Dads Like Cars

lanemotor museum

Before Father’s Day I thought it would be a good idea to ask my Dad-in-law what he would like to do on his holiday. My Dad is in Texas and I figure Dad-in-law gets first choice over Husband on this particular holiday. We told him we’d do whatever he wants and much to my dismay he chose the Lane Motor Museum. If you remember correctly, I am not exactly a car enthusiast. In fact, my “dream car” would be a prius…which is what I currently drive. I have never been impressed for fast cars and couldn’t tell you the name of a fancy car I pass on the street. It’s just not my thang.

Some of the various tires from the various cars at the museum...so much variety!
Some of the various tires from the various cars at the museum…so much variety!

Honestly, I was hoping there’d be a nearby Starbucks I could sit at while Luna ate and the boys looked at cars. However, it was Father’s Day after all so I figured I should probably spend time with “the boys”. The Lane Motor Museum is actually the old Sunbeam bread bakery. The owner, Jeff Lane, opened this museum in 2002 and he has his own personal collection on display (including the first car he ever restored when he was just a teenager). I learned all of this while watching the intro video on loop while Luna ate.

more cool tires!
more cool tires!

Anyways, I’ll go ahead an admit that I really enjoyed the museum. The cars there are legitimately interesting to look at and read about. There were cars that drove both directions, went in water (amphibious), had 3 wheels, ran on coal,  made from fiberglass, created in a myriad of countries and had the craziest characteristics. I can’t tell you the names or anything about how they run, but they were very pretty, creative, innovative and have lots of history. The museum also had some small planes and motorcycles. Everything on display seemed to have a story and proved to be much more than just a car.

both ways

 

luigi

I think even Luna enjoyed walking around and looking at all the colors and shiny things. Of course, we forced her to take a million pictures, but how can we not take photos of the cutest baby ever? When she’s older she’ll be able to do a lot more. They had an entire area designated for kids to play and run around. There were many fathers and kids spending the day together and taking advantage of the play place, very cute.

racecar drivers

 

luna

Since it was Father’s Day the museum was not only letting Dads in for free, but also letting the first 240 guests on a free tour of the basement! See, the museum has over 400 cars, but only about 100 are on display at a time. the rest are either off on other exhibits, being maintained, repaired, restored or simply waiting their turn to be on display. On our basement tour we learned that virtually every car runs! It’s the museum’s goal to keep the cars in working condition. Some lucky souls actually get to drive the cars around to keep them running smoothly.

bsement

 

Besides all of the crazy cars on the main floor and in the basement, there’s also some parked in the garage where everyone parks. Just outside of the garage is perhaps the most interesting vehicle of the whole museum. There is giant, and I mean GIANT, Lark LX Amphibian. It can carry 60 tons through the ocean and land. Just the tires are 9 feet tall.

larc

So, the Motor Museum turns out to be pretty entertaining after all. I’d even go back, which is saying a lot! One of my favorite parts of the museum were the many maps at the front where every guest is allowed to stick a pin to show where they are from. It is unbelievable how many people from all over the world have been to this museum.

my favorite

If you are interested in visiting the Lane Motor Museum be sure to check out their calendar of events! Have fun!

the world's smallest car is slightly bigger than Luna's stroller.
the world’s smallest car is slightly bigger than Luna’s stroller.

Cheers!

Car Enthusiast? Me!?

Over the weekend Husband and I decided to get a little artsy, or at least feel a little artsy. It’s only been a few weeks, but we’re already missing the MET, MOMA and the Guggenheim. We repainted some furniture, but that turned out to be not very creative work. After we finished our “artwork” we headed to Nashville’s Frist Center to enjoy some actual artwork.

The Frist Center is in downtown Nashville in what used to be Nashville’s very first post office. We used to visit fairly often when we first lived in Tennessee. I even took my classes there on field trips, but it’s been at least four years since my last trip. This weekend was an especially good weekend to visit because the new Art Deco Automobile exhibit just opened. Now, I know what you’re thinking…Hilarie? Cars? What an obvious combination!

viewing

No. I’ve never mentioned any sort of car, because I don’t give a rat’s tushy about cars, however; these cars aren’t just cars. They’re art.

