Sunday, October 28, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Even though my New York trip was pretty fabulous, I could not wait to go back to NJ and spend time with my family. Ten months is the longest I have ever gone in my life without seeing them (I think the most I had gone before is three and a half months, when I went to Europe!)

Lots of stuff has happened in the home front--good and bad.

The good: My sister, Annette, is pregnant and expecting a baby girl in January!

The bad: We found out in September that my mom has uterine cancer. She underwent surgery at the end of the month and was in recovery when I went to visit.

When I was there, we found out that the cancer is in the early stages. That is very promising news for a clean bill of health in the future! Mom was tired but in good spirits, and I was so happy to spend some time with her. It has been really difficult to be so far away from home during this time.

Annette had two days off from work, so she came over from Pennsylvania, and we had some good old fashioned "sisterly fun"--complete with cupcakes.

Annette, Jen and I hit Babys R Us to register for baby stuff. I couldn't get over how much stuff little ones need. Holy crap! (I think my sister is so cute pregnant!)

I got to spend some time with my brother Pete and his wife Jen. Apparently Pete hasn't had a car for a while and has been biking and motorcycling everywhere. Hence the crazy outfit.  It was cold that day! (He did buy a new car that week to take him through winter).

Speaking of cold, the fluctuating weather did not agree with me, and I got sick half way through my trip. My mom fixed up this spa treatment to help me breath better.

It was good to be back. I plan to return in February for my mom's birthday and to see the baby! (I don't want to go 10 months ever again!)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Baby Parade

Dude, people in Brooklyn are making all kinds of babies.

First, I headed to Brooklyn Heights for some Polish eggs and kielbasa brekkies AND to meet the newest member of the Prince family. Here we all are!

Pleased to meet you, Grant!

And look who's all grown up!

Next stop: Dan and I trekked to Fort Greene and hung out with Nell, Adam and Theo. I really enjoyed catching up with them around their big kitchen table. Just like old times!

 Matching hair-dos ROCK!

The next day, Meagan and I headed to Julie's sweet new apartment in Park Slope, where I saw Luca!

I was super impressed that this new mom (of six weeks?) made us a home-cooked meal. Lasagna! Like, seriously?

I also had lunch with my former co-worker, Carrie, who I befriended at one of my old freelance jobs. We did not meet in Brooklyn, and she does not have a baby. But I think she likes babies (and baby parades, naturally), so her inclusion makes perfect sense in this post.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

New York Groove

Three things I wanted to do in New York.

1. Eat my heart out (on the must-have list: cupcakes, bagels, pizza, Peruvian chicken...preferably not all at once).

2. Get around town...I wanted to see it all.

3. See as many people as humanely possible (did the best I could but still missed some peeps - bummer).

I think I did pretty well. Some highlights:

Breakfast with Brian and JP (no photos), who recently moved back to New York from Colorado. I remember an especially important conversation about the lack of delis in the Los Angeles area and how I should probably open up my own New York style brick and mortar deli called (what else) Everyday Ham.

Michele and I had a lovely afternoon in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where we embraced our inner hipster with instagram photos and lunch at Smorgasburg, the Brooklyn Flea's food market.

More New Yorker Festival happened: Dan took in events all weekend; I checked out out Sarah Silverman and Portlandia Live.

Yeah, this bagel was the bomb. I had so many bagels, it should last me until I come back.

 I checked out the old neighborhood (see my old apartment building? And is that Bill Cunningham behind me?) Danielle and I had cupcakes at Two Little Red Hens (the Brooklyn blackout is my fave!)

Gotta love an impromptu firework display on the walk to dinner. (Yes, we WALKED and took the train everywhere!)

Also gotta love how terrible everyone looks in this picture. Taken at Grimaldis! Legit pizza!

Loved every minute! Oh, New York, you do not disappoint!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My 34th Birthday

We decided long ago that we would spend my 34th birthday in New York City. It made sense. I love to travel on my birthday; it was the weekend of The New Yorker Festival and we are planning to spend the holidays on the west coast this year. Fall is the best time to visit New York anyway, so it all fell into place.

It had been 10 months since I have visited the East Coast, the first time since the big move. I was a bit nervous about it. I just got over being homesick about NYC merely a few months ago. Would this trip revive all those old feelings again? Would I come back, wishing I didn't have to return to California? Plus, a lot of stuff was going on with my family, and I was anxious to see them.

Dan and I took a red-eye to JFK and crashed at Kayleen and Justin's place for a few hours. Despite lack of sleep, I forced myself to wake up and spend the day outside. It was a glorious, 80-degree day with powder blue skies and lots of sun. Rare for my birthday. Immediately I felt overcome by a combination of happiness and sadness that made me smile and weepy at the same time. You know, the months before leaving NYC, I never really mourned the place or thought too hard about leaving it, but being there again, I felt incredibly nostalgic and overcome with lots of feelings. Also, it kind of felt like I never left. Everything was immediately comfortable and comforting.

I decided that NYC is like a first love to me. The love is young and passionate, a love with abandon. I know it will never go away. That is not to say I don't like Los Angeles, too, but it's a different kind of love. It's more reserved. Less showy. Slower. I am growing into it.

With all those warm, fuzzy feelings, my birthday in New York was really one of the best. Here's what I did:

Breakfast: Egg and cheese sandwich on a roll, bought from a legit east coast deli. Miss those.

Pedicure at Galleria, my favorite place (I nearly dozed off in the chair, I was so tired). 

Shopping on 5th Avenue at my favorite stores (Anthropologie, Madewell, J Crew, Kate Spade). Yeah, we have these stores in LA, but they are so much better in NYC. Seriously. Of course, I stopped for a chocolate chip cookie at City Bakery, an old ritual. (Should I have bought that red dress? It looks cute in the picture. I got a few pairs of jeans instead).

That's me and the Empire State Building. I am a tourist now after all.

Dan met up with me half way through and bought me some "Y" cards as my birthday present.  

We hit The New Yorker Festival and saw Tales out of School, where New Yorker writers told stories about working for the magazine.

I loved that The New Yorker Fest crew (yes, Julien flew in from LA!) came together once again for another weekend of "dork fest." They joined me for dinner at Bubby's...just like old times. I was so happy seeing everyone.

We ended the night with some birthday peanut butter pie. Naturally!

I have three birthday wishes for this year. I will let you know when they come true.