Quantum of the Seas! (Travel Tuesday)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

About a year and half ago, Adam saw the offer to book an inaugural "sampler" cruise to nowhere on Royal Caribbean's brand new ship.  A few weeks ago, our long awaited getaway finally arrived.  The purpose of the 3-day cruise was simply to enjoy the ship.  There was no destination, hence the cruise to nowhere.  The ship left from Cape Liberty in Bayonne, NJ and traveled out in the ocean down to offshore of Cape Hatteras, and then turned around.  Here are some of our highlights:

A view of NYC from the North Star "Take yourself to new heights with the jewel-shaped capsule that gently ascends over 300 feet above sea level. Breathtaking 360° views of the sea and our destinations make the North Star one of the most anticipated features on this ship."

One of my highlights was the trapeze!  I was even able to do some tricks - like hang upside down. 

The skies were clear, but the first two days the weather was in the 30s and 40s, so we didn't spend too much time outside with this fuchsia polar bear Felicia; but there was plenty to do indoors!   The last day, it was in the mid-50s so I did get to climb the rock wall you see on the left.

Another cruise highlight was the Ripcord by iFly skydiving simulator.  You go into a vertical wind tunnel that teaches you how to skydive.  Unfortunately we weren't able to bring any cameras, so we only have these before pictures of being decked out in skydive gear.

We had a nice balcony, which due to the cold weather, we didn't spend much time on.  The entire trip we had very serene views of the ocean.

Adam got to play ping pong with the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. CEO (the parent company of six cruise lines), and also named Adam.  They bonded.  Such a cool experience.  

The Quantum of the Seas is an amazing ship.  Even though the weather was pretty cold two of the three days there were tons of indoor activities and indoor pools.  The SeaPlex with bumper cars, roller skating, trapeze, ping pong, air hockey, basketball and more really made this ship unique from other cruises we've taken.

The one thing we weren't crazy about was the dynamic dining.  One of our favorite parts of cruising is the standard main dining room experience where you get to know your server and make life-long friends with the table-mates.

Shariously recommend the Quantum for your next cruise!

*This post is not sponsored by Royal Caribbean or anyone else other than me.

Quinoa and Oat Granola, nut free (Recipe Monday)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Inspired by a friend's facebook post about finding a nut free/fruit free granola or granola recipe and my own disappointment with lack of nut free granolas (not allergic, just not a fan) on the market I tackled making my own.  This recipe is for a basic granola.  Then you can add what you like.   It's not very sweet, so if you want sweeter, add some brown sugar to the mix.  If you like nuts, go ahead and add them.


1 1/2 cup Rolled Oats
1/2 cup Quinoa
1/2 cup Steel-cut oats
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1/4 cup Honey (warmed to make more liquidy and easy to coat)
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tbsp Cinnamon
1/4 cup dried fruit and/or nuts
Pinch of Salt


1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2.  Rinse quinoa to remove bitter taste.
3.  Put rolled oats, steel-cut oats and quinoa in a bowl.  Mix in warm honey, oil, vanilla and cinnamon until dry ingredients are coated.

4.  Place on baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes until browned stirring every 15 minutes.
5.  For the last 5 minutes, you can add in raisins, dried cranberries if you like.  Doing so will make them first "puff" up then in the long run make them chewy.

7.  Serve however you like to eat your granola!  I have mine with some plain or vanilla greek yogurt.

This makes for a Shariously delicious and healthy breakfast!  What would you add to this granola recipe?

Five Foto Friday (November 14, 2014)

Friday, November 14, 2014

We bought a house! We've been in the house for about a month (hence the lack of posts) and been slowly decorating and buying things.  Here are five fotos of some of the projects we've completed. Pardon any disorganization or boring photos.

One of the first things we needed was a shower curtain (for obvious reasons).  Check out how perfectly this curtain we found matches!

Our move went very smoothly, except for one thing, the box spring for our mattress did not fit up the stairs.  Apparently this is a common problem.  So for a few weeks we had our mattress on the floor and then finally got a temporary bed frame and headboard from Ikea.  Temporary, because we plan to redo the master bedroom and hopefully get a king size bed.

The first few weeks we had our TV on a table, but we finally got this TV stand delivered, in pieces.  Three hours later, our TV has a home with storage and it fits perfectly with our decor.

