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 Upper West Side Wins

Of course it does. 

I feel like I keep seeing these New York Times’ and Curbed articles about people who love the Upper West Side. And then I feel extremely grateful that the prior few bidders on my apartment didn’t know how to fill out a board application and I was – or my broker was, to be clear, because that shit is complicated.

I live within a couple of blocks of the water and two massive parks. I live two blocks from the best bagels in the city (not my words, everyone else’s), I have some awesome bars, Columbia’s sprawling, green campus, an adorable independent pet store that comes complete with an adorable pet store kitten, Book Culture, The Hungarian Pastry Shop, and a Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Westside Market. And lots of trains.

I love my ‘hood and I am very fortunate to be able to live here.

And if I have the means, I’m never leaving. 

The Upper West Side Wins

Drama-Free Valentine’s Day

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I’m happy to say Valentine’s Day was drama free. I wasn’t expecting any drama (my dude and I are both pretty chill) but after hearing some friend’s stories, I was extra grateful. We went to a friend’s party in Brooklyn – walking way too far in the frigid cold from Barclays after the F train was refusing to appear. The party was lots of fun and we we were diabetic after from ingesting way too much sugar, as expected. We stopped at Sugar Shoppe on the way home, and Fat Daddy Taco (we needed to eat food that wasn’t 95% sugar).

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We started Sunday off with a leisurely brunch at The Hamilton before showering and attempting our plans of milkshakes and The Boy. Upon arriving at Black Tap in the Meatpacking District, we witnessed the most ridiculous wrapping line plus a bouncer in 10* weather and immediately abandoned ship. Starving, we stopped at The Diner on 14th and 9th for some delicious (albeit overpriced) comfort food. We hopped on the train to 42nd Street to attempt an earlier showing of The Boy. It’s been out for weeks, so how could there be a problem? It turns out that EVERYONE wants to go to the movies when it’s Arctic outside so our movie was sold out plus the theatre was mobbed because the machines to buy tickets were down.

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the scene outside Black Tap Burger. guys, they’re just milkshakes. 

Our plans were just not meant to be, I guess. We ended up making dinner at my apartment and settling in for a double-header of Frozen (that was better than I expected, said Justin) and a movie called Dark Skies (it’s a thriller about aliens with Kerry Russell and I totally enjoyed it).

And we ate more candy. So much candy. Because: Valentine’s Day. 

City in the Snow

The East Coast is getting pummeled this weekend with a massive storm. Unfortunately the forecasts are only predicting 6 inches of snow for the New York City area this weekend, but 6 inches is better than nothing (that’s what she said?).  I love the snow. I have no idea why as I’m not a particularly outdoorsy person. I think it’s probably because everything is so peaceful and pretty when it snows. The calm after the storm after everyone is at home, and watching the snow fall. It’s almost meditative.

The benefits of storms in the city, especially when you live uptown, is that the power almost never goes out (now it probably will, but it hasn’t in the last 8 years I’ve lived uptown) and nothing closes. Maybe the neighborhood bar will close at midnight or 2am instead of 4am, but the corner market is always open, and the diner is always open. They don’t call this the city that never sleeps for nothing.

The subways never shut down either. So you know what’s happening if they’re wrong and the storm is massively bad? We’re putting on our boots, hopping on the train, and playing the lottery for Hamilton.  When tourists and people who live outside the city are unable to come in to do things like play lotteries, you hop on the subway and you make the most of it. Freezing snow and ice be damned.

Since 300 people will likely have the same idea, we will probably end up snowed in at my apartment drinking tea and coffee and hot chocolate, or braving the storm for a block and a half and grabbing a hot toddy at Amity Hall or The Hamilton.

Bring it on, snow. Bring it on.

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.)

And it’s beginning to snow.

After an unsuccessful trip to the Pace University bookstore in the Financial District (they close at 4pm, wtf), I grabbed a drink some fried zucchini sticks at SoHo Park with an old co-worker (but first I raided the book closet and took those four books). It was so, so good to see her – as well as some of my other former colleagues that I ran into. She’s trying her damnedest to get out of the city ASAP and even though I’ll miss her like whoa, I know she’d be happier back in New England.

On Saturday morning, I went to my usual grueling vinyasa class and I’d like to say that my workout attire was called The Kim Davis, as it included as many clashing patterns and colors as possible. But damn was I warm. The rest of the day was spent grocery shopping, going back down to FiDi to purchase my sweatshirt, and cooking cauliflower fried rice for my dude and me. We watched the movie Unfriended on HBOGo and it was BAD. Don’t do it. Bad acting, bad direction, bad photography direction, bad story, just bad.

I met up for a pre-birthday (his!) brunch with Ben on Sunday afternoon at The Hamilton and we ended up being invited to try a bunch of dishes because they were being photographed. The owner, Mike, was bartending and he is Scottish and insanely cool. He also owns Caldeonia Bar on the UES. The Hamilton will become a regular neighborhood spot of mine for sure. It snowed unexpectedly on Sunday night and after some quality gym time, my dude convinced me (it didn’t take a lot of convincing, honestly) to watch some football at Amity Hall (Uptown) – also a really solid new neighborhood spot.

I tortured both him and myself by watching the Democractic debates – and I figured out how to use my HDMI converter cable which I finally purchased – on Sunday night. I know pretty much everything they already said. I’m 100% over politics. #feelthebern

More snow this weekend! So stoked.

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.