Second Blogaversary!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Hello Readers!  Happy Friday, Happy Pi Day (this blog was posted on 3.14159, eastern daylight time),  Happy Blogaversary! AND this is my 101st post!  (I didn't realize that my last one was my 100th, so we'll pretend that 101 is special).

It has been a great two years of blogging, there have been some periods with tons of posts and some periods of nothingness, but I still enjoy blogging and hope you enjoy the content I provide.  In keeping with tradition (2 years in a row makes a tradition right?) here is some info about my blog in the past year:

Most commonly searched keyword that brings people to my site: "low-cal peach bellini"

1  My analytics was not working properly for practically the entire month of December, so the numbers are definitely off.
2  Blogger shows a different total number of page views from google analytics, so I'm not really sure why the difference, but this number looks great!

Last year I set a few goals for myself, here's what they were and how I did with them:

  • Gain more regular readership - I think I accomplished this one a little, I do have more email subscribers and a more widespread audience, but I'd still love more readers.  I had a few posts that I tweeted about and were subsequently re-tweeted which drove a lot of visitors to the site.
  • Average 2 posts per week - This did not happen. But if I discount my summer hiatus I think I almost hit this goal.
  • Have more reader comments and interaction - Huge thanks to all you who comment!  I love to read comments and respond to them, keep it up.

Blog Goals for the next year:

  • Build more great content. Please let me know what you want to read about! 
  • Try again for 2 posts a week average
  • More readers
  • More comments
  • More promotion on my part to get readers and comments by tweeting and posting on facebook
  • Switch over to a different blogging platform since Bloggers text editor and photo options are limited and a struggle (ie. not being able to make a table).
And Shariously big thanks to all my readers (and editors), keep spreading the word. And thanks for allowing to use so many exclamation marks in this post.

Five Foto New York Friday

Friday, March 7, 2014

So this post is both a Five Foto Friday and a New York Friday!  It's like a double feature.

On Wednesday, a coworker and I had an 11:00 meeting at the Olmsted Center (NYC Parks Dept headquarters) in Flushing, Queens in Flushing Meadow Park.  Flushing Meadows Corona Park was also the the location of New York's 1964-65 World's Fair, National Tennis Center (home of the US Open), CitiField (where the Mets play) and a bunch of museums and tons of recreation spots.

As we were walking over from the subway to the meeting I asked my coworker if he had been to the Panorama of the City of New York at Queens Museum where they have a giant 1"=100' model of the entirety of New York City.  He hadn't been, neither had I, but heard from many people that it was a great sight.  After a very short meeting, the architect we were with mentioned the same exhibit I had mentioned earlier as well. And, said that the model gets updated from time to time with models that Architects from around the city donate.  Well, my coworker was sold, we were going to check out the exhibit, it didn't hurt that we had both budgeted 1.5 hours of our day for the meeting which ended up barely 40 minutes.  And, I had a meeting later in the day in Long Island City, Queens so it didn't make any sense to go all the way back into Manhattan then back out.
The Unisphere up-close
As we walked over to the museum we passed the Unisphere from the World's fair.  Although I had seen it hundreds of times from far away, I never had been this close.  It is quite impressive.

Midtown Manhattan
Next up, is a view of Midtown Manhattan.  The model was created in 1964 and mostly looks like the city did 50 years ago, although there have been some updates through the years.  You can kind of see Laguardia Airport near the top of the picture, and one really cool aspect of this model is that they had planes taking off and landing at the airport!

This expansive view is from the south of Brooklyn.  Just off the bottom of the screen would be Coney Island and to the bottom left is the on ramp for the Verrazano Bridge. The Bronx is at the top left and Queens the top right. Sorry Staten Island, I left you out.  I took this picture for my dad, you can spot the building he grew up in near the bottom of the picture.

Last but not least, the martian spaceships. I don't know what these structures were actually for in the World's Fair, probably some exhibits and rides, but everyone knows them as the spaceships from Men In Black so I took a picture to share.

If you have an opportunity to check out this exhibit I Shariously recommend it.  Even though it seems all the way out in Queens, it's actually a pretty quick trip from Manhattan.

Uniqlo Ultralight Down (Want-it Wednesday)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

It's been a long time since a Want-it Wednesday, but this one was something I wanted and got and I'm here to report the result to you.

If you live in the New York City tri-state area you've seen the signs for Uniqlo about the Ultra Light Down jackets they have. 

You probably thought the same thing I did when I first saw them "there's no way that keeps you warm."  Then maybe had even more skepticism when  you picked one up in the store or tried it on.  The jacket weighs only 7 ounces!

After trying on some jackets last year, I decided this year that I just had to have one.  If it didn't keep me warm on freezing days I always had my old coat as a back up.  Well I'm here to tell you that this Ultra Light Down jacket really does keep you warm!  I opted for the long one in brown.  Let me tell you, for a two winter seasons this jacket has kept me warm.  Last year I wondered, since it wasn't a very cold winter, if the jacket was really keeping me warm. But, I can definitely vouch for the fact, that after wearing this jacket on every single-digit cold weather day, that  it does keep you warm!  

I have become a huge Uniqlo fan this past year, I did some holiday present shopping there and picked up some very affordable, very nice cashmere blend scarves, and fun socks and comfy shirts. 

