April 19, 2013 § 12 Comments
Those of you who know Nick and I well know that we have never had a boring relationship. We dated long distance for over two years, before I finally decided to take the chance and move to New York almost 4 years ago. That led to us getting engaged, but then I got stuck in Canada for 8 months while I applied for an engagement visa. After much frustration, tears, phone calls, waiting, and a visa interview, I arrived back in the States legally and we got married!
It’s been a pretty great 3 years. I’ve been able to « Read the rest of this entry »
February 7, 2013 § Leave a Comment
It was a year ago today that my sister Jennifer gave birth to my nephew Everett. Sadly, he didn’t make it into this world alive.
Though the emotional toll it’s taken on my family and most of all, Jenn, has been rough, it’s inspiring to see how she’s handled the speed bump that plopped down into the middle of her life’s path. Jenn and I have always gotten along well, despite being very different people, I’ve always admired her, but I never knew how tough she could be. The way she and her husband, Ryan, have handled sharing their loss with friends and family is admirable. The way they’ve communicated to their son and daughter is just incredible. Jenn has never shied away from talking about what happened to her and as a result, Ben and Jillian, who are just five and three years old, talk about their brother often and fondly. Today, they celebrated Everett’s first “Angel Day” with cupcakes and by writing letters to him in heaven. What better way to celebrate a special life that’s impacted so many people, even though we’ve never met him?
I’ll be thinking about the Martins all day today and hope you will too.
February 4, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I’ve come along way from being that music-obsessed teenager; who spent all her spare time playing in a band, listening to music, and filling up video tapes with music videos recorded from MuchMusic. I wanted to go to every concert, despite being under age and not having any money. I was pretty one dimensional back then, but I’ve since developed other loves like yoga and photography, even love for cities like New York, Toronto, and Paris.
However, music will always be my first love. And that’s why while watching the new documentary Sound City on Saturday afternoon, I got chills. You can’t explain to other people, just why music is so important, they just have to get it themselves. This movie, a brainchild of Dave Grohl (who is clearly good at EVERYTHING), is by music lovers, about music lovers, for music lovers. If you’re a music lover, you have got to watch it.
Obviously, you should watch this in a theatre with a good sound system, but if it’s not an option, you can buy it online.
January 26, 2013 § 1 Comment
The Deakin-Gordon wedding may have happened four months ago, but their fantastic wedding photographer (and I mean seriously talented) Rick O’Brien just posted a summary of the events on his blog with photos yesterday. When Julia showed me his previous work, I knew the photos would be great, but seeing them finished yesterday blew me away. It’s great to see that Rick managed to show the absolute beauty that radiated through this entire wedding with his photos.
January 3, 2013 § Leave a Comment
2012 was “The Year Of Yes” for Nick and I. We wanted to make it the best possible, doing what we wanted when we wanted, within reason, of course. This attitude led to some pretty great moments and incredible experiences. I also fell even more in love with yoga, specifically Ashtanga, and turbocharged my practice into a 4-5 times a week affair which led me into new poses I never expected to be able to do. There were sad moments this year too, especially in February, but overall, 2012 was the best one I’ve had in years.
- On Friday the 13th, Nick & I went to see/experience the incredible Sleep No More.
- That same morning, I danced my heart out before 10am at Creative Mornings with Girl Walk All Day.
- Filed for an LLC and made my business official. No more freelancing for me!
- The beginning of the month, my family faced a tragedy. Jenn’s nearly full-term baby suddenly passed away a week before her due date. We’ll always remember Everett, even though we didn’t get to meet him.
- Nick and I met my parents in Jamaica for a sunny vacation.
- I flew to Canada for a week-long visit, where I stayed with Jenn and her family. This included lots of playing with their new puppy, Biscuit.
- I tried an incredibly challenging Soulcycle class – right after Jake Gyllenhaal worked out in the same room.
- Mad Men season 5 premiered and I fell in love with the show all over again.
- Flew to London for a long weekend. We got to see Nick’s client Frank Turner headline his first arena show and Abbey Road!
- I helped set a record at the World’s Largest Rainbow Parade RecordSetter Event.
- Finally bought a bike worth more than $100. What a difference!
- Spent a weekend in Ohio for Alex and Erin’s lovely barn wedding.
