A Drink Break

J told me a couple of weeks back that he wanted to try taking a couple of weeks off from drinking to see how it’d effect his workouts and his weight. I told him I’d join him in this fast because maybe it’d effect my weight, too. When I drink, I don’t drink many drinks but I’ve found that because of social engagements, I drink what could be called often

The break will have been just under two weeks and it’s been easy. My bar and restaurant tabs are cheaper ($$$$!) which is mostly what I’m excited about because I’m the cheapest person alive and drinking at brunch or while out at dinner is pricey, it adds an extra $20 to a tab if each person has just one drink.

We ended our prohibition slightly early because we had to go to a party on Saturday. We each had a couple of drinks and it was fine. But I kept a mental tally of the times that I had to decline a beverage over the last two or so weeks:

  • Started on Wednesday (I mean, unofficially, I hadn’t had a drink since the Sunday before.)
  • Friday: My office does a weekly rye tasting every Friday so I had to decline the last two weeks. Totally fine. Rye tastes like shit.
  • Friday, later: I went to The Hamilton with Ben and didn’t drink. My tab was so cheap. Amazing.
  • Sunday brunch: No booze = cheap bill
  • Friday: No rye for me!

Part of me wanted to have a beer last Friday at The Hamilton, but it was OK.

Given that I have 3-4 drinks per week, this wasn’t really challenging. I do like to have a beer one night a week when I’m hanging out at home, but I didn’t miss it that much and I don’t really want to drink by myself, so it was all for the better.

Conclusion: I didn’t miss it and I really enjoyed spending less at restaurants and bars. I also don’t think it effects my weight that much because I don’t actually drink enough for it to make a difference. I realized I can easily have a social life when not drinking. All good things. 

Related: Why You Should Take a Booze Break This Summer, via MindBodyGreen

The Hamilton: A Gushing Review

I’ve talked about The Hamilton a couple of times already around these parts. It’s the new whiskey bar that has replaced The ‘Dam on Amsterdam between 109th and 110th. It’s cozy and the bartenders are Scottish and amazingly friendly. Mike, the owner, is incredibly funny and welcoming. He named this spot The Hamilton because Alexander Hamilton was of Scottish descent and he attended Columbia University.

It’s also CHEAP. Especially for brunch. Nothing is over $15 and each dish comes with a drink. So far I’ve tried to the dutch pancake (left), the shakshuka (middle), the biscuits and gravy, and the bacon & cheese burger. My boyfriend once had the egg sandwich and said it was great, so there’s that, too.

As previously mentioned, all of the food was being photographed by the chef’s friend (right), hence how I was able to try the burger.

If a blizzard hits this weekend, and I need to get out of the house due to cabin fever, you will definitely be able to find me here.

(No, this isn’t a paid post. At all. You could say I received a free ¼ of a burger for it, but not really.)

An Upper West Side Weekend

I spent all weekend in my ‘hood. I really like my ‘hood and I wasn’t seeing a show, so I didn’t have a real reason to leave. Additionally: this weekend was for being lazy. On Friday night I watched Gone Girl (for the millionth time) and colored a page in my “art therapy” coloring book. I basically just vegged. It was the nicest. After pouring myself into bed before 11pm, I woke up at the crack of 8am to head to my 9am yoga class. It’s an advanced class and is always hard but this was by far the hardest class my teacher has ever taught. I was dying and I also set a record for the most calories ever burn in one 90-minute yoga class (478 calories to be exact).

I spent the next couple of hours relaxing (and eventually showering) before Justin came over and we went to get coffee at the Hungarian Pastry Shop (somehow I was still exhausted) and he suggested watching John Adams. (Meh. It’s good, but sort of slow.) We headed out into a rather mild winter evening to The Ellington on 106th and Amsterdam for dinner with my folks. I like brunch at The Ellington better than dinner, but it was good anyways. After saying goodbye, we ended the night at new Amity Hall on 109th and Amsterdam (the location used to be another Pourhouse) to watch some football and have a drink. I fell asleep to another episode of John Adams later in the evening.

