Tag Archives: NYC

Friday Favorites & a Giveaway!

Two posts in one week — I told you I was coming back! Who doesn’t like a little Friday Favorites and a giveaway?! If you’re only here for the giveaway, scroll down to the bottom. But for the rest of you, here are some things I’m currently loving!

Vietnamese cold brew. I love coffee, and in the summer I drink iced coffee exclusively (I drink it a lot in the winter, too). I’m a fan of cold brewed coffee (more of that coffee taste without it getting watered down by the ice cubes), and will usually choose that over the regular iced coffee counterpart. So when a new coffee shop opened up down the block from me, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on their cold brew. While there for the first time I noticed Vietnamese cold brew on their menu and decided to give it a try. Since that day, it’s easily become my favorite summer drink. What makes this cold brew so special? Well, it’s cold brew coffee mixed with sweetened condensed milk. It provides just the right amount of creamy and sweet while keeping the integrity of the cold brew coffee. My only complaint is that it comes in one size and I always want more!

Vietnamese Cold Brew

 

High top sneakers. I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point high top sneakers came back in style. At first I wasn’t really a fan, but like with most trends, they grew on me. I originally thought they were something that other people could pull off, but I definitely couldn’t. Eventually I worked up enough courage to buy a pair (after spending a LONG time looking for the ‘right’ ones) and I’m so glad I took the plunge. There were a lot of really cute expensive pairs out there, but since I wasn’t sure how they’d look on me, I opted for a more affordable classic pair; Vans Sk8 Hi-Tops! I ordered them from Nordstrom and wore them out as soon as I got them. They’re comfortable, fashion forward, and go with a lot more than I originally thought – I’ve worn them with pants, shorts, and even dresses! Also worth noting it’s almost Nordstrom Anniversary Sale time (those of you with Nordstrom cards can already start shopping), so if you’re like me and you’ve been wanting a pair but haven’t pulled the trigger, now is a perfect time!

 

Starbucks Peach Green Tea Lemonade. This is a drink that to me, tastes like summer. Growing up when I’d go to “the pool” with my mom and sister during the summer months (which we did pretty much every single day because I was obsessed), we’d usually bring lemonade, peaches, and Oreos. A random mix, yes, but a treat nonetheless. So when I saw this drink on the Starbucks menu, I decided to give it a try. As soon as I took my first sip I immediately thought to myself, “This tastes like summer!” and was transported back to those summer days at the pool. It’s sweet and refreshing, and something I find myself craving. I’m really glad I decided to give it a try (I usually just get iced coffee at ‘bux)!

 

Working in New York City. I’m sure there are a lot of people that will say working in NYC is the worst, but I actually love it. My family is from NYC (Brooklyn, specifically) and I spent the first 4 years of my life living there along with countless trips back to my grandma’s in Park Slope when growing up. Even today my dad can give you directions to pretty much anywhere in the city, even though he hasn’t been a resident for over 25 years. I always thought I’d wind up working in NYC once I graduated college, but that didn’t happen right away. I took a job that was located in the outskirts of suburbia, and a car was required for everything. As the years passed, I felt like I was missing out; I wanted to be closer to all the action! So when the opportunity presented itself to look for jobs in the NYC area, I jumped on it. Aside from finally working in a location I’ve wanted for years, there have also been some great perks. I’m a mere 9 blocks away from Refine Method and not far from a FlyWheel studio. I can go two blocks down towards the water and I’m at the Hudson Greenway/West Side Highway for amazing running. AND I’ve seen multiple celebrities since starting; just a few weeks ago I passed Mike Meyers and Louis CK on my way down Hudson Street to the PATH station! The benefits far outweigh any negatives I may encounter.

View from my office patio!

View from my office patio!

 

GoMacro bars. I’m always looking for snacks I can add to my pantry at home and desk drawer at work. So I was excited to be asked to try GoMacro bars and do a giveaway for my readers. I’m not a complete stranger to GoMacro; I’ve seen them at the store before, but never actually tried them until this past month. They’re made from mostly raw ingredients and are all organic, non-GMO, kosher, gluten free, and vegan!

gomacro

I was sent a variety box of mini bars, and got to work on trying them for different things; before a workout or run, as a snack, etc. and it turns out they were great for all of my needs! I was sent a bunch of different flavors, but my favorites were the peanut butter, granola + coconut, and peanut butter chocolate chip. The consistency reminds me of the old-school PowerBars, but they taste much better. Since I only had the mini bars they definitely weren’t enough to have on their own before a workout, but were really helpful if I needed just a little something extra.

