The summer of YOLO

There is a word for this feeling; bittersweet. I can’t help but look back on this past summer and think that it was all just a dream. When I started this blog I said I wanted to do this because when I return I would not be the same person I was when I left. At the time I didn’t believe in this. I spent all of last summer living abroad and came back with so much more wisdom, memories and life experiences I could ever ask for. I gained a new perspective on life and appreciated every opportunity that came my way.

I then accepted an amazing role as a don and everyone told me it would change me. In my head I thought, “you might change but I’ve already done all the growing up and maturing 4 months ahead of you.” How wrong was I? Dead wrong. Donning shaped me in so many ways. The role challenged me in so many ways. I noticed some of that change was during the actual term but the majority of it I have realized in hindsight. Basically after going through two “life changing experiences,” I was convinced I had it all figured out. Don’t we all? Turns out this summer would give change a whole new dimension.

New York has been life changing in so many ways. For starters all of the wonderful things I had the opportunity to be part of, made it one to remember. I packed more things into this summer than some people do in a lifetime. From going to Facebook’s headquarters, being on America’s Got Talent, laying on the beach in the Hamptons, posing with the white house, visiting Harvard, going to a one direction concert…. I could go on for days.

There is something in the New York air that makes sleep useless. I did not come up with that quote but for me there is something in the New York air that makes you think. I most certainty do not have everything figured out but, coming home I am stocked about the future. I have a better idea of the person I am and the person I want to become. These experiences are things I will treasure for a lifetime.

And then of course there are all the amazing people that made this all possible. I’d be lying if I said every person I had the chance to meet I will miss but I can say each of them taught me something about myself. It’s a little blunt but for some I do not aspire to be like you for others I most defiantly do. That’s the beauty of living in the city of dreams; you have the luxury to watch how so many people, from so many different upbringings, live. The diversity of not only their race, culture, language and nationality but of opinions, views and life perspectives creates a perfect place for someone trying to figure out who they want to become.

Part of my heart will always be in New York. When some of you told me I’d fall in love with the city I was like “what do you mean fall in love… with a city!?” I take that back. I have fallen head over heels in love with the NYC. Every little piece of it makes it unforgettable. Does that mean I am packing my bags and moving there for good? No… I mean I haven’t ruled it out of completely, after all do have a job offer waiting for me, but for now its time to start a new journey.

There is so much I will miss yet at the same time there is plenty I will not. It’s strange but I will miss the subway greatly. I spent probably a couple thousand hours sitting in the subway. Also incase you didn’t know this already; I am in love with public transportation. For me, having a 24-hour subway at your finger tips, makes it hard not to love.

The prices will not be missed but the yellow taxis will be. I’ll miss trader Joes but look forward to having a kitchen. I look forward to seeing less homeless people who break my heart every time I see them, but will miss the diversity of people. I will miss people asking me for directions but will not miss being constantly surrounded by tourists. I will miss having something to do every minute of every day but look forward to spending an afternoon in bed with Netflix.

Strangely I will miss how put together and beautiful everyone is but will not miss the pressure to do the same. I will miss my amazing phone plan but look forward to texting people using something other than an app. And most importantly I am ecstatic to be able to see all of my family and friends. Technology has been good to me and I’ve been able to stay in touch. Sometimes though,I just want to come over and give you a hug rather than sending you a snapchat chat.

As for the bucketlist, that was single handedly the greatest idea I have come up. I did not do everything on the original list but I leave knowing that I completely 100 things in New York that I am incredibly proud of. Not to mention the updated list has far better things on it than the original. For instance taking a yoga class was replaced with visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis island. There is not one thing that I look back on and regret not doing.

I have vowed to myself to not lose the amount of excitement and love I have for life in this very moment.I still have a lot of recapping to do and hopefully in the coming weeks I will be able to do just that. For now, I’m already off on my next adventure. 24 hours after coming home I’ve moved back into residence to take part in dons training. If 120 dons don’t make for some good stories, a residence of 250 ladies most certainly will! And considering I dumped a bucket of ice water over my head at 7:30 this morning and last night had an ice cream truck come to training the stories are already starting.

The world will always be at my fingertips. Cheers, here’s to all the great things that lay ahead of us! The great things not only for me but also for you! Chase your dreams!

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These lights will inspire you

There is only one problem with living life to the absolute max… time. Whether you sit at home on your couch and watch Netflix all day or you are watching your first Broadway show in New York City, there will still only be 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. Good news though, with a little bit of effort you can make the most of every minute of each of those days. I know that sounds incredibly cheesy BUT, it is also incredibly true.

I had a friend from home visit me last weekend and she said, “If you were to get hit by a bus right now, you could look back and have no regrets. You are literally living every day as if it were your last.” I generally don’t think too much about getting hit by buses, but it’s true.  This summer has taught me so much about who I am, and who I want to become. It has also taught me that life is way too short to live an ordinary life with ordinary dreams. Just take a chance and give extraordinary a try!

I don’t know if you ready for this but just these past 3 weeks alone I’ve crossed 35 items off the bucket list. I am going to assume you want to do other thing than read a novel so I will do my best to keep it short and sweet. Maybe even make it a little mysterious, leaving you wanting more haha

2. Enjoy the view at the Top of the Rock in Rockefeller Center. This is legendary. Shout out to Justine for telling me before I left that this would be the best thing I see. You were absolutely right. I have been saving this item for a really long time. When Grace said she had plans to come visit, I knew this would need to be one of the first things we do together. I think Aaron would agree as he seemed just as impressed as Grace and I. An added bonus of this place is that the lines are not long, the cost is not bad considering it is a major tourist attraction, and the staff that works here is fantastic. The elevator operator probably made my day. He would sing and make everyone join him, and trust me when 50 tourists start singing and clapping “we will rock you,” you are bound to have a great time!

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And the view? You be the judge…

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8. Eat a Bagel at Murray’s Bagels in Greenwich Village. NYC bagels are world famous, or so I’m told. Thus, this place was must. I got a really nasty cold last week and had to stay in bed for a few days. On the Friday evening I was feeling slightly better and so to celebrate Cassie and I headed for Bagels. I met up with her at work and as we were leaving Lilly overhears that we are going to Murray’s. As it turns out she lives right beside this place and gave us recommendations on what we should get. I took the advice and get a lox bagel on an everything bagel. And let me tell you it was delicious! The bagel was fantastic, the items inside were delicious… all around a great place to eat! Not to mention we got their after 5, so Cassie and I each got 20% off. Does it get much better than that?

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9. People watch in Time Square. With Aaron and Grace here for 3 days, Time Square was a must. People watching here is one of a kind. My favorite was probably a super jacked African american guy who yelled at Grace and I, “Ive got the chocolate, you have the vanilla. Together we can make vanilla, chocolate swirl.” Yep. That happened. Fun fact about time square. It is the place that people who live in NY avoid it at all costs. That is very true, and considering I have only been there 3 or 4 times now, it holds very true. Also, I hate to burst your bubble but, it is actually not as impressive as people make it out to be. Yes, it is very special but I think there is so much hype about it, that when you actually see it it does not live up to your expectations. Nonetheless it is pretty cool too be standing there at midnight in the rain and have it be as bright as daylight.

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13. Spend some time at the American Museum of Natural History. Hands down best museum in New York. The other ones I’ve been to are good but good is not good enough. Excellent is what this is. Nicole had a friend come visit and so we went out for breakfast and then in the afternoon went here. There are a ton of taxidermy exhibits. They were probably my favorite. Not to mention seeing all of the exhibits that have been featured in several movies and tv shows was just as awesome. My pro tip would be to not pay the recommended price. If you can afford it do it by all means but, for someone on a tight budget who isn’t going to spend all day walking around the museum, this is a great alternative.

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15. Walk around MoMA (The Museum of Modern Art). As I have found out since coming here, I am not a museum person. It is either a partial hit or a huge fail. And yes, this was a fail. I mean it is a really nice museum and for people who like museums it’s probably one of the best. But, for me it just was not interesting.  Some of the exhibits I would not consider art, other that I would, I was not allowed to take pictures of. You know me though, I made it as fun as it could be and threw myself a little selfie party.

