- each embraces New York with the intense excitement of first love, with the fresh yes of an adventurer -

Friday, July 31, 2009

sunshine & summertime

remember when you were younger and you used to spend summer days riding bikes with your friends? i do! leslee and i used to ride bikes with our friends all over town. as long as we were home before the street lights came on, we were free to cruise the neighborhood streets of coppell as we pleased. the perfect summertime activity.

riding bikes in nyc though seems like the last thing i want to do. the streets are scary enough on foot, much less pedaling among the traffic! but last weekend julia had a brilliant sunny weekend biking idea that i just couldn't resist.

we rented old-school bicycles in central park. you know, the kind with one speed and when you pedal backwards to brake? yep, those kind! it was a lovely sunny sunday to ride through the park. and that's the thing about the park, when you're there, it's almost like leaving the city completely. it's a glorious escape from the hazy cement heat. we biked a full loop around the park all the way to the north side where we'd never been. (sidenote: did anyone know there was a community pool in the northwest part of the park?! so fun!)

ok, i'll admit, i haven't ridden a bike in practically forever. so i was more than a lil nervous to join those speedy biking pros who think they own the park bike lane. they're hard core. i was a so scared at first that the group left me behind when i couldn't merge with the speed racer bike traffic. hah! but i eventually got the hang of it. the hardest part was conquering hills, and there are some BIG hills. seriously, why were the hills so tough?! legs. burning.

overall, the perfect new yorky sunny summer day activity! brilliant idea J. i highly recommend revisiting the days of afternoon bike riding. such fun!

Friday, July 24, 2009

you'll need to see this. nowish.

"I like being on my own. Relationships are messy and people's feelings get hurt. Who needs it? We're young. We live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. We might as well have fun while we can and save the serious stuff for later."

(500) Days of Summer

Thursday, July 23, 2009

For Such a Time as This?

This summer I'm doing Beth Moore's Esther Bible Study with a group of girl friends - some new, some old. I've studied Esther before, but Beth brings a whole new Texas-sized dimension to the book. She's intense. And insightful. And pulls out the most real life application nuggets from the Old Testament in ways that I just can't do on my own.

What I'm really loving, is that this study is with a group of girls that I haven't been in Bible study with before. I find myself looking forward to Monday nights because I can't wait to hear their thoughts on the lessons. Each week these women continue to surprise, challenge and encourage me in my faith and I'm so very thankful to have each of them in my life!

This week we discussed the infamously convicting words of Mordecai to Esther -

"And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14

These words are a humbling reminder to me that God is in absolute control in my life. Just as He placed Esther in a position to provide deliverance at the exact moment the Jewish people needed nothing short of a miracle, He has also has placed me at this exact point in my life - for such a time as this. Every aspect of my life, He has planned. Specially for me.

I am 25 years old. I live in New York. I spend each day working really hard at a job that tends to drag me down. I am single. I question my life decisions regularly. I question my future constantly. I get anxious, I always want to know what's next. I want to know that I've accomplished all that I needed to in New York before I leave the city. I want to know that there is a reason for my being here and that He is able to use me for His purpose.

So here I am. Living in New York, working this exact job, surrounded by these very people...for such a time as this. How incredible is that?

As my new friend Danielle so eloquently phrased it this week -
"You know, sometimes it's just about the journey."

It's refreshing to remember that even though I may not see His purpose right now, sometimes it's simply the journey that makes the difference. That maybe this journey is one I needed to take so that years from now I will recognize His greater plan the way that Esther did. So that when everything miraculously falls into place, I'll know.

And so when I find myself wondering what exactly it is that I'm doing here - so far from the comfort of home, at this job, with these people, in New York...who knows? Perhaps it is for such a time as this.

"Even now declares the Lord, "return to me with all your heart"...He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity."
Joel 2:12-13

Monday, July 20, 2009

Lindsey & Lauren Do Manhattan

A day after Mom left, Texas sent me another visitor. Since Lindsey and I couldn't manage to make any firm travel plans for 4th of July, she decided to just book a flight to New York for a long weekend. Good call Linds, this was one of the best New Yorky weekends ever!

