2014, it’s a wrap

I, I did it all
I, I did it all
I owned every second
That this world could give
I saw so many places
The things that I did
Yeah, with every broken bone
I swear I lived

One Republic

I always end up smiling after I sit down and pull this post together. It isn’t the quickest post I write every year, but it never fails to give far more to me in return than I put in. In going through all of this I realized that it’s no wonder I needed to recharge over the holidays. I crammed a lot into 365 days, and spent time with so many amazing people in so many amazing places across the globe. Grateful.

16158841942_376303b6e6_qThe year began with a visit to Queen of the Night. As big fans of Sleep No More, T and I shouldn’t have been surprised how much we enjoyed the show, which was part performance, part interactive theater, and part dinner. The aerial/circus portions of the show only helped to solidify that, as did the lobster dinner I accidentally scored us. Bam! We also went to see Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden as he kicked off his residency. I hosted a red carpet themed Golden Globes party for the ladies. At the end of month, we also bid farewell to one of my East Village favorites, 7A.

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 5.54.12 PMIn February, the music continued as I met up with some friends to see Charlotte Martin perform at Joe’s Pub, one of my favorite NYC venues. I couldn’t get any closer to CharMar, as I sat directly against the show, keeping A’s seat warm (missed you). T and I celebrated our three year anniversary with an amazing dinner at the chef’s table at Aldea. For work, I attended the Cabaret Times Talks Event, which led to my first ever time taking photos along the red carpet. Hello, amazing Alan Cumming and Michelle Williams. And it wouldn’t be a February without a trip to Clinton Street Baking Company to partake in their annual Pancake Month.

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 6.01.41 PMMarch usually signifies winter that just won’t end in Manhattan, but T and I made the most of it and finally made it to Alabama for a visit in March, where we spent the week exploring the city, making trips out to places such as the Jack Daniel’s Distillery (only a relatively short drive from my hometown), and not eating at Rosie’s Cantina nearly as much as we should have. I joined Carrie Kerpen behind the mic for a taping for her All the Social Ladies Podcast, a first for me. We talked about my job at Citi as well as a bit of my nonconventional transition from human resources into social media. MF and I also had one decadent Friday afternoon, checking out the lunch menu at Per Se (post to follow shortly, but the picture at the left is us in the kitchen).

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 6.04.09 PMIn April, T scored us tickets to see Jimmy Fallon, where we got to see Samuel L. Jackson rap about Boy Meets World, Pitbull well … be Pitbull, and Minnie Driver. I joined some friends for a night of rap only karaoke, and discovered I can do JayZ, Pras, Eminem, and Outkast solo – and pretty darn good. This month was all about Gaga as I worked one of her shows (where she serenaded Tony Bennett) and attended the final one as well out of her series closing out Roseland. I also worked photographing April’s Billy Joel show at Madison Square Garden – taking in every last moment of what will likely be my only concert of his within the first eight rows. It was also a month for Tori, waking up at the crack of dawn to get general admission tickets to her show at Williamsburg’s Rough Trade and waiting in the rain for hours to see her on the Katie Couric Show.

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 6.06.07 PMMay brought a trip to Hamburg, Germany as I flew over to speak at the Marketing 2.0 Conference. I lucked out as my friend Anna was speaking too, so we got to adventure around Hamburg, eating fair food and even dancing in the ran to end fascism (I have no explanation – it’s just what the sign said). S came back from Colorado for her wedding celebration. I went with J to a Beyonce dance class, where we learned part of the actual choreography for her song “Run the World”, and I gained mad respect for Queen Bey. That was haaaaard.

In June, I took my first ever trapeze class along the beach at iFly on Long Beach in Long Island. As much as I love flying at the TSNY rig outside at Pier 40 at sunset, I have to say that this beach-side view just might have it beat. I also spoke at the Useful Social Media Corporate Conference.

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 6.31.32 PMJuly was a busy month. T and I were so glad to get the chance to see Once on Broadway before it closed. I worked the Justin Timberlake show for Citi / MasterCard / American Airlines, where I had the opportunity to meet the lovely Meredith Viera. I flew out to the left coast with my friend A for a combination of concerts and vacation, visiting Vancouver (and Victoria, where we had the most amazing fish and chips), Seattle, and Portland and seeing three Tori Amos shows / one radio show. T and I also joined our friends out east for a trip to the wineries in Long Island and went to see Katy Perry at Barclays for his birthday. I took part in Pat Kiernan’s Trivia Food Fight at the Bell House where I unexpectedly won an on-stage pie eating contest (and tickets to the Vendy’s!).