To be honest, when I got the opportunity to checkout and review these cars I was not enthused. I got myself pumped up by dressing up, wearing an art deco style necklace and with coffee, of course. When I arrived, I was greeted by a very friendly woman named Ellen who is the Frist’s director of communications. She was warm, informative and just thrilled to tell us all about the new exhibit, Sensuous Steel: Art Deco Automobiles.

ellen artdeco

The cars (and motorcycles) in this exhibit are all from the 30’s and 40’s, influenced by the art deco styles and soooo pretty.

silvercar

They may not be very economical and certainly not gas efficient, but who cares!? Can’t you just imagine Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart being chauffeured around town in one of these?

frontend

If you are like me, and not easily impressed by cars, let me tell you a few secrets (facts I did not know) I learned while touring this exhibit.

-Many of these cars were created in Paris. Now, imagine sitting at a little sidewalk cafe, sipping espresso, smoking a cigarette and watching these cars drive by…nice, right?

cooldashboard

-Some of them had sunroofs! Like this 1936 Delahaye 135m Figoni and Falaschi, for example. Impessed? Who new sunroofs existed that long ago??

sunroof

-Frank Lloyd Wright owned this orange 1929 Cord L-29.

franklloydwright

-These futuristic motorcycle looks like a superhero should be drifing it, but it’s actually too heavy, impractical and hard to ride. Nice to look at though…

1930motorcycle

-The “Xenia” was named after the designer’s ex-wife, after he already re-married. Hmmm wonder how his new wife felt about this? I  liked that this car looks like a rocket ship in the back. Also, there is custom-made luggage that comes with the car! So, you know your suitcases will fit perfectly in the trunk. Genius!

xenia luggage

-Some cars have a speedometer in the backseat so the people being toted around can very easily annoy the driver and tell him he’s going too fast, or too slow. I wonder if this is when the phrase “backseat driver” was coined?

speedometer

-Many of the cars were inspired by aviation. This van, which looks it has a cat face, has mobile seats and a card table. It’s meant to feel like a flight, but actually looks much roomier. It was also designed to look like a scarab. Several cars had some Egyptian influence.

catcar

Husband’s favorite car is the 1914 Chrysler  “Thunderbolt”. Only five of these cars were made, and only 4 of those have survived. It’s very rare. It has a fender that goes around the entire car and looks like it belongs in a drive-thru.

backofthunderbolt thunderbolt

We had a lot of fun looking at these cars and reading and hearing about their past. If you are interested in seeing this new exhibit then click here for visiting info. The Automobile exhibit closes on September 15th, but the Frist is always offering new exhibits, and activities for the whole family. *BUT, try your best to see the cars Monday-Friday. It gets very crowded on the weekends.

AND: If you check out Sensuous Steel, then you will get a discount at Nashville’s Lane Motor Museum. Just bring your ticket stub!

Cheers!

A Weekend Work Day

Today was rainy and the perfect day to stay inside and do nothing but eat and hide under blankets. I did this all morning, but  at one point I had to get dressed and carry my broken umbrella through the rain because I had an appointment. Today, I had to checkout the butterfly conservatory at the Natural History Museum. My job (my paying job) often requires me to review child-appropriate activities in the city, like looking at butterflies.

blackbutterfly copy

 

It wasn’t easy to get excited about spending my rainy relaxing day reviewing a new exhibit, but once I was actually there I felt much better. Turns out that every single New York family goes to museums on rainy Sundays, who knew? I’ve never seen a museum so crowded. I was happy I had the luxury of taking my time. I also had the opportunity to get a pass to the new frog exhibit!

whitelippedpp brightgreen

THESE were definitely my favorite!
THESE were definitely my favorite!

