currently // november 2013

Nov 13th 2013 04:46:52 pm

currently_nov13

watching… Brooklyn Nine-Nine. This new comedy is my current favorite. It is really funny. And sweet. And it actually addresses some important and relevant topics, like the changing dynamics of NYC and LGTBQ and women’s equality in the workplace. Plus, it is based in my neighborhood!

eating… Blueberry Scones – yum! I added a brown butter glaze to Martha’s classic recipe for a little more sweetness.

playing… Tiny Thief, a super-adorable puzzle game for the iPhone. It costs $2.99, but I think it is worth it. Cute and clever!

feeling… proud and happy that Bill deBlasio is our new Mayor of NYC!

listening… to songs that will motivate me through my marathon on Sunday. My current favorites are Cruise by Florida Georgia Line (the remix version feat. my favorite STL rapper, Nelly, of course) and Timber by Pitbull and Ke$ha. What other fun songs should I add to my playlist?

loving… my new Patagonia puffy vest. I wear it running and as perfect fall layer any time. Totally classic and comfy. (Wouldn’t it look cute with this colorful hat?!)

organizing… another great Holiday Gift Donation Drive with the Swap-bot community. We are collecting gifts for The Partnership for the Homeless to distribute at their Children’s Holiday Party here in Brooklyn. Join us?

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What are you currently into?

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Check out a blast from the past:

currently november 2012 // currently november 2011

No Comments » Categories: Brooklyn, Clothes, Currently, Food, New York, politics, Television

Travis conquered the NYC Marathon 2013

Nov 7th 2013 09:04:59 pm

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Travis did it! He ran the NYC Marathon and got his goal time of under four hours – 3:55:12, to be exact.

We were both supposed to run NYC last year. We trained with Brooklyn Team in Training, raised money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and even went to the event expo with our friends… only to find out that the race had been cancelled. We were bummed, but quickly focused on helping with hurricane clean up. Plus, we got to run the Philadelphia Marathon two weeks later, so it was still a successful season… but the NYC Marathon is special and Travis wanted his chance to run through the city. He transferred his registration to 2013.

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Since I already ran NYC in 2010, I decided to take the refund. That way, I could focus on cheering for Travis just like he did for me in 2010. I tried to make it to three spots on the route – mile 7 in Brooklyn near our place, mile 18 on 1st Ave in Manhattan, and mile 23 on 5th Ave in Manhattan. It was awesome seeing Travis in Brooklyn, even though it was incredibly crowded! I made it to the next two locations, but somehow I missed Travis at mile 18. Bummer. I was determined to see him at 23 — I kept my eyes on the runners obsessively — and I did! He was tired, but powering through.

I got to cheer with many friends – Becca, Sarah, Lawrence, Amanda, Joel, Matt – and I got to see many members of the current Brooklyn Team running, but not all of them. I couldn’t stay out on the course all day like we did in 2011. I hustled to the finish shortly after I saw Travis for the final time. I had all of his warm clothes and didn’t want to be late!

travisnycmedal

The security at the marathon was incredible! They had blocked off almost all of Central Park West and all of Columbus Circle. Giant dump trucks blocked the streets. There were police officers and canine units everywhere! The security seemed excessive (and cost $1 mil!) but it paid off, because the race went off without a hitch. Which is amazing. Especially considering that the 2013 NYC Marathon was the largest marathon in history, with 50,304 finishers. Wow!

It was a trek to get myself to a meeting place near the finish, but I made it! Travis arrived in his marathon poncho and medal. He was cold, but happy.

Travis ran a strong race and I am very proud of him. He trained extremely hard for this race. He is much more dedicated and disciplined than I. There are many more fast races in his future!

Check out all of my photos from the event in my Flickr set.