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19. Strike a pose in front of the Unisphere. This statue is so impressive but so far away. I was unintelligent and took the metro to Fushing meadows as people where travelling to the citi field for a giants game. It was a very squishy 1 hour subway ride but as you can see well worth it. The park itself is very large, the us open fields are right and you can tell the city spend a lot of money keeping it clean and beautiful.

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22. Hail a yellow taxi. No joke if I told you this whole story with every little detail it would take a solid half and hour. This was the most unexpected, stressful bucket list item. But stressful, unexpected situations, make for the best stories, right? Grace and Aaron, were spending their last few hours in the city and so Cassie and I thought it would be fun to go out for dinner in little Italy. Aaron had joked around earlier that day that he would be perfectly fine with missing his bus as he was having such a great time. He most definitely jinxed it cause we ended up leaving for dinner late and so on our way back realized we were really cutting it close with time. Of course we were in such a cut off location that to get back to my place and then the bus terminal would take more time than we thought. After 4 failed attempts to get an Uber we finally hailed down a cab beside the Brooklyn bridge. It was complicated to get back to my pace as every street here is a one way street and traffic sucks! I am usually calm but with only 20 minutes to make it to the top of Manhattan I started to panic.

My biggest pet peeve is lateness. So to be at fault for other people’s lateness it the most stressful situation you can put me in. Aaron was cracking jokes the whole time as I tried to convince Grace she would not miss her bus. We got to the bus station at 10:34 pm, tipped the driver really well and just started running. Did I mention their bus was set to 10:30 pm. I could make this far more intense with all the other little details but, I will not put you though that. And so that story ends with the bus having not left, Aaron and Grace running onto the bus and me standing there shaking cause I had gotten myself so worked up about it. I was so happy that I gave a homeless man $4 to buy a bus ticket to Hoboken. Normally, I don’t even spare a penny. This is also a historic moment as it is the only bucket list item I have no photo evidence of. Trust me though no photo evidence was needed!

24.Volunteer at a sporting event. Who wakes up at 4am and has a blast? That would be me. At the start of the summer I signed up to be volunteer for the NYC triathlon. I have been very excited for that morning for quite some time so when it finally came around it was even more exciting. I volunteered at the Mile 4 aid station for the running portion. The weather could have been better as it rained for the majority of the morning. I had such a great time getting to know all the other volunteers, handing out a few thousand Gatoradede cups, cheering as loud as I could and watching some of my idols race by. The two athletes wearing Canada on their uniform got an extra loud cheer from me. I now have a guaranteed entry to the 2015 race, who knows I now may have to return just for this race.

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29. Take a road trip to somewhere unexpected. No summer bucket list is complete without a road trip. Of course picking a location turned out to be far more unexpected than I thought. When I went to Bear Mountain, I got talking with one of the guys and he asked if he could join me on one of my trips. I agreed and after reviewing the dates for both my Washington and Boston trips, he bought tickets to Boston. And so the alias of Boston boy was created! Boston boy messaged me later on that week and asked if I want to join him and some other interns to go to Jersey Shore. You can’t say no to an offer like that. I invited Nicole to tag along which made it that much more fun. Boston boy rented a car and we were set to leave at 10 am. Long story short, two people who were suppose to join overslept and so the four of us that had showed up went to a diner to breakfast.

Diners are me favorite which helped make up for the fact that we were running really late. After more delays we finally left the city around 12:30pm. No one seemed to know where we were going and when Nicole and I asked if anyone had a preference everyone said no. Nicole messaged a friend who told us the best beach was a beach at the north end of the Jersey shore. We finally got to the beach, it was 2:30 pm, sat down and were ready to spend the day. No two minutes later did the others decide this was not it and they wanted to go to the “real jersey shore”  aka Seaside Heights, NJ. No big deal but, it was already super late in the day, we just drove for two hours and Seaside was another hour away. Nicole and I protested but there was not much we could do at that point, besides it had gotten to the point were we really stopped caring.

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Fast forward an hour we are on the boardwalk. Turned out to be a rather fun time. Nicole and I went off to do our own thing while the others sat in a bar and watched the world cup final. We rode the skyride, paid $6 each to lay on the beach for half and hour, walked the boardwalk and indulged in some fudge. It was rather perfect because as Nicole and I headed to find the others we got there and a minute after sitting down the only goal of the whole game was scored. How’s that for perfect timing?

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43. Hot chocolate at City Bakery. This place sells hot chocolate by its literal meaning. It is a cup of pure chocolate that is warm and smooth. The idea is great but the taste was just off. A little to rich for my liking.

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50. Broadway show. Courtesy to Aaron we went and saw Newsies. Aaron’s sister is apparently a huge fan so when I suggested Grace and him pick any Broadway show they like, this was a perfect fit. The show itself was spot on. There was so much really, really good dancing, singing and acting. Such an amazing performance!! As for seeing my first Broadway show in NY, I have to say, the bar has been set really high.

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54. Run at Inwood Hill Park. This was  a true adventure. On the subway ride there there was a 20 minute delay because the cops had to come and arrest a man in the subway car beside mine. No idea what he did wrong but I was little annoying having to wait and not knowing when we’d get going again. Watching someone get arrested though, was quite something. As for the park itself it was a perfect getaway. It is the last stop for the 1 line and has a very rural feel to it. The trails are very hilly and the terrain is quite rough. For a great afternoon run it was spot on!

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57. Be an audience member of a TV show. This actually happened! Cassie and I have tried so many times to get tickets to see Jimmy Fallon but so has everyone else. And so we opted for the next best thing, America’s Got Talent tickets. We picked the free tickets up on our lunch break, then after work, did a quick change and headed to Radio City Hall. I can not even put into words how much fun this was. It is so weird to help make tv vs. watching tv. The rockettes preformed live, the talent was out of this world and the hype man was a great addition to the night. The highlight was probably at the start of the show there are two tap dancers preforming and Howard Stern gave really harsh critique. Out of no where I yell out, “we love you.” Not only can you hear me when you re watch it on YouTube but every time the show ended for commercial then entire audience would get threatened repeatedly if we yelled out anything we would be escorted out by security! hahah I was the first and last person to have a second of fame!

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What made this night that much more fun was after the show I had a huge craving for french toast. There is nothing better to satisfy that craving than a 24 hour diner in Chelsea. Had had amazing french toast and for dessert I enjoyed my very first slice of apple pie. This was easily one of my favorite nights of the summer!

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58. Take a moment to reflect at the 9/11 memorial. If you come to NYC take an hour and take this in. It is really special and will give you goosebumps. I know Grace and Aaron really enjoyed it.111

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60. Macaroni & cheese from S’MAC. If there is a place that only sells mac and cheese, Michele is going to need to try it. The line was huge when I went but it was on the bucket list and so I toughed it out. I ordered a medium pan but was then told they ran out and so they gave me two smalls. It worked out in my favor as I did not realize how big these pan really are. I ate the entire first pan which was the alpine mac (based on the Swiss recipe) and it really wasn’t all that good. The second one looked better and so before I put it in a take out container I tried a fork full. WAY BETTER! The next day when I reheated it and had it for dinner it reminded me of how much I love mac and cheese. Based on the first one I would not recommend it however, based on the second one (which was suppose to be the exact same) I would highly recommend it!

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71. Dine at Katz’s Delicatessen. Maybe you’ve seen the movie “When Harry met Sally?” Well if you have this place is going to be super familiar. If not then you missing out and when I say “I’ll have what she’s having” it will not even crack you up. Cassie, her friend from home and I headed here for dinner one night. Cassie and I opted for the pastrami sandwich. Still don’t know what pastrami is but it’s good. Not to mention this sandwich has the most meat I’ve seen a sandwich have.

