Tuesday, September 23, 2014

on the hunt: cross body bag



I've certainly refined my thoughts on handbags over the years. In high school, I had many different styles and colors (nothing fancy, of course) that got swapped out according to shoes and outfits. Be caught with brown shoes and a black purse? Absolutely not! (So serious in those days.) 

In college, I kind of lost fervor for the cause when I was focused more on schlepping drawings and models and chipboard around campus. No one in studio noticed if my purse matched my shoes. I tried to keep a few "going out" things meant to hold lipstick instead of history books but they rarely got used. 

Since I've moved to NYC, the city of designer purses and "it" bags, I've completely fallen off the radar. I have one purse at a time (typically no more than $100) that I use until it falls to pieces. Only one option means one less decision when getting ready in the morning. Only having one bag means I also have to looooove it, so I've really distilled what I look for in a purse to meet all my neuroses:

cross body--for hands free metro card wielding and subway bar grasping
smaller strap--for over the shoulder/crook of elbow holding at parties
colored leather (or faux leather)--for not offending either side in the ongoing black vs brown debate (but I also feel a rich caramel brown can reach across the aisle sometimes)

So I'm the hunt for a new, perfect bag for our trip to Italy. I'm looking for something on the smaller side--enough for my wallet, phone, bottle of water--so I don't kill my shoulder while out being a tourist all day. I want it to be accessible for quick gelato transactions but also secure enough to ward off pick pockets.

Any suggestions that meet my wildly specific list of requirements? Which one do you like above? I like them all, I'm not sure I can decide!!

Friday, September 19, 2014

buongiorno italia!

It's no secret that Kurt and I love to travel. We also love a good party. So when a couple NYC friends decided to get married in Rome (the bride's hometown), we booked our tickets without much hesitation. What a great excuse for an Italian vacation, right? (If you recall, we made a pretty similar trip back in 2010 for--you guessed it--another wedding. See all those posts here but please excuse the teeny photos!) We leave in less than 3 weeks (eep!) and are very excited about the 16 day journey. We're sticking to Italy and visiting the following places:

Rome
Naples
Pompei
Positano
Capri
Salerno
Rapallo
Merate
Milan
Lecco
Bergamo
Monza
Villasanta

Until we leave, I will be freaking out about packing (what's the weather like in October?!?!) and trying to cram as much Italian from the DuoLingo app I can (not sure how useful "the monkey eats bananas" is going to be but I'm sticking with it). And of course I always get the urge to buy new things before a trip (my old stuff just doesn't seem Italy worthy) so some shopping is probably in order.

If you have any travel tips or favorite spots, please pass them along. I'm all ears! 

Friday, August 29, 2014

B1G network party

I can't believe I forgot to blog about this event Kurt and I had the chance to attend earlier in the summer. So in honor of being in the great state of Ohio for the Canfield Fair this weekend and duh duh duh duh....the start of college football on Saturday (War Eagle!), here is the story of how Kurt and I lucked our way into the most over the top NYC event I've ever been to.

For those of your who don't follow college sports, Kurt's alma mater Ohio State is in the Big Ten Conference which has it's own television network. This year, the conference is welcoming in Rutgers and Maryland and the Big Ten Network threw a big party to welcome the new fan base.

Somehow Kurt--the rabid loyal fan that he is--ended up on the invitation list and got me an RSVP as well. We've been to events our schools have hosted before but they usually consist of buying your own drinks at a bar and maybe a sad cheese plate in the corner. I guess TV networks have a bit more funds available and completely blew our expectations out of the water.

The party was held at the super swanky Cipriani 42nd Street. (Like if I dumped Kurt and married a politician and his family estate on Martha's Vineyard was booked, we would probably have our wedding here. It's that fancy.) There were several fully stocked bars (totally free!) and food everywhere as well as passed hors d'oeuvres. There were even super elaborate sushi stations complete with kimono clad Japanese women who would place the rolls on your plate for you.

The main room was converted into a football field with turf and bleachers and even field goals. The place was crawling with cheerleaders and mascots representing all the B1G teams. We were serenaded by Mekka Don (up and coming rapper who went to Ohio State) as Brutus and his friends filled in as back up dancers. 

There was a short presentation by the network executives and then they started introducing all these past B1G sports stars, including past/current coaches and players. Kurt was out of his mind with glee at this point. 



And then they had lots of fun trophies you could take your picture with! (Not pictured: burly security guards ready to tackle you if you tried to touch said trophies.) We hit the Heisman and Rose Bowl trophies early on and a little later in the evening (i.e. a few gin and tonics in) we thought the camera operator at the Big Ten Basketball Championship trophy looked bored, so we gave him our "business".

