Broadway show afterwards, I sadly had to say goodbye to a good portion of it.  So, when that craving for  great halal just won’t go away, check out this truck.  The line is worth it.  [NOTE: There are several trucks on 53rd and 6th.  The real one is on the SE corner and has a sign that says “We Are Different”]  53rd and 6th 

Burger Joint.  Burger Joint as Le Parker Meridien is another famous place to get a fast, juicy and tasty burger with no frills.  They recently opened a downtown joint, located in the West Village.  I went this past Saturday and was impressed.  The downtown restaurant is much bigger than their hotel spot, and allows you to sit down and enjoy the meal.  I had a cheeseburger with the works, wrapped in a lettuce bun; my mom had a burger, and we split the fries.  All this for only $20 and about 10 minutes.  Not bad!  The burger was cooked perfectly (medium) and the meat itself was delicious.  The shoestring fries were also very yummy, and there were plenty for two people to share.  The place was nearly empty, so we had a nice sized booth to share.  It gets more packed on weeknights, so forgo brunch and check out this spot on a Saturday afternoon wandering around the village.  33 West 8th Street 

What’s your favorite place to get a quick and delicious meal in NYC?  Let me know, so I can check it out in March!

26 for 26

I love birthdays.  If you know me, you know I love planning surprise parties, buying the perfect gift and celebrating my family and friends on their special day.  I also love using mine to set goals for the next year of my life.  This year, I’ve decided to come up with the 26 things that I want to do / accomplish this year.  Some are already on my bucket list.  Some are inspired by other’s lists.  I will be sure to update my blog as I complete these – both to share with you all and to keep myself on-track.

  1. Write at least one blog post per week for 52 weeks.
  2. Read 26 books (last year I did 50 – making this more manageable, but I’m sure I’ll surpass!)
  3. Practice Spanish at least once per week for the first 26 weeks of the year.
  4. Practice Italian at least once per week for the second 26 weeks of the year.
  5. Go to 3 states that I’ve never been to. (1 down: Arizona)
  6. Travel internationally at least twice.
  7. Go skydiving.
  8. Go to Brazil for the World Cup.
  9. Run a New York Road Runners race.
  10. Do a headstand, crow pose, a pull-up and a split.
  11. Take a solo weekend trip.
  12. Meditate every day for 26 days in a row.
  13. Write a love letter.
  14. Get into graduate school.
  15. See the Book of Mormon.
  16. Master Moonlight Sonata on the piano.
  17. Have an article published on the Huffington Post or Under30CEO.
  18. (Start to) write a book.
  19. Paint a picture.
  20. Perfect 2 signature cocktails and 6 recipes.
  21. Research my family history – and prepare something to share before Christmas.
  22. Mail birthday cards to my family and friends.
  23. Knock off at least 2 things from my “In The World” and 6 from my “NYC” bucket lists.
  24. Become a finalist for a social impact fellowship (and hopefully win!).
  25. Treat myself to a spa day.
  26. Give back – do something for someone else every week for 52 weeks.

Bonus Goal: Be OK with changing or revising these goals as the year goes on.