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72. Indulge at Peter Pan doughnuts. After work last Saturday I made the very long trip out to Williamsburg to try these famous doughnuts everyone talks about.  They were competently sold out of regular doughnuts which was a bit of a bummer. Since I had spend an hour getting there I was not ready to leave empty handed and so I got an apple cruller. It was so airy and delicious that I do not think I can eat any other kind of doughnut again. Seriously though, if all doughnuts were made like this I would have a doughnut obsession.

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73. Have breakfast at Tiffany’s. Such a simple but classic NYC bucket list item! Last week  Cassie and I headed to work early, dropped off our stuff and headed in search of a delicious pastry and hot beverage. I opted for a passion tea from Starbucks along with a croissant from Pret a Manger. The perks of working in such a great location is that our building has a direct door to Starbucks. And what is way cool is that the door is painted gold! Pret is also right across the street and Tiffany’s is right on Wall st. Such a fun way to start my morning!

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74. Chocolate treat from Jacques Torres Chocolate. I searched long and hard online to find a chocolate store that could fulfill my chocolate cravings. Jacques Torres is probably one of the most popular in the city. I have kept doing as Aaron suggested and letting the people who work their choose the treat for me. The lady working that day gave me a lemony treat. Not the best chocolate I’ve ever had but still a good treat!

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78. Take a day trip to Boston. After searching the Megabus website I found two $3 tickets to Boston. For a grand total of $7.50, this was as good as it gets. Boston boy joined me on the adventure and with an early 5am start to the day, we got to Boston around 11 that morning. We started off by going to Harvard. The campus was breathtaking. It looks exactly like you have always imagined it to look. Far, far bigger than I ever thought but, the buildings, people and prestige were so spot on. Conveniently on the same subway line was MIT, the next stop on the Boston adventure. This campus is a lot more modern than the Harvard campus and suited Boston boy as it looked a bit like the UW campus.

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We headed back downtown and to the top of the Prudential Towers. The view from here was one of a kind. I highly, highly recommend going here. Not only is the entry affordable but, you can really see how beautiful this city is. Boston boy was speechless at the view. He expected it to be a “dirty city” but when you see it from the top you can’t help but fall in love with the beauty of this place. Pretty sure if Boston boy got offered a job, he’d probably move there in a heart beat. We ended the day off with a trip to the harbor. Opted to buy ice cream instead of visiting the aquarium and had dinner in a cute restaurant right on the  harbor’s edge. The harbor itself is very nice with so many really, really nice yachts. A nice backdrop for a photo or two.

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Here I thought I could fit 35 stories into one post… no happening. And so I will end off with the best story of all! I realized I haven’t shared any good work stories in a while. Go back 2 weeks to the weekend before my boss’s wedding. It was two days before the big day and he had not come into the office and was not suppose to be back until after his honeymoon. I get a call from him that his aunt’s and grandma’s luggage did not arrive. He asked if I could go pick it up from the airport and would give me a bonus and pay for my cab. I never say no to opportunities like this, not because I enjoy fetching luggage but it is never just about the luggage. The task would be too boring if something didn’t happen or go wrong haha After I agreed he told the the catch which was that I could not get he bag until after 10pm.

I took and Uber for the first time which is the new “taxis.” You have an app on your phone and you can order it to come pick you up. The cars are all black and you are treated like VIP. Not to mention they are safer and faster than cabs and you have your credit card info on the app so you don’t even have to worry about paying, you just hop out and leave.

I got to the airport 10 minutes early and hung around before going to the counter. In the meantime I had gotten 2 more e-mail with instructions from my boss. One of them stated that there was now only one bag belonging to his aunt. Of course her bag had been delayed and it would be another 2 hours until I could get it. And so the waiting game started. I should add in there were many other hurdles between me getting the bag but, a little trick I have learned is telling the everyone that gives you a hard time, that you are only the intern. Everyone feels so bad for you they will do almost anything to help you out. Fast forward to 12:45 am, I am in really fancy hotel lobby dropping off a large red suitcase. Mission accomplished!

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And before you give me boss too hard of a time I should note when I e-mailed him about the delay he told me to come into the office an hour later the next day and told me he would double my bonus. When he returned from his honeymoon, the next time I saw him, he reimbursed me and wrote me a hand written thank-you note. Seriously though, if someone wants to pay me I’ll write the sequel to The Devil Wears Prada just holla!

The rest of the wedding seemed to go off without a hitch. From what I hear it was one of the most elaborate and lavish weddings of the year. So great in fact the New York Times wrote a small section about it. Being an intern allowed me the great opportunity to go fetch luggage, talk with the toast master, editor from the Times and anyone else who seemed to have questions. What am I going to do next term when I no longer have such a diverse job?

I want to finish it off giving a very special shout out to Grace and Aaron. Have no fear there are more adventures and stories to come from their three days here! Roaming NYC with the two of you was way fun! There was never a dull moment and both your appreciation for my love for cupcakes and selfies is more than I could ever ask!

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   “Its better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times”

Life is short, eat dessert first

To say I am on cloud nine is a bit of an understatement. The opportunities and adventures I’ve had these past two weeks are things I will take with me no matter where life takes me. From the Jersey Shore, to the Harvard Campus, every minute has been one hell of a ride and I don’t want it to stop.

There’s a quote that says, “Life is short, eat dessert first.” And so I will begin to recap these last two weeks talking about nothing but desserts.  I had this crazy idea to have a dessert challenge. An idea that would take me all over New York, into the cutest bakeries and restaurants, to indulge in some of the best desert’s I’ve ever eaten. I am delighted that so many people reached out to me and commented on all of the desserts. What started out as 7 days has turned in to 14 days. As a disclaimer you will most likely want to eat your computer screen at least once while reading this. Please don’t. I can assure you it will not taste good. Instead, I’d suggest using your VISA card, hopping on a plane and trying some of these out for yourself.

Day 1: Banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery

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 It’s a little ironic that the very first dessert I had is the best out of all of these. I mean, I have to agree the picture does not make it look all that good BUT (and this is a huge but) this is the best dessert I have ever had. It is the perfect blend of everything! The pudding itself has pieces of what I believe is cake in it, then there is lots of cinnamon, several slices of fresh banana and a really smooth pudding to top it off. If you like banana, do yourself a favor and try this. I should note, get the regular sized tub. Although the big tub looks appealing this dessert is best had in small quantities!

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 Day 2: Popsicle from PopBar

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 This place is the definition of modern. You walk in and choose from maybe 20 different kinds of in-store made sorbet popsicles. You then choose how you want to top off your popsicle with different sauces and toppings. The sauces range from different kinds of chocolate to caramel while, the toppings include everything from crushed Reese’s pieces to coconut flakes. I opted for a strawberry sorbet Popsicle, half dipped in dark chocolate. I then topped it off with almond shavings on one side, coconut on the other. Definitely refreshing treat!

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Day 3: ChikaLicious Dessert Bar

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I normally stay far, far away from anything gourmet. New York is ridiculously expensive so spending money on fancy food is out of the question. Nonetheless this had to be an exception. This high end restaurant was created by a chef that felt that there needed to be a restaurant just for desserts… genius idea! You walk in and it is a very modern restaurant with a large bar. You sit at the bar (provided there is space) and get to watch the chefs make your dessert while you wait. The menu allows you to choose from 5 maybe 6 main desserts and this dessert comes with an 2 other desserts. All of these desserts change. The main ones change less frequently than the other two which change on a daily basis.

At one point I knew all the technical names of each of the desserts. They made them sound incredibly high end. So high end I can’t remember but I will do my best. I did not know which dessert to have as my main course so I told the chef to pick on for me.  The first treat was a sorbet with raspberry flavoring. It was a perfect treat to start off the experience. The next was a cheese cake. This was considered the main course. It was incredibly rich and was surprisingly very filling. Finally it was finished off by three small dessert pieces. One was a marshmallow with coconut sprinkles, then there was a chocolate mouse type treat and finally a sponge cake with a cream cheese frosting. All of these dessert despite being teeny tiny were brilliant. Every little aspect was made from scratch in front of your very own eyes. It looked like a million bucks and tasted just as good. I however did at one point wish I only had one of the desserts and instead was served a large portion of it. But, you can’t have everything!

