Gwen in my Head

Am I the only one who thinks of songs that match whatever’s going on in my life? Gwen Stefani is barging into my mind lately, offering her songs as a soundtrack to my life. (What does this mean?!??!?)

Exhibit A:

The other day I came home from NYC and was greeted by three crazy pups: our old dawg Huckleberry (notice how he’s trampled by the younger ones in the video) + my sister’s two puppies, Lola & Leo.

I was eating my banana, minding my own business, when the dogs spotted me and suddenly came stampeding my way. Chaos + Banana– what song comes to mind?

If you guessed Bananas by Gwen Stefani, you are correct.

Exhibit B: 

At the beginning of the month I quit my job hostessing at a restaurant in Boston to spend the remainder of summer at home in New Jersey, so now I’m broke A F. Is that a complaint? No. It just means that I have less money to spend & need to be more conscious of what I buy. Last summer I took a class called “Understanding Consumers” for my marketing major, and one of the assignments was to keep a consumer diary for two weeks, and then analyze the motivations behind our purchases to understand ourselves as consumers. What I learned is that I value experiences > possessions, and so much of my money goes to things I can do, rather than things I can possess. Right now since I have less money to spend than usual, it’s going to what I value more: experiences. 

But that doesn’t mean I’m not keeping a mental list of all the items I would buy if I had a little bit more cash in my pocket. As the list accumulates, Gwen’s voice pops back into my head: 

Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na 

I’d probably get annoyed if it wasn’t Gwen. She’s a boss and her music pumps me up & puts a nice happy tone to whatever’s happening– even if it’s getting your banana attacked by puppies or being broke. Gwen can stay.

United’s Fly The Friendly Skies Campaign

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My airline loyalty had been to JetBlue since I entered college & started flying solo, but that may be changing after I flew United Airlines with my family on our vacation to the Dominican Republic, and experienced the brand’s recently launched Fly the Friendly Skies Campaign. United truly lives up to its promises– the staff was exceedingly friendly, checked on us multiple times, had genuine smiles on their face. It wasn’t an act– it actually seemed like these were really positive people, and that this re-branding may be something that even HR plays a role in carrying out by paying closer attention to the people who are representing United & come in direct contact with customers.

My favorite part was the inflight safety video. Like many people, I usually ignore it and go right to my book or music or napping because it’s usually the same things I’ve been hearing my whole life. But this time, I was all eyes & ears because United created a refreshingly creative & entertaining video to dish out all of the usually mundane info. We only saw this version of the video on the flight back to the States; when it was over, my family members all turned to each other amongst the three rows we sat in, and exchanged positive comments of approval. It was a very pleasant experience and may even have me flying United again in the future.

two ways to meditate

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Meditation is a powerful practice that every single person can benefit from– I believe that wholeheartedly. It’s the practice of silencing your mind & clearing your thoughts so you can access the peace and quiet underneath it all, and connect with your true self. One of my best friends, Lara, visited me in Boston and we went to our first Kundalini yoga class at Kundalini Yoga Boston. It was AWESOME. Kundalini is unlike any kind of yoga I’ve practiced before; there was a heavy emphasis on breathing, chanting, and gongs and less of a focus on physical postures & poses (“asanas”). The class that we took focused on cultivating mindfulness, so we did a variety of meditations to achieve that. Two distinct meditations stuck with me, and were very powerful & effective in their own individual ways.

the first: meditation for grounding

The purpose of this meditation is to ground us to our spirit/true self/inner guide/God/whatever you call it by focusing on our breath, which is our essence. By concentrating the mind on our inhale & exhales and letting thoughts pass us by without giving them our attention, we can become deeply connected to ourselves. For this meditation, you focus exclusively on your breathing, and try to ignore everything else. When your attention wanders to something else, gently stear it back to your breath. Sometimes it’s helpful to silently say “inhale” to yourself when you breathe in, and “exhale” when you breath out; it gives your mind something to say & focus on, instead of distracting chatter.

the second: meditation for awareness

The second meditation we were guided through had the opposite approach: the purpose was to become more aware of our surroundings & everything in our presence right now. To do that,  we sat in silence and paid close attention to everything we sensed: noises, sensations in the body, scents, etc. Our instructor suggested that we keep asking ourselves, “what else?” to be more grounded in the present moment and realize every teeny tiny detail. When you do this meditation, you want to silence your mind and instead pay attention to the space around you in that moment.