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 6.29.38 PMAugust was surprisingly cool for NYC. T and I went to see the Staten Island Yankees and made a trip over to Red Hook to do a whiskey tasting at Van Brunt Stillhouse. I went to visit JG in Boston to catch up and to see Tori Amos. I came back to Brooklyn and then hosted A for the two Beacon Theater Tori Amos shows. In the middle of all of that, we (along with PS) managed to see Bullets Over Broadway and snag a selfie with Zach Braff. I then flew south to catch the last three Tori Amos shows of the tour and catch up with JC and JP. The month ended on a positive note as we celebrated my sister’s wedding with her bridal shower.

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 6.34.48 PMSeptember was one of the biggest months of the year, but I feel like that is usually the case. There was my sister’s wedding pre-party at Mabel’s and wedding at the Brooklyn Historical Society / Frankie’s, which was absolutely beautiful and where I gave my first ever MOH speech. The Monday following the wedding, I started a new adventure in a new job tackling a brand new role for the organization. I also celebrated my birthday, with T cooking me an amazing homemade Chick-fil-A dinner and later treating me to dinner at BLT Prime.

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 6.37.38 PMWe returned out east again in October, making another trip to Martha Clara for a tasting. N came into town for a belated birthday trip and we enjoyed a perfect fried chicken dinner at Birds and Bubbles and a ridiculously decadent evening of desserts and champagne at Dominique Ansel’s Wonderland (part of the New York City Food and Wine Festival). MF and I finally went to see Pippin’, which featured some fun aerial stunt work. T and I also made it out to see Michael C. Hall in Hedwig, where we confirmed that yes, Dexter can in fact sing.

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 6.33.39 PMIn November, T and I joined some friends in Coney Island for a Brooklyn Bolt game, which was fun but confirmed that Coney Island and cold temps do not mix. MF and I went for pizza at Danny Meyer’s latest addition, Marta. T and I went to see Emma Stone (and, of course, Alan Cumming) in Cabaret, where we confirmed beforehand at our dinner at Maple that good food in the Theatre District is a myth. We stayed local for Thanksgiving, joining JP and CT for dinner out in Long Island, complete with post dinner Home Alone 2 in PJs. So much yes.

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 6.38.31 PMDecember ended up being all about writing. I skipped NaNoWriMo this year in favor of putting in some hard work on my existing manuscript. Many nights were spent just me, Dixie, and my laptop. I participated in two writing competitions (PitMad and PitchMAS) and began seriously submitting it out to agents. Still very much a focus for me, and one that will continue into 2015. To really do this, it requires lots of time and overcoming any sensitivity to constructive feedback. Slowly but surely, getting there on both counts. T and I put our remaining vacation days to good use, taking to the Metro North for a long-weekend trip out to Cold Spring, NY. And I joined JB for a third Billy Joel show at MSG, where surprisingly he proved to have all of the Christmas cheer as he performed mash-ups of carols with his staple faves throughout the entire show.

And, of course, this year meant lots of hours of hard work in the air at Circus Warehouse. I daresay that throughout this year, we’ve actually become friends.

There are already some exciting things on the horizon for 2015 that I can’t wait for, but I can’t talk about them here. No, this is all about 2014.

Off to put on all of the sparkles. Hope you all have a wonderful New Year’s and see you in 2015!

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2012, you made me smile

I realized it’s time to pause again and think through all that 2012 was. The places been, faces met, and experiences had. There were so many, it’s hard to know where to start, but I love that writing this post forces me at least once a year to sit down and for a bit, thumb back through the calendar and such and reflect.

Not surprisingly, there were food experiences galore. I went to Cochon 555 (so… much…. pork). There was the US launch party for Pie Face, and the launch party for their second location. Zagat dinners of all sorts. I continued to try oysters, finding yep, I still just don’t love them. I celebrated a wonderful year with T with a wonderful dinner (minus our horrid server) at wd-50. I celebrated three years in NYC for 2 of my favorite Jenns on the rooftop of a stylish bar in Chelsea. I finally made it out to check out City Grit Culinary Salon – not just once, but twice – the second time being a benefit following Hurricane Sandy. I saw Anthony Bourdain speak at BAM, mostly regarding his contempt for Paula Deen, thanks to the gracious TC and Underground Eats.

