Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Restaurant Review: Tavern on the Green


Cozy. Elegant. Delicious. Enchanted. These are all words I would use to describe my dining experience at the recently re-opened Tavern on the Green in Central Park.  I've been reading fairly negative reviews about the restaurant recently saying everything from the servers look like deer in headlights to the meals were cold, but that was not the experience my mom and I had at all.  We were totally won over by everything from the moment we walked through the door.

 
The main entrance and bar are very beautiful and cozy.  Everything is made of dark wood, so it has an elegant cottage feel to it.  It is completely different than the main dining area which is mostly made of sleek marble and glass.  The entire outer wall is made of glass giving guests a perfect few of Central Park.  Trust me, this is one magical view at twilight.  I wish my photos did this restaurant some justice, but you will just have to take my word for it and try it out yourself!

 
 
My mom ordered the seasonal greens...
 
 
...and this pasta dish which doesn't seem to be on the menu anymore. #sorryboutit
 
 
I ordered local sea scallops with citrus butter, fried shallots, and capers.
 
 
My favorite part of my meal was this side dish of creamy white grits.  My dad would disown me for saying this, but these are the best grits I've ever tasted in my life - on either side of the Mason-Dixon Line!
 
 
Picking a dessert is always one of life's toughest choices, but we ended up going with the berry shortcake with a buttermilk biscuit and lavender.  We don't regret that decision one bit!
 
 
To top off our amazing evening, we got to view the most gorgeous sunset on our walk back home.  It puts Manhattenhenge sunsets to shame, no?!
 
 
Stay fit and fabulous,
 
A
 
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Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Favories 7/18

photo credit
Usually, I focus on about 5 things that I'm loving for my Friday Favorites post.  This week - it's all about the little things in life:

orange sunsets
the first sip of an iced skinny caramel macchiato - it's basically milk and caramel sauce...
the last sip of an iced skinny caramel macchiato - it's basically espresso and melted ice water
the ending of the Divergent series
the Once soundtrack
running around the Jackie Onassis reservoir 
my sister's jokes - she told me her favorite exercise was a mix between a lunge and a crunch aka "lunch"
cuddling with my furbaby, Lily
girls night out
getting dressed up - especially since I live in workout gear
The Landmark Forum - I completed it this weekend. It's life changing. Do it!
"middle school girl" style crushes at 27 years old
celebrity sightings - I worked out with Vanessa Hudgens this week!
when someone referred to me "New Yorker"
hula hoops
Blue Diamond almond/coconut milk mix - I've finally discovered my milk substitute that I can actually drink!
friends coming to visit - I can't wait to play tour guide 
 
What are you loving this week?  Let me know in the comments below.
 
Stay fit and fabulous,
 
A
 
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Monday, July 7, 2014

Restaurant Review: Cafe Lalo

Two weeks ago, I had a much needed visit from my mom!  I had not seen her since February, so the reunion was long overdue.  She ended up staying with me in my Upper West Side apartment, and she enjoyed acting like a local visiting museums, the farmer's market, and the 359749867 Starbucks on my block.  
 
 
Her flight got in around 8pm on Thursday, so naturally she wanted to have a night on the town in the City That Never Sleeps.  But this gal also never sleeps, so I compromised with a late night venture to Café Lalo.  I picked Café Lalo for multiple reasons - 1) I discovered it on New Year's Eve and immediately thought "What is that magical place lit up with thousands of twinkle lights?!  I must dine here." and then jotted it down on my List Of Restaurants I Must Dine At list, 2) It's in walking distance of my apartment, 3) It's the restaurant featured in one of my all time favorite movies, You've Got Mail.  My mom probably doesn't remember this scene, but she understands my deep appreciation for all things related to the entertainment industry and has accompanied me on numerous unusual adventures to fulfill my pop culture needs.  She just goes with...as she did on Thursday evening.
 
 
Café Lalo had quite the crowd outside of it for 9pm on a Thursday.  I was nervous we would have to wait (Beauty sleep waits for nobody. Hello!?), but surprisingly, we were seated immediately.  As you walk through the doors you are transported to an early-1900's café in Paris (you must pronounce it "pair-ee", of course!).  It is equal parts adorable and sophisticated.  I couldn't love it more unless our visit took place on a gorgeous fall day and the cafe's windows were open, but I digress...