5 Comments » Categories: Exercise, New York, running, Travis

running the city

Aug 28th 2013 11:41:12 am

The only event I have on my upcoming race schedule is Reach the Beach in two weeks, so long run training isn’t a necessity, but Saturday I set out on a New York City running adventure anyway. I covered three boroughs (Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens), crossed five bridges (Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg, Queensboro, Pulaski), checked out 5Pointz (a graffiti art site in Queens), and covered 16 miles. I really enjoyed running solo all over the city and documenting it on Instagram (see all the photos here). And the donut ice cream sandwich at the end was more than sufficient motivation to keep me going. The weather was absolutely beautiful. I kept thinking to myself, “I’m back!” I felt strong, like I could run forever. I had fun.

But then I woke up on Sunday and felt icky. Sick and sore and sluggish. It is for more reasons than the long run, but it is still a bummer. I am nearly done with my daily summer run streak — almost 100 days straight!! — but discouragement is still my constant training companion. I’m not sure how to shake it…

In other running news, South Central Brooklyn Runners (our totally casual local running club) has finally placed an order for team singlets! I based the design on a Nike style, but tried to keep it simple so that it would appeal to as many people as possible. Of course, we had to include VOLT! (Volt = neon yellow.) More than 60 people ordered them — we are going to make a scene at our fall races!

And in even more running news… want to run a half marathon in Bermuda or New Orleans in January?? Come join Brooklyn Team in Training! I am the team social captain for our Winter (or Endless Summer if you want to feel fancy) season and I know we are going to have a lot of fun. Team in Training is a supportive way for anyone (beginners to marathoners) to prepare for an endurance event while fundraising for a very good cause. You already know that I highly recommend it. Join us!

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I’ll post more about the Summer Run Streak soon… but tell me, what has been your exercise plan or motivation this summer? I need more inspiration!

3 Comments » Categories: Brooklyn, Exercise, New York, running, Team In Training

Dominique Ansel Bakery & Cronuts

Aug 12th 2013 10:12:15 am

CRONUTS! So hot right now.

I am actually not a very big fan of croissants — weird, I know — so I didn’t initially jump on the Cronut (croissant-donut) craze. But ever since their debut in May, the obsession over Cronuts in the city just kept getting more and more intense. I couldn’t ignore them any longer.

Last Saturday, after completing a run in Manhattan during Summer Streets, I jogged over to the Domonique Ansel Bakery in Soho to check out the scene. I don’t know what I thought would happen. People line up outside the bakery for Cronuts as early as 5 am, seven days a week! I didn’t really expect to be able to buy a Cronut. I thought they’d be sold out by the late hour of 9:30 am, but I was surprised to see the long line to the bakery still going strong. I joined in the line (between two groups of tourists) and texted Travis to tell him that it might take a while.

We could have waited and I think we would have actually been able to buy our allotted two Cronuts before they sold out for the day, but after an hour in the line, Travis and I gave up and decided to just join the normal, non-Cronut (short) bakery line and order other delicious pastry creations. We bought a chocolate croissant, a DKA (my favorite), a cannelè, and Dominique Ansel’s other signature summer creation, the Frozen S’more.

The Frozen S’more was pretty awesome. It consisted of a chocolate covered cookie and vanilla ice cream wrapped in a marshmallow. Each S’more is toasted by hand while you watch. You can see my S’more getting fired (above) by one of Ansel’s hard working assistants. (Ansel is standing next to him prepping madeleines.) It was delicious, but very sweet. Perhaps a little too much sugar for breakfast, but I was thrilled to try it!

I left the bakery happy and satisfied, but a little bummed that I did not get to sample the famous Cronut… but do not despair! My fate is inextricably entwined with that of the Cronut!

Later in the day, I attended a lovely bridal shower for my beautiful bride-to-be friend, Sarah Yuen, and what did we have for dessert?? CRONUTS! Her amazing bridesmaids had ordered fifty of them a month ago for the event. What a surprise! The ladies at the shower (including me, of course) all went wild when they were presented. We all had to take photos and post about our good fortune on Facebook.

The Cronut flavor of the month is coconut and it was divine. The coconut flavor was not too strong, and you could taste lime in the light cream filling. The Cronuts are also rolled in cinnamon sugar and then topped with more icing. Definitely very sweet and rich! I could have been happy eating half, but when presented with a serendipitous Cronut, you must take advantage. I ate the whole thing. Yum!

