To Do Fall 2018

Almost October, so that means there is only 1 and a half months before it becomes Winter in NYC. Fall is a very short lived season and there is so much to do between now and then! Here is what I want to do this Fall:

 

We still have green leaves on the trees, but sooner rather than later, the colors will change and then the Park will be orange / yellow hues…

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Brooklyn Crab

Back in the early 2010’s, we used to spend our weekends driving out to Red Hook (in Brooklyn) to grocery shop at Fairway, gaze at the Statue of Liberty, eat cookies at Baked, and pretend like we lived in the outer boroughs/suburbs. We were religious about this weekend ritual and tried to keep it up as long as we could. But then Fresh Direct (and a second child) came along, which made it impossible to drive 30 minutes just to grocery shop. This past weekend, we decided to go back. And now I can’t wait to go back and make it a monthly ritual — Red Hook is a special and unique neighborhood and I just love it so much. The highlight was our brunch at Brooklyn Crab. I want to have a big blow out party there. The food is delicious, the views are great, and it just screams FUN PARTY.

 

Looks like you are on the coast of Maine, but NOPE, in Brooklyn!

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Summer 2018 Orcas Island

We just finished up a full week in Orcas Island (a part of the San Juan Islands) with my family. It was a super fun filled week of hiking, biking, swimming in lakes, swimming in the ocean, swimming in the pool, roasting marshmallows, and breathing in the super fresh air. Orcas Island is an incredibly hilly island (made my runs extremely challenging….) but with ridiculous beautiful views and scenery. I can’t wait to return again and hope to make it an annual trip. Enjoy the pictures!

 

We rented a house in Rosario, one mile away from Moran State Park. This meant great access to hikes, trails, lakes, and views. At the top of Mount Constitution, there were breathtaking views of the other San Juan Islands, the Cascade Mountains, and all the lush greenery. HEAVEN, truly heaven.

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NYC Moment

For many, the end of the school year is extremely busy, hectic, time consuming, and stressful. Especially when my work involves working in schools and tutoring students, the days seem to be marathons with a long list of to-dos. So, it was especially joyful and happy when a couple months ago, I discovered a neighboring apartment that had a statue that gazed out on to the street. This statue wasn’t just any statue, but one where the owners would frequently rotate the hats that the statue was wearing.  For some reason, this was exciting and something I looked forward to every day.

 

The hat on the corner apartment of the building across the street.

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Saturday Night Live Taping

This past weekend we had the experience of a lifetime, attending Saturday Night Live and hanging out backstage with cast member Mikey Day and his partner Paula, who is a friend of Ken’s from college. Paula and Mikey are incredibly friendly, interesting, funny, and grounded. So when they invited us to attend the dress rehearsal, hang out in the dressing room during the show, and then go to the after party (!!!!), we jumped at the opportunity… especially Ken, who is the show’s biggest groupie. We had SO MUCH FUN.

 

We had tickets for the dress rehearsal which required us to be there at 6:30. There was a lot of security to go through before it actually started at 8 pm.  The dress rehearsal lasted 2 hours and has more skits than the live taping.  They are militant about not allowing pictures. 🙁

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Theo Chocolate Tour

Over Spring Break in Seattle, we had the privilege of visiting Theo Chocolate Factory and going on a tour (my beloved Gwyneth is the one who told me about it). It was fun, tasty, interesting, and a unique experience. Definitely worth going to — but probably best to do it AFTER lunch and not before. Cough, cough, we were the idiots who went with five kids at 10:30 am and ate ten chocolate bars before lunch.

 

Classic beautiful warehouse (an old brewery) in which the factory is housed.

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Taj Mahal 2018

As I mentioned on Monday, after our full two days in Rajasthan, we went on a pilgrimage to see the Taj Mahal. It was quite the trek — a full 5 hour drive from Rajasthan, and then 4 hours back to Delhi, but when in Rome…. How could we not see the Taj Mahal? Although it was an incredibly long day (on no sleep as the wedding was the night before), it was pure magic.