I highly recommend coming here. It is one of the few places on this list that are not well know to tourists. All of the locals though have heard of it! The experience was so much fun. I enjoy large desserts with one big fork to fulfill a huge appetite. I am not at all a gourmet food fan. I am however always up for a new experience and would recommend anyone else to try it.

Day 4: Merveilleux from O Merveilleux

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This dessert was again a delicious treat. A Belgium meringue that was covered in whip cream and chocolate shaving. The meringue also had whip cream filling on the inside. Considering I am a huge whip cream fan and anything Belgium tastes delicious, this was stop on. Located on the Upper East side made it a little tricky to get to but it was well worth it!

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Day 5: Mille-Feuille from Mille-Feuille

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This might just be one of the best looking desserts. The bakery is really adorable and is located right beside Washington Square park. Naturally if your bakery is named after a dessert in your restaurant then that is the one you need to get. I then took this adorably wrapped treat and enjoyed it beside the waterfall in the park. It was a perfect little treat. Unfortunately, it was not the best Mille-Feuille I’ve ever had. Don’t get me wrong it was really good but when you look at how many Mille-Feuille I’ve had in my life… it’s really stiff competition.

Day 6: Chocolate Windmill Pastry from Veniero’s Pastry Shop 

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This place was picked on a bit of whim. Cassie and I had plans to go eat baked Alaska but things changed and so I needed to find a pastry shop that was still open after 9pm. I am trilled I found this place. I had a really, really hard time choosing only one dessert. There were at least 50 different pastries to choose from and each looked more amazing than the next. I opted for the windmill pastry which was a chocolate mouse cake. It was very rich and tasty. I’d most certainly go back here and try out some of their other treats!

Day 7: Cinnamon Coffee Cake from Tu-Lu’s Gluten Free Bakery

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I promised my friend, Grace, that when she came to New York we would go check out a gluten free bakery. Back in Ontario these are really, really rare. And since NY specializes in not normal diets, this bakery seemed like a great fit. The cashier recommended this cake and I must say he has good taste. It is a cake so it can not possibly be as fancy or mind blowing as some of the other items on challenge. With the in mind this is definitely the most delicious gluten free treat I’ve had. You could not tell any difference!

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Day 8: Strawberry Cheesecake from Eileen’s Special Cheese Cake (Bucketlist #49)

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I had high exceptions going in here. Not only is it known as the best cheesecake in Manhattan, it is also an item on my bucket list. Since gluten free cheesecake is an option here, it was a great next stop. I actually don’t really like cheesecake. I will eat it and enjoy it but, if you gave me a choice of 5 different desserts cheesecake would not be one of them. This cheesecake however was freaking amazing!!! I loved it! It most certainly deserves the title of best cheesecake in Manhattan (although I have yet to try out any other cheesecake places hehe)

 

Day 9: Ice Cream Sandwich from Cookies & Milk (Bucketlist #28)

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I am not going to rank each of these desserts but if banana pudding was not on  the list this would easily be the best dessert. I had gone in wanting to try their bacon smack cookie and after hearing the two bakers recommend the ice cream sandwich, I quickly changed my mind. I was inspired by Grace’s friend (let’s call him Aaron) to let the hosts choose the desserts for me. And so they put together a creation that I can still taste. A freshly baked chocolate chip cookie started of this sandwich. Then homemade strawberry and vanilla ice cream made up the center of the sandwich. Finally, it was topped off with a peanut butter cookie. It was so, so, so very great! So good in fact, when I went back in I gave a tip to the bakers. Spot on!

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Day 10: Fresh Fruit Supreme from Cafe Lalo (Bucketlist #3)

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Not to much to say out this dessert. I took Aaron’s advice and allowed the waitress to choose a dessert for me. It was a perfect summer dessert. Had fresh summer fruit, a light filling and great cake. Very fitting for a weekend treat! The service was spot on and all there desserts looked fabulous!

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Day 11: Chocolate Chip and Walnut Cookie from Levain (Bucketlist #17)

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I understand how this place got on my list. Not only was the line around the block but the cookie itself was the size of a large fist. It was still warm when I bought it which makes it that much better. Hands down best cookie I’ve eaten!

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Day 12: Baked Alaska for Two at DBGB

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This is a very fancy date style restaurant. The chef is really well known in New York. The baked Alaska is also well known, and for good reason. It tastes better than it looks. Pistachio, vanilla ice cream, raspberry sorbet in the center, cake around it and then it is topped with fresh meringue. They then pour alcohol on it and light the whole thing on fire. As the cake burned the man sitting behind us came up and said in a super weird voice, “It looks like a house.” “….ummm thanks!” haha A true highlight and really great dessert!

Day 13: Lemon Tart from Financier Patisserie

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This is my go-to place for dessert while I am at work. I have been here many times before and so with a busy evening ahead, Cassie and I headed here for a treat during work. The lemon tart surprised me as I didn’t have high expectations for it. It was really great! A brilliant dessert for a work day snack!

Day 14: Frozen Hot Chocolate from Serendipity 3 (Bucketlist #23)

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I am going to assume you have not seen the movie Serendipity. I know I hadn’t and so when I saw this place pop up on every blog I read while making my bucket list it was apparent that I needed to watch the movie. The movie is an heart warming romantic comedy. It also shocked me how weird it is to watch movies based in NYC after having lived here. You do not see the same things you saw before. Every place you see you recognize and tie your own memories to it. It makes the movie that much better! This restaurant plays a huge role in the movie and just recently celebrated 60 years. With one of my close friends, Jess,  in town, it was ever so fitting to make another attempt to visit this popular place. Last time Cassie and I went, it was 10pm and had an hour wait. We didn’t wait and chose to save it for another occupation. This time it was earlier and had a 45 minute wait… perfect for a little stroll to central park.

The  frozen hot chocolate is featured in the movie and so it was an obvious choice. And most certainly a great one too. I can’t quite explain what it tasted like but heaven would be a good start. It was surprisingly not too rich and had delicious whip cream in it. I really don’t now how else to explain it other than put it on your bucket list and go check it out!

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And that pretty much wraps up my last two weeks talking about only desserts. I am happy to report, I have not gained weight during this challenge. When I reunited with Jess yesterday, after a proper hello, she turns to me and says, “wait your not fat!!” haha I know your probably pissed and thought I would gain 30 pounds. You should however not jump to conclusions. Behind the scenes I am training for a triathlon. I wake up at 6 am and go the gym or a long run over to Manhattan. I then come home from work and if time allows swim laps in the pool or attend a spin class. One delicious dessert each day will not make you fat, it is what you do or don’t do the other 23 hours and 45 minutes of the day, just might.

I’ve had such a blast eating each one of these desserts! Shout out to Cassie for joining me on many of these adventures. Considering it took me 2000 words to only talk about the desserts I ate this past week, I will have to make a whole new post on some of my other adventures. I scares me just a little that with a little over two weeks left, I still have 30 items left on the bucket list. As one of my favorite quote say, “If your dreams don’t scare you, then there not big enough.” And this dream is just the right size!

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NYC Dessert Challenge

Let’s be real, dessert is the most important thing you eat all day. That being said, I was putting together some plans to check items off of my bucket list and noticed that there just isn’t enough dessert items on it. With only 1 month left in this great city, this challenge is long overdue. For the next 7 days, starting tonight, I will be touring NYC, indulging in the best desserts New York has to offer. The most important thing to note is that none of these items are off my original bucket list – that would just be cheating 😉 When I made the original list I picked places based on internet reviews and blogs. But, as we all know the best recommendations come from face-to-face conversations. The majority of this list are recommendations from co-workers and friends. There are one or two places that I found while searching “best dessert place in nyc” and then choosing the picture that looked the best. Obviously it was almost impossible to limit this list to only 7 but somehow I managed. Without further ado, the list:

  1. Banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery
  2. Popsicle from PopBar
  3. ChikaLicious Dessert Bar
  4. Merveilleux from O Merveilleux
  5. Mille-Feuille from Mille-Feuille
  6. Baked Alaska for Two at DBGB
  7. Ice Cream from The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.

