Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Highline, an Elevated Railroad Park

There are some places in NYC that we always bring our visitors. 
The Staten Island Ferry (for a free view of Lady Liberty), Vappiano with it's great Italian cuisine, and Coney Island. Places that are unique to NYC, that are either affordable or free. And, especially in the warmer months, you could easily make a grand tour of the city without spending a dime (well... maybe $2.75 on a Metrocard).

The Highline is always on that list.
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And it is always a pleaser. When we took my mother, she couldn't believe that a manicured garden could exist above a busy street. You see artists drawing, school groups on a class trip and people walking to work (hey.... a much nicer walk to work versus the busy street below). I believe that the Highline it best enjoyed in the Spring and Summer but it has a constant rotation of plants and is always very nicely maintained.

(as taken from The Highline Website):

The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues.

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The High Line’s planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew on the out-of-use elevated rail tracks during the 25 years after trains stopped running. The species of perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees were chosen for their hardiness, sustainability, and textural and color variation, with a focus on native species. Many of the species that originally grew on the High Line’s rail bed are incorporated into the park’s landscape.

On their "Visit Us" page, you can also view an interactive map with descriptions about each pitstop.

(as taken from the Highline's Event's page)

One of the things I haven't done is partake in The Highline's activities, which are free to the public and sound amazing. Whether you are a nature enthusiast, a parent of a young child or just looking for a great place to take a date, there are tons of options.

You don't have to leave New York City to see the stars. Gaze at the stars, planets, and moon through the high-powered telescopes of the Amateur Astronomers Association, and chat with the experts about the sights you see.

PUBLIC TOUR: From Freight to Flowers
Hear the story behind New York City's park in the sky.

GARDEN TOUR: Spring Bulbs Blooms
THURSDAY, MAY 14 2015 9:00 AM TO 10:00 AM
Discover the spring bulbs and native spring ephemerals growing on the High Line with one of our expert staff horticulturists.

Lawn Time for Little Ones
Bring your little one for stories, songs, and bubbles every Thursday, with partners from Housing Works, the New York Public Library, and more!

Green Corps Garden Party
THURSDAY, AUGUST 20 2015 6:00 PM TO 8:00 PM
Celebrate the graduating class of the High Line Green Corps! Make crafts, take home your own seedling and enjoy garden-grown snacks.
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Dec 1 to Mar 31: 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Apr 1 to May 31: 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM
June 1 to Sept 30: 7:00 AM – 11:00 PM
Oct 1 to Nov 30: 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Below are some photos, from Winter to Fall, showing varied parts of the Highline:
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So tell me....
Have you ever visited The Highline?
If yes, what was your favorite section or exhibit?
Would you attend any of the Events, and what would you add?

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Month, Green Week, and Podcast Addict

1. Have you ever had to wear a uniform? If yes, tell us more. Did you love it or hate it?
Hated them all. Fast food, fast food, front desk at hotel, fast food. I do enjoy dressing up professionally (when I choose to) but love even more being able to come to work in a sweatshirt and jeans.

2. April 22nd is Earth Day. What is one thing you do personally to be a good steward of planet Earth.
I work at a 'green' company, and organize events to help others with the commute and lessen traffic in NYC. April for us is Earth Month, and this week is Green Week- our busiest time of the year, where we help out hundreds of commuters around NYC.
3. Brown rice, quinoa, or couscous...your healthy grain of choice? How often are one of the three on your menu at home? Given a choice between white rice, brown rice, wild rice, and fried rice which would you go for?
Ehh. I'm not into any of the brown options to be honest, and if I had to choose it would be jasmine or white rice.

4. In your opinion, who has the best job ever?
I love the "Stuff You Missed In History Class" and "Stuff Mom Never Told You" podcasts. The hosts of these shows respond to reader mail, and get suggestions on topic to research and share on their twice-weekly shows. You can tell how much fun they have, and I imagine that would be an awesome job. They are also what keeps me awake during my 1.5hour train ride to work, and then again back home. Using PodcastAddict, I download episodes for offline listening.
5. What's a situation in your life currently requiring patience?
Waiting for the next milestone. Today I go in for a sonogram, hopefully to see our (very early) baby. I'm not expecting to see a heartbeat just yet as it is early, but pray that everything else seems to be developing normally.

6. Do you live your life around the days of the week?
Sometimes it feels like it. Monday is the worse because of the backlog of emails and voice-mails to answer at work. Saturday is the most relaxing, meaning that I can sleeping in a bit and wake to a easy morning. Sunday is great because we spend it worshiping corporately with people at church, and host dinner for the family.

7. In a nod to the A to Z challenge happening around town this month, what 'R word' best describes your April?
Realizing that I am pregnant and need to slow down. This month is my craziest month of the year, when everything rushes by and I struggle to keep up. I am trying to realize more and more that I need to eat regularly and sleep more. That I shouldn't necessarily run for the train. And remembering that I can't just grab a cup of coffee, as that used to be my old rescue during Earth Month.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

My new favorite breakfast!