We had a tiny apartment size desk, so we purchased a desk, which although is in a different room as the TV, is the same brand and style.  The desk looks great in our office, we just need a chair to complete the room (for now).  Both are from Wayfair, my new favorite decorating site.

When we moved in, the outside lights were old and rusty, so we put up two of these beauties from Home Depot.

We are not quite fully organized yet, but stay tuned for more to come!

Roasted Cauliflower Soup (Recipe Monday)

Monday, November 10, 2014

After buying 3 pounds of cauliflower at Costco, I decided to make some soup out of (most of) it.  I completely made this recipe up based on what I had in my fridge.


2 lbs Cauliflower - cut
2 Peppers - chopped
1 Onion - chopped
3 Carrots - chopped
1 Cup peas
3 Cloves Garlic - minced
3 Cups Broth


  1. Preheat Oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place cauliflower on baking sheet and spritz with olive oil (you know I use my Misto).  Sprinkle with salt.  Use sparingly, especially if your broth is salty.  Bake for 20-30 Minutes.
  3. Place peppers, 1/2 onion, carrots and peas on separate baking sheet.  Repeat spritz of olive oil and light salting. Bake 30 minutes.
  4. Place broth in pot and bring to boil.  Reduce to simmer, and put cauliflower, garlic and other half of onion in pot.  Simmer for 20 minutes until onions are soft. 
  5. Using an immersion blender, blend mixture well until smooth.
  6. Toss in other tray of roasted peppers, onions,  carrots and peas.  Let pot simmer for 30 minutes.
  7. Served best with sourdough bread or in a bread bowl!
Are you always looking for a good soup to put in bread bowls?  I know that it's hard to find a thick soup that won't soak the bowl immediately.  This soup is perfect for a bread bowl.  First, it comes out with a great consistency as to not soak completely into the bread and second it's so low-cal that you don't feel as guilty eating so much bread.

Sorry I forgot to take a picture of the final product.

A Shariously healthy soup!

Five Foto Friday (September 19, 2014)

Friday, September 19, 2014

For the past eight years I have been a mentor in the ACE Mentor program.  The program is an weekly after school activity that exposes high school students to the Architecture, Construction and Engineering industry. Every September my Company buys a ticket for me to attend the kickoff cocktail party fundraiser. The event is held in a newly constructed building or space. Past years have been at John Jay College's newest building, the Hearst Tower, The New York Times building and Lincoln Center. This year’s event topped them all, literally.  It was held on the 68th Floor of 4 World Trade Center. Although the building is not occupied yet, the building is mostly done except for interior fit outs. Needless to say, on a beautiful September night, I have many more than five photos to share with you.

When I walked out of the elevators, I was looking at the southern view.  Every corner I turned the view got better and better. 

The floor was completely open, just the core and expansive views for 360 degrees.  First up, a view of the Freedom Tower 1WTC.  Have been seeing 1WTC go up for years, but it's a whole different perspective when you look at it from the middle of it's height.

Next, is a panorama view looking northwest.

 This view is me standing near the core of the building, looking southwest.  One of the best parts of this building, from an engineering standpoint is that there are no columns at the corners, so they provide very expansive views.  You can see one large column at the right of the picture.  Basically, each corner of the building is cantilevered on columns at the faces.  Bottom line - Great Views with minimal obstructions!

 Sunset on the left, 9/11 Memorial on the right.

 Night time view looking north.

Here I took essentially the same picture before and after sunset of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges.

A Shariously great event!  Maybe next year in 1WTC? 

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Wearing nail polish can add a great pop of color to your style.  I've always loved wearing a variety of fun colors.  Most often, the polish on my nails is self-painted.  The best time to polish is at night while watching some TV; great way to wind down.  The only problem is, that sometimes, even if it's hours after polishing my nails, and feeling "dry" I still get imprints from sheets and blankets!

One day while in CVS, I came across Sally Hansen Insta-dri (fast dry nail polish).  I probably had a coupon (I never go to CVS without some extrabucks), so decided to buy two - one for me and one for my Mom who had been complaining about never-drying nail polish.  There's a selection of fun bright colors for $4.99.

And some metallics:

The Sally Hansen says there are 38 colors, which seems like a wide selection, but they don't quite have the trendy colors I love like Essie does.  The other draw back, is that the polish doesn't seem to last as long as the longer drying, Essie polishes I usually use, but then again, they are a few dollars less, so I suppose it all evens out.  