- Started a subscription to Lancaster Farm Fresh weekly vegetable share and farm fresh eggs. Best decision of 2012!
- Had a quick trip to Toronto to see Frank Turner and Baroness, along with some friends and family.
- Saw an amazing Radiohead show in Newark.
- My sister Jenn came for a weekend visit!
- The first Long Island beach visit of the year with Kate.
- Gave a sweaty-faced testimonial in a video for my favourite yoga studio.
- Went to the Governor’s Ball Music Festival on Randall’s Island solo, but met up with many ex- & current TAG friends and my good Torontonian bud, Travis Bradley!
- Took a weekend road trip to Baltimore with Kate and Bryan. Survived the worst thunderstorm driving conditions on the way there so that we could see fish in their aquarium, go to a baseball game, and eat at a Brazilian steak house.
- Celebrated our second wedding anniversary with Nick by getting massages. So goooood.
- Rewrote my NYC + Brooklyn City Guide, complete with different categories, to appease all the NYC visitors!
- Went to Massachusetts to visit Nick’s best friend Mike, but we also went WHALE WATCHING! I saw humpback whales for the first time and it was one of the coolest moments of my life.
- Finally upgraded from a Blackberry to an iPhone.
- Collected a ton of paperwork and “proof of relationship” to renew my green card and have the conditional status of my permanent residency removed. Filed it myself and felt very accomplished.
- Flew to Toronto for a 10-day visit that started with a Bachelorette Party Cottage Weekend for Julia! Was so incredibly happy to spend 4 days in a cottage with some of my best friends that I only get to see a few times a year.
- Julia and Jay got married! I was so happy to be able to celebrate with them and stand up for Julia as a bridesmaid. I was also pretty happy to partake in the best dance party in years at their reception.
- Finally succeeded in doing headstand in the middle of the room! I have still never fallen (knock on wood).
- Celebrated a great 31st birthday.
- Helped Nick celebrate his birthday and had our first joint birthday dinner ever with some of our best friends.
- Went to Chicago to see Smashing Pumpkins in their hometown!
- New York got hit by Hurricane Sandy. We hunkered down, but were very very lucky to not have any damage.
- My parents came to visit us for the first time since we got married!
- Went to a special Creative Mornings talk by George Lois at the Met.
- Kate and Bryan got married at city hall!!! They were engaged for over 3 years before finally tying the knot at Manhattan’s city hall and now they are pregnant!
- Saw Neil Young & Crazy Horse with Patti Smith at Brooklyn’s new venue, Barclay’s Center.
- Nick and I flew to Sweden for a long weekend to see his band Ghost. We were so happy about this opportunity, even though it was a whirlwind trip!
- After a few months of practicing, I was finally successful in doing a real Ashtanga back bend!
- Celebrated Christmas with my family in Oshawa and Fenelon Falls.
- Flew home from Canada on Boxing Day then flew to Paris less than 2 days later! Celebrated New Year’s Eve by adding a love lock to Pont de l’Archevêché. Romantic!
If you finished this post, I applaud you! How was your 2012?
December 31, 2012 § 2 Comments
After staying in and watching When Harry Met Sally for the past four New Years Eves, Nick and I went out with a bang this year. First of all, we’re in Paris. Second, we had a delicious, rich 5-course meal at Pinxo tonight where dessert was the best part.
Third, after walking over the bridge from the Left Bank to the Louvre last night, I was reminded of all of the love locks on the one foot bridge. After doing a bit of research, we found out that by placing a padlock on the bridge, it is a sign of a couple’s everlasting love. (We also found out that the Parisians hate it, but what else is new.) We decided this morning that this would be our New Year’s celebration rather than going to the Eiffel Tower, which was sure to be packed with people.
After watching the countdown with the Eiffel Tower from across the Seine, we walked over to the Pont de l’Archevêché and put a brass lock on the bridge with a billion others.
A very romantic start to 2013! Happy New Year, everyone! xoxo
December 27, 2012 § 1 Comment
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a visit to Canada to see my family. Nick and I flew up very early, a 7:45 am flight, on Saturday and headed to my parents’ place in Fenelon Falls.
