Monday, December 31, 2012

A New Year in New York

I am the queen of reflection. Per my suggestion, my college roommate and I made sure we had a wrap-up meal every semester to talk about the top days, nights, lessons learned, etc., of the previous few months. This blog is great for my own reflecting and I'm currently reflecting upon 2012. Of course this year as any had a few downs, but all in all, was way more full of amazing things than anything else. And although it was overall a good year, I'm looking forward to closing the book on 2012 and opening it up on 2013.

2013 promises to be pretty awesome, at least in terms of projects and traveling. I plan on:
  • Finishing up my 28 Things project
  • Coming up with another solid blog project
  • Adhering to the deadline I set to send my book proposal out to agents
  • Working on a few other creative projects that I might share with you later
  • Traveling to Thailand and Hong Kong with my sister as I'm sure you're all aware of by now
  • Taking a trip with my parents and sister to Italy (and perhaps a quick stop in another country on the way home) this summer
  • Making a few long weekend trips to places in America where I've never been (Chicago, Boston - can you believe this?) or places where friends/family live that I haven't been to in way too long (Indianapolis, San Francisco)
  • Finding an art history class to take for a semester or so
  • Volunteering more
  • Being less hard on myself
I've organized my posts of the last year in case you'd like to travel back in time with me. I've also starred a few of my favorites.

Tourist Traps
    Recaps & To-Dos
    Random NYC Love
    Travel Posts
    I leave you with wishes that 2013 will be the best year yet for all of you AND with my favorite version of Auld Lang Syne, performed by one of my favorite artists, James Taylor. Watch the video while you listen for a really sweet slideshow.

    LOVE you all.


    Sunday, December 30, 2012

    50 Shades of Black & White

    A few weeks ago, Kat and I checked out the Picasso Black and White exhibit at the Guggenheim. It was actually my first time at this museum (hereby referred to as "the Goog"), but it definitely won't be my last. The museum design (by Frank Lloyd Wright) is iconic and has been featured in many movies and television shows, including Mr. Popper's Penguins which I accidentally watched a few minutes of once, but got to enjoy people chasing penguins all around the museum.

    I loved the Goog because of the flow, made possible by FLW's amazing design work. I have Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) and am never sure in other museums if I've hit all the rooms or if I've missed out on something amazing. At the Goog, you are just walking up a constant path (with a few side rooms on the lower levels) so you are bound to catch it all.

    I've always loved Picasso. I checked out the Picasso: Guitars exhibit at the MoMA last year and and even have tried to make my own version of his painting Three Musicians. This exhibit was different because obviously, as the title shows, only pieces in black and white (and shades of the two) were featured. So many of Picasso's iconic pieces are in bright and bold colors or of course, in shades of blue from his blue period. In addition to paintings, some of Picasso's sculptures and sketches (in a style I had never seen) were displayed. I enjoyed the whole exhibit very much. It's always fun to read Picasso's titles for his artwork and then to try and figure out how the heck the paintings are actually "Accordionist" or "The Kitchen".

    On the top level of the Goog, there was another cool exhibit of Gabriel Orozco who collects things he finds in particular areas and organizes them for display purposes. I'm kind of obsessed with organizing, so his exhibit was visually pleasing to me.

    "Sandstars" shows over a thousand objects he found on a beach in Mexico and includes treasures like bottles, oars, stones, driftwood, buoys:

    "Astroturf Constellation" shows again, over a thousand objects found, but this time on a playing field on Pier 40 in NYC. This piece includes tinier objects, like candy wrappers, silly bands, bandaids, bottle caps, and pieces of a soccer ball:

    The Orozco exhibit is until January 13 and the Picasso exhibit is until January 23, so if you have FOMO, get on these quickly.


    Friday, December 28, 2012

    a hell LOVE a world: South America Memories

    I've been daydreaming non-stop about travel since I returned from Europe in October and suddenly decided to go with my sister to Asia, on a trip that is now just two weeks away (eek!). I'm already thinking about the places I'd like to go once we return (spoiler alert, Italy this summer) and think that instead of complete 29 Things / 30 Things Lists, a la my 28 Things List, my main focus before I'm 30 will be to visit every continent (and no, Antarctica doesn't count for this girl). I first got this idea a few years ago from the friend we will be staying with while in Hong Kong and have also seen it recently on another bucket list, that of the World Wanderer, whose blog I am currently obsessed with. When I get back from this trip at the end of the month, I will have a little over two years to visit Africa and Australia (with hopefully some more Euro-trips in the mix if I stop paying my rent for a few months). Anyone up for coming with?

