christmas tea is the best tea

merry christmas!

we are in utah right now - far away from our blessed nyc home...but i must say it's nice to be removed for just a short while. to get some peace and quiet, to sleep a little, to see family and of course enjoy the mountains!

on saturday we went to the grand america hotel for their christmas tea service. very delicious and very fun. our nephew, zach got to sing jingle bells with a nice couple dressed as santa and mrs!

i love tea. so christmas tea is definitely the best tea.


an island in the sun

we were super lucky and got to spend our long weekend in the sun. even though ben was only halfway through finals - we just blew it off (jk, he studied on the beach).

and we went and partied, relaxed, partied (dance party), got massages, relaxed, partied, relaxed with all the great people that i work with and their families. i totally won the lottery with a great job and really excellent coworkers.

i can't thank geography enough that the caribbean (specifically grand cayman) is such a close plane ride from nyc. i love nyc but i also really have a thing for sunshine and sand and the caribbean sea in december. 


a little holiday market

i convinced ben to leave our apartment for a couple hours yesterday. i wanted to visit the union square holiday market.

ben lost all of his reading days because of the hurricane :( and so he had class all last week and is starting finals tomorrow. not so fun for him but i knew he needed a break and i knew he wanted to share a mini cannoli with me. and i know he's going to ace his finals.

the holiday market was fun - with a cool poem of hanging words, spices and wooden bowties. it wasn't amazing --- but mostly it was awesome to get outside in the pleasantly not-so-cold weather and have a little break. there is also (ending today) an art installation in union square park --- a projection of war veterans being interviewed (and some family members) onto the statue of abraham lincoln. i feel lucky to be perpetually surrounded by art - not just the cutesy and pretty but also profound and important.

this has been a strange holiday season for us because we have been exceptionally busy and crazy. we bought our christmas tree at midnight (thursday, november 29) and didn't get it decorated for about 5 days. ben hardly even participated too...and i have barely listened to any christmas music. it all feels like a blur but in a few days or a week or so i think i will start feeling more holidayish. if anything, i am always willing to splurge a little more on my electric bill in december. you can't take those christmas lights away from me. 


to have a friend

over the weekend, lindsay come to visit.

we have been friends for so long that i don't even remember what it was like to not be friends with her. linny left her cute family behind for the weekend and came to play in the city.

we were able to visit some of the best museums, MoMA and guggenheim (i guess it's cool to call it the goog). we ate pizza, burgers, curried rice, smoothies (at home), really big cookies, thai food and frozen yogurt. we saw the famous rock.e.feller. tree.

we saw once...you've heard of it right? that musical? that i've seen 4 times? yeah, that one. one of my favorite quotes from the show is, "love's all very well, but in the hands of people it turns into soup." then one guy asked another if he's married, "yes." "still in love?" "yeah." "fair play man...good soup."

we also got our nails did. linny's first manicure! 

and upright citizens brigade. that great improv comedy place. we went to the assscat 3000 show on sunday evening (the 7:30, $10 one) - because it's the best and something about a ninja with bad gas and someone getting pulled over for singing katy perry too loud in arlington, va.
so. funny. we laughed our guts out. 

and we got to take a sunday nap. oh bliss.

but what i wanted to say is i am grateful for friends. and grateful for linny. to have a friend - that knows me, that knows the back story, that knows that i am still middle school emily, high school emily, spanish class and yearbook emily, college emily-insecurities and all, top-bunk emily...and just that it's ok that even though i've grown up and moved away and i have strong opinions on feminism and social issues and church and life --- we understand each other. 


do you sort of feel like we always have visitors?

do you sort of feel like we are either other of town or in town with visitors? i feel that way.

but. i feel lucky to have so many nice people in our lives to share the city with. such a pretty city. and sometimes it's when visitors are here that i see the city through different eyes - like there is more to see and i somehow appreciate it more. the beautiful exteriors and interiors of buildings. it doesn't get old.

ben's sister, katie and katie's friend, amy came to stay with us last week. and we saw a lot of beautiful things together.
and ate a lot of beautiful things.



our tiny thanksgiving

this year for thanksgiving, we decided it would be better to stay in nyc - utah is much too far for a weekend like this one. i must admit, when i left work late on wednesday, i saw all the people lining up to get on their crowded trains to go up north and i didn't feel jealous. i was going home to my apartment, to be with my favorite person.

i am thankful for my best friend/husband/buddy. i am thankful for food and that i am blessed enough to have it in my home, everyday. i am thankful for abilities and talents that i sometimes take for granted. i am thankful for relationships - even though they are sometimes such a struggle.

so for thanksgiving we cooked a bunch of food together - just us. which we both loved but maybe would have opted out of doing the dishes if we could have. so many people we talked to seemed concerned we were spending the holiday alone, just us - but frankly, i didn't want it any other way this year.
we made pumpkin cheesecake (highest priority), stuffing, mashed potatoes, a small pomegranate and orange salad and a turkey (with gravy). i must say, i was going to be ok without a turkey but ben insisted. and did a really great job making it happen. best turkey we've ever had. and i'm not just making that up because ben is such a cool guy.

we'll be eating leftovers for a couple of weeks.


there will always be harlem.

i'm not sure what it is. i mean, i have some theories.
but for some reason, people i find myself around seem to either be afraid of harlem, seem to think it's awful and undeserving of praise, and/or think harlem is its own borough or in the bronx.
(for those who don't know new york city is made of 5 boroughs: the bronx, brooklyn, manhattan, staten island, queens. manhattan - where the harlem neighborhood is - is often referred to as "the city" or new york city, even though the other 4 boroughs are equally a part of the actual city. it's confusing. but it works.)