It poured all day on Sunday. In the brief break we got in between downpours, I ran out to Absolute Bagel to pick up the freshest bagels ever and we made coffee and started to wake up. Multiple cups of coffee later, we made ourselves semi-presentable and took a long walk to Petco to look at adoptable cats. There was a really sweet one named Grace that seemed really calm. Shortly after, we tried another new bar near my apartment, The Hamilton, which used to be ‘The ‘Dam,’ until it closed suddenly and without notice. The bartender was Scottish with a heavy accent and he was really friendly. They’re still trying to find their way into the neighborhood but with their prices and selection of craft beer, I have no doubt they will. Both of our meals were delicious and our bill came out to $29.

After we finished eating, we took out the chess board that we’d ordered (him, rather – it was really him) and played. I’d never played Chess before and I had a lot of trouble remember which pieces could move which directions and how. I felt like a dope, but he showed me how to beat him and I tried not to let my ego get too down on itself.

Back at my apartment, I worked on something for work in my bedroom while more John Adams was watched in the living room. That show, while interesting, bored me to tears. While perusing Netflix after, we found the documentary “The Nightmare,” about 8 people who suffer from sleep paralysis. It freaked me out, for sure, while my dude just laughed.

It was a good Upper West Side weekend. New places, new experiences, and I definitely remembered to enjoy the day.

Sunday’s Run

Even though the 4-mile race that my dude and I signed up for is over, we’re going to keep up running because it’s a good burn and it’s fun to do together. I think we’re going to aim to do a bunch of 5k’s in the spring and just try to get faster. We’re both not distance runners, by any means, and also it’s been proven time and again that distance running is not good for your body. So, why would we ever wreck our bodies? 

I mistakenly paused my app from 98th Street until 88th Street and then realized it and hit go again. So, we did more like 2.5 miles. We ran down Riverside Drive, then in Riverside Park, and ended near Lincoln Center, so we went to get brunch at The Smith afterwards. I tried the banana french toast – so good, but such a huge portion. 

I had once toyed with the idea of running a 10k (I have, on my own, once) but I’m not married to the idea and if it never happens, I’ll be okay with that. 

“Race to Deliver,” 11.22.15 aka #runningsucks

Yesterday Justin and I awoke at an unusually early hour (for a Sunday morning) of 6:30am for the “Race to Deliver” in Central Park, benefitting God’s Love We Deliver. I think it’s a great organization and the timing worked out perfectly. We’d had several weeks to prepare (aka running a couple of times per week) and I knew it wouldn’t be warm out anymore – yessss. 

We grabbed bananas and made our way to Central Park. We’d stayed up way-too-late watching the first episodes of The Man in the High Castle so we were running on about 5 hours of sleep – not the greatest idea to be honest. And it was chilly! My long-sleeved shirt was definitely not enough warmth when standing still. 

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We took our place among the 6,000 people running the race and just went for it. We ended up running the race in 40:52, which equates to 10:13 miles. Not too bad. I absolutely detest running hills so my quads felt like they were on fire every time we went up a hill. We just ran and ran and didn’t stop and it felt like shit most of the time (for me, at least) but we did it.

My reward was seeing a couple of corgis in the park as we were exiting. I almost died.

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Afterwards we treated ourselves to brunch at Jacob’s Pickles on the UWS. We arrived a little after 9:30 and we were shocked to still see a mass of people waiting outside for a table. Luckily we grabbed seats at the bar. Bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches on biscuits with coffee, fruit, and hash browns. 

We might consider doing a 5 mile race next time – in the spring – but who knows. Running is pretty damn boring, but it’s a good way to burn calories and it’s not too bad when you’re running with a partner when you push each other to going farther than you thought you originally could.

an unremarkable, too-short, but awesome couple of days

This weekend was way too short. It felt like it went by in a day and a half despite the fact that we gained an hour. I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary for Halloween so I didn’t lose time being hung over. I just woke up on Sunday and the weekend has vanished behind me.

