Chicago Marathon 2019

Marathon #14 in the books! Over the weekend, I completed (and set a personal best time) in the Chicago Marathon. It is one of my favorite weekends of the year, as I stay with a dear friend that I met in the Paris Marathon while running. For those of you who have read the blog for many years, this is a repetitive story, but it always reminds me that you can find a great friend in a stranger and to be kind, loving, and open to everyone. I feel incredibly fortunate to have Michelle in my life and to share this special weekend on a yearly basis with her. It was so great to just be with her and her family. And the race is just an excuse to visit them, and something to train for. One thing for sure, is I love the journey of training! Sign me up for the next one (actually, I am already signed up for LA Marathon March 8th).

 

Straight from the airport to the expo to get my number. The pants I am wearing are my favorite jeans but let me tell you — THEY ARE NOT PHOTOGENIC. They are so cool in person. But in a picture, they scream BIG THIGHS and MOM JEANS.

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Sunset Hues

I returned to Eugene last night from Sonoma where we spent four days lounging and relaxing at our annual get together with three other families from Stanford. It is one of my absolute favorite weekends of the year and is guaranteed fun. We have been doing this get-together for the past five years and plan on always doing it (Thanks, Kimmers!). We eat, drink, run, hike, bike, cook, play tennis, swim, rollerskate, talk, make smores, and just enjoy each other’s company (and all of our kids). None of us live in the same city as each other (LA, SF, NYC, and Denver…) so it is fun to always know that we will get together every summer. This year, I was inspired to have a theme at our adult dinner out of the house (the rest of the time we cook at the house). For the longest time, I have wanted to have a get together where everyone wore sunset hues. I KNOW, sounds so weird, but I once saw that Mandy Moore (who I love so very much) did it, and I knew I just had to do it at some point. AND man, it was SO much fun. I know, getting dressed in colors is fun?!?!? YEP, it really is. It was *so* fun.

 

Sunset hues (minus Paul in the blue shirt — but he says that the sky is blue when the sun sets….)

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Paris June 2019 Highlights

Bonjour! My apologies for the slow posts these past two weeks — it was quite difficult to get on the internet to do any posts especially because I had a major computer issue a…..turns out, all is okay with my computer but the head of the charger died — who knew that that was a thing? In any case, I am now back in the USA *with* a working computer, so back to normal post schedules. I wanted to first share with you all some of the pictures and highlights of my time in Paris with the kids — we did go to the South of France for an amazing trip as well, and I will post those later. In the meantime, enjoy these photos!

 

In the Tuileries, one of our favorite activities is the trampoline park. It is an old school little hut with a man that got to know us because we went so often. Everyday when we would get there he would say hello and when we would leave, he would say “See you tomorrow.”

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Pari Roller

Greetings from France!  I came with the kids and have loved every minute I have in this beautiful country. I love the light, food, fashion, language, art and culture. And now, I have my favorite event to add to the list: Pari Roller. Pari Roller is a weekly event in Paris full of roller skaters and roller bladers along specified routes in the city. Every Friday, all year long, starting at 9:30 pm, skaters have the opportunity to skate on closed down roads for 40 kilometers. Since roller skating has become a new passion and hobby, I was excited to try it out and be a part of this unique and special celebration. At the last minute, I convinced my friend Jean from NYC to come with me for a portion of the trip *IF* she roller skated with me that night. Always positive and enthusiastic, she said she had not been on skates for 35 years but was confident in her ability and thought it sounded fun. Jean is an incredibly upbeat, fashionable and creative friend, so it was no surprise that she picked out an outfit that corresponded with her skates.

 

Jean flew to Paris with her complete outfit (on the right). I thought it would be a great idea to match her, so the DAY OF, I went to Zara and lo and behold, found the silver pants. It was like I won the lottery I was so excited.

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Tusia Photo Shoot

Our next door neighbors run fashion house, Oscar de la Renta, and so when they approached us to see if Tusia would like to shoot for their kids ad campaign, we couldn’t say no. Although I am not a fan of the modeling business (what kind of message does it send the child? Is beauty more important than school? etc….), I felt that this was a once in a lifetime experience that we couldn’t pass up — not many people can say that their first and only photo shoot was for Oscar de la Renta. Last Friday was definitely a learning experience for the two of us — surrounded by new things and processes…  I am not sure I love any of it — regardless, I am so happy that we did it. And absolutely everyone involved in the photo shoot was kind, loving, and thoughtful. Take a look at the behind the scene pics — and as soon as we get the final photos (if she doesn’t get cut — you never know!), I will share!

