August 30, 2012 § 1 Comment
Tomorrow I’m flying to Toronto to spend 10 days in Canada, all in the name of one of my best friends, Julia.
Julia and I met for the first time in 2004. I knew right away she was a keeper from her sense of humour alone.
We have since had parties…
Karaoke nights & food fights…
(Yes, that’s Julia dressed as a worm with a bottle of gin in her lap)
Heart to hearts & so many laughs…
And thank goodness, visits back and forth from Toronto to New York.
Julia is one of the best people I know. I’m so lucky to be able to stand up for her in her wedding on September 8 when she marries Jay, the perfect man for her.
I’m also fortunate to watch her get silly this weekend at her bachelorette cottage party, where there will be many more funny photos to come (if you’re lucky, internet!)
I love you, Julia!
August 20, 2012 § 7 Comments
On Saturday morning, I reached one of my lifelong goals: I saw a humpback whale.
When I was about 8 or 9 years old, my parents adopted a whale for my sister, brother, and I as a Christmas gift. We all thought it was so cool – we could tell our friends that we got something bigger than a car for a present! Its name was Crystal, even though it was a boy whale, and we’d get newsletters and pictures of his fluke (tail) in the mail. After a few years, Jenn and Ryan kind of lost interest in the whale, but I had it renewed every year for about 5 years. I went through a very dorky rainforest/aquatic animal/World Wildlife Foundation phase so this was very important to me. Ever since we adopted Crystal the male whale, I wanted to see one in real life.
One of Nick’s best friends, Mike, lives in outside Boston in Massachusetts with his girlfriend Jaime. We decided to go up to visit and Mike was kind enough to arrange a whale watching cruise for us early on Saturday morning.
The weather was kind of bad – not stormy, just rainy, cold and windy. I think it kind of worked out though because our boat wasn’t too full. We boarded one of Captain John’s boats at Plymouth Harbor and set off at 9:00. We zoomed out into the ocean pretty fast in this boat. It was a very windy ride. Joanne, the guide, explained over the loudspeaker that we were headed to the area whales were last seen the night before. Sure enough, before long we spotted our first whale.
It looks quite small here, but you could see it spouting water out of its blowhole from far away. We pulled up closer and realized there were two whales traveling together.
When I first saw these whales, I was dumbfounded. I was trying to take it all in while taking photos at the same time. My legs were actually wobbly at the sight and realization of what I was seeing – two endangered creatures I’ve been dreaming about seeing in their natural habitat for 20 years. I mean, how lucky am I?
After a while of watching these two guys, the captain decided to leave them alone so we could continue cruising into the ocean to see who else we could find. While we waited, Joanne regaled us of whale stories and facts. She started to tell us about Salt, the world’s most famous humpback whale. She was the first whale they studied and realized they could tell all whales apart by the markings on their flukes. This jogged my memory and I remembered reading about this whale in my adoption newsletters. Then she says that Salt was spotted just a day or so ago, traveling with her calf, a male whale named Crystal. I got excited and told Nick “That’s my whale!” and he was like “Sure it is…” I headed up to the upper deck immediately to ask Joanne what the chances were that I adopted this Crystal the whale over 20 years ago. She smiled and told me that’s him – they don’t use names more than once, that’s my whale.
Well if I wasn’t already excited (which I was), now I was REALLY EXCITED. I was in Crystal’s neighbourhood, I really wanted to see him!
A while later, we saw two more humpbacks and a minke whale. They put on a little show for us, diving deeper with their tails shooting out of the water.
During our 6 hour trip, we saw seven humpback whales, one minke whale, and a seal. I didn’t end up seeing my old buddy Crystal, but I was happy to know he was somewhere around me and doing well.
If you’re looking for somewhere to go whale watching, I would totally recommend Captain John’s in Massachusetts. Check our their blog here, you can even see more photos and videos from our cruise!
And, you can see all of my whale photos on Flickr.
August 14, 2012 § Leave a comment
August 10, 2012 § Leave a comment
The first time I heard Mitch Hedberg‘s goofy observational stand up was driving in a car with my friend Amy Taylor. He was the first comedian I ever wanted to listen to full albums of; his style definitely spoke to me as a silly girl in her early twenties who liked to laugh. At one point, I was listening to him so much at work that I started to talk like him. Unfortunately, by the time I got into him he had already died so I never got to see him live. Lucky for me, he released three comedy records and every once in a while, something like this video pops up.