If you are concerned that I will come back obese, stop. I don’t know why I need to justify eating dessert at awesome places for a week but I am going to anyway. This is way overused but you only live once. Furthermore, dessert creates happiness. I am buying happiness! On the topic of dessert, this past week I crossed a very important item off my list. 47. Get a cupcake from the cupcake ATM. I may or may not have a slight obsession with cupcakes. Thus, the thought of there being a vending machine that dispenses cupcakes was way too good to be true. In a rather convenient location near Central Park, on the upper East side there is a cupcake store called Sprinkles. They are known all over America for cupcakes and most recently they are making headlines with their ATM. The machine itself looks as you may expect. There are about 12 different flavors to choose from. You then proceed to choose the cupcake of your choice, swipe your credit card, wait a minute and slowly the small receiving door opens. There is a bright light in the receiving door which gives it a hallo effect. Quite suiting, considering this is the best idea since… well the cupcake itself! I was more exited about the whole process that I did not care too much about what the cupcake tastes like. I mean how good can a vending machine cupcake really be? Actually it can be quite delicious.Fotor0717155618I chose a chocolate sprinkle, chocolate icing, vanilla cupcake. Not going to lie it was probably one of the best cupcakes I’ve had. AND it came from a machine that was literally built just for me!!! Cassie and I the took our delicious treats and headed to Central Park to enjoy it. On the way we saw a huge movie set. We still do not know what movie/ tv show it was for, but the sheer amount of trucks, people and cameras made it seem like it was a pretty big deal!IMG_1807IMG_1805  I act casually about movie sighting now but back when I first came I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Kinda sad considering now that I see one I may snap a pic or two but am far less amused. Guess that’s what happens when you see at least one set every week. Whether it is on your way to work, running in the park or walking to the grocery store you never know where the camera crews may show up! The people of New York still amuse me daily. I overhear so many conversations on my daily commute and see so many people on my outing that often I remind that this is only normal for New York. I think the most fascinating of conversations, but also the most awkward, is hearing arguments between people. A couple weeks ago Sarah and I had to go get Webinar catalogs from Little Italy and had some troubles hailing a cab back to the office. As she tried to hail I cab I waited with the catalogs on the side of the street. Two gentleman were sitting on the bench having an argument. From what I got from it the one used to work for the other. The ex-employee was planning a lawsuit and now they were sitting on a bench on the side of the road arguing about it. I’ve seen people in there 30s on the subway doing homework for what I assume is their high school diploma. The one lady was factoring and was trying so hard to answer the questions. It was one of those moments that made me reflect on how we take high school education for granted. Watching her struggle and the amount of determination she had wanted me to take a video and show it to a classroom full of grade 10 students that won’t stop winning. This lady would have given anything to have that kind of opportunity, or maybe she did and wasted it. And here she is 20 years later on a subway doing math questions on her way to night school. Definitely puts some things in your life  into perspective. This is what you can to look forward to in my next post… my first funnel cake!IMG_1850

“Use your smile to change the world but don’t let the world change your smile”

Creating memories while questioning my intelligence

My bucket list is starting to get a name for itself. It is the topic of many dinner conversations, facebook messages and now some people introduce me as “the girl with the bucket list.” It seems everyone wants to join me on my adventures. Or in the case of an incident this past weekend, it led to a huge argument as to whether is is a bucket list or to do list. The funniest part of that argument was that I was not part of it and it was two guys bickering over the technical name of the list. For the record, it is a bucket list. On that note, I have found it incredibly amusing how many people think the idea is great but don’t make one for themselves. For instance, Liam and Sarah have said on several occasions that I have already seen more than they have. They have lived here for 1 year and 2 1/2 years respectively. Despite all of the talk I continue to enjoy every item on the list. And time and time again, surprise myself on how great this list really is. 27. Take a picture with the charging bull after a day of work. As I have mentioned before, 5 of the 12 employees at Evisors are Canadian. Eric, the computer tech head brought a Canadian flag to the office and wore it as a cape for the day. Cassie and I borrowed the flag and went on a little photo shoot session. We attempted to get a picture with the charging bull. The amount of people that crowd around the statue makes this very difficult to do but, eventually we go the shot we need. IMG_1473 4. Watch the 4th of July fireworks. Spending the 4th of July in New York is almost as good as being here for New Years Eve. New York hosts the Macy’s fourth of July Special which is an annual concert and firework display. It is broadcast on several networks in both Canada and the US. This year the fireworks were moved from the Hudson river to the east river. I have the incredible luxury of living in Brooklyn Heights. Not only is the view from here over to downtown Manhattan fantastic but it is conveniently located right by the fireworks. Since it was the long weekend everyone I normally hang out with ditched me. Cassie went back to Canada, Nicole to Rhode Island and everyone else seemed to be everywhere but New York. There was a hurricane in the region and on the Friday and the weather was super sucky. Most other cities across the coast cancelled their fireworks or postponed them. New York had not change in plans and by noon it was verified they would not be moved. When I first came to New York, the intern that was leaving introduced Cassie and I to the UW intern group. Although I have read all of their posts I have never actually done anything with them. As much as travelling alone is fun, watching fireworks alone definitely isn’t. I took my chances and reached out to a couple of them over facebook. I’m glad I did.  The crew, despite being small was super friendly and saved me a seat by the Pier. IMG_1517 The fireworks took their sweet time to start. New Jersey was having their fireworks on the same night (assuming because they were delayed by the storm). It was really cool to watch their fireworks in the distance as it served as a perfect preview for what I was about to witness.   Fireworks are fireworks no matter where you watch them. Last year, I was in Zurich for Zurifest and watched one of the largest fireworks display in the world. I thought nothing would be able to trump that… wrong. These fireworks are one of a kind. I can’t put my finger on what exactly made it that special. Regardless, this is something everyone need to see at least once before they die. Put it on your bucket list! I mean how many times in your life will you see a huge display of phenomenal fireworks coming from 3 different barges and off of the Brooklyn bridge? IMG_1667[1]IMG_1553[1] A word of caution: brace yourself for the crowds. The majority of highways and roads are closed so that millions of people can come watch. The NYPD presence and security presence in general is humongous! Everything is blocked off, taped, searched, monitored and overlooked. Better safe than sorry I suppose. fire 7. Make a day trip to Bear Mountain State Park. The next day the Waterloo crew and I took a 8:30 am coach bus from the Port Authority Bus terminal and headed out for a road trip. For some, after the fireworks from the night before, it proved difficult to get up early. However for those who made it, it was well worth it. Getting tickets for the coach short line was the biggest pain in the butt. The night before we decided to save time and purchase tickets online. Only after to purchase them you find out that you have to print them out at home. Since we are all interns we do not have printers easily available. And so at 6:30 am I headed to my office and printed mine there. I’ve been to Wall st. many times in the early morning hours to run but, never that early on a Saturday. Gotta say it was a little scary how empty it was! After you print the ticket, you then have to take the printed tickets and exchange them for real tickets at the ticket booth. What was the point of buying tickets online in the first place? That, is a great question! After the huge ticket dilemma we seemed to all finally make our way onto the bus. A short hour and 40 minutes later we landed in Bear Mountain State Park. Since it was the long weekend and the weather was amazing, we were not the only ones in the park. The park itself is exactly what you would expect it to be. A lodge, food stands, a large lake and kids running around in the grass. We headed up the first route we could find. It was such a great hike! On the particular path we took the terrain was rather difficult and at times you did more rock climbing than hiking. The hike was really nice and the view at the top was spectacular! You would never guess that this view can be found so close to New York. It is the perfect place for a getaway form the hustle and bustle of the city. SAM_0768SAM_0748 The group of people I was with made it that much more fun. When I told them I planned a couple weeks ago to come on this day and go alone no one seemed to understand. Guess my solo travelling still baffles people. But, hey if you want to see something you got to go out and do it! Every single person in the group was from UW and studied some form of engineering. After the first person told me they were studying nanotechnology engineering and was here on an internship for Oliver Wilde, I knew instantly I was in a competently different league. Nonetheless, I had some super insightful conversations throughout the day. 10479566_10152235043168564_6811553726912838868_nI have taken a few classes at UW and have never been a fan. But, to see first hand how different their school really is, caught me a little off guard. Most of them were only one year older than me and it seemed like they were 10 years old than me when it came to intelligence.  When we got back to NY later that day, the other girl that was with us, ditched because she wasn’t feeling well. The rest of us headed out for dinner in Little Italy. This was a once in a lifetime dinner. I mean when else are you going to have dinner with 5 UW engineers and be the only girl haha I can sum the dinner up in one sentence: I have never felt so unintelligent in my entire life. To put it into perspective; I am a BBA student at Laurier. You need to have some decent grades to get into and stay in that program. But when you can’t understand or even comprehend anything that is said for an entire dinner conversation, you start to question why you even go to school. To make matters worse they talked about business the entire time something I should know more about than them – and I could not follow along one bit. Needless to say if in 2 years all of the jobs I apply to go to UW students I now know that it is not a personal thing, there just that much more intelligent!! SAM_0807 trail 81. Waking up early for Dominique Ansel bakery. I attempted this item previously. But, you can’t defeat me! Thus, last Wednesday at 6:4 5am I was out the door and heading to the bakery. Even at that unpopular hour the line was already around the block. At first, I second guessed myself as to whether I should even bother. But, I had made it this far and so I would stick it out. The actually bakery opened at 8 am and some of the bakers came out and handed out free lemonade and Madeleines to those who were waiting. Such a delicious treat! IMG_1758 After 2 and half hours I finally had my very own cronut. Officially it is known as the love child of the croissant and the doughnut. I know what you thinking, was it really worth it? YES! That dessert unreal. So perfect, so delicious, so filling, literally heavenly. I don’t know if I was visiting the city for just a weekend if I would stand in the line but for someone who lives here and can afford that luxury it is soooooooooo worth it! IMG_1795 11. Eat a pancake at the Clinton Street Baking Company. I got a cronut for Cassie as she was at work that day. I wanted to surprise her with it and so I got the cronut, texted her that they ran out and headed out to breakfast before delivering it her. I have wanted to get pancakes from here since the first weekend but there are a lot of transfers involved so I had never gotten around to it. slint This little restaurant is extremely well known. The line was not too bad considering they only needed to squeeze one person into the place. I feel like I say everything is amazing and delicious and slowly I feel like I probably use it so much you think that I am not sincere. But I am 100% sincere about the fact that there chocolate chunk pancakes are worth coming to NYC for. The only complaint I have is that for someone who has an abnormally large appetite, not being able to finish this plate was a little disappointing. Stop making your food so tasty!!! After the pancakes I went in to surprise Cassie with a cronut and tried a bite of mine. After a cronut and a huge stack of pancakes I literally ate nothing for the rest of the day. FYI: that is probably a record for the most time I have ever gone without feeling the need to eat. IMG_1788  90.Go to Grand Central Terminal take a random subway line. I have been to Grand central several times this past week. For whatever reason my travels before this week never brought me there once and this past week I was there on 3 occasions. And of course each visit was just as brilliant. This place is one of a kind for people watching. I took my own HONY picture and then proceeded to take a random subway line to continue my great adventures. IMG_1732 SAM_0511 SAM_0513 5. Eat at Franny’s in Brooklyn. The is one of the places that I have no idea how it found it’s way onto the list but none the less it is on it. This past Thursday after work Cassie and I headed out for dinner at Franny’s. This place is incredibly cute, the service was spot on, it was NYC affordable and most importantly the food was great! pissa The greatest thing about blogging is getting to relive every experience, every highlight and every memory of your past few days. I can’t quite comprehend all I’ve done which excites me cause there is still so many more adventures left to come! new york