So, are Cronuts worth the hype? Maybe. They are definitely delicious and impressive, but there are many places to get excellent donuts and croissants in the city… BUT I will say this: Dominique Ansel is LEGIT! The French pastry chef is at his bakery every day working and greeting the Cronut-crazed masses. It takes three days to make each trademarked Cronut and he does not skimp on quality or technique. He does not allow celebrities to cut the Cronut line and he even started a charity to spread the Cronut wealth. I will definitely revisit his bakery and watch for his future culinary inventions!

FYI: You can follow Domonique on Twitter to get the latest Cronut news.

Have you tried a Cronut? What did you think?

1 Comment » Categories: Food, New York, NYC Cupcake Review

Boilermaker 2013

Jul 17th 2013 03:27:13 pm

I’m running every day this summer (run streak!) but I’ve drastically cut back on the number of races I’m participating in. Sunday, I completed my only real race of the summer, the Uitca Boilermaker 15k.

I ran the race last summer with friends and its cute, small-town feel made me want to return. The Boilermaker may be the largest 15k in the country, with more than 18,000 runners registered (with 12,000 finishers). All of Utica comes out for the event. They hand out water, and ice, and popsicles, the zoo brings animals out onto the course, and the Saranac Brewery gives out free beer at the finish. A fun time all around. Add in my friend Kristen’s parents’ lovely country home with a pool and it makes for an excellent weekend!

Race Report: July is hot. I don’t think that can be avoided. The Boilermaker was hot last year and it was hot this year. There are a few tough hills in the race, but the heat is really the biggest challenge factor. I have not been running fast at all during my daily runs this summer, so I was not sure what to expect for a nine mile race. I didn’t have any friends my pace to run with, so I decided to try to put in a solid race effort while still enjoying the scene.

The Boilermaker is a crowded race. Zipping out at the start is not even an option. I ran slow and steady at the beginning trying not to waste energy darting around and passing people. But being at the back of the “general” corral meant that I was mixed in with a less “racey” group. There was a lot of stopping and starting. So, I devised what I thought was a brilliant and novel plan to have a good, steady race: I looked for “Mercury Masters” in the crowd to hang with. The Mercury Masters are a NY running club for women over the age of 50. I didn’t actually see any of their purple jerseys on the course, but I knew the type of strong, tough lady I wanted to follow on the chaotic course through the crowd. I just searched out tan, muscular, experienced-looking women and let them lead the way. The Masters know what they are doing!

I sort of worked my way up through the crowd by picking a Master ahead of me, hanging with them for a bit, and then looking for a new leader to follow up ahead. I ran strong up the hills, which let me pass many people and gave me maybe a little too much confidence. I started picking up my pace too early — before mile 8 — and sort of sputtered out a bit before picking it up and sprinting the last half mile to the finish line. I didn’t reach my original time goal, but my pace was much better than what I have been running lately, so I was happy. It was fun to race an event and I felt really good for such a hot day.

After the race and the post-race beer fest in downtown Utica, Travis and I went to a little pool party with our running friends… I think this pool pic is sort of perfect and sort of disgusting: my friends are WAY too good looking.

See more photos from our entire upstate trip here

2 Comments » Categories: Friends, New York, running, Travel

NYC anniversary date

Jul 9th 2013 11:28:39 am

Ten years of marriage is a big deal, and even though we are usually pretty lame when it comes to celebrations, Travis and I thought we should do something special this year. Originally, we thought about taking a big trip somewhere fancy –like Europe! — but with so much local travel already planned for this summer, planning another trip felt like more of a hassle than a celebration… So, we settled for a fancy New York City anniversary date instead.

We had an extravagant dinner at Craft and then went to see Kinky Boots on Broadway.

Craft was a somewhat random restaurant choice, but it felt more relaxed than other fancy Manhattan places. The waiters were really nice and we didn’t have to wear formal attire. We ordered too much food: both a crispy bacon and a lamb ravioli starter, short ribs and scallops, spinach and morrel mushrooms, and for dessert, donuts and chocolate panna cotta. It was all delicious, but a little rich for me. I’m not used to so much butter! I didn’t leave stuffed, but definitely satisfied.