Kid in a candy store :)

We finally tracked down Eddie George--former Ohio State football player AND Landscape Architect--so Kurt could talk a little shop and get a photo. We might have to photoshop out that beer bottle before this gets framed and hung in Kurt's future man cave.

"Go Bucks!"

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

newport folk festival

Kurt and I recently took a voyage to Rhode Island to attend the Newport Folk Festival. Apparently it's a pretty big deal...like my parents even know about it big (no offense, Mom and Dad!). We just heard that Band of Horses was playing and that was enough to convince us to buy day passes for Friday. When the weekend rolled around, we took a bus to Providence Thursday night, and rode with friends to Newport on Friday morning. As soon as we got into town, the car got parked at the hotel and we immediately rented bikes to explore Newport.

Shandy was the theme of the weekend, starting here at Midtown Oyster Bar.

Tooling around Bowen's Wharf

If shandy was the theme of the weekend, lobster rolls have been the theme of my summer. I can't get enough! This was a tasty one from Smokehouse.

Biking was such an excellent way to get around Newport and to the festival. We zoomed past so many suckers cars sitting in traffic and got prime parking right by the festival gates. There was quite a crowd of bikes, so thankfully there was oodles of parking provided by Bike Newport.


Once Kurt and I got our bearings of Fort Adams and the stage setup, we watched a great set by Phox.

Cornhole at the beer garden


The park juts out into the water on a peninsula, so we were surrounded by water and got to watch sailboats all day. It couldn't have been more beautiful!

Next we saw Jenny Lewis. I only know a little bit of her work with Postal Service and Rilo Kiley but she was excellent. I'll have to study up some more.


Band of Horses came on next and they were soooooo good. Their sound is certainly more twangy live than recorded but it was still excellent and the lead singer has an incredible voice. These guys were worth the trip alone.

Apparently everyone else and their brother was there to see Ryan Adams. He was okay and kind of a funny character between songs, but his music wasn't all that thrilling to us. To each their own, I guess.



There were so many tempting festival eats being offered but somehow we limited ourselves to corn and ice cream :) And we only ended up getting a single beer because it was so hot and sunny. Lots of water though!

Once the festival was over, we joined the bike mob exodus that was leaving the park. It was pretty incredible to be in a bike group that size and revel in the fact that all the people who drove to the festival would be sitting for hours in traffic waiting to leave.

We rounded out the evening exploring a few bars around Newport before heading up to Boston the next morning.


Every previous time I've been to Boston, I've tried to see the Boston Public Library but have always missed the open hours. Not this time! I finally met with success and was very impressed with what I saw. I might have to do a separate post because I've got so many more photos of the gorgeous building to share.

Touring around Newbury Street


On previous visits to Boston, we've done the Harpoon Brewery tour (which is excellent) but the owners have since opened a beer hall which we of course had to try. Surprise, surprise but our favorite brew was the UFO Big Squeeze--a grapefruit shandy! At least we are consistent :) 

Thanks again, New England! You've been good to us!

Monday, August 25, 2014

weekend in review

Kurt and I have a couple friends who live in Astoria and have mentioned good things about Singlecut Beersmiths in their neighborhood. Kurt and I are not ones to shy away from a good brewery, so we enlisted a group to make the trek to Queens last Friday night for a few beers and music.

The brewery is a bit of a hike from the train (and across the street from a strip mall) but the vibe is fun and laid back with indoor and outdoor seating.

The beers were awesome. My favorites were the 19-33 and the Jån. 

Kurt's brother Erik had a connection with one of the employees and was able to talk someone into giving us an impromptu tour. I always love hearing about the beer making process and how every place got its start. FYI, the brewery is named "singlecut" after a type of guitar and most of their beer varieties are named after musicians. 

Way back in 2013 Kurt and I bought tickets to see Arcade Fire here in Brooklyn. The show finally rolled around and it was fantastic! Worth the wait! I'm such a big fan of their music and was thrilled to see it live. There was even a cameo performance from one of the Ramones.

On Sunday, I ran a bunch of errands around Brooklyn while Kurt and Erik made a big batch of their famous jalapeño mustard (thanks to Silvia for the photo!). 

We spent the afternoon at a cookout at Supercollider with some friends before getting re-hooked on Homeland in honor of the new season starting in October! Don't get me wrong, I love love love summer and the hot weather, but there is something exciting about new TV shows on the horizon in the fall. Bring it on!

Enjoy this last week of summer, people!

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