Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas!

On Friday, December 13th my ladies Bible study shared a Christmas dinner and Secret Santa gift exchange at Galli, an Italian restaurant in SoHo.

The next day was an incredibly magical snowy day and I attended a potluck brunch/Love Actually viewing party at a friend's who lives in the Financial District.  My favorite dish there was these sour cream pancakes, we couldn't get over them!

New York Stock Exchange

That night I rented a car with 3 friends and we headed to Brooklyn's Dyker Heights Christmas Lights.  We had all seen this neighborhood's Christmas lights on the Travel Channel Christmas specials growing up.  Of course it was so cold we just drove around the neighborhood and only jumped out to take the middle photo below.

On Saturday, December 21st Clay and I hosted our Hillsong's Connect Group's Christmas Party at our apartment.  Another potluck style party where we exchanged Secret Santa gifts and played Taboo, the ladies won!

Mom returned to New York City to celebrate Christmas with us.  On Christmas Eve we watched Saving Mr. Banks and attended Hillsong's Christmas Eve Service.  Christmas day we spent at Da's house with Mary, Annie, and Tom!

Hillsong's Christmas Eve Service

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Thanksgiving Week 2013

My mom joined us from North Carolina from Tuesday, November 26th until the early morning of Monday, December 2nd.

On Tuesday night we went to see Radio City's Christmas Spectacular and loved it!  What talent and precision the Rockettes have; Mom and I have always enjoyed watching them perform during the Macy's Parade every Thanksgiving.  We loved that for a mainstream tourist audience their final act was reading aloud the Nativity Story while acting it out on stage, including live animals!

On Wednesday, since Mom and Clay were home while I went to work, they cooked a Thanksgiving dinner of turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy, rolls, green beans, and pumpkin pie.  It was a yummy minimalistic meal for just the three of us and feed us for the remainder of the week.  We all agreed it would be best to have Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday because they had the entire day to cook, unlike on Thanksgiving day itself where we had most the day already planned with activities.

My commute home was interrupted by balloon inflation on 81st Street
This is my bus stop.  That is the Wizard of Oz balloon!

After our Thanksgiving feast we headed to Lion King on Broadway.  Definitely a MUST SEE for anyone coming to New York EVER!  Incredible, just really creative and the African songs gave me goosebumps.  Music is such an incredible art that can portray emotion regardless of the language.

On Thanksgiving Day we headed to my office at Columbus Circle to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Mom and I have always watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the New Year's Rose Parade so it was exciting for the both of us to be able to share this experience together.  We were on the 18th floor so didn't have the greatest views of the balloons and performers but we weren't standing in 31` weather and had access to a pantry and bathroom!  We also recorded the parade at home so caught up on the Broadway performances that afternoon  The three of us and Duke then proceeded to take naps on the couch together before snacking on leftovers and heading to a friend's place for drinks and dessert from 8 pm - 12 am.

On Friday we all slept in then Mom and I headed to the Intrepid Museum.  We toured a Cold War submarine and the Intrepid battleship and enjoyed their films and exhibits.  When we came home we purchased and decorated our Christmas tree, another tradition Mom and I do the day after Thanksgiving.  Most of our friends and family know that Clay and I always try to buy an ornament on our travel, this tree literally can't fit another ornament on it-- oh well, we'll just have to get a larger tree next year!  Then Clay made Mom a belated birthday dinner of steak, green beans, and sweet potatoes!

Inside the submarine 'Growler'

Flight deck of the Intrepid 

On Saturday morning Mom and I ran my usual errands before heading to my Bible Study which lasted from 3-7 pm.  We then came home to Clay and Duke cheering Auburn to victory!

War Eagle!
On Sunday we headed to Hillsong, lunched at ABC Kitchen (also a place to try, it has great ambiance and a fantastic home store attached), and then Mom and I did some shopping before heading to my office again for me to do a few things before heading home for the night.

Christmas decorations at the Time Warner Center
I put Mom in a cab before catching the bus to return to work on Monday.

What a great, full, productive, and fun week we had!!!  We love you Mom! -Bird, Bug, & Pug

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Year of NYC Sports

We moved to New York City one year ago come the end of this week.  I thought it would be fun to try to see every major sport this city has to offer and we actually did!

This past March we got to see the Rangers as guests of Credit Suisse, sit on the front row directly behind the penalty box, and use their suite with a buffet and free drinks!

Once the weather warmed up in June we headed to Citi Field to watch the Mets, what a beautiful stadium.

In August we saw the Yankees and the crowd booed for ARod until he hit a home run and they cheered for him every time he was batting after that.