“What day is it?” It’s today,” squeaked Piglet. “My favorite day,” said Pooh. ― A.A. Milne

I’m taking spontaneity on an adventure

“Sometimes on a way to the dream you get lost and find a better one.” If I had to pick a quote to describe this summer, that would be it. I have had the chance to do things I never thought I would do. But what makes this whole journey, is that I came here with all of these great ideas of how fabulous this summer would be. I’ve tried to stop setting exceptions as I always set them too high and then disappointment myself. But, when you get a chance to live the dream and the dream turns out far better that you could have ever imagined it… that’s when you find yourself writing a blog post titled, “I’m taking spontaneity on an adventure.”

This past week I wanted to put a good dent in the bucket list. Turns out the items look good on paper but in reality they are so much better!

20. Spend a Wednesday afternoon at the Bronx Zoo. Last Wednesday at 3:45am my alarm went off, I rolled out of bed and headed to the Port Authority bus terminal. Megabus is known for$1 bus tickets. For those of you that don’t know what Megabus is, it’s a bus company that markets itself with it’s $1 tickets. They have double-decker coach buses that take you almost anywhere in Canada and the US. Getting a $1 ticket is rather rare and at times it seems like false advertising but, when booked far enough in advance you can find the occasional $1, $3 or $5 ticket. When I made the my bucketlist I dreamed of all the other places I wanted to go but with a limited budget I only chose 1 faraway place, Boston. When I went to book my ticket not only did I find a $3 ticket to Boston I also saw that there were tickets available to Washington.

If I find out for $8.50 ($3 each way and a $1.50 service fee) I can go see the white house, why would I think twice about that!? So on Wednesday, ticket in hand, I headed to meet my bus departing at 5am. I got to the terminal and after finding the building locked I should have realized something was off. I finally got into the building only to find out the departing place listed online is different than that of the actual departing location. Again, I should have reacted faster and cabbed there but I didn’t as so at 4:48 am I decided to catch the next bus. I headed to the Greyhound counter which told me the next bus left at 8 am and would cost me $25. Megabus was a similar story with the bus leaving at 7 am at $21. When the man at the greyhound counter told me it was $25, for a reason I can still not explain, I turned around and said, “looks like I’m going to the zoo.” Let that be a lesson to all of you, if you ever miss your bus to go to the White house, have a 2 second pity party and then go to the zoo!

Spontaneity my friends is one of the most wonderful things on the planet. It was suppose to rain all day in Washington and I paid $8.50 for the ticket. Why invest $21 when the whole trip cost you $8.50? So I snapped a selfie, heading back and slept for 3 hours.

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I woke up and booked a new ticket for Washington in early August (for the great round-trip price of $11) and got dressed to go on a new adventure. Wednesday is “pay what you want” day at the Bronx zoo. Thus, an ever so fitting adventure for a beautiful Wednesday! The subway ride there was rather long but incredibly eye opening. Each of the 5 boroughs in New York are very different. Manhattan which is where I spent most of my time is generally where those with money live. The Bronx on the other side shows you that living in NYC is not glamorous for everyone.  What you hear about this place is not all fake and passing through parts of the Bronx makes you realize that growing up here is probably harder you can imagine. Nonetheless I don’t regret going because it is eye opening and makes you appreciate all the little things you take for granted. I should also note that not all of Manhattan is glamorous and not all of the Bronx is stricken with poverty and crime.

The zoo is a 15 minute walk from the Subway station and on the way there I was already melting. The humidity and hot sun reassured me that summer has most defiantly arrived in the big apple. When I went to go a ticket that lady behind the counter said, “Only for the one?” “Yes,” I replied and she said “That’s the way to do it, going to the zoo alone.” Don’t know what exactly she was hinted at but I’m assuming she’s never spent the day at the zoo alone. Most importantly, she doesn’t know what she is about to miss out on!!

I haven’t been to a zoo in forever. Like I actually can’t remember the last time I went! I also didn’t know that this zoo was so big and famous worldwide. This zoo was magnificent. Although very, very, very large and rather expensive if you want to see and do everything. I absolutely loved it and the pictures that follow may shed some light as to why.


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I felt bad for some of the animals as they were outside in this blistering heat and I have yet to understand how they survive.