For $70 this was a Shariously great investment!

Bachelorette Party Recap

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Picking back up of the theme of my summer and wedding related recaps, I bring you back to my bachelorette weekend (rated PG).

The weekend started out early on Saturday morning when bridesmaid C picked me up for a drive up to Litchfield County, Connecticut.  Another bridesmaid's husbands family has a lakehouse up there that we were able to stay at for the weekend.  Once all the ladies arrived we were picked up by a limo and taken on a wine tasting tour to three wineries.  At the first winery, we had a picnic lunch with tons of cheese, crackers, snacks and goodies.

Here is a photo of the group in front of our limo, in front of the winery

And a group shot on the outdoor porch of a winery

After the wine tour, we went back to the lakehouse and spent a few hours in tubes and swimming in the lake and then playing some games on the porch before dinner.  That evening there was a beautiful sunset - take a look at these pictures:

Dinner was at a local Italian restaurant where we were able to have a private room.  The best part about dinner was the "newlywed" "how well do you know each other" game my bridesmaids put together.  One bridesmaid gave Adam a list of questions to which he recorded the answers on video.  She then asked me the question - like "what is Adam's favorite meal, that I make for him."  I would let everyone know my answer, then she played back his video.  We did amazingly well, everyone was surprised at not only how closely our answers matched, but also the fact that the questions that I answered easily and quickly Adam did the same.  Some questions, I would even answer one thing, then think of a better answer, and Adam also would guess the same two things.

After dinner we headed back to the house to hang out and call it a night.  The next morning, we went out for brunch and then stopped by a Farmer's market near town where I picked up some veggies for dinner.

Overall, it was a great weekend; exactly what I wanted - A Shariously big thanks to all the ladies that made it happen!

January 21, 2014 (Five Foto Friday)

Friday, February 21, 2014

Last Friday, was Valentine's Day - and Adam and I spent a nice night in.  I cooked a special meal of steak and mashed potatoes along with some broccoli, salad and wine.  We aren't much a fan of going to a restaurant on Valentine's Day - we prefer to just share it together.  We also rented Captain Phillips which, although not a very romantic movie, was very good.  Plus, makes me more prepared for the Oscars.  On a separate note, I'm preparing well for Oscar Night having already seen: American Hustle, Gravity, Enough Said and now Captain Phillips.
ESB 2/14/14

Here's a photo of the Empire State Building last Friday - it looked very pretty in pink for Valentine's Day.

Vday bouquet

Next up we have the BEAUTIFUL bouquet of flowers that Adam got me for Valentine's Day which have lasted amazingly all week and since they came early because of the snow storm last week, I've had a long time to enjoy them.

Painting Lounge (photo credit A. Katz)
This weekend I went with some friends to the Painting Lounge. I had gone about a year ago with some other friends and had fun both times.  If you don't know what it is, it's a class where they help you recreate, or be inspired by a famous painting. Here's a photo of from this session with our Van Gogh Almond Blossoms inspired paintings, and my final product.   
Painting Lounge Almond Blossom Final Product

This last photo is the Gustav Klimt The Tree of Life inspired painting from last year.  If you are looking for a fun activity I definitely recommend checking out the Painting Lounge (one in Brooklyn and one in Manhattan).  They are also BYOB so you can drink and paint, just like any good famous artists.  And if you are interested in going, keep any eye out for coupons and groupons because you can find them often.

Painting Lounge The Tree of Life
Another Shariously fun-filled week.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 14, 2014

For our first married Valentine's Day, Adam and I will have a nice steak dinner at home, something a little more special than usual, perhaps with some chocolate dessert and wine.  Maybe I'll make an ice sculpture with all the heavy wet snow on our terrace.

I already received lovely flowers from Adam, they were delivered early, we think because of the snow storm.

What are your Shariously romantic Valentine's day plans?

February 7, 2014 (Five Foto Friday)

Friday, February 7, 2014

I have been MIA for the last week, but with good reason and even better fotos - We were in Mexico!  We were there for four days for a wedding and had a blast. Not much to recap since we pretty much sat on the beach, ate, floated in the ocean, celebrated and played a little bit of volleyball.  Also was the perfect time of year to bask in the 75 degree sun; we were able to get away from freezing cold weather. The resort was Mahekal Beach Resort a semi-inclusive (2 meals a day) in Playa Del Carmen.

Our Palapa

This was our Palapa, we were on the bottom level. Every room has it's own porch with two hammocks.  So relaxing! And the fountain out front provided some nice white noise while  we slept.   

Ceremony Site

View of the wedding ceremony site on the beach. 

Sorry for the poor  quality of the photo, but here we are ready for the wedding.  Note my beach hair.  This was tame.  When I woke up in the mornings my hair looked like Monica when Friends was in Barbados.

Mahekal Pool

The cocktail hour was by the pool, which looked like this during sunset.  Check out the dolphin they had swimming around in there too!  Just kidding, that 3D fish is actually painted on the bottom, pretty cool effect.

 Last but not least, a view of the turquoise water and blue skies of Mexico!  And, you see Cozumel off in the distance in this one (well the cruise ships parked there anyway).

A Shariously amazing vacation!