Kinky Boots was lots of fun! The music was catchy, the drag queens were spectacular, and the finale alone was totally worth the ticket price. I had a great time. (And so did Travis.)

Apparently, I only go to see Tony Award-winning musicals on Broadway because the only other show I’ve seen is The Book of Mormon. Kinky Boots was entirely enjoyable, but I think I liked Mormon more. It just seemed a bit more original and bizarre and brilliant… but obviously, I am not the most savvy theater critic.

We had a wonderful anniversary night on the town… but wild celebrations are still not quite our thing. I am just as happy to celebrate our marriage relaxing at home on the couch.

1 Comment » Categories: Food, love, New York, Travis

exploring the city with stephanie & bill

Jul 1st 2013 12:16:45 pm

New York City is a crazy place. I tend to forget that during my day-to-day life in Brooklyn. I was reminded this week how fun, exciting, and exhausting the city can be!

My cousin, Stephanie, and her husband, Bill, came for a four-day visit last week and we tried to hit up all the big tourist spots. There is so much to see, and do, and EAT in the city, it is hard to pick and choose the best stuff… while also trying to balance your visit so that you don’t end up completely exhausted.

New York City requires quite a bit of walking (and plenty of stairs) which can be overwhelming for out-of-town visitors. I seem to wear out all of our visiting guests, but Stephanie and Bill were great sports!

Our NYC adventure included: walking over the Brooklyn Bridge, checking out Chinatown, Little Italy, and Soho, trying cupcakes at Baked by Melissa, Sugar Sweet Sunshine, and Crumbs, buying candy in the Lower East Side, eating at Dizzy’s and Zito’s in Brooklyn, eating a donut from Doughnut Plant, touring the Tenement Museum, running in Prospect Park, riding the subway, ascending to the top of the Empire State Building, walking the Highline, eating at Bill’s Burger & Bar in Chelsea (and seeing Whoopi Goldberg!), viewing the 9/11 Memorial and Freedom Tower, eating delicious pastrami at Katz’s Deli, running the 5-mile Pride Run in Central Park, brunching at EJ’s Luncheonette, checking out the Guggenheim Museum, strolling through the Metropolitan Museum of Art, walking through Grand Central and Times Square, and finally, ending the trip with delicious margaritas in Brooklyn. Whew.

I think it was a successful tour of the city and I think Stephanie & Bill had a great time! I would recommend all of our sightseeing destinations to other visitors, but my top 3 picks are: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Tenement Museum, and the Highline.

My one tip for visitors: try not to schedule more than two or three destinations per day. Despite the deceptively small size of Manhattan, it takes quite a while to travel around the city. Taxis are not always available and the subway can usually only get you within a few blocks of your destination. Walking the city is tons of fun — you’ll stumble onto great stuff! — but there are constant crowds, smells, and noises which can get exhausting, especially if it is all new to you.

NYC is amazing, but it isn’t exactly what you see in tv and movies. It can be difficult… but worth it!

Check out all of my photos from our NYC adventure here.

Planning a trip to NYC? Let me know if you have any questions.

No Comments » Categories: Family, museums, New York

my 8th marathon

Feb 25th 2013 10:42:53 am

Leading up to (and even during the race yesterday) I was composing a manifesto in my head on the stupidity of marathoning. And even now that I have completed my 8th full marathon, the Inaugural NYCRuns Central Park Marathon, I really can’t argue with myself. Except, maybe I’ll change the title of my treatise to: The Stupidity of Running TOO MANY Marathons.

The Central Park Marathon was my third marathon in two months. (Bermuda & Disney being the other two.) Not recommended! It was my fourth marathon on the same pair of worn out Nikes. (Philadelphia being the first.) Not recommended! I ran this marathon without team or coach support. Not recommended! I went into the race without a specific race plan. Not recommended! I also ran this marathon while sick with a head cold and cough. Definitely not recommended!