The Barclays golf tournament was at Liberty National Golf Club.  You can see the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty from this course.  We saw every hole and all the big names: Adam Scott, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickleson, McIlroy, the Aussies, etc.

Tiger Woods & Adam Scott
August was a busy month!  We also saw the US Open and watched Serena play for a while, I can't imagine how loud she will be yelling and grunting during childbirth!

Serena Williams

The first weekend in November we saw the Jets, we can't believe there isn't a direct train from the City there, or a roof!!!

The next week we saw the Knicks vs Bobcats, and Charlotte won :)

What a year!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


We've attended a Chris Tomlin/Louie Giglio event with two friends from Hillsong, a Jets vs Saints football game, and a Knicks vs Bobcats game!

I am alive on God's great dance floor!

West Point Band playing the anthem of each military branch

Jets vs Saints game-- sun was too bright to focus!

Great game!  Bobcats won!!!

Dining Set: Craigslist + Elbow Grease

I purchased our dining set (pedestal table, leaf, 4 chairs) for $150 off Craigslist prior to our NYC move.  I love the lines and weight of the set and think the chairs are substantial enough to use around the house as additional living room seating, in bedrooms, and as a desk chairs.

We started looking for fabric over a year ago and decided on Dwell’s Studio Bella Porte in the color ‘Brindle.’’  Here are a few examples of completed projects using this fabric I found online:

This past week Clay painted the black dining set white and I reupholstered the seats. Clay painted each piece with 2 coats of oil based primer, 3 coats of paint, and two coats of polycrylic.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Foster Dog: Cooper the Frenchie!

As I mentioned in this post Bird and Bug, not so much the Pug, decided to become doggie foster parents for the same rescue group we adopted Mr. Duke from.  

Allow me to introduce Cooper:

Meet another one of S.N.O.R.T.’s city dogs, Cooper! A 25-pound male French bulldog, Cooper has been spending time in the Big Apple just waiting to find his forever home.
Cooper was surrendered to S.N.O.R.T. through no fault of his own. His owner, a nurse, came to the difficult conclusion that her long shifts weren’t fair to Cooper. That, combined with her upcoming cross-country move, prompted her to contact S.N.O.R.T.
Cooper is overall a healthy dog but has been diagnosed with having allergic contact dermatitis on his front paws. Basically, his front paws flat-out hurt! He is currently being treated with a topical medication that will only be continued until his paws heal. (His paws are doing much better, but his foster parents are continuing his full treatment course as prescribed)
However, because of his current discomfort, he has yet to enjoy taking long walks to enjoy all that New York City has to offer! Cooper has been able to take several short walks, though, and there is some thought that he has not been a highly socialized dog. He does well on a leash and does not bark or lunge at other dogs but has displayed a bit of fear when meeting new dogs. His former home believes he might do well as an only dog, but his foster family is inclined to think he’d do well with a small, mild-tempered dog (and maybe some obedience training although he doesn’t know that yet!). He has been very good with the resident pug in his foster home.
There are few things Cooper likes more than his toys; actually, there may be nothing he likes more than his toys except perhaps belly rubs! He has gotten snippy a few times when the resident pug has gone near his toys so his forever home should be aware he may display some guarding behavior.
It is obvious that his paws are causing him discomfort and preventing his true Frenchie personality from showing itself in full force, but he certainly has Frenchie tendencies as he is an absolute cuddlebug. He and the resident pug respect each other’s spaces and he has adapted quite well to apartment living.
Cooper would likely thrive in a home, apartment, city or rural setting. Of course, as a Frenchie, he has energy to spare so there is no doubt he would love a fenced-in yard to run around in but it is not a requirement.
His former home had a four-year-old child with whom he got along quite well with so it reasonable to assume he would fit right in with a family that had children.
There is some question about whether he is fully house-trained. He’s had a few accidents first thing in the morning.  It seems likely Cooper may be trained to go on piddle pads but he has quickly learned to do his business while walking the city streets!
Cooper adores his crate – that’s his “safe zone” – and prefers to sleep in there at night with the door open so his forever home should ensure they make room for Cooper’s crate!
If you are able to provide Cooper with a stable, loving home (one that includes toys and belly rubs, of course!), please submit a SNORT adoption application

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Orvis Sandanona Shooting Grounds

This past Saturday with a voucher purchased off Gilt Clay and I took a day trip out of the City with our former Connect Group leaders to go clay shooting at Orvis Sandanona.  The hour and a half ride to Millbrook, NY was gorgeous as the fall leaves were at their peak.

Orvis Sandanona Shooting Lodge

We were pleasantly surprised to find that our location had a country club style set up-- with an Orvis retail store, restaurant, plenty of seating around wood fireplaces, complimentary beverages, a member's only lounge, cigars for sale, etc.  Our Gilt package included a 3 course lunch, safety gear and an introductory lesson for 4.