We spent the first two days of our Christmas visit in the woods, on the river, which was lovely and quiet. It was great to catch up with my parents, just the four of us. On Sunday, I scanned about 300 photos from my old photo albums that are still being stored in their garage (stay tuned for a post from that later!) and that night, we went out for a really nice dinner at Pane Vino in Lindsay.
On Monday, we all drove down to Oshawa for the Christmas celebrations with the rest of my family at the Martin’s house.
I hadn’t seen Ryan and Suzanne since May!
And it was so good to see my cute little niece and nephew.
We all hung out, eating and drinking and talking until it was time to eat. Lucky for Jenn, my Mom still makes the turkey even when dinner isn’t at her house.
For the past couple years, my family has celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve, which means eating our big turkey dinner and exchanging presents that night.
Ben and Jillian got their first Alfie toy this year and they fell in love with him.
When it was time for bed, Ben was so sad that Alfie had to go back to the North Pole that he kept getting choked up, telling us it “pulled on his heartstrings” that he had to leave until next Christmas.
He’s pretty much the sweetest little boy there ever was.
On Christmas morning, the kids actually slept in until almost 8:00!
Ben was thrilled to get a Polar Express train and Jillian was so happy just to get her “baby seal named Pearl” from Santa.
That day, we relaxed, visited, and ate even more.
I love my family!
I hope you all had a great Christmas too!
December 9, 2012 § 3 Comments
After being engaged for over 3 years, two of my favourite New Yorkers finally tied the knot last month at City Hall!
It was a surprise wedding, so there was no talk of it before and even after for a few days. Kate told me about their plan to get hitched the Monday before the Friday they had both taken off work. I was very impressed by their secret-keeping abilities!
I felt so honoured to be one of only a few guests. Bryan’s Mom, Dad, and brother came, then also a few friends of Kate’s since her family lives in Kansas and Colorado. Of course, I offered my photography skills to them for their last minute wedding – just because you’re only spending $65 to get married doesn’t mean you can’t have photos to remember it!
We all met at City Hall around 2:00. Bryan’s brother was their witness.
The place was packed so we entertained ourselves for an hour. It was much busier than when Nick and I were married around noon on a Thursday. As always, it was so fun seeing all the other people getting married, especially what they all chose to wear. Check these guys out! I hope they were marrying each other in those suits.
Kate looked stunning.
The groom and his Dad didn’t look so bad either!
Finally, it was their turn.
The ceremony at City Hall is about 2 minutes long. Just long enough to make it official with a bit of sentiment and about 10 seconds to tear up in happiness for the lovely couple.
Bonus: They were married by the same officiant as Nick and I!
It’s official, the Vastanos (or Vastanleys, as I like to call them) are finally married!
After the ceremony, our group walked around the neighbourhood to take some photos. Only in New York, will you get some wedding photo gems like this.
But also, this.
Kate is still Kate, even on her wedding day.
Lots of walking was done.
When we snapped enough photos, they decided it was time for one last surprise.
Bryan and Kate gave his parents a card with a sonogram in it.
They both agreed, it was one of the best days of their lives.
Congratulations, Kate and Bryan!
November 14, 2012 § Leave a Comment
November 11, 2012 § 1 Comment
This weekend, for the first time since Nick and I were married, my parents came to visit us in Brooklyn!
And although they’ve come to visit us three times now, this was the first time they were able to be here with no agenda, no plans, and not have to even venture into Manhattan. It was so nice to show them our neighbourhood and give them an idea of how we live here.
They arrived Friday evening, so we made dinner at home and hung out on the couch, drinking a bottle of wine from my favourite neighbourhood wine shop, just talking. On Saturday, after a bagel breakfast, we walked to Williamsburg and had lunch at Smorgasburg. I took my Mom to Dalaga (my favourite!) where she got to buy a cute sweater and scarf. We had a tasty dinner at Habitat and spent another night in, chatting on our comfy couch that has convinced them they need a sectional for their cottage ;)
This morning, we had brunch at Brooklyn Label and walked around Greenpoint, then to McCarren Park and back. It was such a beautiful, warm Fall day!
Since I got my sense of humour from them, I knew they’d appreciate our “Live Chicken Laughter” sign.
They should be landing back home in Toronto right about now. Thanks for coming to visit, Mom & Dad! We hope you liked Greenpoint and that you come back again real soon.