The frogs were cool. I had a nice time checking out the tiny neon colored poisonous ones and the huge African bullfrogs. I was mostly thrilled because they were all alive. The Natural History Museum is mostly full of dioramas depicting animal scenes throughout history. All of the stuffed fake animals look too real to me and I can’t help but feel like I’m in a zoo of dead animals. I much prefer the real ones…although the fact that they are trapped in aquariums is a little depressing.

Whatever, the butterfly conservatory was awesome and the exact opposite of depressing!

conservatory

 

Thankfully, the museum only allows you to enter the conservatory if you have a special ticket (bought separately) for a specific time, so it can’t ever get too crowded. The conservatory must have had a million butterflies! I don’t think one person can walk through without having a butterfly land on them at some point. They had butterflies and moths of every shape, size and color. One was at least 12 inches wide.

eatingflutterbyes camobutterfly bigblue

 

While snapping some photos, I heard a woman behind me tell her son, “look a butterfly is on that lady’s camera!”. I looked down, and sure enough a little flutterby decided to take up residence on my lens! He hung out with me for about 15 minutes until the swoosh of someone’s ponytail scared him away.

butterflyoncamera

I spent a little extra time roaming around before picking up Starbucks and hopping on the bus home. When I got on the bus I was embarrassed to learn that there was no money left on my MetroCard. I sat there digging through my purse for change while the driver glared impatiently. At that moment, a man with an adorable toddler (they even had on matching shirts) came over and kindly swiped his card for me. I was SO grateful to not have to stand there in shame anymore and be forced off the bus, back into the pouring rain. Thank you friendly Dad on the M86 bus, you are a lifesaver!

So, I did have to spend part of my day off “working”, but after the butterflies, the coffee and the friendly bus rider I felt pretty good. Plus, I had the whole evening to relax and catch up on life. Good day.

Cheers!

My Unlucky Badonkadonk

I may have danced for many years of my life, but I am not the most graceful person. I am always dropping things, bumping my head, tripping over my own two feet, and burning myself anytime I attempt cooking. My mishaps are often very embarrassing. Sometimes, I do not even tell Husband how I ridiculously hurt myself. Especially since it is often a result of me being careless and senseless.

This weekend I hurt myself…twice. Both are a little embarrassing, but also so silly that I have to share them with you.  I am hoping that some of you will get a good laugh, and the rest of you will share your own embarrassing story in return, to make me feel a little better.

It all began on Saturday night. Zoey, Husband and I all went to see the most awesome exhibit ever at The Park Avenue Armory. I will write an entire post on it another day, but for now you can have the gist. It is basically a giant room full of swings all attached to one enormous piece of fabric that sways from the ceiling.  That sounds odd, but trust me, it was the best exhibit ever.

IMG_2972

After using the swings we laid on the floor under the fabric to watch it flow. A while later, I sat up and scooted back on the wood floor to reach my purse.  That’s when it happened; two giant splinters when through my jeans and all the way into my left butt cheek.

I pulled the big pieces out immediately, but I could feel tiny splinters in my tush getting caught on my jeans every step I took. That made for a very uncomfortable walk home. At home I attempted to remove the splinters using a compact and tweezers, which was a major fail. I tried to contort myself in order to get a better view, but in the end it was Husband who had to step up and save the day.

My booty was just starting to heal by Monday morning. I woke before Husband and got dressed in our bathroom to keep from waking him. There are steam pipes that run through our floors and up through our ceilings in every room in the apartment, including the bathroom. These pipes are connected to the radiator and periodically heat up throughout the day. They get so hot in fact, that they hiss and bubble and are severely hot to the touch.

So, I am getting dressed, which I rarely do in the bathroom, and I bend over to pull my pants up. I’m still tired and a little groggy (no coffee yet) and I start to lean towards the wall. My bare bum then rests against the steam pipe. It took a second or two for my un-caffeinated brain to make the connections: hot pole + bare bum = lots of pain. Have you ever accidently grabbed the wrong end of your curling iron? It was similar experience.

