October 24, 2014

Thank You Notes Vol. 5

Today's Blogtober prompt had something to do with beauty products, which I'm not really the right person to ask.  My "beauty" regiment involves chapstick with sunscreen, face lotion with sunscreen and whatever Mascara was on sale at CVS.  And sometimes I paint my nails.  So instead, I'm going to pull a Jimmy Fallon and show some gratitude.

Thank you rain for finally moving on and giving us back our awesome autumn weather.  However, thanks to you I was a little more productive this week since I couldn't go outside and play.

Thank you Juice Journey for being open finally.  Now we have a healthy, easy food option and your Nutty Rabbit smoothie (carrot juice, bananas, sprouted almonds, goji berries & agave) just rocked my world.  No gluten, soy, dairy or processed sugar for the win. If you live anywhere in North Jersey, you should come and check it out.  Bomb.com.

Thank you Day Designer for giving me a place to write down daily to-dos.  I'm confused by my relationship with you.  I feel horrible anytime I neglect you.  If you aren't full of check marks, I show up the next day full of shame.  You are keeping me organized and in line most days and I'm extremely grateful.

Thank you Spotify for allowing me to listen to Disney songs whenever I feel like it.  Also thank you to anyone that follows me for not calling out my weird elementary school choices today.  I might turn on Taylor Swift or a boy band next.

Thank you Candy Crush Saga for reminding me that I'm friends with people on Facebook that I shouldn't be.  Every time I get a request, someone gets unfriended - except my uncle.  He posts funny cartoons, so I'm keeping him.

Thank you Buzzfeed for this article that has convinced me that I need to visit a specific bakery this weekend for a donut.  We are heading into the city to cross another something off the New York City Bucket List.

Thank you Milestone birthdays for making sure there are endless lists that tell me all the things I should have accomplished or figured out by now.  I just read the 15 work out habits you should establish in your 20's and realized I'm going to have a busy winter.  Or I'm always going to suck at working out.

Thank you husband for building me this home sometime in the next decade.

And last but not least, thank you Friday for consistently showing your face around these parts every 7 days.  I'm ready for a bath, hot chocolate with a splash of butterscotch schnapps, pjs and Friday night pizza.  Also, I swear I will put real clothes on and leave my house this weekend, but tonight I will be 90 years old.

October 23, 2014

The Kancamagus Highway

When we told my dad that we were planning a leaf peeping adventure in New England, he launched into a full sales pitch about the Kancamagus Highway, which is a 34 mile stretch of New Hampshire Route 112.  He said it was one of the most beautiful drives he had ever done.

We woke up in Vermont to a rainy morning, but we grabbed hot coffee and headed towards our breakfast destination before beginning our Kancamagus journey.  We went to Polly's Pancake Parlor.  This is a MUST if you are in Northern NH.  You may have to share your table with some strangers, but everyone is friendly and the food is worth it.  Plus, when you have many meals in NYC, you are so used to uncomfortably small eating areas.

Whoops, no pictures of our actual pancakes because we inhaled them.  We did a variety plate plus a full plate of the classics.  The thing I loved most about this place was the fact that they served you 3 hot pancakes and when you cleaned your plate, your next 3 showed up.  It's just the way that my dad makes them and serves them.  Oh man, it brought me back to my happiest childhood mornings.

Once our bellies were full and happy, we set off in the rain.

visit their official website here
My dad was so right.  We were bummed to have such a rainy drive, but we snuck back later in the afternoon and drove part of again for a second time.  I'll just let the pictures do the work, although I can promise you, they didn't capture even a sliver of how beautiful this place was.

I have said a few times that New Hampshire was my favorite part of this trip.  The Green Mountains & Vermont could be described as quaint and beautiful, but the White Mountains & New Hampshire was just breathtaking.  I've got more pictures from the rest of our New Hampshire adventures, but I figured I overloaded enough for today.

P.S. Dad - you were right.  Thanks.

October 22, 2014

Broadway Round-Up

The best part about living so close to NYC is that everything you could want for entertainment is within reach.  We almost always take advantage of the TKTS booth in Times Square or the South Street Seaport. Most of the shows are 50% off and since we are happy seeing most of their options, we usually have a back up plan if our first choice isn't available.

We have seen a few shows since we moved and we have so many more on our list.  I figured I'd recap the ones we've seen so far.  The list is in order from my least favorite to my favorite (so far.)

Cinderella - At the Broadway Theater - Tickets available at TKTS

We saw this in February when Carly Rae Jepsen and Fran Drescher were starring as Cinderella and her stepmother.  We knew that it would be different than Disney's version going into it, but we just felt like the songs and story weren't as memorable.  Even though this was our least favorite, we still enjoyed it, but there are so many good shows that I probably wouldn't recommend it.

Rocky - We were lucky enough to see this show during its run on Broadway this spring, but it is no longer playing.