So, if I knew all of the reasons why running another marathon was stupid, why did I do it? Basically because I knew I could. I knew I would finish. Plus, I felt I had missed out on the NYCRuns Brooklyn Marathon in November and wanted to experience one of their smaller city marathons. Sure, sure. I think I was just being stubborn. And I wanted the medal!

I want to keep racking up my marathon & medal count, but why? A marathon is a cool accomplishment, but at this point, I don’t think they are helping my overall fitness. I skipped a speed, a cross training, and a trail workout all in prep for yesterday’s race. Not smart. Those workouts would have been more beneficial… and I doubt I would be in as much pain today.

I finished the Central Park Marathon just under the 5:15 time limit. Just under! I crossed the finish line at 5:14:30. ha. A mediocre time for me… but actually not bad, considering. Five loops of Central Park is difficult. Especially when you get overly confident on the second loop and go much too fast, and then spend the next three loops alternating between panicing, coughing, and wincing in pain. Stupid!

So, learn from my mistakes!! Your body can handle almost anything you ask of it, but be wise about what you ask it to do. I seriously recommend doing only one marathon a year. And I am going to try to stick to that myself! Quality over quantity.

I do have five HALF marathons scheduled before June… but no more fulls!! What races do you have planned?

8 Comments » Categories: Exercise, Health, New York, running, Travis

the only NYC Marathon to ever be cancelled

Nov 6th 2012 02:13:13 pm

This was the top I was going to wear while running the NYC Marathon on Sunday. The race was cancelled due to controversy after Hurricane Sandy.

I have a lot of conflicting and sad feelings about the entire situation. I wanted to run the NYC marathon for the second time because I love this city. I am ok with the cancellation, but there were a lot of hurtful things said about runners in the past week that really discouraged me.

Of course, my running team has been helping out after the storm. We are a charity organization, after all. We’ve given money, food, gear, and more than 100 Team in Training runners (who had raised 2.2 MILLION dollars for cancer research while training for the NYC marathon) went to Staten Island on Sunday to help the recovery and clean up process. We will continue to help.

A few related links: Some thoughts on why the NYC Marathon could have been good for the city. | My friend Carmen sums up the roller coaster week. | If you want to volunteer to help Hurricane Sandy recovery in NYC, check out NYCservice.org. | I’m hosting a “Swap-bot for Sandy” hurricane relief donation drive. Our site members have already donated more than $700 for the Red Cross. Join us!

7 Comments » Categories: Feeling Sad, New York, running, Team In Training

hurricane sandy

Oct 31st 2012 12:32:06 pm

Travis and I are feeling very fortunate. We made it through Hurricane Sandy in Brooklyn without any trouble — we had power, cable, internet, food, water, etc throughout the storm — but the rest of New York City and the region was hit hard. The subway system is still down. Power is out in many sections of the city. Fire, wind, and water destroyed many homes and businesses.

This is the view from our window in Park Slope right before the storm hit on Monday evening. Just a little cloudy and a bit of rain.

The view from our window late on Monday night during the storm. Pork Slope stayed open until midnight!

This incredible photo is from The New York Times building during the storm on Monday night. You can see the power outage in lower Manhattan on the right side of the photo.

Leaves and debris are everywhere in our neighborhood, but overall, Park Slope is ok. Life seems to be getting back to semi-normal this morning in our neighborhood…

Travis’ Appnexus offices are still without power, so he is working from home with me. We are working to keep our businesses running as normally as possible, but we are also thinking about ways to help those in need… here are a few links to ways we can all help:

It is going to take a long time for the city to recover, but so far, the NYC Marathon is scheduled to go on as planned on Sunday. It is strange, but with all of the worries over the hurricane, I almost forgot about the marathon. If it happens, I will run. I am not in a celebratory mood, but the marathon is a small way to show and celebrate how strong and resilient NYC is. I guess we’ll see what happens…

5 Comments » Categories: Brooklyn, Feeling Sad, New York, Photos

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Hello.

I'm Rachel. I run websites and run marathons. I live in Brooklyn and write about art, crafts, design, food, fitness, fashion, my daily life, and New York City.

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