It was a year of some amazing travels. In April, I went to South Africa for a week with my good friend JP, who was expecting. The trip was an amazing adventure filled with leopards, a beach-inhabiting colony of penguins, local foods (including some game JP ordered for dinner – name is eluding me – sprinbok I believe?) and tasting wine in the scenic countryside of Stellenboch. In July, I finally made it out to visit San Francisco with T. We biked across the San Francisco Bridge, toured wineries in Sonoma, and were surprised by amazing eats at an unassuming bar in The Haight.

There were fabulous shows and music. I was surprised by two last minute tickets to the only US performances this year by Tori Amos. Having missed the boat on both, I was lucky enough to have wonderful friends who offered me one of theirs to join in for the NPR Music Show at Le Poisson Rouge and the Infinity Hall Live taping in Norfolk, CT. I saw Joss Stone again – by myself, and didn’t even care I was alone. Amazing. I was treated to floor seats for Madonna at Yankee Stadium, spoiling me and confirming I cannot go to another Madonna show since it’ll never be like that again. I fell in love with the unique Sleep No More, requiring a return visit to experience it again. We later went to see Then She Fell, a fun take on Alice in Wonderland that made you feel like a part of the story – pausing a minute to yourself go down the rabbit hole. I went to see Porgy & Bess with my friend A and was treated with an unexpected chance to meet the fabulous Audra McDonald backstage. I was lucky enough to finally make it to a premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. Check that one off of the life list!

There were weddings. Oh were there weddings. We went to Atlantic Beach, NC for a rainy beachfront wedding. We went to Albany. We went to DC. We went to Detroit, which turned out to be a wonderful weekend trip where I got to see my old roommies (one of which was the bride), a good friend from DC, and even had a chance to grab brunch with my foodie friend from Detroit. We went to New Cityjust shy of Poughkeepsie and about an hour outside of NYC. Beginnings were balanced with the opposite. In April, I had to say goodbye to my good friend Rachel without having the opportunity to say a word. I’d like to think that she’d be pleased to find herself in the midst of such a wonderful year. I’ll always remember her fondly and thank her for being my initial northward pull.

Of course, there was trapeze. What’s a year without a little time in the air? April brought the end of an era, with the Trapeze School of New York (TSNY) closing it’s indoor rig. Our IFW (intensive flying workshop) final performance happened just before it came to a close. We closed out our time there with a round of knee hangs – the way it all began for each of us. With this change, I found myself over at Circus Warehouse in Long Island City – a whole new set of instructors and a markedly different approach to teaching. I learned to trust myself enough to swing without safety lines – flying for the first time solely based on the merit of my own strength. It was amazingly terrifying. I ended the year feeling stronger, more comfortable, and determined with things in mind to tackle in classes in 2013.

I’m gearing up (and sequin-ing up!) to ring in the new year shortly. Still contemplating resolutions for the year, if any.

Happy New Year! Wishing you all the very best ahead in 2013!

2011, you were a winner

I really do think I end up thinking each year is better than the last when I look back, but I do think that 2011 took the cake, even more so than 2010. Many big changes and in the best possible ways. If 2012 even comes close to 2011, I’ll be super happy to be so blessed.

2011 was also a year of big changes in, well, just about every major possible category. After 10 years of corporate HR work, I switched over to working in Social Media in March – a wonderful change I thought I’d never see be a reality. I’ve spent the rest of the year learning a whole slew of marketing acronyms I’d all but forgotten along with a list of a bunch of new ones. And in February I went to celebratory drinks after I got the big job offer, a night which lead to a wonderful relationship – one of the biggest surprises in 2011, something which really shaped the remainder of the year for the better and made the time frame around Valentine’s Day seem less arbitrary of a reason to celebrate. I made one of the biggest switches a Manhattanite can make – equated by many as crossing to the dark side – and decided to move in October to Brooklyn. In June, I chopped off all my hair because I figured why not?