One other thing I love about these polishes is the brush.  It's a wide, flat brush which makes it super easy to apply.

If you are looking for quick-dry nail polish with fun colors I Shariously recommend picking up a few of these!

Five Foto Friday (September 12, 2014)

Friday, September 12, 2014

One of the projects I've been working on for the last few years is the redesign of the plaza at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  This week, after three years of design and construction, the plaza was "unveiled."  I got to go to the morning ceremony and the final product looks great!

First, here is a view from the steps, looking north to the fountain and bosque of trees with seating.

The second picture is from the northern most end of the plaza, looking south through the tree Allee.

Here is a nice video of the inaugural fountain dance, to New York, New York.

Picture from across 5th Ave.

And finally a view of the plaza and famous Met stairs.

It was a fun event to celebrate everyone's hard work on the project and hopefully I'll be back on a sunnier day with less barricades for some better pictures.

I Shariously recommend a visit to the new plaza!

Breaking Bad (TV Thursday)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

So, I know, I'm late to the party, but, the hubby and I have jumped on the Breaking Bad bandwagon. For a while, we've been wanting to watch Breaking Bad, but since we didn't have Netflix and it's not on Amazon Prime Instant Video, and only a few episodes were on demand we never wanted to pay extra to watch. Then, about two months ago, my Mom had taken season 1 out from the library and while we were over we started to watch.  The first episode was good but pretty gruesome. I'm a big believer that you can never judge a TV show by it's first episode so we watched half of the second episode before going to bed.  A few weeks later, we watched through the third episode when we returned to my parents.  We thought it was not going to be a binge experience since we were very slowly getting through them.

Starting four Sunday's ago, AMC started a weekly Breaking Bad Binge Marathon, airing seven episodes every weekend in order!  We could finally work our way through the rest of the episodes.  We got hooked, but now we had to wait a whole week for the next episodes.  Finally, we managed to borrow a Netflix account so we don't have to wait until Sundays and we have made it to season four.

For the most part, the show has its up and downs in the amount of blood and violence, but sitting through it is a small price to pay for the addictiveness of the show. All the characters are great!  I have tried my best to avoid spoilers for years in hopes that I would finally watch this some day and it paid off.  Although I do know what happens in the end (I do read EW religiously so it's a little hard to avoid not knowing anything) but I don't know how it happens and how everything plays out.  I recommend watching the series, and if the blood is too much just cover your eyes for a bit.

Now that we can borrow a Netflix, next up Orange is the New Black!  What are your Shariously favorite shows to Binge Watch?

Five Foto Friday (August 29, 2014)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Hello world!  It has been a few weeks and lot of fun and excitement this summer.  I am sad to see summer go (unofficially) but excited for the fall!

Last week we were at Rehoboth Beach in Delaware for a few days.  One morning we took a long bike ride and rode around a pond at a state park, it was a perfect day for a bike ride.  And although I haven't ridden a bike in a few years, it was just like riding a bike.

Gordon's Pond bike ride
 Last weekend the weather didn't quite know what it wanted to be.  You can see that uptown Manhattan was beautiful and sunny while downtown was quite gloomy!

One of my favorite yearly events is the US Open for tennis.  I try to make it to the Open at least once a year.  This year, luckily, my company had an outing there.  Since it was the second night, there were still lots of games going on in the outdoor court.  As you can see in the first picture, the outdoor courts are great because although the players are lesser known, you get right up to the court.  Here's a great shot of the serve.

And it was a beautiful  night.

In Arthur Ashe we got to see a Federer match.  It turned out to be a great match, and not nearly as much of a shut-out as I was expecting.  After Federer won we stayed for one set of Serena Williams vs. Taylor Townsend. 

Have a Shariously Happy Labor Day weekend!

Bachelorette Party #5 (Weekend Activities)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Another wedding season is upon on us and with that comes bridal showers and bachelorette parties.

In April I attended a bachelorette party and it was another solid fun day!

Spa Castle

Our first destination was Spa Castle. I had scoured the website and reviews to know what to expect, but I still didn't know quite what to expect.  Here's the rundown of how it all works.

