Sunday Morning Reads

Our favorite links from around the web this week:

There are no words.

Great tumblr of beautiful and seldom used words.

More like 33 pictures that me feel old.

I love this interview with Sharon Montrose almost as much as I love her pictures of tiny adorable animals.

A for Effort? Epic Pinterest Fails!

On a serious note, another interesting entry in the Mommy Wars Diaries.  Is the number of hours many Americans work really the problem?

Sheer Genius:  LuLu Puns Roundup

Song for the Weekend: Scottish Winds

Scottish Winds is my favorite song about Scotland.  I started listening to Frightened Rabbit a few years ago in New York, but they’ve become a much bigger part of my soundtrack now that I’m on their home turf.  Not surprisingly, there’s just something about their music that fits this place.

Minor Obsession: Kettlebell Kickboxing

Last summer, a friend of mine started attending Kettlebell Kickboxing classes in New York. She raved about them enough times that, when I moved back to the city for the summer, I started going with her. And then I started raving. The classes are a pretty awesome mix of cardio and strength training and I’d leave them with that exhausted but exhilarated feeling that accompanies a great workout.

And, while the movements (martial arts and lots of kettlebell swinging) aren’t exactly intuitive, the instructors do a great job of demonstrating and of making sure newcomers get in the swing of things (pun intended, sorry). Even better, the instructors are all that perfect mix of badass and inspirational. Over the summer, I loved the sense of accomplishment that went with switching to a heavier kettlebell or realizing that I was moving faster. Even more than that, I loved the results. I felt better almost immediately; stronger, and more flexible. After a few weeks, I could also feel a difference in how my clothes fit. And, after several weeks, I could see a difference, particularly in my arms and back, both of which are areas I’ve always had trouble shaping on my own.

When I decided to move back to the UK, I was wary about switching from the live classes to the DVDs, but, they’re actually pretty great. While I definitely miss the energy of the live classes, it’s been great to be able to do the workouts entirely on my schedule. The ideal situation, I think, would be a mix of live classes and DVDs. Unfortunately, while more and more cities now have live class options, Edinburgh’s not yet one of them. Luckily, for those of us living outside the KBKB live class universe, the DVDs do the trick.

kbkb

DVDs

kbkb2

Equipment

Well-Heeled Wednesday: Newton Running Shoes

I must start this post with a disclaimer. I am not a runner. I have tried to be a runner, but the farthest I have succeeded in running is 5K and I cursed the entire time. However, a few years ago my Mom and I participated in a 3 Day Walk for breast cancer. We walked 60 miles over the course of three days, so our feet needed some serious support. When we were training, people suggested that we try running shoes rather than walking shoes. Lucky for us, we stumbled into a little running shoe boutique on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and discovered Newtons. Now, everyone’s foot is different, so I can’t promise that these shoes will be as amazing for you as they are for me, but I LOVE them. They are hands down the most comfortable brand of athletic shoes I have ever worn. Equally exciting, for me at least, they come in obnoxiously bright colors. My original pair was yellow and orange and a fellow walker named them my “Walking on Sunshine” shoes. My current pair is bright pink and I think of them as my workout Barbie shoes. It might not work for everyone, but strapping some bright color to my feet always makes me a little bit happier to head to the gym. If you’re looking for a new pair of running/walking/thinking-about-running shoes, I highly suggest you check these out.


Pink Newtons

My Workout Barbie Sneakers

Purple NEwton

Powerful in Purple

Red Newtons

You’re on Fire!

For more Well-Heeled Wednesday fun check out our friend at Cashmere & Wit!

Travel Finds: Winter 2013

I’ve been taking a lot of quick trips this winter: Lisbon, Barcelona, Glasgow and Paris, so far.  Along the way, I’ve found a few gems.

Paris

Via a recommendation from a friend-of-a-friend, I spent a boozy afternoon at Le Baron Rouge, an awesome wine bar on Rue Théophile Roussel in the 12th.  Wine is served straight from the cask and is remarkably reasonably priced (all about €4-5 a bottle).  We also enjoyed a fantastic cheese board and were tempted by the plates of fresh oysters that several other tables were enjoying.  Reviews suggest that the bar is often crowded but we found that rolling in mid-afternoon on a chilly Saturday awarded us both a table and quick(ish) service.  The Hip Paris Blog has a nice write-up here.