By the time I moved, screamed, and began hopping out of the bathroom with my pants still around my ankles my right butt cheek was already blistered up from the burn. I have never had a burn blister so quickly. Ouch.

Luckily, we had some burn cream on hand from the random First-Aid kit Dad gave me. I honestly thought, “We’ll never use this” when Dad gave it to me. Now, I am embarrassed to say how many times we have taken it out in the last 6 months. I spent the rest of the morning walking around pant-less for fear of anything rubbing against the burn.

I considered cutting a hole in a pair of leggings before leaving the house, but once again Husband came to the rescue and covered me with gauze and tape. Now, I lay here tossing and turning trying to figure out which side hurts less. It’s a real pain in the…well you know.

Cheers!

Living on the Street With the Good Candy

Happy Day-After Halloween! I’m still on a candy high from yesterday (and today…) Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, our Halloween did not go quite like we planned. In fact, we did not get to do one single awesome thing we had planned; I couldn’t even wear a costume because all of my costumes were locked safely away at work. So, instead of attending the Village Parade, screaming in a Haunted House, or partying all night with one of my best friends we had breakfast with Dad-in-law, went to some museums, and spent the night watching trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood.

Dad-in-law was finally allowed to fly back to Tennessee, but before his flight we had some last minute stops at the open (and very crowded) museums on the Upper East Side. The Guggenheim recently opened the “Picasso Black and White” exhibit; I spent a lot of time searching for Picasso’s famous “Guernica”, which turns out to be in Spain…not NY. 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Last night, feeling sad for myself, I stayed cuddled on the couch with the windows down to feel the cool breeze. Around 6pm the noise started. There were kids laughing, parents yelling, dogs barking. By 6:15 the noise was so loud you could hardly hear the TV. I walked to the window and was shocked to see our street full of children in costumes. There were thousands of super heroes, princess, monsters, storybook characters, and pop stars running up and down the sidewalks and through the streets. We decided to throw on our coats and run downstairs to get a better look.

We had to put Belle in her costume first, duh!

Look! Belle made friends!

We walked a few blocks down but realized that our street was by far the most popular street around. On most of the streets though, the ends of the streets were blocked so kids could walk around without having to worry about cars, and tons of brownstones went ALL OUT on their Halloween decorations.

It was obvious which houses had the best candy…

It was so great to see so many families out and about making the best of this holiday after such a devastating weekend.

So many cuties!

No one seemed to mind trick-or-treating in midst of Hurricane debris.

Before going in we made sure to get a family picture.

Hope you all had a Happy Halloween! Mine turned out to be much better than I thought, AND now it’s officially the start of my Birthday Month! Let the festivities begin!

Cheers!

Art Appreciation

After what seemed to be the LOOOONNGGEESSTTTT week of work ever (even though it was just a four-day work week), I decided I deserved a weekend full of fun, adventure, and little bit of relaxation. First experience to check off the weekend to-do list was Art. I am always saying that Husband and I do not take advantage of the museums, exhibits, and shows surrounding us. Our plan for Saturday afternoon was to hit up Museum Mile, which is only a quick 10-minute walk from our apartment.

First museum was the Whitney. I have been itching to check out the Whitney and its Yayoi Kusama exhibit. Upon our arrival we were greeted by a nice long line of people leading from the doors, all the way down the block. Waiting in lines was not part of our itinerary so we decided to save the Whitney for a better day and head over to the Guggenheim, which I have not been to in years!

The Guggenheim stood out among the bright blue skies, beckoning us, and promising hours of art appreciation.

 

The Guggenheim turned out to be a terrible tease. Just as I was pulling out my debit card to pay, the cashier mentioned that over half the museum was closed for the installations of new exhibits (including the spiral rotundas!). Needless to say, we said farewell and walked to the Met.