 

It was quite the racket to even get IN to the Taj Mahal. First of all, we had to be dropped off by our car 2 kilometers away and walk to the gates. We had not eaten a thing that day (we left before breakfast and street food was not happening for us), so the walk felt like miles and miles……but once we got through the ticket purchasing, the security, and all the lines, we saw this. MAGIC.

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Indian Wedding – Part 2 – The Details

Hello! I am back from a whirlwind 4 day trip to India. Currently, I don’t know the difference between up and down, India vs. USA, where I am, and what time zone I am in, but HEY, all worth it. It was a *once in a lifetime* trip and I am so glad that I went and experienced it all. I am sure I am going to have a serious whoop-a$$-kicking-week with work / kids / life / reality, but all worth it….YOLO (you only live once). Here are some pictures of my trip — sorry in advance for the number — I couldn’t help myself!

 

We arrived at 12 am Monday night — basically Tuesday morning. And had to wake up and drive 5 hours to the wedding site, which was located in Rajasthan. This is a picture of us on the roadside on our way to the wedding. We saw monkeys on the side of the freeway and couldn’t pass up the photo opportunity.

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Indian Wedding – Part 1

Hello from India!  Ken and I have had a whirlwind week, flying to India to celebrate the wedding of our friends.  For a number of reasons, (spotty wi-fi, severe jet lag, a packed schedule, #DelhiBelly), I won’t be able to post in detail until I get back to New York on Saturday (solo.. eeks… Ken is meeting with potential suppliers here and then flying on to Manila), but here are some quick pics of our wedding outfits in the meantime.. Enjoy!

 

There were a lot of parties. This was the first party on Day 1. Some people were in Indian outfits, others were in dresses. I decided to wear a top and skirt that looked both Indian and American — I love the color and the fit.

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Instagram Follows: Jill Wagner @JillMarjeanWagner

Greetings from India!  Ken and I are at a friend’s YOLO wedding in Rajasthan, four hours north of Delhi.  We are having a blast (more to come), but in the meantime, check out the below interview with one of my favorite accounts to follow on Insta- @JillMarjeanWagner .  Think awesome travel photos and engaging/hysterical comments/questions.  Definitely worth the follow!  Check out more on Jill below (including a bunch of things we have in common)… enjoy!

 

 

 

How did you decide to start your IG account? Is it mostly a product of your love of travel?

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Sotte le Stelle

Last weekend, we went on a family adventure to Queens to visit the Queens Museum. As we decided we wanted to have dinner on the way back, I researched hip but kid-friendly restaurants for an early dinner. We landed on Sotte le Stelle, which had rave reviews on Eater as the #3 hot spot in Queens.  And… pizza.  The new restaurant was DELICIOUS.

 

The restaurant only has 30 seats and is super small and cute. All of the waiters and staff are Italian, and super nice and friendly.

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NYC Fall To Do List 2017

HERE I GO AGAIN….another list, another set of goals…..

 

1. Go to a new restaurant each month.

 

We are spoiled in NYC with access to the best food and restaurants in the world. And yet, Ken and I have the tendency to go to the same three (who am I kidding, ONE) restaurant. So I want to make more of an effort and take advantage of all the great food around us.

 

There are over 850,000 (Thanks, Alexis) restaurants in NYC! So many types, cuisines, atmospheres, and experiences to try.

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2017 Chicago Marathon Recap

This past weekend, I ran my 8th marathon in Chicago. It was a terrific day but not a great race (or even run). It was super hard out on the course and I walked away disappointed and upset. I went in hopeful after a good training season with high mileage, fast speed runs, and a strong mental set….but for whatever reason, Sunday wasn’t my day and I didn’t do well. Without making any excuses, one thing after another happened — I had a side ache from the get go (and still have it!), my Nike App was totally off (it said I ran 27.5 miles so therefore was off the whole time, making me super confused…), I lost my caffeine gum, the top of my water bottle with my nutrition in it fell off, I sweat uncontrollably (it was 77 degrees), yada yada yada….nothing went well. And so I started to derail mentally, and thought I should quit because each step was hard on my side and nothing felt great – …..all of that to say, it was my hardest marathon to date, both mentally and physically. I clocked in a 3:33, but know I can do much better.