I've always hated using my blender, with the cleaning and all. Plus, I'm sure it still smells of homemade sofrito.

However, last week I read online that you can use an immersion blender in a jar and get the same results.

1 banana     
1 cup blueberries     
1 cup yogurt     
1 cup spinach     
2 tsp chia seeds.

So tell me...
Do you have any great kitchen hacks?
Are you addicted to podcasts as well? What ones would you recommend?
Anyone else work in a 'green' industry, and if so, have you gone crazy like me yet?

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Telling People You're Pregnant.. after Miscarriage(s)

I don't want to tell everyone I know that I am pregnant.

But hear me out, before deciding that I'm either:
-a huge hypocrite (I write online so that a face and story can be put to multiple loss/lupusAPS)
-or an idiot (people can easily find this blog- after all it's my name)
There are two big reasons. 
Since miscarriages are a taboo subject and not mentioned in proper society, we don't necessarily know who had/has/is experiencing one. I mentioned our history to a co-worker who had some very fresh wounds (and a story very similar to mine with a blood disorder). She learned of my previous miscarriages and broke down in sympathy. I think it's important to talk with others who have gone through similar trials, but it's not something I want to dole out on the unsuspecting.

Then there are a lot of good meaning people who have given their advice on everything in the past.

It's a normal part of life.
1. Boy meets girl, they get married.
2. They get pregnant.
3. The whole world tells them what they need to figure out Right Now.

In the great homeschool debate of 2013, I was about 6 weeks pregnant when I was asked how we were schooling our children. A bit early in the game I thought, but I told the group of inquisitors inquirers that we were planning on homeschooling. I left the conversation after about 20 ridiculous minutes of being told I was wrong. I've since learned to not to take the bait and tell everyone everything they want to know.

That isn't to say that I won't answer questions like "why do you lose your pregnancies" or "around what week does it typically happen" or any other questions where the person asking is curious. I'm more than happy to let you know what it means to have multiple miscarriages, APS or answer any questions about medicine. I'm tired of the secrecy given to those who loose their babies, keeping them mourning in silence. The more support given to the parents, the better. But at the same time I'm choosing the be wise in who I do and don't tell.

People we have told: family, close friends and plenty of people at church.

People we know will support us and not pressure us to talk about it constantly. Most everyone who we've told already knows about our history of early pregnancy loss and knows that what we need most is prayer and support. To allow us to process everything week by week. I want to get to the point of seeing the heartbeat, then hearing it. To know that the baby inside me has a great chance at survival. Then I will be more open to the long-term questionnaires that come my way.

So tell me...
Have you ever dealt with recurrent miscarriages, and..
Did it affect how you told others about the subsequent pregnancies?

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Problem with Tomorrow, Tomorrow

Just thinkin' about tomorrow
Clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow 'til there's none
When I'm stuck with a day that's grey and lonely
I just stick up my chin and grin and say, oh
The sun will come out tomorrow....
I would have to disagree with Annie on this one. It's a popular belief, to look to ourselves for happiness. And, when times are hard and there is pain and suffering in your life, the notion that all the bad will be gone tomorrow is a temporary comfort. One that puts hope in the fact that pure chance dictates where we go and what circumstances come our way (only when things are bad though, when things are going well- we totally did that). 

I'm firmly in the camp of everything working to show the glory of God, and there are many verses to this effect.


In the good times:
For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” (Romans 9:17)

How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? (John 5:44)

And in suffering:
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again’ (John 12:27-28).


Tomorrow isn't always just a day away, nor will it clear away the sorrow until there's none. I'm sure many would say that I'm reading too much into this classic tune from Annie, but I know a lot of people who are strong proponents of the 'what if' and 'if only' statements.

Truth be told, we should be thrilled that whatever hand we are dealt. It might not be the easiest, but it's to mold us into the image of Christ. To become more patient, more conscious of our spending for a season or two, or perhaps to bring us on our knees to Him. To experience loss or have us remember that everything on this Earth will end. Whatever the reason, any suffering or sorrow that may be had is because it brings all the glory on God, which is eternally ours if we want it.

It's a nice sentiment, but putting your hope in tomorrow will inevitably leave you disappointed. 

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Smoothies and my scary new medicine

1. Speaking of April 15th...what's the most 'taxing' thing you've done recently?
Monday. After the immediate glee of seeing a positive pregnancy test, I ran to my lady doctor to make that early appointment to get my medicine. Hurried to the pharmacy to be told they couldn't use my insurance, and wanted me to pay 780 for a 1 month supply for one of the meds. Several phone calls and emails between my doctor, pharmacy, and insurance company later and there wasn't a resolution.

