Goodbye 2012

Like most, I’ve been a little introspective as the year comes to a close. A lot of change happened in 2012. I quit the ad job I’d had for 5 years, moved across the country, decided to teach yoga full-time, started this blog and learned to run in 30 degree weather.

I am so thankful for all of these new opportunities but I would be lying if I said it’s all been a perfectly easy and seamless transition. Like anything new there have been plenty of ups and downs. There have been moments of doubt, days of homesickness for San Francisco and all those I’ve left behind, nights pondering my now stagnant 401k and ego-driven conversations with myself about whether I’m really any good at this teaching thing.

But in the end I’m proud to say that I took the leap. That I didn’t allow fear to get the best of me. Knowing deep in my gut that I will never regret taking this chance regardless of the outcome. I am thankful for the opportunity to ‘start’ again, to reinvent my career, call a new city home, exploring both it and myself.

I am also so grateful to have a such a supportive partner, who believes in me with his whole heart and listens to the craziness and next big idea with complete attention. His confidence buoys mine and this adventure could never have been possible without him nudging me to try.

I have a new appreciation for New Years as it brims with possibility, hope and sparkle. I’m genuinely looking forward to the year ahead and all to come.

We happen to be celebrating in NYC this year. We drove down early yesterday morning after dropping my mom off at the airport. We got a fair amount of snow on Saturday night so the drive was beautiful and white and at 7am it only took about 3.5 hours.

Conn highway Snow on the drive Snow on the drive

For all the times Michael and I have both been to New York separately this is our first time in the city together.

We spent yesterday running with Eli in Central Park, exploring the city and shopping.

On our walk we stopped by Rockefeller Plaza to see the skating rink and tree.

Rock TreeRock Plaza30 Rock

Rock Plaza

Tonight we have reservation for a vegetarian prix fixe at Blossom and then we may attempt to walk near Times Square but don’t think we’ll be willing to brave the crowds.

Wishing you a wonderful end to your 2012 and a great start to 2013. Thank you for supporting my new endeavours as well. This blog wouldn’t be the same without its readers.

Enjoy and Exhale!

An Evening with a Cooking Idol

We had a really lovely weekend. Michael’s birthday was on Saturday so we celebrated with good food, wine, movies and football. I’ll update you on all of that in the coming days once I can upload all the photos to my computer. But at the moment I’m on an Amtrak making my way back down to NYC.

The reason for my visit is that my sister scored tickets to an event called Three French Chefs in NYC. Scored is probably not the right word as I don’t know that this event is massively popular, especially considering that they’re discounting ticket prices for those under 35! But to us this is a once in a lifetime event.

One of the French chefs speaking tonight will be Jacques Pepin. Growing up, Jacques Pepin was an idol in our house. Long before the Food Network became popular and we were inundated with celebrity chefs, there were the PBS chefs: Julia, Lidia, Jacques. And because my father was a chef, these were the programs we watched every Saturday morning.

To him, Jacques could do no wrong. He was classically trained and cooked the way my father cooked. I think he went as far as saying that besides using two hands to flip an omelet, to my Papa’s one, he couldn’t criticize a thing. My father was the most opinionated person on earth so this was a very big deal. We came to trust in Jacques’ techniques, his way with wine and his easy manner in the kitchen. As they both got older, they also started to look alike, haha, donning their bright blue aprons, polo shirts and gray hair.

My father passed away 2 and a half years ago and when the hollowness of losing him starts to weigh on me, I go looking for Jacques. Just tuning in for a few minutes makes me feel like a little piece of him is back here with me. Teaching me to chop a carrot, make an artichoke sauce or swirl a sip of wine (always looking for the hint of blackberry, the finish of chocolate). It’s, of course, no substitute for the real thing, but because he was my father’s favorite, he has become mine and I can’t help but feel joyful when he makes roses out of radishes and flowers out of tomato skins just like my Papa did. If you want a glimpse of life growing up check out the Smooth Food episode where he cooks with his daughter Claudine, our real life scarily resembled this.

So you see, tonight we meet a legend to our family and he holds a special place in my heart as another person who’s had a hand in teaching me how to cook, how to love food, how to find joy in the kitchen.

Today I’ll end the most appropriate way I know how…happy cooking!

My Papa in 2009.

[Photo Source]

New York Weekend Part 1

Hello from an Amtrak in Connecticut after a wonderful weekend.

Sarah had the a long weekend off work so I headed to New York for an extended stay on Saturday. We had such a good time. It’s always hard to leave but knowing we’ll see each other in Chicago in 4 weeks makes it easier, plus now that we’re on the same coast visits should be more plentiful.

Here’s a quick recap of our weekend.

Starting with a few pictures I snapped while on the train.  The below is from somewhere in Rhode Island.

And of course, this is a view of NYC right before you head into Penn Station.

Such a fun city. We started out with a weekend brunch with my sister’s best friend Lindsey and her mom. We went to Barbuto in the meatpacking district for cocktails and breakfast.  The weather was so stunning so we sat out on their patio.

I ‘m actually not much of a brunch person because I don’t like eggs but I was able to find a couple of sides that were delicious. I had the sautéed greens and some heavenly crispy potatoes with parmesan cheese. And, thanks to my friend Kristy I have now learned how to tap and shoot on the iPhone so my food pictures should be a lot crisper. Thank you Garza!

Coffee.

After breakfast we headed to UrbanSpace which is sort of like an upscale flea market. They had lots of jewelry, clothing and food booths.

Here’s a picture of Sarah and Lindsey.

 

We walked the High Line after brunch. It’s an old freight track that they converted into a public garden. If you’re in NYC and haven’t had a chance to walk at least a little portion of it, I’d recommend it.

That’s it for now, I’ll be back tomorrow to recap the rest of our weekend, plus some more eats. And because I couldn’t resist, the photo below is one of the many that we took during our photo shoot over the weekend.  Big thanks to Will Pine for spending all afternoon shooting me in various yoga poses throughout Central Park. I’ll share the other photos later this week.  Check out Will’s website if you have any photography needs, he’s very talented.

Very last thing, if you didn’t get a chance to read it, my latest article is up on MindBodyGreen.

Have a great rest of your day.