 

First, we had a fitting two days before the shoot. During this fitting, it was also a try out for the other models. The other four models were professional and hired children models — a very dark and weird place (IMHO).

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Quick Paris Trip With Josie Natori

This past weekend, I was a true jetsetter and flew to Paris for a getaway with my mother-in-law. Yes, spoiled. Yes, privileged.  Yes, extravagant. But oh so fun and wonderful. As I age (thank you, 40), I realize that time together with loved ones becomes more and more important. And even though we live in the same city, I rarely have the opportunity to sit down with my mother-in-law just to be together.  We had a great time, simply walking around, shopping, eating, drinking champagne, conversing, and soaking up the beauty of Paris. Here are pictures. Enjoy!

 

I am a giant compared to my oh so glamorous MIL….

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Basquiat Exhibit

Last week, on a beautiful Spring day, I was fortunate enough to be able to visit the new Basquiat exhibition at the newly opened branch of The Brant Foundation in the East Village. Tickets are free, but you must register beforehand, and unfortunately the exhibition is currently “sold out.” That said, if you are interested, put yourself on the waitlist, and chances are you will be able to get a ticket. Not only did I find the exhibit special, remarkable, beautiful, and different, but the building itself is incredible.

 

The exhibition starts on the 4th floor of the 16,000 square foot townhouse. The room itself is unbelievable, with a gigantic sky roof with water flowing on it to give beautiful waves and light.

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Pier 17 Winterland

This past weekend, we went with our biffle squad to discover a new ice skating rink in the city, Pier 17 Winterland, which opened up in December. AND HOLY COW it was oh so fun and amazing. At first glance, it is tiny, but the surrounding views of the city and Brooklyn Bridge are amazing. There is also a restaurant which is cozy, beautiful, and extremely friendly.  Even on a super cold day, the kids had so much fun and before we knew it, we were there for three hours.

 

I run by this location ALL the time, and yet I had no idea there was a secret skating rink in there. In the summer, it will be a concert summer stage — can’t wait to check it out. And then this Spring, new restaurants are opening up by David Chang and by Jean-George. Definitely will be checking those out…..

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Palm Springs January 2019

In my last overly-personal-post, here is my round up of pictures on our second week of vacation in Palm Springs, California. Thank you in advance for looking at the photos and learning more about Palm Springs — and I promise you that next week, we will be back to NORMAL posts that are not overly personal or sappy……After Sunriver, we decided to spend a week with our best friends from Stanford (who live in San Francisco) somewhere warm(ish), so we picked Palm Springs. I actually spent time in Palm Springs growing up as my childhood best friend’s parents had a home there, so I had fond memories. Although NOT warm this year, we had a wonderful time exploring a new place for the family and quality time with our friends — they are friends that are family, where they  know you so well (that they can give you unsolicited feedback) and will always be close to us despite the fact we live on different coasts.

 

Palm Springs is really retro and is a serious throwback to older times. We had amazing meals, all arranged by our friends (who did the research and reservations — thank you!).

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Domino Park – Tacocina

Yesterday, we went on a little adventure to Domino Park in Williamsburg (in Brooklyn). This new park opened in June and was created in the ruins of the Domino Sugar Factory. Designed by the same firm as The High Line (James Corner Field Operations), this water front six acre green space is a terrific new addition to the city. Although we froze our bottoms off, it was great fun to run around, breathe fresh air, and look at the views of our incredibly beautiful city. I can’t wait to come back on a sunny Spring Day (which will not happen for half a year….)

 

These cranes previously occupied the site remain, and have been painted in the park’s signature turquoise.

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Seattle Fall Weekend 2018

The past two Falls, I have made a trip out to Seattle with my son to have special alone time with him and his cousins. My brother lives in Seattle with his wife, three kids, two dogs, and two cats. As a lover of the Pacific Northwest, I love this trip to go visit him and just spend quality family time together. We don’t do much while there but it is nice to be all together. Here are some pictures of the weekend.

 

My brother’s house. ISN’T IT SO CUTE? Even with the scary decorations (my brother’s kids wanted it to be the spookiest house in the neighborhood), it is so cute. And so Fall.

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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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