 
I ordered a fresh strawberry lemonade, the mozzarella/pesto/tomato sandwich, and chocolate Oreo cheesecake.  Drool away, PopFitLifers.  Drool away...

 
 
 
My mom's coffee...it's like regular coffee - only cuter!
 
I definitely recommend visiting Café Lalo on W. 83rd Street (between Amsterdam and Broadway) especially if you are searching for the perfect First Date spot, a charming brunch place to catch up with an old friend, or a quaint setting to debate which is more fabulous - the scrumptious Café Lalo cheesecake you are currently devouring or your amazing life. 
 
Stay fit and fabulous,
 
A
 
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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Is It Too Late to Join The Circus?

One of my roles at my job is the "Director of Thoughtfulness" which means I get to celebrate my co-workers goals and accomplishments as well as keep up company morale.  It's basically the best position ever!  We've all been going above and beyond recently, so I wanted to plan a team sweat sesh since everyone deserved a little evening of fun together.  I randomly came across Westchester Circus Arts in Tarrytown, NY.  WCA has classes, which range from Circus Boot Camp to Trapeze, for all ages.  I wanted us to get our trapeze on since I had a blast during my previous trapeze experience, but we learned aerial silks skills (say that five times fast!) instead which turned out to be ah-mazing!  Check out the photos below:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Since I was a little girl, I've always loved climbing, swinging, and flipping upside down.  Why I haven't quit life to join the circus yet is beyond me!  Until that day comes, I'm enjoying trying fun workouts.  I currently have my eye on City Row, which will probably be the next new sweat sesh I attempt.  What workouts are you loving these days?  Let me know in the comments below!
 
Also, I want to give a HUGE shout out to Hilary at Westchester Circus Arts for coordinating and instructing a great evening for us on Sunday!  Thank you!
 
Stay fit and fabulous,
 
A
 
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Friday, June 6, 2014

Race Recap: Tuxedo NY Spartan Sprint

About a month ago, Maxim Magazine contacted me to let me know that I was one of the two grand prize winners of their Spartan Race Sweepstakes.  I was really excited, yet nervous, to participate in the Spartan Race with editors and other staff from the magazine.  I was looking forward to the rare experience!

 
The month of May flew by, and soon I was walking up to the start line of this year's Spartan Race at Tuxedo Ridge Ski Resort in New York.  Unfortunately, no one from Maxim Magazine showed up, but thankfully another cool chick won the contest as well!  Diana has done multiple Spartan races before, and she even participated in Saturday's race! Did I mention she's pretty much a badass?  It was a blast getting to run with her.

 
This year's course was completely different from the one I completed last year at the same location - beginning with the Start line.  This time we had to climb a wall just to get into the starting corral.  Then, once the whistle blew, we followed the course straight up the mountain.  The Spartan Race wasn't messing around this year!
 
Obstacles included multiple walls (including an inverted one), a tire run, a cargo net climb, a log carry, barbed wire, a spear throw, fire, and more!  Surprisingly, my hardest obstacle is always the  monkey bars.  Though I lived on the monkey bars as a child, I wasn't able to complete them during my first Spartan Race last year, and it forever haunts my obstacle course dreams.  This year, the monkey bars were uneven adding a greater challenge.  Though I still wasn't able to make it all the way across, I got further than I did during previous Spartan Races!


My greatest accomplishment during this race was, by far, the rope climb.  I've been able to get at least halfway up during my two previous Spartan Races, but it has always frustrated me because I get so close yet can't ring the bell.  My friend, Joe, is a CrossFit coach, and he showed me the J-hook technique for rope climbing.  While I still used the rope's knots, I was able to use the J-hook technique between knots to help me reach the top.  People even came up to me after commenting on how well I got up the rope, which completely made my day! #beastmodeactivated


My only complaint about this race is that they ran out of small Finisher shirts at the end even though they ask for participants' shirt sizes at registration.  This is a rookie mistake in the world of racing in my opinion!  Having said that, I still love Spartan Races and would enjoy doing another one.  I'm thinking the one at Fenway Park or a Super Spartan to work toward my Spartan Trifecta.  Thoughts?


I'm not registered for any more races in 2014, but I'd love to try a new race or a new distance this year.  If you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments below!
 
Stay fit and fabulous,
 
A
 
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Monday, June 2, 2014

Bucket List #165: Experience Manhattanhenge.