It was quite the musical year. I started the year with seeing the Dance Party and Charlotte Martin in January with my MeeGee friends (read: fellow Tori Amos lovers). I went with Ms JB to see her man, Bon Jovi, at Madison Square Garden. I was lucky enough to see Tori Amos three times in December during her recent Night of Hunters tour, getting to snag another photo and get in my first ever request, Joni Mitchell’s A Case of You. Still glowing. I was also lucky enough to get to accompany my friend to the 300th Guinness Book of World Record breaking show of the 30 Seconds to Mars tour (“Mars 300”), where I learned that I am not a crowded rock concert kinda girl and where I ran out of the theater to come face to face with Jared Leto – literally. Why hello Jordan Catalano. I lucked into winning some tickets to see the taping of Florence + the Machine Unplugged. Amazing night.

It was also a year of so many fun events. I went to see the PeeWee Herman Show be filmed for an HBO special in January as a part of a Foursquare promotion. I finally saw Swan Lake in February at Lincoln Center. In March, I made my first trip to SxSW, and learned all about the beauty of the breakfast burrito, how much of a luxury sleep can be sometimes, and how to properly fit yourself in cowboy boots. In April, we went to the Bootlegger Vodka Launch party, held in Andy Warhol’s former townhouse, which was transformed into a prohibition era style jazz club for the evening. There were several fun events on Governors Island – the Polo Match put on by Veuve Clicquot and the Jazz Age Party – both in June. In June, we also got all dolled up for the Webutante Ball. I was so happy I got to see Zarkana just before it closed its run at Radio City, an evening paired with the amazing tasting menu at Respite.

And, as always, I spent one night a week flying through the air. It was the year of bigger tricks and seemingly smaller progress. This though was my attempt to get back to the fun stuff and de-stress for a bit – and it work. (Note, I’ve since caught this – just haven’t had the chance to upload video yet).

And, of course, there were many food events. I enjoyed more homemade elk sausage from Montana thanks to my friend Andrea. I attended another one of Artisinal’s excellent wine and cheese classes. I went to Village Voice Choice Eats in March, learning the best way to enjoy the ‘feast” was to map out your game plan in advance. I went to this year’s Hudson Valley Food and Wine Festival in September, finally making it to sample many of the prominent Hudson Valley wineries. Eventually I’ll make it out to try them in person.

There were lots of fabulous food events affiliated with GooglePlaces – such as the Nacho bus in August, Miracle Fruit tasting party in October (where I learned my taste buds are super stubborn) and the pizza bus in December (post to follow shortly). I won tickets to Zagat Presents: Chef Akira Back’s Meal of Memories – an amazing eight course paired meal. A bit later and just before Thanksgiving, I was lucky enough to also win tickets to Zagat Presents: A Taste of Long Island on the East River, at the Water Club. It was a really gross night, but the food more than made up for the sideways wind and rain.

I entered a food competition for the first time ever for this year’s Seventh Annual Brooklyn Casserole Party in October. I baked cupcakes again for this year’s 140Sweets, benefiting the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation Program. This time, I did peanut butter cookie cupcakes.

As always, 2011 was a year of visits and a but of travel, mostly with friends. My friend JP came up to visit in July. My Bama girls came to visit in November, cheering on a heartbreaking Alabama/LSU game. My friend A came up to go to the Tori Amos shows with me in December and embraced exploring my new hood in Brooklyn over going back into Manhattan the whole weekend. Nice. For the first time, I went on a trip over my birthday week with my family and my boyfriend. We rented a lovely house (belonged to the captain back in the day) in Woods Hole, MA and relaxed in Cape Cod. I’d never been to Cape Cod and it was a welcomed change of pace from the bustle of the city. Perfect.

I also am proud to have conquered some fears this year. During the month of November, I accomplished one of my biggest goals for the year – participating and finish NaNoWriMo while doing fiction. To keep myself honest, I opted in to be interviewed by the Huffington Post throughout the process, one of the things which I credit with helping me cross that finish line. I also took a day long fiction writing class to prepare me for round next in 2012 – tackling my next idea for a writing project. In October, I had the tremendous honor of photographing a friend’s wedding – simultaneously terrifying and exciting. In June, I also survived live band karaoke. So much fun, though a whole new level in comparison to traditional, that’s for sure! (Especially when it’s rock/punk karaoke…)

Only 365 little days, but what a year. Can’t wait to see what adventures 2012 holds.