Lynn Shawcroft was married to Mitch for the last six years of his life and seems pretty funny herself. In this mini-documentary, she remembers some of his quirks, shows us some of his many notebooks, and tells us his secret to writing: write down anything funny and don’t be lazy! Makes sense.
See also: The Mitch Hedberg Joke Collection!
August 7, 2012 § Leave a comment
I had a great time compiling my favourite parts of New York and Brooklyn for last week’s NYC + Brooklyn City Guide and I’m so happy that there have already been some people who have been able to check out my picks!
Thanks to Jay for giving me a shout out on Twitter with his post about visiting Carrie Bradshaw’s house in the West Village (find the address here). I’ve also enjoyed watching out for Brittany’s photos on Instagram of her visit so far, including photos from Strawberry Fields, Brooklyn Bowl, and the Museum of Natural History.
I’ve got one more post to finish up the NYC + Brooklyn City Guide, coming soon!
August 2, 2012 § 1 Comment
1. Central Park – Manhattan
Central Park is my #1 recommendation for anyone visiting New York. It’s huge, beautiful, and like no park I’ve ever seen. Wander around the various paths, over footbridges, and visit the John Lennon tribute Strawberry Fields. See the reservoir, the zoo, the carousel, and in the winter, the skating rink.
2. New York Public Library (Main Branch) – Manhattan
Quite possibly the most beautiful library ever . This building feels like a castle. Even if you don’t borrow any library books, you’ll leave feeling inspired.
Bonus: this is where Carrie & Big’s wedding was set to be in the beginning of the Sex & The City movie.
3. DUMBO and the Brooklyn Bridge – Brooklyn
There’s something very special about this area of Brooklyn. It sits in the shadows of the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges and is filled with restaurants and shops in very old buildings, but has become a hotspot for creatives in NYC.
Wander the streets then go for a walk in the new Brooklyn Bridge Park. If you have a child with you or love nostalgia, visit Jane’s Carousel. Finally, walk over the Brooklyn Bridge into the City Hall neighborhood of Manhattan.
If possible, I highly suggest taking the East River Ferry there.
Chelsea is home to countless art galleries! If you’re into any sort of artist expression, there is surely a gallery right for you. My favourites are the Joshua Liner Gallery and the Jonathan Levine Gallery.
While you’re over there, check out the High Line, an elevated park built on an old railroad track.
5. Greenwich Village – Manhattan
Take a break from suffocating Soho and walk west to this breathtaking neighbourhood. So many beautiful brownstones, cute shops, and great places to eat. Daydream about living here while watching the young and hip parents cart around their adorable kids with ease!
If you’re a Sex & The City fan, see Carrie Bradshaw’s house at 64 Perry Street.
6. The Lower East Side – Manhattan
It’s amazing how different each neighbourhood can feel and look in New York. Even though CBGB’s is gone, a visit to the Lower East side will bring you back to the 1970s punk scene. Check out the bars, restaurants, and music venues. If you’re a carnivore, stop into Katz’s Deli (of When Harry Met Sally fame) for a pastrami sandwich stuffed with enough meat for three sandwiches.
7. Grand Central Station – Manhattan
The most beautiful train station I’ve ever seen in North America. Visit the Oyster Bar, the Whispering Gallery, and the Transit Museum and shop. Oh, and take lots of photos, especially of the ceiling!
8. Coney Island – Brooklyn
When I first started coming to New York, Nick would ask me what I wanted to do and (to his chagrin) my answer would always be visit Coney Island. It’s a bit of a trek by subway, but once you arrive it’s like a whole other world! Eat some junky carnival food, walk the boardwalk, dip your toes in the ocean, play at the carnival, and if you’re feeling brave, ride the Wonder Wheel or the Cyclone.
9. Times Square – Manhattan
As much as I hate it when I have to try and walk through Times Square, I have to admit it’s an amazing spot and definitely worth seeing at least once in your life. You don’t even have to go anywhere or do anything, just stand there and marvel at the scene!
10. American Museum of Natural History – Manhattan
The perfect way to spend a rainy day in New York. Feel like a kid again and take in all the exhibits here. You might even learn something! Don’t miss the giant blue whale.
Bonus: my first ever trip to New York!