Linds, like my sister, is my favorite kind of visitor. She's been to the City so many times, she doesn't care about doing anything touristy, she's perfectly happy just hanging out! Which is kinda fantastic since I'm most happy just wandering around myself! She also gets a kick out of people-watching and finding rats in the subway stations. I think she came to the right place!

East Village dinner at Bianca. Strolling down Bleeker Street. Red, white & blue festive lights on the Empire State Building. Red Mango, it does exist! Lindsey's client that has been an urban legend to her until now. Ehhh, we still choose the new Tropical Swirl from Pinkberry. Summertime treat perfection.

Brilliant idea #1 - Venti iced lattes + banana bread + early morning walk to Central Park. GMA free Summer Concert Series. Lindsey declares her love for Sam Champion. Who? The GMA weather guy? No clue, I'm a Today Show Girl! Oh Brad Paisley could you be any cuter? 5 country songs, 4 different guitars, 3 commercial breaks. A brilliant kick-off to a beautifully brilliant day.

TopShop! 10am, right when the doors open. Overwhelmed. Lunch at Balthazar - ohsoworth the wait. Bite-sized Made by Melissa cupcakes from the bakery window. Yum. White Lamborghini. Um, that's, yeah...Tracy Morgan. Is he taking off his shirt? Wow. Walking through SoHo up through the West Village. Paparazzi / new friends? Spotted: Heidi Klum & cutie kids at the Bleeker Street Playground! The High Line. Must get diet cokes immediately. Lottery for Hair tickets = unsuccessful. Lottery for Rock of Ages tickets = success! Exhaustion.

4th of July at Robert Moses Beach. Day 2 venti iced coffees, munchkins, magazines, happiness. An hour train ride and we're on the beach? The ocean side of course. Brilliant! Sunshine, sand, crashing waves, chicken fingers, lifeguards. Um, it's really chilly. Angie comforts cold children scared of waves - "oh, so you don't have kids, huh? once you do, you'll get over it." Yep, their mom really just said that. Beach weddings, let's discuss. [Ang, I have some pointers!]
4th of July fireworks on the Hudson River! With 2 million of our closest friends. Waiting out the crowds on Angie's rooftop. Fantastic. No subway home? Is there such thing as too many people?! Welcome to my love / hate relationship with NYC.

Sleeping in. Wimbledon Finals. Linds won't allow me to watch from my bed when the sun is shining outside. UWS brunch done right at Popover Cafe. Shoppin'. My Sister's Keeper...mixed emotions from 2 huge fans of the book. Willing the weekend to last just a lil bit longer. Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. "There she is. See her?" Her being the Statue of Liberty of course. Welcome to Brooklyn - How sweet it is? Dinner at Grimaldi's. Worth the wait? Every time. Back to the UES just in time for one last Pinkberry visit. What? Can't get any in Texas! Perfect end to a brilliant weekend.

So you see the weekend was jam packed with perfectly quintessential New Yorky moments. We fit so much into 4 days without even meaning to. And loved every second of it. There's just something exciting about sharing the city I love with my friends - even the not so great parts. And there's definitely something about spending time with a friend I haven't seen in 7 months and picking up without missing a beat, like no time had even passed at all.

Truly one of my favorite New York weekends. With one of my absolute favorite friends.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Social Events Calendar? You know, mixers, clam bakes, trips to the Cape...

So I'm alive! I promise! I've just been running around with visitors for the past few weeks and haven't even turned on my computer in...well, I don't know how long!

First thing's first, Mom came to visit! On my birthday weekend! We had quite the whirlwind weekend adventure.

We spent all day Friday walking around the city. In the humidity, ugh. I warned Mom that 90% humidity = misery. I think she now gets it, hah! Regardless of the clouds and muggy weather, we had a lovely NYC day. We visited the just-opened High Line park in Chelsea, did some shopping and saw 9 to 5 on Broadway. Which, by the way, was everything I love about Broadway Musicals - fun story, great music, slightly cheesy and a happy ending. I highly recommend!

