2015 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

As you all know, last week on Thanksgiving I ventured solo to the Upper West Side to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade live and in person. I’m so excited to share that experience with you all! As my (British) boss observed, “The parade just seems so… bizarre.” I suppose that’s true without context, but as someone who grew up watching it every year on NBC – seeing the parade in person was an incredible experience.

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I made it to 71st Street and Central Park West around 6:45 a.m. and staked out a halfway-decent spot – so many people were already packed in! I was able to see all of the balloons and most of the floats, which is really what the parade is all about. I lucked out with good weather – temperatures in the 50s! – but my feet were numb by the end anyway (I suppose five hours of standing in one spot will do that!) Final verdict: It was worth it, but never again, and certainly never in colder (read: typical) weather.

Here are some of the highlights!

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Snoopy & Woodstock

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The Aflac duck

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The Pillsbury Doughboy – this was my favorite balloon but I heard people say it looks like a serial killer?!

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Elf on the Shelf, which if you ask me is the real serial killer…

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Pikachu

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Thomas the Tank Engine

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SpongeBob SquarePants

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Kool-Aid Man

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Power Ranger

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A very random candy cane

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Sesame Street, but really I took this picture because of Questlove

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Scrat the squirrel

The parade always ends with a string of Christmas floats, and Santa Claus wraps it all up (pun intended). Santa was always my very favorite part, and so I was giddy as he got closer and closer!

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Mariah Carey waving condescendingly at the peasants

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SANTA CLAUS!

And with that, it was officially the holiday season! I grabbed a bagel, went back to Brooklyn for a nap, and then was off to dinner. I hope you all had just as wonderful a Thanksgiving as I did!

What’s your favorite part of the Thanksgiving Day Parade? Or do you just find it all bizarre?

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Catching up via Instagram: 11/22/2015

Over the past few weeks my Instagram has slowly become less of a log of my day-to-day activities and more a mixture of current sights, throwbacks and blog promotion. I may start to reconsider this blog feature and make it more of a regular update rather than a strict Instagram feature, but in the meantime, here are some little glimpses into NYC life lately!

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This one’s poor quality, but important for a number of reasons: Christmas lights! America! And the Empire State Building: Although it was lit for a different cause, orange is the color of CRPS Awareness, and November is its month. I snapped this shot to honor my sister.

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Another morning, another stroll through my favorite park. I know Washington Square pops up in a lot of these posts, but it just goes to show how beautiful and varying it really is.

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On a hard-earned day off last week, I had planned to stay in bed binge-watching Master of None. But the sunlight was streaming in the window and I thought: How much longer will it really be warm enough outside to sit by the waterfront with a good book? The answer, of course, is not long at all. So off I went.

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I realize I haven’t been back from Africa for even a month yet, but I’m already knee-deep in planning my first few trips of 2016: a long weekend in DC, a week in Phoenix and several days in San Francisco with my best friend Jordan! San Fran has long been on my list to visit (and I even almost moved there in 2014 instead of NYC!) and I’m so excited to finally check it off.

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Rounding out this post with a little throwback celebration: Jordan and I are proud 2011 alumni of Arizona State University, and yesterday the football team absolutely crushed the University of Arizona. It’s the oldest, fiercest college rivalry in America and I couldn’t be prouder to be on the winning side. Sun Devils Forever!

You can follow me on Instagram here. And if you’re looking for other accounts to follow, I suggest Travel Mail – they featured some of my work recently!

 

A visit to Queens County Farm

Well, I’ve done it. I’ve convinced myself to love fall. Maybe it’s the beautiful weather we’ve been having, but I’m getting such a rush from the colorful leaves, the hot beverages, and – yes – even the slight chill in the mornings. Only the slight chills, though.

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Keeping in spirit with my desire to constantly be on vacation, last Saturday I rounded up my community group and dragged them to Queens County Farm. Although technically in New York City, it feels like a world away – and not just because of the 1-hour train ride and 30-minute bus ride we endured to get there. Queens County Farm is practically in the countryside compared to Manhattan, and right now it is basically a Fall Wonderland (can that be a thing?)

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The farm is small but there’s no shortage of things to do and see. We perused the gift shop, took a hayride and part of the group saw a show. They happened to be having an event on wildlife, so we were able to see and pet and feed various animals, which is a pretty rare experience for a  bunch of city folk!

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Overall, it was such a fun weekend adventure and a great way to feel like we were worlds away from the city when really, we were still within its borders. Queens County Farm is open every day, year round, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is free except during special events (we paid $9 because of the wildlife, which is a steal for ANYTHING in New York).

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Currently: November 2015

Fall in NYC...

Fall in NYC…

...Spring in Southern Africa!!

…Spring in Southern Africa!!

Reading: The Royal We, thanks to my friend Molly who let me register my Kindle to her account so I could read her books on my trip – and is now letting me keep it that way for a while so I can finish them all!

Wearing: Dark skinny jeans, black boots, black sweater, Giving Key necklace. Feeling very fall-ish and very New York.

Buying: Mostly new sweaters and other cold-weather necessities, but I need to get started on Christmas shopping!

Listening to: Hot Country on Spotify – right at this moment, Hell of a Night by Dustin Lynch

Eating: All I’ve had today so far is eggs and a handful of raisins for breakfast, and a bag of Goldfish crackers for snack. But there are potstickers in the fridge for lunch, and I’m thinking sushi for dinner before church!

Watching: Still sticking with The Mindy Project and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and re-watching Sex and the City on Amazon. I’ve added Veep to shows I’m binge-watching  (for the first time!): My roommate cracked and gave me her HBO password!

Texting: My sister, constantly.

Planning: Just trying to keep my schedule manageable as the holidays creep closer and closer! But mentally I’m starting to plan vacations for next year: San Francisco, Phoenix, etc. …

Excited for: The holidays! I’m taking Thanksgiving off so I can go to the parade (bucket list, anyone?) and I just really really love Christmastime in New York City. The store windows are already set up, the villages are in progress, and oh – it’s still in the 70s most days. Best fall ever.

Cherishing: This weather, obviously. I’m still taking my lunches outside and not hating myself in the early mornings. I haven’t even worn a hat at all yet!

Wishing: I could be in two places at once. Africa is still constantly on my heart & mind!

Autumn at Prospect Park

In my effort to actually enjoy fall this year (made easier by the fact that it’s still 70 degrees outside), I ventured down to Prospect Park last weekend to check out this “foliage” thing people keep talking about. Turns out, it’s really something special.

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Orange is my favorite color, so you can imagine my joy at spotting this tree.

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It happened to be sunset – completely unplanned, but well-timed as the clocks changed the next night and now the sun sets before I leave the office.

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A basic white girl photo to be sure, but hearing the leaves crunch beneath my boots gave me so much happiness!

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So unreal that this is more or less my backyard: Less than a 30-minute walk from my apartment (and my local taco spot).

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And slowly but surely, autumn in NYC continues to win over my heart.