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!


Silk Stockings and French Cafes

It’s that time again, time for another day in the shoes of Husband and Hilarie. The latest installment of Great Walks of NYC takes us all around our own neighborhood: The Upper East Side, or as the book calls it “The Silk Stocking District”. Apparently the wealthy residents that have historically resided here could always afford silk stockings, giving it it’s nickname. Presently, they should probably change the name to the “Bergdorf Goodman’s Shoes District”. Although, for the that rule to apply, Husband and I would have to move to a new neighborhood….or better yet, buy some fancier shoes.

Before the walk began we tried to visit Carnegie Hall, but they were closed due to construction. Luckily, there was an open fire hydrant to keep us distracted.

The first official stop on our walk was the “Metropolitan Club”. This club was started by J.P. Morgan (Did you know he died on the  Titanic!?!) This is basically a crazy fancy exclusive men’s-only club that was started in 1891 and still exists. These wealthy men come here to play cards, bowl in their private bowling alley, and smoke cigars….all for an expensive annual fee of course.

A few boring historical buildings later, we made it to the Temple Emanu-El. This is “grandest synagogue in the city”.  It supposedly is adorned with beautiful mosaics, but the doors were all locked, so we were only able to to appreciate the outside of the Temple.

Lately, all of these “walks” are mostly churches and historic buildings, which are beautiful and appreciated and whatnot, but after a while they are just boring. It’s like the time we took the walking tour in Rome…it was just church after church after church. Even though they were all incredible, they eventually started to blend together and I couldn’t remember one from another. That’s exactly what’s happening on our Manhattan walks. I needed a change…something a little more memorable.

Enter, The Bohemian National Hall! From the outside, this place looked like one more boring ol’ historical building. I daydreamed of running away to Sephora-land as Husband read me the description of “the most important Czech-American building in the country”. (Who cares???) While ignoring him, I noticed a sign on the door for an interactive exhibition and decided this would be a very welcome change in our tour.

The exhibition was free (awesome) and meant for children (even better). Every installation is meant to be played with, and the entire exhibit is meant to grow and change through series of events and interactions from guests. All of the installations either move, make noise, light up, or all of the above.

As we entered the exhibit we found a spiral staircase surrounded by tubes, lights, and funnels. People (children mostly) are supposed to drop marbles in all the different tubes at the top and watch as they roll down, make noises, and light up different areas.

I spent some time learning to play tiny cymbals nailed into the side of this log thingy.

Then, I taught myself to play the harp-a-ma-jig.

Whenever we got bored with the instrument installations, we took the elevator to the roof. The Bohemians must be very trusting. We were able to take the elevator to every floor, look around every room, and no one seemed to care where we trespassed walked.

When we left, I convinced Husband to ditch the book for a little while and take a coffee break with me at a local French cafe, Le Moulin a Cafe.  I had never been here before, but all the French girls I teach rave about how it’s the only place they’ll even consider eating a croissant. It’s located across the street from a private French school, and is the most authentic French cafe I’ve seen in NYC. On my lunch break I often see women dressed in black and white stripes, wearing buret’s, smoking long skinny cigarettes, pushing prams, and walking French poodles coming in an out of the cafe.

Okay, that’s a lie, BUT they’re coffee and croissants did taste tres bien!

After re-caffenating Husband was able to convince me to continue walking. We ended the walk at Carl Schurz Park on the East River. This park is small, but really pretty. It has two dog parks, a couple basketball courts, lots of greenery, and a really nice historic mansion…of course.

The walk turned out to be a lot more fun than I expected. I am always surprised at the number of buildings I’ve never seemed to notice in my own neighborhood. If only we would have happened upon a reasonably priced one bedroom apartment for rent on our walk… That would have been just TOO easy.


No Makeup Day

Makeup free day, for both of us

If you read my No Mascara post, you may be under the impression that a “no makeup” would be another way of phrasing the worst day ever. You would be wrong though…a “no makeup” day is one of my favorite days!

choose to have no makeup days on my nothing-to-do-but-stay-home-and-relax-and-cuddle-days. This is also known as “pajama day”, “movie day”, “lazy sunday”, etc. It is so rare that I get a day off with nothing to do, so I planned on taking full advantage of one this Sunday.

I told Fiance of my plans ahead of time so he was fully prepared to do nothing, except hangout with me, of course. I stayed up extra late Saturday night, so I was fully prepared to sleep in as late as possible. I even turned down an offer to eat vegan hot dogs with Zoey because that would require real pants and shoes. Even with all this planning my day wasn’t totally non-productive.

I love to relax and watch TV all day, but it is not easy to do. After I woke up…at noon… I remembered all the things I needed to do that I now had the time to do (Stupid guilt) (i.e. laundry, clean house, clean out closet, wedding planning). Then both Zoey and Fiance informed that it was one of the most beautiful days out in a long time and I should not be wasting it inside.

Fiance agreed to do the laundry, while I get some other things, and as soon as we were finished we’d walk to the park, and I could just go in my pajamas: problem solved.

Doing laundry in the city is a huge pain. It entails carrying all your laundry and detergent to the laundry mat, paying with quarters, waiting forever, and not having any room to hang the clothes you cannot dry. Faince solved the last problem by hanging a retractable clothes line in our hallway/kitchen.

It looks a lot like a fish

He is a genius, and this little tool has been super useful. Except today, it fell along with all of the wet clean laundry. It took an hour to drill back into the wall (after 6 other holes were drilled) because our walls are made of a combination of very old plaster, lead paint, wall paper, and several more layers of paint. The walls basically crack and turn to dust when you attempt to drill or nail into them.

After getting this finished we still ended up hanging our clothes all over the house because we were lazy and waited far too long to do laundry in the first place.

So our park trip was a little late in the day, but we made it, and it was BEAUTIFUL! My favorite part about living on the Upper East Side is being so close to the Central Park.

It is finally nice enough to not wear my winter coat, and  no one cared that I was walking around in mostly pajamas (I decided to wear yoga pants instead of boxer shorts…it’s a little too chilly for that).


Belle was SOOOO happy to be outside, playing fetch, and chasing the birds and squirrels. We had a great “no makeup day”.

This was our attempt at a family picture, but Belle couldn't stop kissing her daddy

Now it’s time to put the computer away, and watch several episodes of Game of Thrones, and eat some Chocolate Dreams because that’s the proper way to finish a “no makeup” day.