Manhattanhenge at W.56th Street
Last summer, my friend told me to add Manhattanhenge to my Bucket List.  I'd never heard of Manhattanhenge, so I had to do a little research to make sure it was BL worthy.  Twice a year, the sun aligns perfectly with the Manhattan grid line creating a beautiful glow along every cross street of the city.  It's a great opportunity for gorgeous sunset photos of Manhattan, but it's also just a neat experience to take part in!  People stand, cameras ready, in the streets of New York City waiting on the clock and crosswalk signals.  It's kind of a big deal... Even my girl, Sarah Jessica Parker, waited anxiously for it!
 
I missed Manhattanhenge last year due to gross weather (although it actually cleared up in time).  As I made my way home after work Friday evening, I almost gave up on witnessing Manhattanhenge again due to rain and stormy clouds during the commute, but I'm so glad my friend encouraged me not to!  We drove straight to West 57th street to park (certain streets have better views) and ran to the nearest intersection by 8:18PM.  While I didn't get any extremely spectacular photos (maybe an iPhone doesn't cut it for those?), I was able to experience one gorgeous sunset and the feeling of having experienced something stunning and rare.
 
Sad you missed Manhattenhenge last week?  No worries!  It happens again in July!  Check out the dates and times below, and mark your calendars!:
 
Friday, June 11 at 8:24PM
Saturday, June 12 at 8:25PM
 
Stay fit and fabulous,
 
A
 
Please follow me on Twitter and "like" my blog on Facebook if you enjoy what you read.  Thanks!
 
 
 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday Favorites 5/29

Happy Friday!  I'm so excited that it's almost the weekend.  Tonight, I'm attempting to witness my first Manhattanhenge (Bucket List #165 for me!) and I participate in the Spartan Race on Maxim Magazine's team this Sunday!  What are your weekend plans?  Let me know in the comments below!  Until the clock strikes "Closing Time!", check out what I'm loving this week to help get you through:
 
John Mayer's XO Cover
I wouldn't necessarily label myself a John Mayer Fan (I do enjoy a bunch of his songs and his first CD is collecting dust somewhere in my room, but I'm not Emma Stone's character in Friends With Benefits or anything...), but this cover of Beyoncé's XO is beautiful.  I love the sweet sound - perfection! 

University of Texas at Austin's 2014 Commencement Speech
I've seen a lot of summaries and transcripts of this speech, but I recommend taking twenty minutes out of your day to watch the actual speech.  It's truly spectacular.  In fact, take a chunk out of your weekend to Google commencement speeches from this year (I heard Mindy Kaling's speech for Harvard graduates is hilarious).  A pep talk never hurt anyone! 

The Fault in our Stars by John Green
A co-worker recommended this book to me a couple months ago, so I added it to My List.  Then, I started seeing commercials for the movie, so I had to make a mad rush to Barnes and Nobel to purchase it.  I was hooked after the first page because it is so well written!  I might have to do a book review once I finish it and see the movie. One more week!
 
Brunette Ambition by Lea Michele
Photo from here.
Last week, I attended Lea Michele's book signing for her new book, Brunette Ambition.  While we were all pushed through the line quickly and didn't get any time to talk to Lea other than a quick hello, we did get to witness a Q & A sesh between Lea and her Broadway bestie, Mr. Jonathan Groff of Glee/Frozen/Spring Awakening fame.  I'm not going to lie, it was pretty fantastic - like I was a fly on the wall during one of their slumber parties!  I've always heard negative things about Lea's attitude, but she was so kind and open.  I was very impressed.  The book itself is fun and informative.  While she shares personal life stories about how she got to where she is today, the book also includes recipes, beauty advice, fitness tips, and more!  It's the kind of stuff you would talk about with your friends during a Girls Night In.
 
Short Rib Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Photo from here.
On Tuesday, I ate dinner with some friends at Village Social out in Bedford, NY.  I ended up ordering a short rib grilled cheese sandwich and fries.  It. Was. Delicious!  Why I've never thought to combine BBQ and grilled cheese is beyond me.  This would be the an easy summer meal to make at home especially post-Fourth of July cookout!  #theseareafewofmyfavoritethings 
 
That's all folks! What are you loving this week?  Let me know in the comments below!
 
Stay fit and fabulous,
 
A
 
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