Thursday, July 24, 2014

What I Saw: Mast Brothers Factory Tour and Chocolate Tasting


Sunday morning I surprised Jon with a trip to Mast Brothers Chocolate for a factory tour and chocolate tasting. We saw how their chocolate was made, from roasting the cacao beans to packaging the bars. We also got to taste the chocolate at different stages of the process. They offered us samples of the roasted cacao, chocolate from the conches that were grinding the cacao and sugar, and finally five different kinds of their chocolate. 


Aside from the chocolate bars that have ingredients such as sea salt or coffee beans, the chocolate consists of only cacao and sugar. It allows the flavor of the beans and the subtleties between them to come through and produces a beautiful, high quality bar of chocolate.

Tours are available on Friday evenings as well as Saturday and Sunday mornings. If you have some free time, grab a buddy and take this tour. And be prepared to sample a lot of chocolate!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Pride + ACT UP

The crowd on Christopher Street.

NYC's Pride Parade is one of the biggest parties of the year. This year Jon, myself and some of our friends volunteered with ACT UP and somehow ended up on the float for the entire parade. Originally the plan was to stay only for a few hours but we ended up staying until the very end. It was crazy and exciting and SO MUCH FUN! I'm thankful to have had the experience.


Do you know about ACT UP? I was extremely proud to be volunteering with them last weekend.

(From The Body)

"ACT UP, the commonly used acronym for the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, is a grassroots AIDS organization associated with nonviolent civil disobedience. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, ACT UP became the standard-bearer for protest against governmental and societal indifference to the AIDS epidemic...

From its inception, ACT UP has had a considerable impact on AIDS-related public policy. ACT UP successfully used its nonviolent, direct-action approach to force the FDA to accelerate drug trials for AIDS and to consider ACT UP's "parallel track" proposal. Under this proposal, people with AIDS are given drugs before they are approved by the time-consuming and bureaucracy-ridden FDA approval process. ACT UP's protests also led Burroughs Wellcome to dramatically reduce the price of AZT. Other pharmaceutical companies have been shamed into cutting the prices of drugs that have demonstrated effectiveness in helping people with AIDS."

You can see these important moments in ACT UP's history and evolution by watching How to Survive a Plague.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Lately



It's been a minute since I've posted here. Time seems to pass extra quickly as of late.

Photos are from 1) Kara Walker's incredible installation, "A Subtlety" at the Domino Sugar Factory, 2) dueling chandeliers at a favorite spot in the West Village, 3) a Friday evening hang with some friends back in Ohio, and 4) a capture of a gorgeous sunset on a recent visit back to Ohio.

Monday, May 12, 2014

What I Saw: The North Fork


After a month full of business trips and too much time apart, Jon and I decided to take a weekend trip to the North Fork. The North Fork is the antithesis of the Hamptons. The area is much more laid back and is definitely more my speed. We booked a room through Airbnb and our hosts were great. They had a lot of recommendations for us as well as two sweet golden retrievers who were happy to receive some extra attention. We planned our trip to happen a couple of weeks before the season officially began and were lucky to have some pretty glorious weather. 
We went to several beaches in the area and found that instead of soft white sand the shoreline was covered in rocks and shells. It wasn't a bad thing. Just different, you know? Although it did feel a little creepy feeling the shells crunch under our feet as we walked along the beaches. Jon said that it felt like a pile of bones. 

On Saturday afternoon we took the ferry from Greenport and headed over to Shelter Island. We rented a couple bicycles and spent the day riding around the island, relishing the nearly car free roads and stopping at beaches along the way. 
On our hosts' recommendation, we stopped by the Greenport Harbor Brewing Company for a tasting. This local brewery has a great deal where for only $8 you get five 4 ounce pours and you get to keep the pint glass if you wish. The beers were incredible. I was a big fan of their stout. Jon really likes their saison. This place a definitely worth a visit. Their brews were delicious and the staff was attentive and very friendly.
I was happy to see cherry blossoms in full bloom everywhere we went. 
The weekend went by much too quickly but it was the perfect, slow paced getaway that we needed to rest and recharge for the coming week. The North Fork is charming and only a two hour drive from the city. I highly recommend a visit if you're looking for a quick escape from city life.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Lately


The whole city seems to be filled with color lately. There's also a general feeling of lightness and giddiness (or maybe it's just me?) due to the coming of spring. 

Photos are from 1) the magnolia tree that I pass on my way to work is in full bloom, 2) a random truck that I saw while walking my neighborhood, 3) a view of Maya Hayuk's mural at Bowery and Houston.

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Weekend Away


I took a long weekend to get away and spend some time with a dear friend who moved from the city to Florida to fulfill her dream of learning how to farm. The plan was to spend a few days in St. Petersburg at her mother's home and relax. We both needed some downtime to escape our day to day grind, mine from city living and hers from the hard labor of farm living. Can I just say that it was one of the best weekends of this year to date? Her mother's home is a beautiful craftsman house - a true oasis complete with lots of greenery, a darling dog and sweet black cat.

We spent some time on Treasure Island Beach lounging in a rented cabana (CABANA! Best invention ever), enjoying the pristine sands, beautiful blue hued water, and a big beautiful sky.
We also spent some time sight seeing, shopping at the *best* vintage shop and in the Salvador Dali Museum that happened to have a special Andy Warhol exhibition.
My last night we said our goodbyes to my friend's mother and headed out to the urban organic farm where my friend is apprenticing. We got there right when the sun was setting, lending a surreal glow to an already surreal and gorgeous environment.
The next day we woke up right when the rooster was crowing to start on the day's work of harvesting and cleaning produce for the weekly farmers market. It was satisfying and enjoyable work. Our hands were on each piece of produce and we all participated in every step, from the harvesting to the cleaning and the prepping. I also got to pick and eat loquats straight from the trees growing by one of the fields. I had never heard of this fruit until I got to the farm. The fruit was delicious and the experience was a happy and exciting one.

After the farmers market it was time for me to head back to New York. It was amazing to get away from the city for a few days, but even better to have some much needed time with my friend. She is pursuing her dreams and is thriving in this new environment. It was a privilege to witness it in person.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Faithful Friend

I don't know the exact date of Nahbi's birthday. The only information that I have is that she was born in March of 1999. Every year I wait until March is over to confirm that she has indeed become one year older. This year, Nahbi is fifteen years old! I kept joking that I was going to make a party hat for the cat to celebrate and I actually went through with it. Nahbi was kind enough to tolerate this hat for a few seconds before ripping it to shreds.
Happy birthday to my very sweet to only me and Jon, still spry and playful, very vocal, plastic obsessed, super snuggly old lady black cat who has been my constant companion for my entire adult life.