    I haven't been to a new continent in quite some time. I created the Facebook group for my study abroad trip my Sophomore year of college and called it "South America Kicked Our A**es". The funny part is, now that it has been EIGHT years (I had to actually do the math four times because I can't believe this) - I can't actually remember *how* South America kicked our a**es. This is probably a good sign for my upcoming trip and a good thing to keep in mind when traveling - that obviously you're going to be tired, get lost, fight with your travel companions, wait in lines, and have horrible flight delays, but you'll remember the good stuff.

    Here's what I remember the best from South America:

    Buenos Aires, Argentina was where we stayed (with host families and dogs) and studied (just a little). My favorite sites were La Casa Rosada, the Recoleta Cemetery (I know, it sounds so strange to like a cemetery, but it was so cool!), and a region of the city called La Boca, with the greatest colored houses I've ever seen. I 100% credit this trip with why I started thinking about living in NYC because I realized city-living was for me.

    After a particularly large bottle of wine.
    The first weekend of our trip, we visited Uruguay. We went to the city of Montevideo and then took a bus to Casapueblo in Punta Ballena (Whale Beach) which is a house with zero 90-degree angles in it, designed by the artist Carlos Páez Vilaró. My favorite thing in Uruguay was the beach in Punta del Este where we saw the quirky sculpture La Mano (The Hand) that is like a giant hand coming out from the ocean as if a person were drowning and reaching up for help.

    Watch a sunset every day.

    The next weekend, our group traveled to the border of Argentina and into Brazil to see Iguazú Falls from both countries. These glorious waterfalls kick Niagara Falls' butt, trust me on that. While there, we rappelled down a small waterfall and ziplined through the rainforest. I was nervous for both because in the few moments right before each adventure, I convinced myself I was scared of heights, even though I'm really not, which is good because I will be riding an elephant when I'm in Thailand, and those things are tall.


    The waterfall we rappelled down

    Getting nervous

    Our last weekend was spent traveling through the Andes Mountains, which was my absolute favorite part of the trip. The mountains are so huge, each one different from the next, and the sky was just so perfect that particular weekend. I know it's cliche, but pictures really don't do it justice. A trek up a particular mountain let us step into Chile for a few minutes, which was long enough for me to count it on my countries visited list and scratch it off my map.

    Peep the snow-covered mountain behind the clouds

    Having great pictures and memories like this make me forget some of the not-so-awesome parts of the trip. The one bad part I will definitely always remember is the flight back from the Andes. The flight was supposed to take off at 9 pm, we didn't end up taking off until midnight and didn't get back into BA until 3 in the morning. That part alone would have been fine if there hadn't additionally been thunder, lightning, turbulence, and a baby screaming the whole way or if the oxygen masks hadn't come down, terrifying us all, or if my seat cushion had been attached to my seat.

    With that said, if some things are not-so-awesome with my Asia trip, I know I'll remember what's important - the good stuff. And there will be plenty of that.


    Wednesday, December 26, 2012

    Going to the Chapel

    By now, you may have thought I had given up on my 28 Things since I haven't written about any of the items on my list in the past three months. It's a shame because my way to keep on track was to do seven items a quarter and I'm way behind, but aren't things more fun to do with a little pressure?

    #13 Go to mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral

    St. Patrick's Cathedral is arguably (or is this even an argument?) the most iconic church in the city. It's right across from Rockefeller Center so if you get overwhelmed by the crowds from the tree and people window shopping, you can duck in there and be quickly transported somewhere other than midtown Manhattan, somewhere peaceful.

    Carrie suggested this for my list which was perfect because it was something I've been meaning to do since I moved to the city, especially to the east side. I decided the best way to complete this item on my list would be during the holiday season, since the church would be decorated and the choir might sing some of my fav carols. Aubrey and I attended the 10:15 mass a few Sundays back and it was fantastic.

    image cred
    The church is currently under renovation so there is ugly scaffolding outside but don't let that stop you, the inside is beautiful. There is room for about 2,000 people to sit during mass and there were plenty of people standing as well. We actually got seats right behind a giant column, but that didn't matter because there were tv screens on the columns so that everyone could see Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York and frequent blogger and NY morning show guest, perform the mass.

    We stayed after mass to check out the deets, the shop, and the decorations, especially the Nativity scene in which for some reason, in addition to the camel and lamb, a Labrador retriever is present (I may have missed something).