This is a show to bring your husband to.  The music was good.  Nothing was quite as amazing as the last scene when the entire theater is transformed and you feel like you are at a boxing match.  Everyone is on their feet.  If this comes to a theater near you, take your favorite Rocky fan - it will not disappoint.

Chicago - Playing at the Ambassador Theater - tickets can be found at TKTS

This is a Broadway classic.  What shocked me the most was that one of the lead actresses has been doing this show on and off since it first opened on Broadway in the 90's.  The talent was incredible.  I loved how simple the sets, costumes and stage were and I love that the orchestra is right on stage the whole time.  This was a TKTS purchase for us and it was worth every penny.

Rock of Ages - Playing at the Helen Hayes Theater - Tickets can usually be found at TKTS.  We bought in advance to get 4 tickets together.

We went to this show with our friends, Caroline & Tony, when they were visiting at the end of September.  Constantine Maroulis was playing the lead role and my husband was a fan of his when he was on American Idol (which sadly was almost 10 years ago.)  This show is like going to a party/concert.  There are jello shots and loud music and lots of laugh out loud moments.  And then we met Constantine after the show.  Caroline even got her t-shirt signed :)

The Newsies - Unfortunately, it is no longer on Broadway.  It finished its run this summer.

The show was phenomenal.  It is clear why it won the Tony award for best choreography.  That movie is one of the greatest things to happen to my junior high self.  It took every ounce of self control I have to not jump up during Seize the Day and start dancing.

I will tell you that the lyrics are not all the same as the Disney movie, so you will look silly if you do sing along.

Aladdin - Playing at the New Amsterdam Theater - buy tickets in advance

We just went to see this show on Saturday.  It was my favorite so far.  We bought the tickets about a month ago to go with our friend, Jen, before she moves to Florida.  The music was fantastic.  The show was so entertaining.  It had all of your favorite Disney songs, plus a few new songs.  The genie was amazing and a Tony winner for obvious reasons.  Our seats were expensive and way up high, but once the show started - it was clear that we were going to get our money's worth.

That's the list so far.  We have so many more that we want to see and have a few on the calendar for November.  Jersey Boys, Lion King, Kinky Boots, Cabaret, On The Town, If/Then.  The list could just go on and on.

Since the Blogtober prompt today is pet peeves, I figured it would be a perfect time to share these top 5 theater pet peeves.
  1. PUT AWAY YOUR CELL PHONE.  Stop recording the whole damn thing and don't take pictures during the show.  The flash is annoying and you are annoying.
  2. Get there on time.  Nothing is ruder than making an entire row of people get up.
  3. Sit in your assigned seats and keep your legs to yourself.
  4. Be quiet.
  5. Cool it on the $20 cocktails.
You would be surprised how many people are so out of control rude at these shows - don't be those people.  

Helene in Between Blogtober

If you made it through this super long post, you are a star.  What's your favorite show?

October 21, 2014

Vacation Daydreaming

It's true.  My daydreams consist of vacation dreams.  Every time I pick up Afar magazine, I come up with 2 or 3 new places that I would like to visit.  This list could be different in 6 months, but I'll document today's list here.

Outside the United States:

Honorable Mentions:  Ireland, Denmark, Indonesia, Montreal and Switzerland

Places in the United States:

Honorable Mentions:  Sedona, Los Angeles, Austin, Charlotte/Asheville and the Grand Canyon

If you would like to offer me any free flights, vacation homes, guest bedrooms or food in any of those places (or really anywhere), let me know.

Also, tell me what I'm missing.  What's on your travel bucket list?  I'm going to spend my evening creeping on other people's lists to find out.

Helene in Between Blogtober

Pictures from sourcesourcesourcesourcesourcesourcesourcesource and source

October 20, 2014

Fear of the Unknown

There are things in this world that I'm afraid of.  Silly things like spiders and subway rats, but also big things.  Uncertainty and things out of my control are scary.

from Pinterest
Last year, we made a big decision to leave the motherland for a new adventure far away from home.  We have had the greatest year and I'm afraid of what will happen next.  Will we return home and settle down like people want us to?  Will we continue to have this amazing adventure?  There is so much uncertainty in our future and that is scary.

The biggest lesson that I've learned in the last year is that you can only plan so much, sometimes you just have to let life happen.  When you do that, sometimes it can lead to the greatest things.  So every morning I wake up and just face the fact that the future is uncertain.  I'm learning little by little to embrace spontaneous moments when I can.  I still keep lists upon lists of to-do's and plans, but I'm learning that life isn't always going to do what you expect and that isn't always something to be afraid of.

Happy Monday everyone.  Get out there and be a little weird today.  Live on the edge.  I might eat ice cream for dinner tonight and just be a little spontaneous.

Helene in Between Blogtober