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

Inspiralized @ Whole Foods

J bought the Inspiralizer for me a few months ago and I use it in over 50% of my cooking now. I haven’t made actual pasta in months. And aside from when I had penne vodka over the weekend at a restaurant, I haven’t eaten it. When I did, it made me feel gross. Anyways, when it was announced that Ali Malfucci, founder of Inspiralized, was doing a demo at the Upper West Side Whole Foods, I was super stoked.

She demo’ed how to to inspiralize a plethora of vegetables, showed how to clean the Inspiralizer, talked about how she got started, answered questions, and then made a pesto dish with zucchini noodles. It was so good.

I bought her first cook book and she was super sweet – exactly the same as how she comes across in her videos. She clarified how to stabilize my Inspiralizer to my granite countertop; which was something that I’d had a load of trouble with.

I can’t recommend this kitchen tool enough! It’s changed my life and my palette. 

Semi-normality.

I went to bed at 8pm on Monday night – I was exhausted – and woke up at 6am on Tuesday. That was awesome. I didn’t have any coffee all day either (and it was National Coffee Day – so bad). I wasn’t tired at all in the afternoon or at night. I had beaten jet lag! I went to bed on Tuesday night just before 10pm. This time I woke up around 5:45am. I wasn’t tired anymore, so I decided not to try to fight it and I got up and went down to the gym in my building. I ran 1.5 miles and then walked another .3 miles (+ 80 sit-ups). I was exhausted and called it quits.

With all of my extra time, I planned out my food for the day (1 cup greek yogurt with 2 tbsp of granola and 1/2c frozen cherries for breakfast, kale salad with chicken, cabbage, 1/3 of an avocado, and peppers for lunch, and two snacks: banana with two tbsp peanut butter and a cup of grapes) and then did some other food prep. I was a tad more tired than I’d been the previous day, but, duh, I’d run and gotten up earlier.

I broke down and had coffee today, but it’s decaf so it’s not as super caffeinated. I’m still trying to get back to my normal routine after traveling for almost two weeks. Slowly but surely.

(The above photo is apropos of nothing. It’s from my first night in Oslo. Norway has the best sunsets ever.)

Food Cleanse, Post-Holiday

While abroad, I subsisted mostly from carbs (mini croissants, muffins, cinnamon rolls), meat, and the occasional carrot and potato. And coffee. So much coffee. They eat a lot of meat over there. They have the occasional vegetarian option (no, I’m not a vegetarian) but mostly all meals include meat. They have a ton of Mexican and Italian restaurants over there too (what) but I did not go to Scandinavia to eat Chiptole. 

So, I ate all of the meat. I ate deer, elk, and reindeer. I handed over the contents of my bank account on my first night in Helsinki for some seriously delicious reindeer. I kid, it wasn’t my whole bank account but it was probably the most expensive meal I’d had over there and it was worth every cent. 

They offered salads at certain places, but it’s rather cold in those countries so I’m pretty sure anything they were serving was being shipped from thousands of miles away so I ate regionally, as much as my body may have hated it. Aside from the occasional yogurt and granola at breakfast, I ate almost entirely differently from how I eat on the regular. I went 12 days without eating peanut butter (seriously, a guy from Hawaii who was working in a shop in the Stockholm Arlanda airport said that peanut butter is very American). 

Anyways, yesterday I started a week-long, self-imposed cleanse. Not a liquid cleanse because those are bullshit, but one with whole foods. I had a beet-carrot-apple juice for breakfast yesterday (okay, with coffee) and a kale salad with a little bit of grilled chicken for lunch (I was so excited for this). I broke down during the afternoon when I was very, very tired and ate the almond croissant that my dude had brought to the airport the night before incase I was hungry after 10 hours of traveling. Then I just had a piece of Ezekiel bread with almond butter on it for dinner. I wasn’t all that hungry anyway.

Hopefully I will have re-adjusted to my normal routine by the end of the week. 

A productive weekend to myself.

I love my ‘to do’ lists. I had no plans this weekend, and instead of what usually happens – go out to eat a LOT with friends and spend unnecessary amounts of money – I decided to relax and make a list of things ‘to do’ and actually get them done. 

I went to my usual yoga class on Friday night. I love the teacher – Paula Lynch – because her classes are so anatomy focused. We spent a good 20 minutes rolling around on rubber balls, for example.  I grabbed a banana-chocolate-peanut butter smoothie from GNC on my chilly walk to the subway – maybe not the best choice for dinner as it was cold and so was the weather.

I slept for ten hours that night and went for a run the first thing the next day.

I had planned on doing 5.5 miles like the last couple of weekends, but my body was so tired and it wasn’t agreeing with the cold wind, so I only got in 2.5. But that’s better than nothing, right? I went to Whole Foods after that and I spent the next 3+ hours in Starbucks writing letters of inquiry and applying for a few jobs. It was exhausting, but I felt really accomplished after all was said and done. I went home to make butternut squash soup after. It’s really quick and easy – and one of my favorite winter dishes to make. Perhaps I’ll post the recipe at some point.

I spent the rest of the evening watching shitty edited-for-TV movies and chatting with friends. I don’t often stay up late – ever – anymore because I loathe getting up late the next day, but I was up til 1am and assumed that Sunday – today – would be wasted. 

Well, I was wrong. For some reason I awoke at 8am and decided to peal myself from my bed and make a 9am iyengar yoga class at my studio (YogaWorks – West Side) with a teacher whose classes I really enjoy (I haven’t taken one in a while though because she teachers during the day during the week). It was a great way to start a Sunday, to say the least.

I walked up to Trader Joe’s – to stock up on Clif Bars – and Jack Rabbit – to get my stride looked at. Two positive things came from those stops:

I realized Trader Joe’s was carrying their seasonal Candy Cane Green Tea again…

And that I need these sneakers… eventually.

I also listened to Dos! another 2-3 times and a friend invited me to the final performance of The Performers tonight… So, that’s where I’ll be. How was your weekend?