The folks at GoMacro were kind enough to offer a giveaway for one of my readers AND offer everyone a discount! You can enter through the Rafflecopter plugin below – the more you do, the more chances you have to win (a comment is required, though)! You have until midnight on Tuesday 7/14 to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

If you can’t wait to see if you’ve won the giveway, you can go to their website and enter “BLOGGER” at checkout to get 40% (!!!) off your first order!

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More Than Running

When you love a sport, you want to do that sport all the time. And when you’re trying to be competitive in it (whether “competitive” means against others or just yourself), it’s easy to get wrapped up in doing just that. But if there’s one thing I know as an athlete, it’s that you need to do more than just your sport in order to excel.

As a swimmer in high school and college, I understood the importance of “dryland.” I didn’t always make it a priority, but I always tried to remind myself that there was more to swimming than just swimming. When I actually hit the weight room and did things to supplement my time in the pool, I saw results. I’ll never forget the summer after a disappointing freshman year season – I made as many 6am long course practices as possible and, thanks to not really having a job (which was not so fun when I had no money sophomore year) I also did a lot of running and weight training. It paid off big time and I told myself I’d be diligent with cross-training for the rest of my swimming career.

No shame then, no shame now. See, I used to swim!

No shame then, no shame now. See, I used to swim!

Well, my swimming career ended (for now), but I didn’t keep the promise to myself to be good at cross-training when I started running. I’ve found myself being great at it when I’m injured, but as soon as I start to get into the depths of training for whatever upcoming race, my cross-training falls by the wayside. It’s a combination of things; I’m tired, I’m spending more time running and have less time for “other stuff,” and if we’re being honest, sometimes I’m just plain lazy. But with this last injury preventing me from running a fall marathon for the second year in a row, I realized it was time to get serious. Or as my mother would say, time to shit or get off the pot.

Since I’m slightly injured right now, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to explore some cross-training options that would allow me to help me reach my running goals. Not having to worry about weekend morning long runs leaves time for fitness classes that I would otherwise skip because I wouldn’t want to waste energy on a non-running activity, or be afraid I’d be too sore. I’m also much closer to a variety of fitness options that I didn’t really have before… so there’s really no excuse!

Swimmer turned runner... kind of.

Swimmer turned runner… kind of.

This past weekend I got adventurous and tried two new-to-me workouts. First up was yoga with Dori on Saturday at a local yoga studio. After finding an Amazon Local deal a few weeks ago, we decided it would be in both of our best interests to check it out. The studio, Jivamukti Yoga, offers a variety of classes throughout the day, which is convenient. Unfortunately they don’t offer any early classes, making it a weeknight and/or weekend-only kind of thing.

Since we’ve both practiced yoga before, but it’s been awhile for us (and we’re far from experts), we decided to try the Beginner Vinyasa class. The mid-afternoon class was small (there were 7 of us including myself and Dori) which allowed for personal attention and a relaxing environment. We started with some chanting which I always have to try not to smile/laugh during because I’m a child, and then we moved on to some basic poses and a few sequences. It felt good to stretch out while also getting a little bit of a workout (my back and arms were slightly sore the next day). We ended the class working on an assisted shoulder stand, but both Dori and I agreed it would have been easier with out the blanket prop. It also made me realize the importance of a shirt with an elastic or adjustable waistband! Since we purchased a 5-class package, we’ll definitely be back. I’m looking forward to trying some of the other types of classes they offer, like their spirit warrior class which is a one-hour workout styled class, as well as their aerial vinyasa.

On Sunday, I finally tried out Refine Method, which I’ve been meaning to try for a long time. I have a lot of friends who love it, so now that I’m a quick PATH ride away from the city, it was the perfect time to give it a try.

As with all new things, I was a little nervous for my first class. Not because I thought I wouldn’t be able to do the work, rather I was scared of the unknown. I didn’t want to look like a total newbie, and sometimes when I’m working out I don’t pay close attention to instructions which leaves me clueless. Thankfully I had nothing to worry about because Dori was with me to help, and it was all really straight forward and simple – I wasn’t confused at all! The instructor, Laura, took the time to introduce herself and set me up on their pulley system, and to tell me what weights she thought I should use. Once the class started it was go-go-go for 55 minutes (followed by core-work and a cool-down for the last 5 minutes).

I was dripping sweat by the end of the class, and knew I’d be sore on Monday. We did everything from side lunges with single leg squats, to jump-backs (burpees) and kettlebell swings. My favorite part about the class was that each exercise was done for no more than a minute at a time, and just as you were starting to feel like you couldn’t continue, it was time to switch to the next exercise! And each set included a move targeting your upper body, followed by one targeting your lower body (or vice versa). It really is a total body workout that pushes you without feeling impossible. I felt really accomplished by the end of class, and was already thinking about when to go back! I think doing workouts like this two times a week could really help with my running because a lot of the exercises are things that are part of my simple strength work now. The classes are a little expensive, but I think I can make it work if I scale back on other things (aka my online shopping habit).

