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On how I’m a horrible, lazy and inattentive parent.

Emma is afraid of EVERYTHING. I’d like to say I don’t know where she gets it from but I think I was way worse when I was her age. Taking off Friday in order to get a four-day weekend (since Monday is Labor Day), Emma and I found ourselves at Haleiwa Beach in order to get in some sun before “checking-in” to our north shore Airbnb. Our beach time started out the same as other days at the beach, with Emma obsessed with getting ocean water into her buckets but too fearful to do it by herself causing me to make endless trips between the shoreline and our blankets and sun tent. After awhile of playing water getter I was parched and told Emma we had to return to our sun tent for a water break. Shortly after that however Emma decided she could fill up the buckets all by herself. I weighed the dangers in my mind of letting her go off without me versus letting her try this to build her confidence and bravery and came up with the following: 1) there was no undertow, 2) even though there were waves at the most they would only come up to her knees where she was standing and lastly, 3) I could reach her to help her in about 1 second if she did get in trouble.

So I feigned disinterest in her new plans and secretly watched her like a hawk as she happily headed off to the water, bucket in tow. Everything was fine at first but then a big wave came and knocked her over. My brain had to work in overdrive telling my body not to jump up and race to her side but instead wait and she what she would do. Would she start to get upset or would she stand back up completely fine, knowing that the water was barely covering her butt.

I didn’t get to find out. A father playing with his own kid nearby raced over and picked her up. Truth be told I was super irritated that he ruined my “test” but chagrined enough to call out a thank you as he passed by a couple minutes later as he was leaving the beach. And that’s when he decided to tell me off for being the most irresponsible, lazy and inattentive parent. In a very rare show of calmness I just gave a quick nod and turned away from him. But since he had made me feel like a failure I decided to check with Emma on how she was feeling when she came back up to the tent.

  • Me: Hey Emma…. you know when that wave knocked you over? Were you scared.
  • Emma: Well, it was so fun at first. I was laughing. And then that man scared me by grabbing me. But he let me go so I wasn’t scared anymore. AND mommy! I came up with an idea! If I jump OVER the waves they can’t make me fall so I’ll try that next time.

So thank you Mr. Over Concerned Beach Going Dad. I guess despite my horrible parenting skills I’m still raising a pretty fantastic kid.

Anniversary weekend 2013

My anniversary came at a good time this year, landing on the day my deliverables were due for the quarter, which means that despite rushing in to work Sunday night to finish a couple of odds and ends, I finally had some time off this weekend. So we kicked off our celebration a couple days early by heading out of town on Friday in order to go to…. Brooklyn. I know, I know… I got a lot of eyebrow raises when I told my friends as well, but honestly it was a place I always wanted to spend more time in, but just seemed too far away to make an effort.

So Friday night started off with a check in at Nu Hotel, the most awesome place in that it came with a room service list with more mixed drinks than food, a free continental breakfast, chalk board wall in the bathroom, AND a hammock! The only downside… it was located across from the Brooklyn detention center. Say WHAT?! At least with all the cops swarming around, you felt protected.

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That hammock was dangerous! I sat in it while waiting for Ryan for 5 minutes. I woke up 2 hours later.

Saturday started out with a stroll through the brooklyn heights promenade with gorgeous views of Manhattan. This picture doesn’t show it but there was free kayaking going on below – although free meant huge line!

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Next up was a brunch (okay they really open for lunch but we made it our breakfast) at new eatery Brooklyn Crab in Red Hook. AND we got there by taking the bus. This is not a huge feat for most but I hate the bus. I grimace and complain at the big cities that don’t have subway (or above ground) transportation systems (I’m looking at you LA) but I hate taking the bus. Mostly because I never know when I’m supposed to get off or where I should go to catch one. It’s all very confusing to me. I got off at the wrong stop in San Francisco several times which resulted in many glorious calorie burning moments as I climbed up all their hills. But, clean signage, clean (and wonderfully air-conditioned) busses AND the google maps app on my phone (this might have been my first bus ride since owning a smart phone) and I was hooked. I was actually super disappointed to find out I would have to take a subway ride back to Manhattan the next day instead of hopping on a bus.

As for Brooklyn Crab, it’s a super cute new place that opened across from the Red Hook Fairway and don’t just serve up food but mini golf and corn holes as well.