 

Meditation is NOT easy, and it’s easy to get discouraged. It’s important to remember that everybody has to start somewhere, and that meditation is a practice, which means there is no perfect, and there is always room to grow and improve! Even if you only meditate for a few minutes a day before you get out of bed or right before falling asleep or on the subway, it makes a difference. Gabrielle Bernstein has an awesome beginner’s guide to meditation if you’re interested.

Namaste!

Summer Travel: NYC in July

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Two Friday nights ago, my dad dropped me off at Sara’s apartment on his way to work. We caught up and stayed in that night, but the next morning went to Smorgasburg, and ate our way through it..

I’m talking fresh young coconuts,Mexican corn, some kind of Indian quinoa dish, “gooey cakes“, and donuts, which we brought to my cousin Mike in Central Park.

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He just became a pedicabber last week, which is pretty much the best summer job ever.. I wanna hang out in Central Park every day! Mike gave us an awesome tour and showed us the best spots in the park– Bow Bridge & Strawberry Fields were my faves. Along the way, he shared dozens of facts & dates with us whenever we passed statues & monuments & such. Best tour guide ever!! If you’re in Central Park, find him!!! He’ll give you a good rate and enlighten you to la historia de Central Park. 

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Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetThe donuts were a hit! (he accepts them as a form of payment FYI)

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Once the sun started setting & we said goodbye to el primo, Sara and I headed downtown to eat some more at Chelsea Market. We decided to have dinner at The Green Table.

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Sara ordered the mac & cheese (goat cheese, colby, cheddar & parmesan, organic pasta, herbed breadcrumbs)

And I ordered the harvest salad (market greens, local cheese, nuts & Hudson Valley fruit).

Both were amazing– we ate every last bite! Finally, we went back to Williamsburg…

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That night we actually didn’t even go out, and chose to just hang low in Sara’s apartment. So the next morning we were totally ready for the day, and started with breakfast at Station. We shared pancakes w maple syrup + “classic breakfast” and it was bomb. Apparently they have an awesome bottomless brunch, too– I can’t remember why we decided forego that option. Guess I’ll have to go back and try it out ;)

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Oh, and don’t let me forget the perfect chocolate chip cookies. They have a basket full of them near the entrance that they liberally hand out to guests. May have grabbed some for the road as well..

The rest of the day was spent shopping in Williamsburg. And eating some more (hey, Momofuku)..

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On Monday Sara had to go to her internship, so I met her for coffee on her lunch break at a cute little shop called Saturday Surf. It was a surf shop with a coffee bar and a perfect little garden in the back. We said our goodbyes, and then I headed downtown to meet my Dad and join him on his commute back to Jerz.

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The trip was lovely and I can’t wait to visit again. Be back ASAP, NYC! xo

Music Monday: Goldroom

In need of a summer soundtrack? Look no further. ‘Tis the season for sultry electronic beats, and LA-based Goldroom provides exactly that, with music described as a “nostalgic romance of tropical textures & soulful rhythms.” Right now I’m digging (that’s an understatement– I loveee) his remix of Wunder Wunder. Hope you enjoy as much as I do. x

 

PS: check out that xylophone @ 4:00 … am I the only one who feels it’s an underrated instrument?

Momofuku’s marketing is on point

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Momofuku has the most delicious birthday cake truffles I’ve ever tasted; I had them last week from their shop in Williamsburg. The problem is that now I’m back in Boston, and they’re 230 miles away. Normal people may just let it go, but I was determined to get my birthday cakecakecake truffles. So, I looked into the prospect of making them myself…

What I found was the recipe straight from the creator. Momofuku publishes the recipes for a bunch of their treats. How sweet! ( pun not intended, but realized )

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Are the days of “secret recipes” gone? I hope so. Momofuku could have guarded their special recipe, so people had no choice but to purchase them. Instead, Momofuku gives us the tools to make them ourselves– fo free.

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((  from inside to outside: birthday cake scraps + vanilla milk, melted white chocolate, birthday cake “sand”  ))

This is smart. It makes me love Momofuku as a brand. The knowledge of how to make them myself is much more valuable than eating the yummy truffs once. They gave me so much more than just the birthday cake truffles, so in return I’ll repay them by stopping by whenever I’m in the neighborhood, spending more money, referring friends, & talking them up on social media.

When you give a little, you get back a lot. Momofuku knows wasssupp.