 

The trip was quick — I left Saturday morning at 9, and came back Sunday night at 930. Quick turn around, but happy to make it short and the marathon the focus of the weekend. Before I left for Chicago, I did lots of legs up the wall to help relax my body…

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Marathon Packing- Chicago Here I Come!

Tomorrow, I leave for Chicago for my marathon weekend. This time, I am going totally solo and will fly, run, and stay COMPLETELY alone. I am not sure what I am more nervous about; the 26.2 miles on Sunday, or the fact that I will be alone for 36 hours (I am not good alone for long periods of time). I know I have a bajillion friends and family to call, and I am actually staying at a runner friend’s extra apartment (I met her when running the 2015 Paris Marathon and stayed with her at the Chicago 2015 Marathon — and yes, that is only after meeting her once while running… runners are AWESOME), BUT BUT BUT, who am I going to wake up in the middle of the night to tell them I am nervous????? MY BABERS WILL NOT BE THERE TO TELL ME TO GO BACK TO SLEEP AND NOT TO WORRY. ***GULP**** In any case, I am packed and ready to go on my adventure. And here is what I packed.

 

This is of me, two years ago, eating dinner before the marathon. I am planning on eating there AGAIN. So cute and good. I look tired, because heck, I was most likely tired. And I probably look even worse now. ALSO, please note my red nail polish. It is a belief of mine to always have my nails painted BRIGHT red before marathons (mind you, my nails are almost painted red year round, but especially right before marathons), because my sister, Courtney, told me that it is a good reminder to “run like fire.” And so red nails, it is.

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Utah- Via Ferrata Climbing

Ken and I went to Utah this past weekend for a belated 10th anniversary celebration. And what a weekend it was — can’t rave enough about the extraordinary experience we had during our stay. It was to date, one of my favorite vacations and involved everything I love: adventure, exercise, beautiful sunny weather, nature, great food, and relaxing. One of my favorite activities was a climb in the mesas of the Canyon Valley of Southern Utah. The type of climb we did is called a Via Ferrata which involves steel rods / climbing ladders, and a steel cable that you are connected to. So yeah, JV type of climbing, but so fun and scary nonetheless!

 

This activity involved a guide, and I told the guide that we were both in good shape (#humblebrag) and wanted the hardest via ferrata climb that they had…..so look at the mesa we climbed. OY.

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Crater Lake, Oregon

Last week, we jumped into the car and drove to Crater Lake. Although I had gone as a child, I didn’t remember my experience and the trip had been on my to-do-list for several years. This year, I was determined to make it happen, and despite the long car ride (Thanks Pups for being our driver), it was INCREDIBLE. A MUST SEE. A MUST GO TO. A MUST A MUST A MUST.

 

On our drive South, we stopped at Watson Falls, for a quick hike and lunch pit stop. Oregon always blows me away with its natural beauty and divine power. We were all mesmerized with the water, the green, and Mother Earth.

On our drive South, we stopped at Watson Falls, for a quick hike and lunch pit stop. Oregon always blows me away with its natural beauty and divine power. We were all mesmerized with the water, the green, and Mother Earth.

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Sonoma 2017

We returned Sunday night from our Third Annual Sonoma Trip with a small group of our Stanford friends. It continues to be a wonderful tradition and something we look forward to each summer. If you have never been to wine country in CA before, I highly suggest doing it– beautiful vineyard views, hot dry weather, delicious farm-to-table-food, and of course… amazing local wine. Can life be any better? Thank you to our wonderful friends and hosts, Kimmers and Joe. Enjoy the photos — I want to go back now!

 

On our friend's property (100 acres!), they have many different houses / cabins spread out. We took over a cabin close to the main house and it was oh so cute (and yes, all four of us Natoris slept in the same bed for three nights!)

The guest house we stayed at on our friend’s property. We took over a cabin close to the main house and it was oh so cute (and all four of us Natoris slept in the same bed for three nights!)