The ladies shot a 28 gauge shotgun and the gentlemen shot a 12 gauge.  It was K's first time shooting as he grew up in Malaysia then lived in both Australia and England.  Us ladies also each purchased Barbour coats while we were there-- Clay is hoping to get one later this year!

Afterwards, since we had the luxury of a car, and K+C had recently just purchased their own home in the City, we took the glorious opportunity to stop by Target!  (Where 3/4 of our purchases were dog related...)  Target is just the best.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fall Weekend in the Catskill Mountains

This past weekend we took Mr. Duke to the Catskills for a fun filled fall weekend!

Our first stop was a late breakfast at the Art Cafe of Nyack where we both enjoyed a Sabich: a warm pressed pita pocket filled with boiled egg, homemade hummus, pickles, eggplant, cherry tomato and chopped red onion.  YUM.  We still can't get over it.

Art Cafe of Nyack

Continuing our travels through the countryside we drove to the top of Bear Mountain, a spot on the Appalachian Trail, where we fought our way through crowds of tourists for photos.  (More to be added later when Clay edits his pictures.)  We later learned Da and Dy had their wedding reception at Bear Mountain!

Then onto the Fiber Farm in the Catskill Mountains!  Instead of produce and livestock, this fiber farm sells angora rabbit, angora goat, and merino fiber products.  Here is the AirBnB listing.  This fiber farm is known as The Outlier Inn. The term for our stay there is 'glamping' (glamour camping.)  From their website:

One room cabin with two twin beds OR one full bed. Adjusted per request.
We are located on a farm in beautiful Sullivan County, close to Bethel Woods and the Catskill Park.
High-speed internet is Outlier Inn Guests.
There is access to a communal outdoor firepit, 6 burner stove and grill, a hot double outdoor shower and an outhouse.
There are many animals on the farm. Merino sheep, alpaca, angora goats, angora rabbits, alpaca, oberhasli dairy goats, chickens (running free so please leash dogs!), one cat and a dog named Lali! There is a greenhouse and vegetable garden with seasonal produce available for purchase. There is a pond here for the kids and doggies to go swimming in as well as the park and lake across the street.
There is a full-service recording studio on the premises outlierinn as well as a fiber-arts workshop space, where fiber from our Angora bunnies is shorn and hand-spun into winter accessories ambikaboutique. No animals are harmed in this process!
Guests are encouraged to explore the 12 acre property, relax by the pond, cuddle the bunnies, sheep, alpaca and goats (please ask how to turn off the electric fence), and go for a hike on the 6 mile rails-to-trails path across the street.

Our sink was behind the table, our bedroom the open door on the right.

Our bedroom with electricity and a heater.

The outdoor kitchen: sink, fridge, and grill around the corner.

The green house where our hosts shave their angora bunnies, plus a pug tail!

Our hosts installed this lake last year.

Outdoor double shower and sink, there was also an outhouse.
There was a  marketing team staying in the dome shooting a commercial for the Volvo seen above, it's 1 of 2 models currently in the USA.

Overlooking the butternut squash garden area towards the shaving shed/kitchen.
That evening we drove to nearby Ellenville, NY -- Clay enjoyed seeing how fast the Fiat could take us -- for dinner at Aroma Thyme Bistro, a Green Certified restaurant.  (Green certified by creating less waste, using sustainable resources, etc.)  Their menu isn't listed, probably because it changes so quickly with seasons and resource availability.  Clay enjoyed some delicious fish over vegetables and I enjoyed local organic sweet potato and yellow curry soup, a side of edamame and a local Hudson Valley Cider called "Naked Flock." Food photos are so embarrassing to take but:

After dinner we joined our hosts and all their other weekend guests for smores around the campfire :)

We enjoyed sleeping in and waking up to the sunrise, misty wet grass, and our clothes smelling like campfire. After getting ready for the day we headed to Catskill Harvest Market for breakfast and ended up purchasing locally produced scones, apple bread, roasted coffee, jam, honey, a pumpkin pie, a butternut squash, and an acorn squash.  It's very easy for me to go crazy in these places!

On our drive back to the farm we stopped by two scenic locations for Clay to take some pictures, these are my phone pictures:

Mr. Duke!!!

Returning to the farm we decided to hang around in the sun watching the day go by--

Check out time was at 2 pm so we packed up the Fiat and drove around leaf peeping and visiting West Point before dinner in Piermont, NY and picking up our foster dog at Newark's airport.  So there is our weekend!  I hope you enjoyed and I will do an updated post when Clay edits his pictures.  Also, more on Cooper the foster French Bulldog to come!