    Growing up Irish Catholic, I obviously got an extra kick out of being at St. Patrick's Cathedral, but I recommend a visit even if you didn't grow up Christian or aren't religious at all. When I travel, I love visiting churches and sacred places, mostly because they are typically centuries old, with extremely detailed architecture, and are peaceful spots to reflect upon how far you've come - in miles and in life. Katie and I will be visiting a lot of Buddhist temples while we're in Thailand, which is awesome, because according to my mom, every time you are in a new house of worship, you get to make a wish. And I have lots of wishes.


    Monday, December 17, 2012

    Getting into the Spirit

    Christmas has somehow crept up on me the last few years. I feel like at one point in my life I was thoughtful and sent out cards, bought gifts on time, and actually decorated my apartment. Because I don’t like to blame myself, I am going to blame my holiday shortcomings as of late on NYC. The city is decorated by November so I usually think “Oh, well I still have weeks to prepare, they just decorate so far in advance” and never realize when Christmas is only a week away because everything has looked the same all season.

    image cred
    It probably won't truly feel like Christmas until I am home with my family, watching horrible Christmas VHS tapes that we've had for decades (including Baby Sitters Club Christmas and Little House on the Prairie: Christmas at Plum Creek), hanging ornaments on the tree (which really consists of my sister taking down every ornament that I put up and rehanging it in a better place), and eating kielbasa and macaroni and cheese on Christmas Eve, before heading up to Mom-Mom's on Christmas to reunite with the whole framily (family but also friends). But until I can get home, I have been spending the last few days trying to get into the spirit while still in town.

    Katie, Aubrey, and I attended a live reading/performance of A Christmas Carol at Housing Works, read by published authors and a few actors/comedians, including Scott Adsit from 30 Rock, who has shown up in my life quite a few times over the last few months. Maybe he's my soulmate:

    I wanted to visit St Patrick’s Cathedral, as part of my 28 Things list (to be blogged about later) but also because I thought it would be decorated nicely for Christmas, and it sure did have a nice nativity scene:

    After I visited the cathedral, I walked across the street for five minutes, which was just about all I could handle of the web of tourists, to take a snapshot of the tree in Rockefeller Center:

    And while I didn't partake in the pubcrawl/disaster known as SantaCon, where thousands of drunk post-college kids dress up like Santa and his wasted elves, I did find a disguise at a recent holiday party and had some giggles with Aubrey:

    If you're looking for ideas to enjoy the city this time of year, check out my winter to-do's from last year here.


    Sunday, December 9, 2012

    A Deluxe Apartment in the Sky

    I am not a morning person. It takes something special for me to wake up before 11 on a weekend. Last Saturday, that "something special" was to visit Christopher Columbus in his living room. A seventh-floor apartment, larger than mine, was built around the Columbus statue in Columbus Circle. You may have heard of this exhibit by the Public Art Fund or you may have just wondered why there was scaffolding surrounding the statue and pillar. I wanted to go to the exhibit for two reasons, one so that I could get an up-close and personal view of Columbus and two, because it was "something special" - such a quirky "only in New York" thing to go see.

    I checked out tickets to see Discovering Columbus earlier in the fall but the only available times were for when I was at work so I figured this would be something I would have to miss out on. But right before Thanksgiving, I saw a tweet that the exhibit was being extended a few weeks and I jumped online and searched for tickets with the fervor as if I were trying to get tickets to a NJ Springsteen show. The only timeslot available was for 9 am on a Saturday, but I couldn't think of a better way to start a new month than by doing something I wouldn't normally do.

    I got to Columbus Circle around 8:35 and was maybe 12th in line for our timeslot. It was a pretty cold morning and I'm bad at weather and didn't wear the right coat, but somehow I survived long enough to climb the steps to the deluxe apartment in the sky. The women around me were complaining about the stairs, but I live in a fifth-floor walk-up, so I was prepared for that part of the journey.

    When I was in line, I was thinking how I don't really pay too much attention to the statues here, aside from of course, the Statue of Liberty. But then when I travel to other cities, I always make an effort to check out their respective statues of their heroes, mostly under the advice of the great Rick Steves. I decided I would apologize to Columbus in my head when I saw him face-to-face. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that his face would be a good 8 feet above mine.

    I don't know why he has elf ears
    The detail in Columbus's apartment was pretty cute. He had couches, kitschy wallpaper, beautiful views, and tons of reading material. I'll bet he was sad to have to move out.

    In case you'd like to see more, check out the first minute or so of this clip from one of my favorite shows, CBS Sunday Morning (I'm 80):

    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...