Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Last year I listed a few of the things I was thankful for, and as I was thinking about what I'm thankful for this year, one thing really stood out. Of course I'm continually grateful for my wonderful family, my health, my job (and coworkers), cozy apartment and all the delights in New York City and this whole crazy world. But what I think of most often lately is how incredibly grateful I am to have such a wonderful group of friends.

I grew up spending a lot of my time alone—I didn't have a ton of close friends, and I've been treated very badly by people I once included in the small list of ones I thought I had. I don't often get too personal on this blog, so if you're looking for adventures, I promise I'll have more of those next week. But today I'd like to say thank you to all of the people that have made me laugh, made me think and made me feel loved and appreciated.

To the people that have humored my tendency to go overboard, taken an adventure with me, recommended a book or shared a meal. To everyone who gets my jokes, listens to my ramblings, sympathizes with my heartaches, shares my pet peeves or links me to cute cat videos. You are all amazing, and without you my life would look nothing like it does today. For that—for all of you—I am thankful every single day.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bergdorf Goodman Holiday Windows

Last year I blogged about the holiday window displays and declared Bergdorf Goodman the clear winner. Without having seen any of the other big displays this year except Bergdorf's, I can say with certainty that they will remain undefeated for another year. That being said, I do think that last year's theme "Holiday's On Ice" was more interesting than this years "Arts" theme, but some of the windows this year are just unbelievable.

My two favorites were the Architecture and Literature windows, followed closely by Theater and Music. Even the mini window Cartography display was kind of mind-blowing with its intricate paper cutouts and vintage map graphics.

Speaking of paper cutouts, the Architecture window was full of them, from the 3-D buildings to the fur and mane of the lion, to the feathers of the bird—some poor Bergdorf's intern must have bloody claws for hands after all of the insane handwork it must have taken to create this year's windows. The Literature window is full of embroidery—embroidered portraits, huge fabric books and typewriter, busts of famous authors, and an owl and a dog made entirely from yarn.

The men's windows are much more subdued and I don't know how I feel about them getting the "science" theme (the feminist in me wants you to know that women can be smart and science-y too!), but some of the details were pretty charming. It's hard not to love a squirrel in a space helmet or a chemistry window that revolves around crafting the perfect fragrance, but its the ladies that really steal the show.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Fall Foliage

Although it currently feels like the arctic here in the city, and western New York is buried under six feet of snow (I'm so jealous) I wanted to share a few of the photos I've taken recently of the beautiful fall foliage. I always say that I love all the seasons equally, but if I was forced to pick a favorite it would be fall, not least because of the amazing colors that pop up everywhere.

Every morning I ride a bus past the northern edge of Central Park, and the colors there have been wonderful. I've been trying to get to all of my favorite spots before the leaves fall completely. The leaves turn a lot later in the heart of the city than they do even a few miles out, so a lot of the trees are still not at their peak or just now starting to change colors.

A few weekends ago I went to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens,—one of my favorite places in the city—and last weekend I went deeper into the North Woods of Central Park for some last minute leaf gawking. The North Woods is the most rustic place in the park, and the part that makes me feel most like I'm back hiking in the Metroparks of Northeast Ohio.

I very rarely miss Ohio, but fall is pretty spectacular there. Although, I will say that the parks here have definitely exceeded my expectations in regards to all of the nature I thought I might miss when I moved to the city—and I don't have to drive miles (or at all) to see them.

At one point I came across a small pond and the reflection of the trees in the rippling water looked exactly like an Impressionist painting. Of course I'm very much looking forward to snow (hopefully piles, and piles) but every year fall feels a bit too fleeting.


On Sunday I went to see some of the entries in this year's Canstruction contest. Canstruction is a national charity that hosts competitions with sculptures that are built entirely out of canned goods. After the entries are exhibited, all of the canned goods are donated to local hunger relief organizations. There are a few places around the city where the sculptures are displayed, but I only went to Brookfield Place in lower Manhattan. There were more sculptures than I had anticipated and it was a fun way to spend a lazy, chilly Sunday afternoon.

The first thing I noticed about the sculptures were that an awful lot of teams used sardines—I really hope New York families in need like canned sardines, because they're about to get thousands and thousands of them. Some of the sculptures were a little abstract, and some were definitely better than others. A few of them seemed to defy the laws of physics all together, or at least tried to—a Derek Jeter-themed one had suffered a complete collapse during construction and had to be reassembled into something more feasible (with quite a few of the cans badly dented).

The dog and owl were cute, the Food Banksy was clever but could have been better (and was impossible to photograph well) and the ones with "hidden" messages were fun to decipher. Of course I loved the New York-themed ones like the apple and the subway station, and I might have squealed with delight when I rounded the corner and saw a tombstone made entirely from cans.

My favorite, however, was definitely the Sta"tuna" of Liberty—Lady Liberty's torch made from Trader Joe's tuna cans—which won a ribbon for "Best Use of Labels" but should have won all-around first place because I will be laughing at that name for a long time.