I went to bed Monday night with no resolution. Tuesday night I transferred the prescriptions to a new pharmacy and that $780 prescription came back to a reasonable amount :) And I was introduced to my new best friend:

2. When did you last take a taxi and where was that somewhere?
Most recently was last Sunday.  We often run late before church so we take a cab most days in order to get there on time for the classes and service.

3. What's something you can do today that you couldn't do a year ago?
I can now... bake homemade bread (and cinnamon bread). I have a recipe if your interested.
How to Make Homemade Bread
Easy Cinnamon Raisin Bread
4. How often is chicken (in some form or fashion) on your menu at home? Which of the following would you most like to see on your table tonight...a chicken salad sandwich, your mom's fried chicken, a Chick-fil-A meal, Cracker Barrel's chicken n' dumplings, a roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings, or 'hold the chicken, I'm a vegetarian'...?
I love Chik-fil-a sandwiches (and um, milkshakes) on a roadtrip but a good chicken salad sounds healthier and tasty.

5. What was your favorite television program when you were a kid? What characters do you remember the most?
I remember watching Barney on the one television channel I grew up with. I didn't really watch television enough to have a favorite.

6. What was the last piece of 'art' you made?
Hmm. Does my Thanksgiving tree count?
O Thanksgiving Tree..
7. What frustrates you most about the Internet?
I can't complain, seeing as how the internet has been nothing but good to me in this whole insurance debacle, fixing several of my problems. Amazing that I am able to access my chart, test results and prescriptions online.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I walked into my nearby Dunkin' Donuts on Monday, realized that I couldn't get the coffee that I wanted, and opted for a Mango smoothie instead. Have you had their smoothies? They are amazing, and I am able to fool myself into thinking they are a good alternative due to the yogurt. Win-win.

So tell me..
Have you ever given yourself shots? Do you have any tips or tricks?
Do you make your own bread? Share the link below if you have it online.
Have you connected with me on Facebook yet? How about Google+ or Twitter?

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Monday, April 13, 2015

I'm Positive.

I quit the A-Z challenge. Sometimes it's okay to say no, especially this month. Partly because this April has been very busy at work. And also, I miss my regularly scheduled writing prompts.

Plus, I'm pregnant.
I got a positive test this morning and am guessing that this past week explains the exhaustion and preoccupation. This past week I've been too exhausted to write out the posts every day. I got as far as letter E, and today I am supposed to be writing letter K.

Seems that I'm not just extra tired this month, I'm busy making someone.

I will be writing the NYC posts and featuring the photographers (after all, I have most of them written and ready to go) but won't be beating myself up over the schedule anymore. Removing them from the A-Z category and relocating them to Exploring NYC (making them a regular series around here).

Hope no one minds :)

So tell me...
Has April surprised you?
Will you be following along, as I figure this Lupus APS thing out?

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Empire State Building vs. Chrysler Building

Which is your favorite?

Ask anyone which of these two they prefer and you're likely to get a even battle. Some love the significance of the Empire State Building, and others love the crown and more dramatic Art Deco design of the Chrysler Building. You might not know that two of the most iconic buildings on the New York skyline were actually in a race to be the tallest building in the world in the 1930s, and while both did fall from first place (One World Trade Center is currently the tallest), they have a unique history that best describes them as rivals. 
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350 Fifth Avenue 
New York, New York 10118

The Empire State Building is a 102-story skyscraper located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, on Fifth Avenue between West 33rd and 34th Streets. It has a roof height of 1,250 feet (380 m), and with its antenna spire included, it stands a total of 1,454 feet (443 m) high. It stood as the world's tallest building for nearly 40 years, from its completion in early 1931 until the topping out of the original World Trade Center's North Tower in late 1970. Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, the Empire State Building was again the tallest building in New York (although it was no longer the tallest in the US or the world), until One World Trade Center reached a greater height on April 30, 2012.

The Empire State Building is generally thought of as an American cultural icon. It is designed in the distinctive Art Deco style and has been named as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. 

The construction was part of an intense competition in New York for the title of "world's tallest building". Two other projects fighting for the title, 40 Wall Street and the Chrysler Building, were still under construction when work began on the Empire State Building. Each held the title for less than a year, as the Empire State Building surpassed them upon its completion, just 410 days after construction commenced. Instead of taking 18 months as anticipated, the construction took just under fifteen. The building was officially opened on May 1, 1931 in dramatic fashion, when United States President Herbert Hoover turned on the building's lights with the push of a button from Washington, D.C.

The Empire State Building has one of the most popular outdoor observatories in the world, having been visited by over 110 million people. The 86th-floor observation deck offers impressive 360-degree views of the city. There is a second observation deck on the 102nd floor that is open to the public. It was closed in 1999, but reopened in November 2005. It is completely enclosed and much smaller than the first one; it may be closed on high-traffic days. Tourists may pay to visit the observation deck on the 86th floor and an additional amount for the 102nd floor. 