I was able to get to a 6pm yoga class on Friday with one of my favorite yoga teachers. Then I proceeded to buy a purple sweater at TJ Maxx in an attempt to create a half-asses “Hipster Ariel” costume. It’s a really cozy sweater and I will continue to (over)wear it through the winter. I spent the rest of Friday eating whatever was left in my fridge (spoiler alert: not much) and watched the next episode of The Leftovers (still the weirdest, nonsensical show on TV).

I watched Real Time with Bill Maher on Saturday morning and then went for a way-too-hard 2.10 mile run. It should not have been as difficult as it was. I was just running too fast, I guess. Later in the evening I joined my friend Selena and at the “Girls Pint Out” booth at the NYC Craft Beer Fest for a couple of hours. I sampled too many beers. 

The rest of the night included a drink with my dude at my friend’s bar in midtown, and after his friend and her man showed up, we migrated to an Irish pub a few blocks away hoping to see some shameless costumes (and oh my goodness, we did). 

Sunday was lazy. Very lazy. Justin and I watched a few more episodes of The Walking Dead (we’re still on season 5) and enjoyed some caffeine from The Hungarian Pastry Shop before I met up for a long overdue brunch with @endotique at Melba’s in Harlem. We split the eggnog waffles and fried chicken which was delicious, to say the least. It was lovely. We watched some people running the marathon at 110th and 5th for a while, noting that they’re all insane (seriously, people who run marathons are insane – it’s unhealthy). 

The rest of the evening was filled with the rest of season 5 of The Walking Dead with Justin and later (much later) some Italian food to get us through the final episode. I read, went to bed early, and kissed inexplicably short and unremarkable weekend goodbye. 

Fly Away

I was able to spend a really chill Friday night by myself at an advanced vinyasa class followed immediately by a restorative class. After being at my stupid for over two hours, I took myself home, made dinner, and watched American Sniper (which was really good, but I wonder how much was Hollywoodified, and it just proves my point that you should not be allowed to own a gun, especially when you come back from war and are likely traumatized – and rightly so).

On Saturday, I took the Metro North up to Bridgeport to meet my parents and drive to Keene, NH to see my brother (who’s in college there). It’s a pretty town and it’s where the movie Jumanji was filmed. The college is pretty, but 4 hours there was enough for me and we headed back to the ferry and me to the city. While I was there I had a pumpkin latte, pumpkin ice cream, and pumpkin beer. It’s fall, y’all!

During the last 10 miles or so to the train station, there was a a load of traffic, so when we saw the sign for the station before it, we pulled over and headed up to it and I made the train. Phew. Justin met me at Grand Central at 10pm and we had drinks at the Campbell Apartment (love that place, but it’s so expensive) before we cabbed it back to my place.

Sunday was brunch at L’Express with my best childhood friend and her husband, which was awesome, and then we headed to 23rd and the FDR for an Oktoberfest celebration, hosted by Zum Schneider’s (the photo above is us with Sylvester Schneider, the owner). It was super fun and over the course of 2.5 hours I nursed one stein, which was more than enough for me. We grabbed some pizza after and cabbed it home.

It was literally the quickest weekend ever. This weekend I am doing my best not to do anything at all. 

Movies, Marshmallows, and Moving

I had planned on going to my first yoga class in three (3!!) weeks on Friday afternoon until I received a notification that there was a fire in the building. Well, damn. Elliptical in my building’s gym it was. 

The rest of Friday night was spent eating a delicious meal at Cascabel and watching Rosemary’s Baby with my dude. He really liked Rosemary’s Baby and I didn’t find it scary at all – just more silly than anything else. I was also admittedly falling asleep through parts of it. I just appreciated that they lived in The Dakota. 