Barcelona

I went to Barcelona in January for a friend’s hen do (bachelorette party, for the Americans).  On our last day, we spent an afternoon at Aire de Barcelona, amazing Turkish baths in a renovated warehouse.  The baths are a series of pools and steam baths in a gorgeous cave-like setting.  Spa services (facials, massages, etc.) are also available.  Honestly, I was a bit skeptical of the idea pre-visit but after two hours of baths and a very reasonably-priced massage, I was not only blissfully relaxed but also felt refreshingly detoxed after the booziness of the previous days.

Pic courtesy of Secrets of Barcelona

Lisbon

Tasc’a Quinta is a tiny, cozy restaurant on Rua de São João da Praça in the Alfalma district of Lisbon.  It’s only open on Thursdays and our visit was a mix delicious Portuguese food, performance art and crowd participation (we learned to spin plates on the cobblestone street outside).  We lucked out and were able to get a table without a reservation, but I think that was out of the ordinary.

Glasgow

After attending a wedding at the beautiful Oran Mor, my boyfriend and I spent an afternoon exploring the West End of Glasgow.  Along the way, we wandered into the quirkily charming Hillhead Bookclub.  It was the ideal spot for a restorative pot of tea and I suspect that it’d be even more fun for evening cocktails.

Pic courtesy of The Skinny.

Balsamic Strawberry Dressing

When I was visiting Louisiana earlier this month I had the opportunity to raid my friend Sarah’s mom’s recipe file. Let me tell you, it was a fantastic pilfering. Among other things, she had an incredible collection of homemade healthy salad dressings. Last night I tried her Balsamic Strawberry Dressing and it was out of this world. Even better? It was extremely simple. You just chop up a couple of cups of strawberries and toss them with some balsamic vinegar and sugar. After an hour or so you have a delicious dressing. I tossed it with spinach, feta and some pecans for a refreshing salad. Today for lunch I will be adding a little shredded chicken and enjoying it all over again. I also have a sneaking suspicion that you could dump a few tablespoons of the strawberries over vanilla ice cream and have an outstanding dessert.

Strawberries

Balsamic Dressing

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Cups fresh strawberries, cut or raspberries

Put in container and shake or stir. Let sit at least an hour. Serve over spinach with cheese (feta, blue, goat) and nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds) or try over ice cream!

*You can cut the recipe in half if you aren’t making salad for a group. I like to have extra in the fridge to play with for a few days.

Sunday Morning Reads

Some of our favorite links from around the web this week:

Veronica Mars movie – this HAS to happen and WE can make it so!

It’s funny because it’s true.  (Also, because Coley Di is from Iowa and those of us from South Dakota are always stylish.)

Abandoned places make a brilliant Pinterest board.

The Bachelor is one of my favorite guilty-pleasures. Calling myself a “hate-viewer” makes me feel a little less dirty. (ColeyDi)

Pure fluff. Dog teaches puppy how to navigate stairs. This will fulfill your weekend quota of cute.

An interesting addition to the ongoing debate about work-life-balance.  Love that she talks about considering balance even if you don’t have children. I agree.

This post and this post on the untranslatables in American and British English are brilliant.

For crafters, a super helpful roundup of beginner sewing machines.

I’m homesick.

I am currently in the midst of my longest stretch in Britain without a trip to the U.S.  For the record, it’s only been four and a half months since I was in New York.  It’s been eight months since my last trip to South Dakota, but I’m used to long stretches away from home home.  Anyway, the point is that I miss New York.  Pretty soon, that first magical day of spring will arrive and New Yorkers will stumble out into the streets and the awesomeness of spring and summer in the best city in the world will start.  And I want to be there.

But, that’s not going to happen this year.  I’m traveling to the States in April/May but the itinerary won’t hit NY.  And, after that, I won’t be able to make another trip back until at least September.  So, for now, I’m pining.

What I really want is a lazy weekend of hitting up my favorite spots for cheap food and good drinks in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights and Boerum Hill.

Food:

Tacos from Fast and Fresh on Hoyt between Atlantic and State.

Corned Beef Hash from Mile End on Hoyt between Atlantic and Pacific.

Bahn Mi from Hanco’s on Bergen between Smith and Hoyt.

Turkey leg sandwich from Henry Public on Henry between Atlantic and Pacific.

Drinks:

A Jack Rose from Jack the Horse at the corner of Hicks and Cranberry.

A Wide Awake Cocktail from Henry Public.

A Prospect Park Sour from the Clover Club on Smith.

A glass of wine, while sitting at one of the sidewalk tables at Bar Tabac.

A Pacifico on my friend, Mim’s, roof deck on Atlantic.

IMG_3130

Euphoria, indeed.

Posted in NYC