Explore NYC: Governors Island

Amongst all its towering buildings and bustling sidewalks NYC is also home to a huge array of parks and public green spaces.  Being from the Midwest where just about everyone has their own private outdoor space I didn’t spend a ton of time in parks when I was growing up.  Sure we had the occasional picnic and my Mom and I took a lot of long walks in the woods, but I rarely spent a full afternoon in a park.  Living in the concrete jungle sure has changed that – one of my favorite things to do on a summer afternoon in NYC is to round up some friends, pack some snacks and head to a park for several solid hours of relaxing.

This weekend Andrew and I finally checked another box off our Summer Bucket List – our first-ever visit to Governors Island.  Located less than a 10 minute ferry ride from either lower Manhattan or Brooklyn the island is a little slice of heaven.  During the colonial days Governors Island was reserved exclusively for the use of New York’s Royal Governors, more recently it served as a Coast Guard Base before being turned into a dedicated park space.  The island currently hosts bike trails, picnic spaces, art installations and multiple historical forts – a little something for everything.

Gov Island

Image Credit:  Governors Island Blog

On Sunday, Andrew, our friend Bryan and I headed to the island to attend a Jazz Age Lawn Festival.  The event featured music from the roaring 20s and a lawn full of New Yorkers dolled up in spiffy 20s gear.  We settled ourself on a not-very-1920s lined picnic blanket for several hours and enjoyed the show.  I’m not sure what was more entertaining, the music or the people-watching, but add a beautiful day, a yummy homemade lunch that we carted along and a few heated card games and we ended up with an incredible afternoon.  The Festival will be returning in August and I highly recommend attending.  Even if you can’t make it that weekend the island is definitely worth an afternoon.

Song for the Weekend: Oh, hello summer.

As a kid, most of the music I heard was oldies and I have a very specific memory of riding in a car with my parents and hearing this song.  It was a dreary, rainy South Dakota spring day and I remember wishing so hard that it was summer.  I should’ve posted this two weeks ago when I was actually enjoying the California sun, but it works now, too.  Today was sunny and warm in Edinburgh!  And coleydi tells me that it’s sunny and kinda gross-hot in New York.  So, here you have it:  my favorite song of summer.

Song for the Weekend: More homesickness

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post that described a bit of my current homesickness. Well, time has not helped. Nor have the many photos of baseball games that friends have been posting on facebook. The good news is that I’ll be in Chicago two weeks from today! In the meantime, I’m listing to stuff like this:

Further Thoughts on Long Distance Friendship

Earlier this week Triddles published an incredible piece on maintaining long distance friendships. Unlike, Triddles, I do not live across an ocean from the majority of my friends and family. However, I do live across the country, and even that can be incredibly challenging. I personally have benefited from several of the strategies Triddles uses to maintain her long distrance friendships. I love a good Skype date and I agree that gChat is an invaluable tool for keeping up on your long distance friends’ every day minutia.

Having spent the last 9 years in a different time-zone than most of my closest friends and family I have a few additional long distance friendship survival tips.

  • Pretend Like You’re Local Friends: The year after I graduated from college my best-girlfriend Lou and I were inseparable. If we weren’t hanging out, we were on the phone. We would call each other for the silliest reasons. Think, “Lou! I just saw a cute boy!! I should have asked him out!” “Cole! I found a new sweater, it’s awesome AND cheap!” For some reason, when I moved to NYC, we stopped having those types of conversations. We would wait to talk for days or even weeks and then feel overwhelmed because we had so much to tell each other and we needed to block out a whole chunk of time. About a year into living in separate cities we decided to pretend we were local friends again, we started our silly conversations back up. Several years later we’re still at it and we’re closer than ever. Sometimes we still have long chats, but often we will call just to touch base for a few minutes. I have since implemented this trick with several other long distance friends and the result is always positive. It means we talk more often and feel less pressure to make catching up a big to-do.
  • FaceTime: Like Triddles, I love Skype. I think it is an incredibly useful tool for keeping in contact with far-away loved ones. I also love FaceTime. If you and your friends are iPhone users FaceTime is an incredible option for keeping in touch. I feel so much closer to someone when I can see their face, their emotional reactions to our conversations, and even their surroundings. What I love about FaceTime is it’s portable. My Mom and I will often chat for just a few minutes to show each other our jewelry, our pets, or the new shirt we bought. It makes me feel ALMOST like we live in the same state.
  • Don’t Be Lame: Triddles covered this in her post, but I think it bears repeating. It is incredibly easy to be a lame, lazy friend when you live far away.  Maintaining long distance friendships requires time and effort. So if you’re friend wants to chat? Try to chat. If your friend comes to town for one night and they want to meet across town, in the middle of a snowstorm and you would rather sit on your couch? Get off your butt and get out the door. Within reason, make every effort to say yes to your friends. It will make you a better friend and you will be surprised by what you will get in return.
  • Invite, Invite, Invite: I spend a fair amount of time and money making sure that I see my far away friends and family as often as possible. I make several trips to the midwest each year. That being said, I also think it is incredible to share my current world with my friends and family. I have the benefit of living in a cool city that people love to visit, but I also make an effort to invite my friends and family to make the trip. Often they don’t accept on the first offer. The trick is to not let that deter you and to not take it personally. Everybody is balancing their own finances and schedule. If someone says no the first time or fails to follow up, I invite them again. Some people never come, but lots of people do. Having visitors is the best. I get to have fun playing hostess and get to introduce people to the life I have created for myself in New York. They get a great vacation. It’s a win-win.

Well-Heeled Wednesday: Sparkly Toes

In years past, it seemed like heels had all the fun. Living in NYC where walking is often my primary mode of transportation, I was very excited when pretty flats started to make a comeback. I love how a sassy pair can spice up any outfit, even something as simple as jeans and a t-shirt. I adore these sparkly flats from J.Crew. Often I find J.Crew’s shoes a little hard to break in, but these are comfortable on day 1. Combine glitter and comfort and you have pretty much created my perfect shoe.

jcrew-metallic-silver-lula-glitter-ballet-flats

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

Happy April Fools!

This is one of my favorite days of the year. In fact, I love April Fools Day SO much that my friends have decided that if I ever rule my own country April Fools Day will be the official national holiday. I am naturally naughty, or ornery as my Grandpa used to say, and I can’t resist a day all about tricking people, all in good fun of course!

I have to say, I’ve played some pretty good tricks over the years, but one of my favorites was leaving my husband a message that he needed to immediately call a Michael Lion about our car insurance. The number that I gave him was actually the number for the Bronx zoo. Run of the mill tricks don’t generally work with him, so I was happy that I was able to pull off a sneakier stunt. That same year I was able to trick my incredibly suspicious good friend with a similar prank. I had her secretary call her and tell her there was a problem with her apartment and that she needed to immediately call Mr. Fox. As soon as the Central Park Zoo picked up she hung up and called me laughing hysterically. I still smile thinking about her reaction.

What about you? Do you like April Fools Day? Are you easily fooled? What are your favorite tricks?

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