Washington Square Park through the seasons

Contrary to popular belief, New York City is home to hundreds (literally) of wonderful parks. Everyone knows about Central Park, but there are so many other great places to spend time outdoors!

The park where I most often seem to find myself is Washington Square Park. Located between the two offices I’ve worked in since moving here (one in SoHo and one in the East Village), it’s been my default lunch spot for over a year. Not only that, I often pass through walking to and from work, and it’s my favorite spot to kill some time before meeting up with friends.

My favorite things about Washington Square Park: The fountain and arch are iconic, the people watching is strong thanks to NYU and it’s freaking gorgeous. To prove this last point, here is a collection of my favorite photos since I moved to NYC thirteen months ago. They’re chronological, and encompass all seasons: spring, summer, fall, winter and spring again! (Because spring is the best).

Spring (2014)

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Summer

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Fall

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Winter

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Spring (2015)

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What’s your favorite season?

Cleveland is cool

Last month, when New York was still a frozen tundra and I was dreaming of tropical getaways, I boarded a plane to one of my favorite places in the world: Cleveland, Ohio.

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I know. Cleveland?! In the winter?! Cleveland isn’t even considered a popular destination when the weather is nice, let alone in March when it’s buried in snow. But my mom and sister were there on an extended trip, so my cousin and I (she lives in Atlanta) decided to fly out at the same time and make it a girls’ weekend.

So why do I love Cleveland so much? Well, it is one of my many “homes,” having been born there to two parents who lived in Cleveland for decades. I have a lot of extended family in the area and make my way back every  couple years. But even if not for these connections, I think Cleveland is awesome.

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It’s stunning, for starters. I’m a city girl through and through, but come on: Look at all of that SPACE! Look at the TREES! You can actually watch the sun set without peering around buildings. And this is my aunt’s yard in the suburbs, not the countryside. And all of that snow, completely untouched even though it’d been around for days. Anyone who’s spent an hour in NYC during the winter knows that this would be ugly slush in the Big Apple.

IMG_3597Here’s something that surprises a lot of people: Cleveland has a fabulous museum scene, and not just the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I try to visit a new museum every time I’m around and I’ve yet to be disappointed. This trip, we went to the Cleveland Museum of Art – which is free! – and had so much fun exploring the new addition. Check out all of the natural light!

Of course, having my family around made the trip pretty fantastic as well. One of our first stops (after a stop at Bob Evans so I could devour all the breakfast foods) was the grocery store, where we stocked up on junk food. Yup, five ladies consumed all of this garbage over the course of two and a half days.

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And of course, it wouldn’t have been the same without these girls – and our very own Grumpy Cat, Scully.

Yep – Cleveland is awesome.

My Week(s) in Instagram: 2/22/15

New York City remains much the same: Cold, snowy, repeat. I’ve always heard that February is the absolute worst when it comes to winter, and now I can 100 percent verify that! This past week featured record-low temperatures: Walking to work on Thursday morning, the windchill was negative 14. So needless to say, this summer girl is over it.

It’s not all bad around here, though: My friend Nicole is stopping by this week on her way to a conference in Syracuse, and in two weeks I’ll be back in what I jokingly refer to as my homeland – Cleveland! I know, not the best place to go in the dead of winter, but it’s shaping up to be a pretty rad girls weekend with my mom, sister, aunt and cousin!

Here’s what I’ve been up to in the meantime:

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What a contrast between a couple of days, right?! I’ve learned that even when it’s still SO COLD, having the sunshine out can make all the difference in attitude.

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I continue to believe that i have the best roommate in the world. When I slept until noon on a snowy day last week, I woke up to fresh crepes and about 8,000 different kinds of jam. Other awesome things Becca has done recently: unclogged our shower drain and picked up groceries for me so I didn’t have to go out in the snow. This makes me sound like a lazy slug, but I’m learning to embrace it 😉

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Another bitterly cold yet sunshine-y day. The science just doesn’t quite work in this girl’s mind.

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My Valentine’s Day shaped up in exactly the way I predicted it would! Becca and I ventured to Williamsburg for brunch before settling in during a snowstorm with junk food and Netflix – my true loves.

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Well it’s no secret how much I love Saturday Night Live. So it only made sense that I ventured to 30 Rock during the #SNL40 anniversary celebration last week with my friends Emmie and Kelli! Alas, we did not spot any celebrities. It all worked out OK the next day, when we camped out to watch the special and eat breakfast foods. ALSO: I gave up alcohol for Lent, so that beer was one of my last adult beverages for the next six weeks.