Needless to say, I’m ready to put in the work – both with my runs as well as my cross-training to make sure I stay strong, healthy, and get to the start line so I can crush my goals!

Tell me…
Do you cross train to supplement your running (if you’re a runner)? And if so, what do you do?
What’s your favorite workout?

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Virgil’s BBQ: Smoky Goodness

Last night a group of us headed into the city to have dinner at Virgil’s BBQ in Times Square. Feeling super touristy, we got the ultimate hit of that when we bought our round-trip NJ Transit tickets. For both my fiancé and I to travel from our train stop in Edison to New York Penn Station, we each paid $24.50. Yes, you read that correctly. Almost 50% more than we paid before the price increase (it was only about $17.50 before!). Needless to say, our trips to the city will be a little less frequent, and probably by car for the foreseeable future.

Despite that little road bump, we definitely enjoyed our dinner. We started off with some hush puppies for the table which were AMAZING. I typically see hush puppies in a ball-like form, but these looked more like mozzarella sticks. They were served with a maple-syrup butter, and I had to use serious restraint not to eat the entire plate. Unfortunately, they were super filling, leaving me little room for my actual meal. As for drinks, they have a lot to offer in terms of beer, wine, margaritas, and mixed drinks. My fiance and I went for their beer flight of Magic Hat (Circus Boy, #9, and Virgil’s), while others got the “June Bug” mixed drink, lemonade, and root beer.

Hush Puppies with Maple Butter

As always, I spent some time prior to our trip familiarizing myself with their menu. It’s weird, I know, but I like to think by previewing the menu beforehand, my decision making is made easier once at the actual restaurant. I decided on the Fish Fry, which was actually their special for the day; it had calamari, scallops, shrimp, monk fish and cod served with homemade waffle chips, cornbread, and two types of creamy tartar sauce. It was really good, but I barely made a dent in it! My fiance went with the two meat combo of Memphis spare ribs and Texas brisket and two sides of macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes. Some of our other table mates had the barbeque chicken, smoked ham, fried chicken po’boy, and the “pig out” which came with a little bit of everything – bbq chicken, Texas link, ribs, brisket, and two sides!

Fish fry with homemade waffle chips

I don’t think there was much conversation during, or even after our meal – everyone loved everything, and they were STUFFED! We had little room or motivation for anything afterwards, so we wound up heading back home, feeling old and lame.

Two meat combo of ribs & brisket w. mac&cheese and mashed potatoes

I have to be honest that I was a bit worried prior to the trip. Everyone aside from me had been there before, but I had an inkling that based on it’s location (46th St. right across from the giant Toys R Us in Times Square) that it was going to be gimmicky, and really over priced. Turns out that I was almost completely wrong. Yes, it was somewhat expensive, but we got A TON of food, and it definitely wasn’t gimmicky like I expected. So, I would absolutely go back. But this time, I’d get something that was in one of their 1400lb capacity smoker!

Barbeque chicken

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Brunch-a-licious

brunch

Naturally, I decided to post about brunch on a Sunday. Granted, this delightful quasi meal can be enjoyed any day of the week, it is most frequently visited on Sundays.

That being said, I can honestly say I’ve sampled some of the best brunch right here in New York City. I think a large selling point for most of the restaurants are their 90 minute ‘all you can drink’ options. Pair that with some eggs Benedict or juicy burger, and you have most sold. Don’t they say the best way to get over a hangover is to drink?!

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of going to Maracas in the Village. For a whopping $15 I had a huge tostada filled with Mexican chicken (nice and spicy) with guacamole, sour cream and tons of veggies. Coupled with some strawberry margaritas and mimosas, I was in heaven. I then spent the next few hours lounging in Central Park. I don’t think I could have had a better Sunday.

That being said, brunch is truly one of the best meals – anything goes. You can get breakfast or lunch or even a combination of the two. Add in some drinks and you’re golden.

I urge everyone to get their brunch on. Drinks or no drinks, I can’t imagine a group being unable to find something appeasing to each individual’s taste. It really is a great way to connect with someone; over comforting foods on the earlier side of a day. Hey, it would be a great date too! Easy to cut off afterwards if things didn’t go as planned, but also just as easy to spend the rest of the day together.

I myself have spent too much of my time skipping breakfast or skirting around what I deemed to be appropriate breakfast fare. Now, however, I’m able to embrace breakfast, and more importantly brunch, on a whole. Breakfast is one of the great meals that really can be enjoyed anytime. Add it in later in a lazy Saturday or Sunday, even throw in some drinks, and I can’t imagine anything better. Unless, of course, there were cupcakes…

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