Happy New Year!

2010: a charmed year in review

You know, it’s funny how easy it is to look at a year and think “eh, not too much happened”. Until you think about it real hard and realize that’s anything but the case.

Big Bird on the Flying Trapeze

Big Bird on the Flying Trapeze

I picked up a new unusual hobby back in February, when I thought I was just going to try one trapeze class to see what I thought. Just one. In the span of a year, I’ve gone from knee hang to halftime pennyroll to backend straddle to backend split and currently working on a turnaround, even managing to finally eek out some actual returns. And in September, my 10 week class did a final show in bird costume. Keeping it interesting.

#140 Sweets

#140 Sweets

And, of course, there were the food festivals and events. In April, I learned there’s a day that can be full of more food than Thanksgiving, and it’s called the Village Voice Choice Eats. Unreal. Not even rain could keep me away. In May, we had the #140Sweets event to raise money for Autism Speaks, and I made some super yummy PB&J cupcakes. I went to the Fourth Annual Food Film Festival, including their Edible Adventure #001: Smokes, Ears, & Ice Cream (admission: pig ears could be the low point of 2010), World’s First Food Truck Drive-in Movie, and the Grits Takedown, where I met stylish Esther, a fellow Southern foodie and spent a day devoted to this blog’s namesake. Heaven. I also met the fabulous Catty (@catty) due to her being stranded a few days. Darn London snow had an upside. Can’t wait til she shows me the best London has to offer for dinner!

Meeting My Boyfriend, Bourdain

Meeting My Boyfriend, Bourdain

I forgot just how many of my favorite authors I met in 2010. I went again to Jen Lancaster’s reading – always a treat. I went with my mom to see Anthony Bourdain (only after she read Kitchen Confidential to ensure she was read for non-censored-for-TV Tony) and confirmed I need to go back to Spain courtesy of his food recommendations. Noted. I also finally met Allison Winn Scotch, an author who I’ve followed a while online with her wonderfully informative blog geared towards writers. I met her when she fascilitated an evening with Jonathan Tropper, a wonderful author whose works I was not familiar with but of which I’ve become a fan.

Rio Celeste - Volcan Tenorio National Park, Costa Rica

Rio Celeste - Volcan Tenorio National Park, Costa Rica

It was also a year for travel. In April, my friend Meg and I opted for a more adventurous trip to Costa Rica. I think I’m still recovering. It will be a while before I will ever drive again (let alone in a foreign country) and I learned that speaking Spanish can be helpful when local government officials try to intimidate you into bribery. Oh yes. Over the summer, I went through New England with my family, stopping in CT, VT, and RI en route to Freeport, Maine. My friend Jenn and I went on a “day trip” to Montauk with our pups (where Dixie survived an attack by the Atlantic Ocean), which once we became stranded quickly became an impromptu weekend trip. I went to my favorite beaches, Destin, FL and Gulf Shores, AL with my family in October, the perfect time to escape the declining temperatures in NYC. And as always, I traveled back to AL for the holidays in time to see the area’s most significant White Christmas ever.

Celebrating My Sis's B'day in Dec

Celebrating My Sis

In February, I cut off all my hair (cause why not). I learned that Hoboken St. Paddy’s doesn’t have to mean a drowned iPhone, and that sometimes, a concert is best enjoyed via the rear view. My sister and I went to see Martha Stewart, reminding me I need to take advantage of all the filmings here in the city more often. I said goodbye to an old friend, and finally upgraded my apartment to look, ehem, a tad more grown up. I danced in a mob of zombies in NYC’s Halloween parade in 80’s garb with a Pat Benatar wig. I tried to do NaNoWriMo for the third time, and had to wave the white flag when I was too sick to really give it my all. December was very much not quiet, as usual, and included the massive Blip.tv holiday party, Peter Shankman’s holiday party, as well as the Digital Somethings holiday party. Phew. And, in general, I spent countless hours throughout the year surrounded by the company of some of the most wonderful people I could ask for in my life.

Three cheers to 2010 and can’t wait to see what 2011 has in store.

Happy 2011!