 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art recently opened the new “Regarding Warhol” exhibit. I really enjoyed all of Andy’s works that were put on display, but there were tons of artists inspired by Warhol who also had some very interesting pieces throughout the exhibit. The best part was the room full of large helium silver balloons, “silver clouds”.

Andy Warhol
A combination of a Marie Antoinette setting and Paris Hilton
Cindy Sherman as Marilyn Monroe

 

Eventually, I tired of getting lost in the Met and decided it was time for a change of Art. I had a more interactive exhibit in mind.

Christian Louboutin

 

Christian Louboutin designs some gorgeous shoes, works of art if you will, and I always choose to try on the most interesting pair.

 

Besides not being able to purchase these $1400 shoes, I would have few opportunities to wear these extravagant 6-inch heels. But, what’s the fun in trying on plain sensible shoes??? These are the type of shoes you plan outfits and occasions around.

We felt completely cultured and sophisticated after our Museum outings. Check! Now, we can spend the rest of the weekend eating and relaxing without an ounce of guilt.

Cheers!

Fun Day Numero Cuatro

For months now, Husband has been dying to go to Sony Wonder Technology Lab. I had never heard of this, and naturally assumed it was something that would bore me. However, this is our week of fun, and I am happy to let him choose one thing to do this week.

We had to wake up early to get tickets for this exhibit. I have been exhausted from lack of sleep each morning, so got up as late as possible,  threw on a cotton dress, put my hair in a bun, brushed my teeth, and left without even a sip of coffee or stitch of makeup (besides mascara…of course.) We arrived at least a half-hour before anyone else, and THANK GOD there is a café located in the lobby. We had breakfast and coffee and waited for dozens more people to rush in and wait in line for the free tickets.

A half-hour later, a Sony Wonder employee invited us and the one other family in to get our free tickets. She gave us her speech about the lab and ID cards that we were to use at each station. The one other family decided to go eat breakfast before starting their tour, which left the three of us to take on the entire lab by ourselves. Sweet!

This lab turned out to be a technology-filled kid’s science museum. We began by creating a profile that is connected to our ID card, and would be used to sign us in at each game and attraction.

We began our tour by performing heart surgery with a simulator. I almost threw up.

Next was a remote control car/robot exhibit that responds to the rules you give it. For example, one of my rules was that the robot/car would have to dance anytime it saw my favorite color (yellow)….and it did.

A few stations later, Zoey and I put on our own news broadcast, which was then played on giant TV screens for everyone to watch repeatedly until another visitor comes and makes a new broadcast, which hopefully happened soon after we left. Watching myself squint at the teleprompter as I stumbled over a fake news report about recycling with no make-up on and greasy hair was not exactly a self-esteem boost.

We played lots of other fun things like virtual video games, racecar games, created our own music with “Alicia Keys”, and edited our own movie trailer. It was fun, and at the end we were given certificates for completing the lab. I don’t think I’d do the whole exhibit again, but kids will definitely love this place AND it’s free. If you are planning on visiting the city with your family then I would definitely put this on the itinerary.

After lunch, Husband and I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We have a membership here that we have only taken advantage of a handful of times. Considering the MET is only a 15-minute walk away that is a pathetic amount of visits. Plus, neither of us has made it to the roof the museum to the Cloud City exhibit. It’s time we put that annual membership to good use.

isn’t my new phone cover adorable and ridiculous?!

It’s nice to walk around the MET without feeling rushed or worried that I will get to see EVERYTHING. I know I can come back whenever I please…now I just need to actually come back.  Our membership expires this month, but I renewed it with great intentions. So if you are planning to come visit me this year, we ARE going to the MET.

I ended my lovely day with yoga in Bryant Park again. I did not arrive early enough to get my spot in the front, but the back turned out not to be so bad.  I was hanging with the cool kids, like the back of the school bus. I kept my headphones in the whole time so I could listen to Pandora instead of yoga-ese. Then, I skipped most of the relaxing portion so I could snap a few pictures…such a rebel.

Only a few days left to soak in all that’s left of summer. Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Cheers!