The lines to enter the observation decks, according to, are "as legendary as the building itself:" there are five of them: the sidewalk line, the lobby elevator line, the ticket purchase line, the second elevator line, and the line to get off the elevator and onto the observation deck. For an extra fee tourists can skip to the front of the line. The Empire State Building makes more money from tickets sales for its observation decks than it does from renting office space.
source: wiki
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405 Lexington Avenue 
New York City, New York 10017

The Chrysler Building is an Art Deco style skyscraper in New York City, located on the east side of Manhattan in the Turtle Bayarea at the intersection of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. At 1,046 feet (319 m), the structure was the world's tallest building for 11 months before it was surpassed by the Empire State Building in 1931. It is still the tallest brick building in the world, albeit with an internal steel skeleton. 

After the destruction of the World Trade Center, it was again the second-tallest building in New York City until December 2007, when the spire was raised on the 1,200-foot (365.8 m) Bank of America Tower, pushing the Chrysler Building into third position. In addition, The New York Times Building, which opened in 2007, is exactly level with the Chrysler Building in height. Both buildings were then pushed into 4th position, when the under construction One World Trade Center surpassed their height.

Van Alen's original design for the skyscraper called for a decorative jewel-like glass crown. It also featured a base in which the showroom windows were tripled in height and topped by 12 stories with glass-wrapped corners, creating an impression that the tower appeared physically and visually light as if floating in mid-air.

The Chrysler Building is considered a leading example of Art Deco architecture. The corners of the 61st floor are graced with eagles; on the 31st floor, the corner ornamentation are replicas of the 1929 Chrysler radiator caps. The building is constructed of masonry, with a steel frame, and metal cladding. The building currently contains a total of 3,862 windows on its facades.

When the building first opened, it contained a public viewing gallery on the 71st floor, which was closed to the public in 1945.

The Chrysler Building has been shown in several movies that take place in New York. In the summer of 2005, New York's own Skyscraper Museum asked one hundred architects, builders, critics, engineers, historians, and scholars, among others, to choose their 10 favorites among 25 New York towers. The Chrysler Building came in first place as 90% of them placed the building in their top-10 favorite buildings.

The Chrysler Building's distinctive profile has inspired similar skyscrapers worldwide, including One Liberty Place in Philadelphia.
souce: wiki

So tell me...
Which is your favorite?
Are you shocked that the Empire State Building makes more if its revenue from the Observatory Deck?
Have you seen One Liberty Place in Philadelphia, and can you see the resemblance to the Chrysler Building?

Let me know if you have any tips to add in the comments below!

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Saturday, April 4, 2015

DUMBO and Tom Fruin's Stained Glass Exhibitions

DUMBO is more than a Disney character to those living in the Brooklyn neighborhood named after its location -- Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.
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Just on the Brooklyn side of the East River, this neighborhood formed as an industrial area, specializing in cardboard boxes and tea. Now, due to it's expansive view of Manhattan and the opportunity for tourists to get away from the city but still look at it, the area has turned into a must-visit destination for locals and visitors alike.
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The Manhattan Bridge stands tall over the neighborhood, and the Brooklyn Bridge is it's next door neighbor. Industrial architecture creates a different kind of streetscape, and the pavers on the road set this neighborhood apart from some you might find in Manhattan and elsewhere in Brooklyn.

In the summer, Brooklyn Bridge Park hosts many events, usually free to the public. Art exhibits, free ourdoor movies, food trucks and music concerts are hosted here, and oftentimes an impromtu picnic could bring you some unscheduled event to enjoy.
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My favorite exhibit, here until June 2015, are the stained glass exhibits by Tom Fruin. Whenever we are on the BQE (Brooklyn-Queens Expressway) or crossing into Brooklyn from Manhattan, I always find myself searching these guys out. He's had several exhibits these past few years, and in other large cities elsewhere as well. You can see a list here.

There are currently two exhibits that are available to view:

1. Brooklyn, NY- Kolonihavehus
Brooklyn Bridge Park (near Jane's Carousel)
September 2014 - June 2015

2. Watertower 3: R.V. Ingersoll
Public sculpture installation
Brookyln Bridge Park Pier 5
December 2014 
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These exhibits are here for a limited time, and I'm unsure as to when (or if) Watertower 3 will be removed. DUMBO is an often overlooked area that provides ample opportunity to walk in the industrial buildings, on original cobblestones and see some great free public art.

So tell me...
Have you ever been to DUMBO, Brooklyn Bridge Park?
Are you mesmerized by stained glass like me?
Do you  have a favorite exhibit you've seen in NYC?

Let me know if you have any tips to add in the comments below!

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