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The big sell of the day seemed to be their King Crab legs but they also had Maryland blue crabs. We were a little to lazy to do all that work and ended up with crab and oyster sandwiches. But it was all delicious.

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Needing to walk off our gorgefest we headed up a little ways to the Valentino Jr Park. I had googled “romantic things to do in Brooklyn” and one thing that popped up was this park due to its small grassy area, pier for fishing off of, and views of the front of the Statue of Liberty. It was so cute and the end of the pier there was indeed several fishermen catching their dinner for the night.

For our own dinner we headed off to a cute little french caribbean place called Kaz An Nou in Prospect Heights that is revered for their jerk chicken and sweet, homey-style service. I myself went with their goat cheese souffle, which was out of this world. The one negative is that since it’s such a small place and they don’t take reservations, there is usually a long wait. As I’m not a huge fan of waiting we showed up at the god-awful early dinner time of 5:30, right when the restaurant opened. There was hardly anyone there and we were seated immediately. Fast forward 30 minutes and the lines had started. Oh it’s also cash only, so bring your moolah.

I’d say that’s enough about food for this post but really the only other two main things we did this weekend in Brooklyn was to stop in at the Ample Hill Creamery for ice cream and spend our Sunday morning at Smorgasburg, a Sunday pop-up food-tent thingy (I’m awesome with descriptors today) at DUMBO. Everything from lumpia, asian tacos, and bolivian sandwiches to donuts, bbq, lobster rolls AND maple syrup covered bacon was served

The bolivian tent even had a Chuck Norris seal of approval.

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Last up on anniversary weekend 2013 was heading out of Brooklyn and up to Times Square to see The Book of Mormon. We wanted to see it for our anniversary last year and tried to obtain tickets the month before. They had only premium seating left at that time going for around $400 per ticket. Thanks but no thanks.

So in July 2012 I bought tickets for our 2013 anniversary for a much more reasonable price! So after waiting years to see it, how was it? It was okay. My dad went to see it and hated it because he was offended by all the swearing. I didn’t have a problem with that (in fact, probably because I swear a lot but I barely noticed it) but it just didn’t compare in my book to some of the other musicals out there (like my all time favorite Wicked). But I did learn so much about the Mormon faith through the musical, though I did have to do a little fact checking afterwards to figure out what was true. Considering that most of my knowledge about Mormonism before this came from South Park, that means that Matt Stone and Trey Parker are my two biggest teachers on the subject!

The mystical, magical, boobaliciousical Spa Castle

Not to brag (any more than usual on a blog about me, myself, and I) but I had the most wonderful Friday last week. Ryan had to burn through a PTO day that he would lose after this past week and I was sitting on a couple unused holidays so we took off the day and made our way to Spa Castle in Queens.

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photo via tripadvisor.com

Time Out New York always recommends Spa Castle in their things to do section but I was pretty hesitant about a huge bathhouse in Queens with naked (non-coed) sections and little kids running around that may or may not be potty-trained. But at my last hair cut my hair dresser could not stop raving about Spa Castle and as I’ve previously mentioned, one should always listen to Miss Oh-I-hang-out-VIP-style-with-Jay-Z.

Our adventure started with free valet parking (what what!), something they do not loudly advertise, hence us driving around and around looking for street parking before finally giving up. We didn’t even know it was free until they handed us our keys back at the end of the day and moved on to the next customer. Score!

Now, when you check in ($35/person on the weekdays and $45/person on the weekends for full access to the pools, saunas, and resting rooms) you get a watch-looking devise that works as your locker key and your money. While it definitely made for an extremely relaxing and hassle-free day, I was worried about just how much a hassle-free day would cost me. Not that the prices for food and drinks weren’t really easy to see, but buying that last mudslide was a lot easier when it was just a flip of my wrist versus pulling out cash.

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photo via yelp.com

Once you’ve got your wrist band (and additional 21+alcohol band) all situated, it is time to enter into Disneyland for exhibitionists, otherwise known as the locker rooms. This is where I found out that despite the fact that I capped off my senior year in college by streaking through lower campus in just snow boots during a snowstorm, I am a HUGE prude. Everywhere I looked there were girls, either air drying themselves by lying out on the locker room benches in all their glory, or blow drying their hair sans…. anything. I was the only one scampering around in a towel I brought from home (because the towels they lend you are the size of a washcloth.