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I’m a big fan of the “treat yo self” philosophy, so when this Kate Spade bracelet went on sale recently, I knew I had to have it. I bought the matching earrings last year and I was so excited to complete the set without breaking the bank!

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I don’t usually include my throwbacks in these posts, but seriously, how adorable were my brother and I in the early ’90s?! I’m seriously wishing I still had that sweater – it looks so warm and cozy!

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Another weekend, another snowstorm. Yesterday involved a lot of decorating, cleaning, online shopping, baking, and Pitch Perfect-watching. My sister made those wine and coffee cards and we finally got around to hanging them in the kitchen! Thanks Ally!

How are you dealing with the bitter cold this winter? Or are you one of the luckier ones?

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My week(s) in Instagrams: 2/8/15

My Instagram page lately has been about as active as this blog – which is to say, not at all. Part of it stems from my recent social-media cleanse – my instinct is no longer to photograph and share everything, which is great! But a big part of my absence stems from the fact that New York City in the winter is just about as awful as I expected it to be. It’s not pretty like it is in the spring, summer and fall. It’s slushy, it’s gray, the ground is one giant thin sheet of ice. It’s also so cold that if I do catch a glimpse of beauty, I don’t want to take off my gloves to snap a shot with my phone.

Life is rough, I know.

I do have a few recent snaps to share with y’all, though! And hopefully soon it’ll warm up and the snow will melt and life will return to its normal glory. One can hope.

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After the recent non-blizzard, I was so excited to finally be able to go outside again that I took a lunchtime stroll through the village once I was back at work. The snow hadn’t yet melted (it still hasn’t), and not many people had trekked through and ruined its beauty quite yet.

IMG_3426 A new coffee shop just opened in my neighborhood, so on Friday I set up shop there (a nice excuse to get out of the apartment) and worked through some church admin stuff. The best part? My friend Emmie lives in the building just across the street, so my ability to stalk has greatly increased. (Don’t worry, Emmie knows I was there!)

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Finally: Just because it’s cold outside, doesn’t mean I have to go without one of my favorite treats! I can always count on my church friends to go out for ice cream with me, no matter the weather. It’s the perfect snack after a day of services or a night of meetings!

What have you all been up to?!

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The blizzard that wasn’t

If you were on the Internet at all in the first part of this week, you probably heard of a little something called winter storm Juno. AKA my worst nightmare, or so I thought.

When news broke on Sunday that we in NYC would be hit with our first blizzard of the season, people were anxious. The words historic and biggest ever and three feet of snow were being tossed around, and not just by 20-somethings at my church – by meteorologists and newscasters and the mayor. Everyone headed to the grocery stores, which had become war zones. Or so I heard. My friends and I went out for ice cream.

By the time I got to work Monday morning, the snow was already coming down, despite the fact that the blizzard wasn’t supposed to hit until that night. Oh, boy. I made arrangements with my boss so I could leave in time to get back to Brooklyn before sunset, and take my laptop with me to work from home – at that point I expected to be housebound for days. By lunchtime, my roommate was texting me from Arizona – her return flight, originally scheduled to get in late Tuesday, had already been cancelled and she was rebooked for Wednesday, hopefully. So I’d be riding out the storm of the century on my own.

By mid-afternoon, the wind had picked up and the snow was sticking.IMG_3374 IMG_3375

So we were right on schedule for three feet of snow. I left the office, hit up the bank for cash (it had closed early, along with basically every other business, but the ATMs were still open), schlepped home and settled in for what I expected would be the long haul. News broke that the trains were shutting down – the first time in over 100 years such an act had been prompted by snow alone. I cooked basically all of my food, dug out the super strong flashlight, fielded a phone call from my nervous father, and went to bed with my alarm set for 7:30, a solid 90 minutes later than I normally sleep. When the alarm blared, I rolled over and opened my curtain, expecting to be buried.

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Instead, I saw… not much more than had been there the day before. I grabbed my phone and opened Twitter (thank goodness my cleanse was over, right?!) to a stream of articles with titles like “NYC completely overreacts” and “How the city’s unnecessary shutdown will negatively impact the economy.” Fun stuff. Lucky for me (and basically everyone else), the trains were still down and so I got to stay in my pajamas all day and work from my couch. My roommate returned the next day and life has returned to normal, although the grocery stores remain unstocked.

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Although, it’s snowing today. Here we go again..

Were you impacted by Juno?