And on Saturday, we hopped on a Metro North train to Mt. Vernon, rented ourselves a lil red Ford Focus and road tripped it up to Cape Cod for the weekend! Luckily the sun made a rare appearance and the 4 hour drive didn't feel like 4 hours at all. Before we knew it, we were driving down Main Street in the cute little town of Hyannis.

My cousin is playing baseball with the Hyannis Mets this summer. (He's an OU Sooner in real life, ew) No matter his choice in college, I think it's pretty cool that he's playing in the Cape this summer. I just couldn't pass up the chance to watch him play! They ended up beating Falmouth in extra innings Saturday night, yay Casey!

Ok, so I also must point out that my Mom is notorious for finding the best deals on what she calls "cute" hotels for our northeast trips. We always end up staying somewhere family-run like the Skytop Inn, or this weekend it was Midway Motel & Cottages. While I'll admit that the Midway Motel was incredibly cute and charming, it did not however have central AC. Ironically enough, this was my one request of the weekend - a hotel with AC that's not a window unit. When we pulled up to our cottage, we saw the open windows and immediately burst out laughing. "oh, you're going to kill me, aren't you?"

In a brilliant move to turn this situation back to her favor, Mom chose this point to give me my 25th birthday pressie. She and Daddy surprised me with an Elsa Peretti "l" necklace from Tiffany! I may have been so surprised to see a lil turquoise box and white bow that I cried. Fine, we'll forget about the AC situation. I'm such a brat.


And just few fun things I learned about the Cape....

-- It is quite big! We practically drove the entire stretch from Falmouth to Eastham (which takes at least a full hour). Anyone who tells you the towns are all close together, lies.

-- Everything closes early. Apparently I have been spoiled by the City That Never Sleeps. Clearly unreasonable expectations for trying to find somewhere to eat dinner at 10pm.

-- Locals are INCREDIBLY chatty, particularly about irrelevant things. They were all very nice, but really, we don't care where your house is in relation to this baseball field. We just want to know how to get back to the main road. kthanks!

-- A Beach wedding - While absolutely lovely, I won't be having one. I am too much of a control freak. Less than perfect weather would ruin my day. At least I know this about myself.

-- Chatham. I am in love with Chatham. Main Street shops, charming summer homes, beaches, a light house, boats, ice cream, baseball. It's the kind of town that you want to explore by riding through the streets on a bicycle. Love at first sight.

And if all this wasn't enough, then there was the Wedding! Katie and Jonathan, who both taught at Coppell High School with my Mom, got married on the beach on Sunday night. I didn't know them personally, but I was still really really excited to attend a beachy wedding. And it was ohsoverylovely. Sure, the afternoon was cloudy, and it was chilly and windy on the water, and the humidity was kinda outta control. But there was no rain! So that equals success! And Katie was a gorgeous bride. And everything was just wonderful. (ok, minus the freezing on the beach during the ceremony part)

Exhibit A: 65 degrees, cloudy and 90% humidity = curly hair nightmare for me and Mom both!

But just look how pretty and happy they are! And of course they will live happily ever after.

And then it was Monday.

It was raining the morning we had to leave Cape Cod. Lil sad that the weather didn't much cooperate during our visit, still a bit chilly in bare legs, but mostly charmed by the quaint simplicity of the Cape -- we made promises to return soon and headed our lil red car right back to New York. (Not without a Target pit stop on the way back though! As if there were any chance I'd miss hitting up a Target...)

And on Tuesday morning when I finally sent Mom on her way to LGA after one last coffee + blueberry scone trip to Starbucks, I can honestly say that I had absolutely no desire to get back to my real life. And definitely zero desire to return to my kind of daily normalcy.

And for the first time in Mom's many visits to the City over the past few years, this time I really didn't want her to leave at all!