But Ryan tells me I’m the weirdo / prude / ridiculous one, so don’t listen to me and just go and enjoy yourself in all your nakedness. But just know that your bare buns are not the only ones that have touched the locker room benches.

For those of you inclined to be clothed (and I applaud you!), they issue you uniforms for your time at the spa. Really comfortable uniforms, although not quite the height of fashion, and in predictable pink for girls and blue for boys.

Heading up the stairs from naked narnia you come to what I like to call The World of Saunas (pronounced sow-na’s apparently – the more you know!).

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photo via mslk.com

It was fantastic, there were seven themed saunas in all, from the very hot, never less than 185 degree sauna to the cold, never above 25 degrees sauna, and all the ones in between, which included infrared saunas, gold saunas, and jeweled saunas.

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And then there were the pools. The outdoor pools were heated and open year-round and the water was absolutely balmy and pleasant. Getting out of the pool into 25 degree weather after being soaking wet however, was not. But not to fear, there was also a sauna right next to the outdoor pools that I scampered into to drip dry in.

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photo via lookadooinnewyork.blogspot.com

One of the indoor pools also came with a swim up / walk up bar which I used to inhale the aforementioned and delicious (anti-diet) mudslide. They seemed pretty strict on alcohol consumption, as you are limited to 3 per person. So I would suggest you finagling your non-drinking cohort into getting a wristband so you can move on to drinking his allotted 3 drinks once you are finished with your own. You’re welcome.

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photo via lipstickandluxury.com

And last but not least there was the food. There were nachos, corn dogs, dumplings, pizza, salad, you name it. But my favorite was the korean plates up on the top level. Yum.

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photo via blondieandbrownie.com

Our last stop of the day before heading out to Fu Run for dinner was hanging out in the “resting” room, basically a room full of reclining chairs, where Ryan promptly passed out and I caught up on my tumblr dashboard and inadvertently would punch Ryan in the shoulder when his snoring got too loud.

And after all that, at the end of the day I collapsed into my bed completely exhausted. Man, it’s hard to be a lady of leisure!

Woohoo – finally Friday was here and we were off to my sister’s graduation.

I’ve been lucky enough (I guess… come on, admit it – graduations gets really boring in the time period between when you see people you know walk in to pomp and circumstance to when their name is called) to be at several school graduations, but never an Art School graduation. It was definitely different, and pretty cool. Before each degree was awarded (e.g. Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting, or Photography, or Game Design, or Illustration…etc.) they had snippets of work that that graduating class did. Holy hell, the game design snippets were awesome, but sadly just concepts. (I told my sister if she put me in contact with some of the game design graduates I’d invest possibly up to $40 in bringing their games to fruition, but she claimed that wasn’t enough.)

My sister’s work didn’t make it to the big screen (pissing me off, she was WAY better than some of the stuff they showed), so I’ll give her her own shout out here.

Now let’s get in the delorean and mosey on back to the Thursday before Memorial day for more food discussions. (Bet you thought it was finally over, right? Too bad for you.)

After a whirlwind trip of bright lights, 105 degree heat (ouch), barely-clad dancers at Jubilee, lost money (damn you Vegas), and stomachs reaching their breaking point and shutting down, it was time to head back to San Francisco for a weekend celebrating my sister’s graduation from college. The first day was booked up with formal family portraits (something I always hate doing because I do the Chandler smile whenever I have to pose for longer than 2 seconds for a picture).

I’m actually completely shocked that after about 2 hours there was something like 2 not horrible pictures of me.

But when that was finally over, Ryan, my sister and I headed to her favorite restaurant for happy hour and dinner.

6 watermelon cosmos later…

Elf!!!!

I was so excited about this ever since I first heard (on tumblr, where else?) that it was coming to Broadway for Christmas this year, so I was sadly disappointed that it was just too cheesy for me.  Me!  The person that thinks a story about eternal love between a 17-year-old and a sparkly vampire is epic and just thinking about the Christmas Shoes or Nestor-the-long-eared-donkey makes me tear up (there we go again, and on my morning train commute more less!).

Meanwhile, Ryan disliked it because the took out all of his favorite “and funniest parts of the whole movie” though I seem to have forgotten a lot of the original story.  (Note to self: rewatch elf this weekend).

Although even I was like – where did the midget go?