the reasons i bring this up is...
i think harlem is great and albeit rough around the edges - a really beautiful, diverse, safe and historical neighborhood to live in. we live in a beautiful brownstone, that is among many other brownstone rowhouses - some of the most beautiful the city has to offer.

and so when i tell people i live in harlem, i am immediately judged. for the worst. why is that?

is it because these people have never been to harlem? or the last time they were in harlem, it wasn't so safe? or what?

someone at work was complaining they "had" to go to harlem for a dinner. really? a close friend in a slight lapse in brainpower assumed harlem was in the bronx. another set of friends thought harlem was its own borough.

harlem: is a manhattan powerhouse. and i know that the initial reason ben and i moved to this neighborhood was because it's "affordable" and we have way more space than we would anywhere else in manhattan. but now...it's more to us. and it's grown on us. and people say hi when you walk down the street. and say, "have a blessed day."

this really great chef, with a restaurant in harlem (yum), said it just right in his book yes, chef:
"Harlem may not be high-tech, but it's an interactive experience. People speak to each other on the street in Harlem."
occasionally people say not-so-nice things...but that's life.

and maybe, just maybe we won't always live in this neighborhood but there is a good chance we might. i thrive on character, on the underdog, on the under-appreciated and interesting. 

the same chef also said,
"...when a lot of the Manhattan maps you can buy cut off at the top of Central Park---literally don't even bother to show Harlem---you know there is a disconnect."

so, chin up little harlem. someday people will stop judging you because you are different - they will know you are what makes manhattan diverse and what makes new york city strong :)

Chant another song of Harlem.
Not about the wrong of Harlem.
But the worthy throng of Harlem.
Proud that they belong to Harlem.
They, the overblamed in Harlem.
Need not be ashamed of Harlem.
All is not ill-famed in Harlem.
The devil, too, is tamed in Harlem.
-anonymous, circa 1925


even after sandy.

photos are from the nytimes.

new york city is lively today - even after sandy... the hurricane. i feel so lucky that ben + i live uptown - where there was no flooding and few power outages... and we are on higher ground.

lower manhattan, parts of brooklyn and queens which are on the coast, new jersey... and numerous other places (especially those directly at sea level) saw so much damage from the storm. flooding, power out, trees falling, houses ruined, et cetera.

it's amazing that there was very little rain but because of the water swells - the flooding came.

ben and i were home from sunday afternoon to tuesday afternoon. i worked from home and ben's classes were cancelled. today i am back at work and ben's at home until classes resume probably tomorrow. this morning i took a bus to work - thank heavens the buses are running now. some very limited subways should be back tomorrow... but full service won't be back for weeks, maybe even months (i will never take advantage of the subway again...).
the subway has never had to shut down like this before... not in its 108 year history. 

i feel so emotional about the whole thing.
especially for those lost so much, for those who work an hourly wage and are unable to get to work, for those commuting from one borough to the other and can't, for those who lost loved ones and homes. please keep these people in your hearts. and if you pray, please pray for them.

you can donate to the red cross here.


my fancy brother

my brother, brandon and his wife, edee came to nyc over the weekend to have a romantic time. and to eat and hang out.

free moma friday.
ate at the modern - the restaurant at the moma. it's like a food extravaganza - everything brandon tasted was "stupid good." apparently, that is like really good.

we  had an early night because in the morning, edee and i did a crazy thing and waited in line to get tickets to a show. we ate cambodian sandwiches in bryant park (i love those sandwiches). saw our matinee. hung at a fancy hotel. ate a really derricious indian meal in tribeca (i need to spend more time in tribeca).
we walked from tribeca up to chelsea (just a couple miles) to the upright citizens brigade comedy club - it's all improv and it's the place that amy poehler started. it was fun. improv is so impressive. i want to gooo back.

we also saw the world trade center memorial (my 3rd time) and visited lincoln center - because it's awesome and because ben had a school thing for family (me). and then we said goodbye. and it was sad. and i cried. actually i didn't. but i felt like crying.

playing in the city is best with the people that i love most.

p.s. my brother is fancy. so i tried to say that as many times as i could when he was here. 


acadia national park.

i am convinced acadia national park in maine is probably gorgeous all year long - but i am so happy we were able to see it in autumn given the amount of trees with changing leaves and the unpredictable weather.
we got a rainy, misty, foggy romantic day and a sunny, shiny, lovely bright day.

acadia is on mount desert island on the coast of maine, has the tallest "mountain" (cadillac mountain) on the atlantic seaboard and has the most beautiful jagged cliffs and trees for days. even the two of us, having grown up in the land of national parks (utah/wyoming/idaho/california area) - we were highly impressed with acadia. such a gem. such a unique part of the east coast and the united states.

some highlights:
mount desert island is tiny - so we got places quickly.
we ate at the jordan pound house (the only place to eat in the park) for lunch and it was so quaint and they had tea + popovers - popovers are like hollow bread/roll/muffin things. really fun and yummy.
we loved all the stops throughout the park - schooner head trail, otter cliff.
the hike around jordan pond, 3+ miles is so gorgeous, part of which is elevated on a narrow boardwalk. but the hike itself isn't hard just beautiful.
we were lucky with great weather (not cold).
i loved all the buoys in the water and being on the coast.

we want to go back. many times.