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I also learned a lot about parenting that day. I’m not going to go into specifics but let the kids see the animals and answer their questions. Teach your kids patience and manners and be a good role model for them. Lastly, if you have to have a nanny that is your choice. But, take a day off every once in a while and take your kids to the zoo yourself.  If your too busy making your fortune you potentially need to reevaluate your priorities. You only get to watch them grow up once. And I for one do not want that be a regret because that is a regret you can’t take back.

39. Eat street cart/truck food. This one is a must do. Although after seeing how unsanitary most of these places are, it made me a little hesitant. I quick Google search turned this around as I found a list with the top 5 food trucks in NYC. On that list was a place called Waffles and dingles. They probably couldn’t name it Heaven for legal reasons but that is basically what this is. Started by a man from Belgium, this truck specializes in Belgium waffles (which are actually called Brussels waffles in Belgium). You can purchase all kinds of “dingles” to put on top. Literally anything you can dream of can be put on. The first “dingle” is free, the second is a dollar and for $2 you get unlimited toppings. I opted to go with strawberries, Belgium chocolate, icing sugar and whip cream. It was so incredibly delicious! Cassie went with the bomb, which is a waffle, icing sugar and ice cream. It too looked incredible delicious. The atmosphere of this place was spot on. This most definitely is a NYC must eat!!!

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53. A day trip to Long island. It has always been a dream of mine to go to Hamptons. I did not want to put the Hamptons specially on the bucket list as the chances of me actually going were quite slim. Looking back though, that was a ridiculous thought. It is a bucket list after all, filled with all of the things I aspire to do. Last Saturday after many changes in plans Nicole, Cassie and I went to Hamptons. That’s right I actually went the Hamptons!!!!!!! On the train ride there I could already sense this was going to be one of those “I feel like this is all one big dream” kind of day. As we got closer the houses kept on getting bigger, the private tennis courts more frequent and the ocean that much closer.

People tell you not to believe everything you see in the movies. This place is an exception. I had an image in my head of what the Hamptons looks like. Other than being even better than my dream, it is spot on! I mean you arrive at the train station and everyone is greeting each other with french check kisses (la bise) before driving off in their prosche, beach jeeps and convertible Jaguars …. like that actually happens! Of course I am sure the very wealthy have their own private planes and don’t take the train but, that is beside the point.

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I don’t happen to have a long lost uncle or cousin that was able to pick me up and so we walked to the beach. It was a bit of a trek, 2 miles to be exact, but we got to see things, you don’t when just driving through. The town itself is straight from a magazine. Little beach town feel with adorable little stores. The only difference is in most places these stores are small boutiques here they are lavish, elaborate boutiques featuring famous designers. Every store has the same beachy architecture to it but inside are different stores including coach, Prada, Micheal kors and Starbucks.

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That was only the town. When you get to the beach you might as well be in Costa Rica. The sand is perfect, there is hardly anyone there and there is water and sand as far as the eye can see. And by no people I mean literally the beach was very empty despite being a Saturday with picture perfect weather. Why? Because it’s the Hamptons and everyone has their own private beach somewhere along  the coast.

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I can literally go on for days on how amazing this was. But, I did have an “ah-ha moment” while there. The same realization that after telling Cassie and Nicole, we all shared. A couple walked by us on our way back to the train station. The lady was complaining how they have room to entertain guests at the Hamptons but their friends live in the city and they don’t have room in their city house to entertain.  If that is ever something that comes out of my mouth please slap me and snap me back into reality. That should not be the biggest problem you have in life. Besides, as much fun as it was to come here for a day, I could not spend every weekend of every summer here. Eventually it probably loses it’s excitement.  Money only gets to so close to happiness.

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36. Dip my feet in the Atlantic ocean. Little known fact, I have never dipped my feet in any Ocean. Let alone swam in one. I may sound like I am freaking out just recalling the Hamptons but while I was there I literally would not shut up. Nicole has spent many years in Rhode Island so she was not as impressed. I on the other hand was constantly like, “OMG, this is amazing…. wow… do you see that… ahhh this is like a dream.” We step into the water I am flipping out and yell “weeee” and run into the ocean. As I take one step to run out and dive in I face plant in the shallow water. I try to play it off and start to pretend it was all part of the plan and try to swim away. When the water is only 30cm deep that is hard to pull off. I get up and turn around hoping no one  saw and see Cassie rolling around laughing so incredibly hard. We laughed about the whole thing for probably a good half and hour and every few hours Cassie would bring it up again and we’d start laughing hysterically. On the train ride home I though my stomach muscles would tear from laughing so hard. And it gets better, I go to dive underwater for the first time and it had not occurred to me that this was salt water. Having never been in an ocean I wouldn’t know what to expect. I turn around to Nicole and Cassie and apparently had a disgusting look on my face. Yeah the water didn’t taste so great!!

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All in all this was  huge highlight. Such a great day, and a million times better than I ever imagined.

67.Attend mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Saturday was so great, that Sunday would be hard to trump it but we gave it a good shot. I have wanted to attend mass at St. Patrick’s since the very first Sunday of moving here. However, it has never happened up until last Sunday. Nicole, Cassie and I woke up early and headed for the 10:15 am service. We got there a little later than expected, around 10:05, and the place was packed. They have been doing construction in this is church for over a year now and it doesn’t look like they will be done anytime soon. Although there is seating for 2,200 people, all of them were taken and so we stood near the front.

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The service was beautiful. Very different than what I am used to. For starters, although Catholics and Christians main beliefs are the same it was clear that there are some major differences. Furthermore, attending a church with such a high number of attendees made for some interesting observations. First of all you don’t see much of the service instead it is shown on different tvs and projected with microphones. There is a lot of staff, and security that ensure the whole thing goes smooth. Although it was a bit of a bummer as the construction overtook most of the church it was truly a great experience. The church itself is incredibly beautiful and the attention to detail is one of a kind.

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 62.Join the crowds for the Gay Pride Parade. There is no irony really that the day we went to mass, we then went to join the Pride festivities. It just kind of worked out that way. Nicole had some other things to work on so Cassie and I went to join the crowds. The energy, spirit and amount of effort, truly made this one of the best parades I have ever attended. I know it is technically incorrect to call it a parade as it is officially known as the march but, for simplicity sake I am referring it to a parade.

It is nearly impossible to watch the whole parade. We got there an hour after it started and left an hour and a half later. It probably goes on for a good 4-5 hours if you stand in one place and probably 6+ hours from start to finish. But it was so much fun! I loved how huge the crowds were and how you saw everyone from elderly couples to young families with their kids. If you ever happen to be in NYC for the pride festivities please take some time and check them out. It is so worth it!

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 34. A meal at Pershing Square. It is known as the best and busiest breakfast place in NYC. Most notably it was featured in the last scene of the movie Friends with Benefits. Thus, the perfect place to go after the pride march. There is an all day brunch which got me really excited. This could be the new Mels dinner! But its not. Its a typical bunch you would expect from a dinner but served as a 5 star, gourmet  type meal. To give you an example I order a 3 egg omelet. Typical? Yes. But when filled with goat cheese, mushrooms and baco, then served with two pieces of rye toast and homemade potatoes it gets a little less typical. And when they bring you ketchup in a small white bowl you realize this place is one of a kind!

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It was adorable, delicious, and had excellent service. Defiantly 5 stars in my books.

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44. Pose in front of the LOVE statue. There is not story here. I suppose it is the perfect bucket list item. You go take a picture and then check it off the list!

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Maybe know you can begin to understand the quote at the start of this post. As I finish writing this it is raining outside. The first time it has rained during the day in over 2 weeks. I suppose it is unfortunate for all those who planned to go to beach and barbecue because after all today is the fourth of July. Don’t worry though I celebrated Canada day in style and will continue to celebrate America’s independence day the same way!

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“Whatever you decide to do, make sure it makes you happy”

 

Bad pick up lines, cops and a beautiful beach

NYC keeps getting better and the people in NYC keep getting weirder. Good news for you I suppose, cause weird people make for great stories!