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1st Week of Summer 2017 in Oregon

It is hard to believe that ten days ago, I was in NYC….it feels like I’ve been gone for months! My life in Oregon is quite simple, but it is easy, wonderful, and I love it. Here are some pictures of the past week – Enjoy!

 

We do a lot of biking in Eugene. My parents actually don't drive anywhere, they SOLELY bike. So we have fun biking around the river, picking the kids up from camp, or just doing errands. In this photo, I am with my daughter and my littlest niece, Nadia.

We do a lot of biking in Eugene. My parents actually don’t drive anywhere. So we have fun biking around the river, picking the kids up from camp, or just doing errands. In this photo, I am with my daughter and my littlest niece, Nadia. (My helmet is from Sawako Furono Helmets)

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Park City, Utah

It feels like a million years ago that we were on vacation with our dear friends in Deer Valley / Park City, Utah. In reality, it was just a week ago (another trip to the West Coast this weekend for my sister’s wedding sure makes time confusing). Deer Valley was the perfect ending to a fabulous summer, filled with lots of activities and simple family fun with great friends. Here is a recap of our trip with recommendations.. Deer Valley is a PERFECT summer getaway (particularly at the end of the summer after Utah schools start up… everything was empty which was perfect!)

 

Utah

Utah

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Oregon Coast 2016

This past weekend, the kids, parents and I went to the Oregon Coast to escape the hot temperatures of Eugene (in the 100s) and surround ourselves in the beauty of the Oregon Coast. We had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed nature, and family (minus Ken, who was in New York). Take a look at the pictures.

 

The Oregon Coast is always much colder than inland .... which makes sense, but this past weekend it was 30 degrees colder. 30!!!!

The Oregon Coast is always much colder than inland …. which makes sense, but this past weekend it was 30 degrees colder. 30!!!!

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To-Do-Spring Wish List NYC 2016

It seems like 2016 just started; and yet, school is about to end. I can’t believe I only have 6 weeks to squeeze in everything I want to do in Spring in NYC. Better start…..yesterday! Here is my list. (For last year’s list, go here).

 

1. Go see Hamilton (again).

 

Yowsers, I can't stop raving about it.

Yowsers, I can’t stop raving about it.

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9/11 Memorial & Museum

Last Friday, I had the opportunity (and privilege) of visiting and touring the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. To say I was blown away is a true understatement. It took my breath away and has preoccupied my mind since. Mind you, I did not live in NYC during the 9/11 attacks, nor did I know anyone who was directly affected.  As a result, I had never been overly emotional about it.  But visiting the museum changed everything.

 

Freedom Tower

The power of the tallest building in the United States, The Freedom Tower. An eerie view from the memorial looking up to the sky.

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Four & Twenty Blackbirds

Even with Thanksgiving behind us, there is no such thing as TOO much pie! Especially pie from Four & Twenty Blackbirds. Located in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn (439 3rd Avenue), this pie shop was founded in 2010 by sisters and pie makers Melissa and Emily Elsen. And my oh my, do they know how to bake! So scrumptious and delicious. So many choices to choose form.

outside

Outside the pie shop with old school gothic lettering.

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Etsy Holiday Shop

I love Etsy.  And I love pop-up shops.  So while I was on a three hour day-date with my better half last weekend in SoHo (best three hours EVER), I couldn’t have been more excited to stumble across the ETSY HOLIDAY SHOP!

the sign

The sign outside of the store. This is what immediately got my attention.

For those of you unfamiliar with Etsy, it is a website that allows local artisans and merchants to sell handmade or vintage items to a broad community.  It is a great one-stop shop for anything homemade, and it is a terrific place to find unique gifts.  The holiday store does a great job of bringing that web concept to brick-and-mortar.  As described on the site, “Imagine a magical place where you can shop directly from the collections of guest curators, meet the artists and collectors of the marketplace in person, learn to make something with your own two hands, and enlist the help of a whole squad of Etsy experts for your gift list. It’s Etsy in real life!” So true, and so magical.  But unfortunately, the shop is closing this Saturday (December 8th)…. so go now!

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