First you arrive and pay your admission fee and receive a wristband,  the wristband basically looks like a watch, but instead of the time it has your assigned locker number and electronically opens and locks your locker and can be used to pay for food or services.  The next stop is the locker room where you have to find your shoe locker - there are no shoes allowed anywhere in the spa.  After you lock up your shoes you get a uniform - an over-sized pink t-shirt (blue for males) and over-sized gray shorts.

One level up is "Sauna Valley", the food court and spa services. Two levels up are the pools, bar and fitness center.  Our group opted to check out the pools first.  These are not swimming pools, they are spa pools. They are warm, so you can use them all year round and they are set up with all sort of "stations."  For example, at one station you sit on a bench and turn the jets on which are directed at your lower back and feet.  Another station may have a waterfall which massages your shoulders or one that jets your thighs or calves.

After spending the good part of the afternoon at the spa, we headed back to the bachelorette's apartment for some cheese, cocktails and "how well do you know your fiance" before heading to dinner.


For dinner we went to Talde, a delicious Asian Fusion restaurant in Park Slope.  I highly recommend it for it's family style food and yummy cocktail concoctions. 
Our Bling for the night

Floating Kabarette

Our final activity of the night was Floating Kabarette - a cabaret variety show billed as "Circus and Cabaret Spectacular."  The show was fun, the audience filled mostly with Bachelorette parties and the acts varied in appeal to all sexes and sexual orientations.  There were acts ranging from circusy - like twisting around in silk ropes and dangling from hoops to more traditional burlesque dances.  Then there was this lady doing some sort of Octopus dance. The MC was pretty entertaining (and dirty) as well.  
Octopus Lady
Another Shariously successful ladies day out!

Five foto Friday (June 20, 2014)

Friday, June 20, 2014

This week was a lovely week, a little hot, but overall had some pretty nice days.  On Monday I discovered Broadway Bites a pop-up market place in Greeley Square (near Herald Square) with tons of delicous places to get food. Most of the food joints are specialty foods, some are outfitters that are usually found as food trucks.  I stopped for an empanada on my way to a meeting, but I'll have to go back when I have more time for lunch one day. Here's the scene;


This past weekend Adam was a Groomsman and instead of a limo the wedding party drove around in a trolley! So cute.  Here's a cute pic of us on the trolley.  Also, was Adam's first time in a tux, he looks so nice!

I was at a meeting at a NYC Parks admin building in Central Park this week and this cool map of the park before it had all the stuff it has today was hanging on the wall so I took a picture.

Yesterday, I was walking from a meeting, down 42nd Street back to my office when on the corner of 6th Ave, Sabra  was handing out free samples of it's Salsa and little packs of Tostitos, my lucky day! A perfect afternoon snack before my softball game.  So I'm munching and walking another block when I come upon a line.  If you don't live in NY, you should know, usually when you see a line, something good is at the end of it sometimes it's a concert or waiting for a celeb after a show appearance, and more often its something free; food or giveaways.  I asked what was being given out, and found out the Red Hook Lobster Pound was giving out free lobster rolls in promotion of Bon Appetit's Grub Crawl, happening this Saturday (6/21) in NYC.  Who knew a walk down 42nd Street could provide so much free food!  Here's the truck giving out the food and the roll.

That's all for today, have a Shariously great weekend!  And don't forget to share you pictures with me on instagram @shariously.

Five Foto Friday (June 13, 2014)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Happy Friday!

A short post for you all this Friday: 

I took this picture a few weeks ago at a luncheon from the ballroom of the Mandarin Oriental at Columbus Circle.  I posted it on instagram and Facebook and it got tons of likes so I figured I'd share.  Since One57 (the building shown in the picture), is one of my company's projects, my marketing team liked the picture so much, they might even feature it in some marketing materials.

The week days have been dismal, but the weekends have been great!  Here is a picture of downtown and midtown on beautiful spring days.

Last weekend we watched a friend's dog for a few hours.  He's an adorable 6 month old goldendoodle.  Note the cord next to him, which he subsequently chewed through when he mixed it up with his chew toy.  The cord is the power cord for my surface.  Luckily, Microsoft has some great customer service, replaced the cord in 3 days and here I am typing to you from a fully powered Surface.  

Lastly, here is a view of a rainy Manhattan from at 19th floor in sunny Downtown Brooklyn.  That's a summer's evening for you.

Have a Shariously wonderful weekend!