Last Friday night I went out for dinner with a bunch of people from my res. The people themselves are uber fascinating. Three of them are NYU students, two of which are studying engineering and the third is studying computer engineering. The last of the group is an aspiring actress/ film director from my hometown in Switzerland.  That saying that goes, “it’s a small world,” most definitely applies. Too meet someone from Switzerland is pretty rare, but to meet someone from my hometown who is fluent in swiss-german… now that is just shear luck! She herself is so interesting. She went to school, worked for a year at Lush before going to Croatia to do a surfing internship. She then headed to Toronto and Calgary to a month, started school in Boston before transferring to the New York film academy. She now has finished her degree and is acting in various parts of NY for the summer. Just last week she got accepted into the Met Film school in London, England and will be staring there in September. That my friends is a life being lived to the max, leaving no dream left unfilled!!

Two of the students from NYU are currently doing internships, the one at an unknown location and the other at Goldman Sachs. Needless to say going out for dinner with these people was so much fun. We headed to a restaurant near Union Station called Umamiburger. After a 40 minute wait we finally found ourselves a table. The restaurant itself is high-end cuisine meets fast-food. The menu itself was breathtaking. Duck burger… Truffle cheese… sweet potato fries with brown sugar… very special indeed. I opted to go with the truffle burger and as a table we got both the truffle cheese fries and sweet potato with brown sugar fries.

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The fries themselves were not absolutely amazing, more something you just have to try. The restaurants marketing slogan is, “You never forget your first.” Despite the truffle burger being quite good, I will not remember it for being my first umamiburger. It was not the best burger I’ve ever had but certainly will be one of the only times I will ever have a burger with fresh truffles. Or any meal with truffles for that matter. I feel luxurious just thinking about it!

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The night came to and end and the rest of the crew wanted to go out to a club. I let them discuss their plans for quite sometime before chiming in and asking,”How old do you think I am?” “22, maybe 23,” replied one of them. Oh how some extra height deceives peoples’ perception of how old you are. Had I been 21, my plans would have stayed the same, a lovely subway ride home and a good nights sleep for Coney the next day. Off, I went wishing them well and headed to the local subway station.

Subway riding is one of my favorite past times here in New York. My headphones broke, so I am a New Yorkers that is approachable, and people definitely take advantage of that. Usually I don’t mind as people ask for direction, I help them, and then there off on their way. Tonight it was different. A guy, my age, approached me and asked for directions. I helped him out and it turned out he was getting on the same train. Rather than thanking me and taking a few steps away he talked my ears off. He told me about his life dreams, career plans, his life back in India and so much more. The subway came and I headed to an empty seat. He sat beside me which is a huge faux pas when there are lots of other empty seats and the person is clearly not interested.

I had told him earlier I love to travel and so he proceeded to invite me to come stay with him in India. I politely declined.  He asked were I was from. His reply to me saying “Canada?” “I’ve always wanted to live in Canada, how do I get a green card?” This guy was wasting no time! He proceeded to ask me what what my name was so he could add me on facebook. I told him I didn’t have facebook. He asked for my number. I told him I didn’t have a US number. I got off at the next stop and will never see him again. I wish him well on getting his green card to Canada! And for future reference that is not how to get a girl’s number!

With a population of over 8 million you are bound to be approached by some rather strange people. As I have concluded if a guy approached you in New York city 95% of the time they are either a) hitting on you b) distracting you so a second person can steal your bag/ belongings or c) actually crazy and typically speaking gibberish! But, like I said earlier, for now I don’t mind too much as it generally makes for a good story at some point down the road.

45 Attend the Mermaid Parade. On Sunday, Cassie and I woke up bright and early to head out for a day at Coney Island. The Mermaid parade is a summer must-see and thus a top pick for the bucket list. The subway ride is rather long but soooooo worth it. From the subway itself you can see the famous cyclone (a ride) and the beautiful beach which got us both super excited. We arrived early which at the time we were super happy about. We found a really good spot and waited for the parade to start. The start was suppose to be at noon but nothing really happened until close to 1. Although we had an amazing spot for taking pictures, because the parade was moving so slowly after 2 hours we left slightly disappointed that we had showed up that early. We could have easily showed up at 2pm and caught the biggest part of the parade. Nonetheless what we did see was AWESOME! There were many amazing costumes, characters and spirit. I should note it was really slow in comparison to other years as a couple behind us explained that in their 15 years of coming here it had not been this choppy. But, if you have to let people cross every 5 minutes is going to be just that, choppy.

It is hard to explain the vibe of this parade. It is not like any other parade I’ve been to. I turned to google and the first thing that came up was, “The Mermaid parade is well known for extraordinary marine costumes, and for the occasional partial nudity; it is legal in New York State for women to be topless in public.” Haha I couldn’t have said it better myself. The amount of topless ladies defiently caught me a little by surprise. I have adjusted to seeing a few topless women here and there, from time to time, but this parade was something else. Everything was done tastefully, and as long as everyone is having a good time I could care less.

Enough with my big rant, and on to what you really want to see; the pictures…

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Although this is only a fraction of the pictures. It gives you a taste of how creative, inspiring and entertaining, this parade really was.

26. Walk the boardwalk on Coney Island. As I mentioned we left after 2 hours of standing in the hot sun and attempted to grab some food and head to the beach. FYI: The parade went on for another hour and a half after we left. The line to get across to the beach was super packed. I had a flash back to the Zuri fest last year where I got shoved into a packed train and felt as though I was going to suffocate. Having a partner is crime was super practical. We clung onto each other and took turns making our way though the crowds.  Eventually we made it! We had a Nathan’s hot dog from the same place the world famous hot dog eating contest is held and then headed down the street to sit on the curb and enjoy it.

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As we sat there a lady stumbles down the sidewalk with a guy hold her up, demanding her to sit down. She was clearly on some very, very strong drugs and could not even sit down by herself. She literately was flopping from slide to side and had no control of anything. The guys actions and comments to her were very concerning so I opted to take matters into my own hands. I mean I could have easily ignored it but if anything bad happened to that lady, I would hold it against myself. The perks of having NYPD officers everywhere became practical and we approached a group of three officers near were the lady was sitting/ laying. I approached the female cop and pointed out the lady and stated my concern with not only her but they man that was with her. It seemed as she was ignoring me until I was done explaining. She turns closer to me and say”yeah she’s probably drunk.” Side note: As a don I know what drunk looks like and this was not someone that was drunk!

I insisted that it was serious but you can tell the officer couldn’t care less. Cassie and I left and walked a little further down before I completely lost my cool. Seriously!? You try to do the right thing and the cops treat you like you are crazy. I was so pissed off about the whole situation that I wanted to go back to Brooklyn. Thankfully Cassie convinced me to try to work our way through the crowds and head to the beach. And let me tell you it was 100% worth it! It’s the first time I’ve been to the beach in over a year and I kinda forgot how nice it is to just lay there for a little while and do nothing. And of course with picture perfect weather followed some great photos!

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Whilst baking in the sun, a random shirtless man approached me and asked if I was wearing sunblock. I said yes and he left. As soon as he left Cassie burst out laughing. For starters I was wearing SPF 50. Secondly what kind of a question is that to ask random person at the beach!? I don’t know if that was suppose to be an ice breaker, pick up line or if I am so pale that other citizens are concerned for my health. hahah About 15 minutes later another man, wearing a shirt, approaches and starts talking to us. After a few minutes he mentioned he was the same guy who came over earlier. He says that I am so pale that he was really concerned for me. What!!? He then proceeds to tell us about all these great parties he hosts, how he is becoming a lawyer but is already a doctor and the bragging continues. I should mention that based on his stories and looks, this man is in his late 40s early 50s, which makes him waaaaaaay older than us! He asks us for our names to which I reply Emily. He responds, “Emily the pale.” Now that has got to be the best nickname anyone has ever given to me!!!! He gets the idea we have no interest in him, his parties or supposedly lavish lifestyle and finally peaces out, leaving Cassie and I too both roll our eyes and laugh so hard our stomachs hurt.

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And there you have it my rather strange, bizarre, funny and intriguing weekend!

“People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home”