On Saturday we went for a nice run, followed by a long walk back up to my apartment, and brunch at The Ellington. We both had some things to take care of during the day (I cleaned out my closet and reorganized the storage underneath my bed – score!) but we reconvened at night and watched Catching Fire (because he’s a good sport) and made s’mores in the microwave. Seriously, it’s the best snack ever.

Sunday was spent brunching at The Penrose with my friend Ben and then finding this $1,250 rare breed of short haired Persian cat in a pet store on the UES. That cat is huge and it’s only 5 months old. I know you shouldn’t get pets from pet stores, but he was SO cute. Should I put together a GoFundMe to rescue it from the pet shop? We went into the UES Housing Works where I bought a dress for a 1920′s themed seance party that I’m going to later this month and I saw the above dress which looks shockingly like Glinda’s from Wicked. I have no idea how much it is, but if you’re looking for a Halloween costume, you should totally buy it.

I hit up a yoga class on the UES afterwards (never again – the teacher kept the room freezing the entire time which to me is a big no-no), went grocery shopping, and started going through my pictures from Scandinavia. More photos to come, don’t worry….

This Valentine’s Day I did yoga, went grocery shopping, got a pedicure, took a bath, and cooked. It was pretty great.  The day after I went to a post-Valentine’s Day kundalini yoga and meditation workshop at PureHouse in Brooklyn. I’d met the founder, Anne, of TAPIN last April at her “Own Happy” installation that a former colleague was working with her on. She’s totally creative and open and awesome.  

I know, I know. Just pass the granola.

Anyways, it was about 20 of us and we started with a short meditation, then a physical kriya, then much more meditation, and finally some journaling and pouring our hearts out about what we’d like to manifest in the relationships in our life.

After that awesomeness we were all starving and lunch was being made by Jaquy and her partner at Tasty Freedom. Jaquy has dairy and gluten allergies so her food is all gluten and dairy free. I saw so many vegetables that I was expecting to be pretty hungry afterwards. 

Nope. I was so stuffed. Maybe too stuffed. There were baked squash and broccoli, mashed sweet potatoes, baked tofu and mushrooms, beet strings, kale salad, and pickled ginger. It sounds so hippy but it was all SO good. For dessert they had “ice dream” which was dairy (and soy) free ice cream made out of banana, vanilla, ginger, maple syrup, etc. So, so good. 

Afterward we all friended each other on Facebook, duh. I’m quite glad I trekked an hour out to Brooklyn and made some new connections. An perfect way to spend the day after Valentine’s Day. 

My weekend in food, in no particular order of awesomeness

  • After an ass-kicking vinyasa class, I grabbed brunch with Ben at Harlem Food Bar on 114th and Frederick Douglas. It was awesome. The food was amazing (I had the bacon/blue cheese/apple salad, and Ben had the burger and sweet potato fries), the prices pretty moderate, and the staff was SO nice. Our waiter saw that Ben didn’t have a case on his iPhone and felt compelled to bring over his super-cracked iPhone to show him what might happen if he didn’t get a case. Not pictured are the fried mac’n’cheese balls which were also amazing (just not photogenic). 
  • On Saturday night, I went to Forlini’s, an old school Italian restaurant in Chinatown, for a jovial gathering of Coach’s (aka Matt) friends for his 32nd birthday. I had the chicken parmesan. It was delicious.
  • Today I went going to my best friend and her husband’s apartment in Forest Hills to binge-watch more of season 5 of The Walking Dead. I knew we’d be ordering Chinese food for lunch so I brought dessert from Levain Bakery. I brought two chocolate chip-walnut cookies, one dark chocolate/peanut butter cookie, and a chocolate chip brioche. They were, of course, delicious.
  • The aforementioned Chinese food. When my friends order Chinese food for delivery, they like to order a selection and lots of extra. Fifty dollars later, we had quite the selection of entrees, soups,  and rices. To give you some perspective of how much there was, they included 8 forks in the bag. They thought we ordered enough for 8 people. Yes, we felt fat. (In our defense though, we had LOTS of leftovers.)