FREE yourself and the rest will follow …

I was freely hand-lettering the other day while sitting outside on a bench at Blue Cliff Monastery enjoying the beautiful surroundings, warm sunshine and calming energy. What better place to create. So I was scrolling some letters around the page of my sketchbook and the word free (as shown above) came to be. 

It seemed appropriate on this day of freeing myself from my usual day activities to take this adventure to Blue Cliff to join the monks for a gorgeous morning walking meditation, a dharma talk and a mindful lunch in silence. Sure, there were moments of feeling trapped in my head or in the discomfort of lunching in silence with a person sitting right in front of me, however, it was all exactly where I needed to be and experience at that moment and it was perfect and peaceful…and free

at your SERVICE …

So we decided working for the MTA was where it’s at. I happily drive the adorable sea foam green “Old Diesel” bus (with matching shirt), of course. My brother, Matt, with passengers hitching a ride to Rockaway Beach, angrily shakes his fist at the annoying jaywalkers. And my mom, Anita, proudly drives the subway trains throughout NYC’s expansive underground (please disregard the fact that half of her train is missing…Matt, you really should’ve zoomed in closer, or I really should’ve cropped that photo ;).

Guess where we are??? Other then the obvious answer of “on pieces of NYC’s finest modes of public transportation,” we are at the NY Transit Museum in downtown Brooklyn. Twas quite fun and big and I’d recommend it if you’re into cool historic stuff. There are tons of old train cars you can walk inside with entertaining ads from that car’s time period. Old turnstiles when it was 5 cents a ride. Interesting facts on how the subway tunnels were built. A random mailbox glued shut. The MTA’s side of the story on natural and man-made disasters. This transportation system as seen through the eyes of artists (in other words, art). Vintage subway signs. And of course, pieces of NYC’s finest modes of transportation that you can take photos of yourself in.

Along with this fun excursion to Brooklyn, we also enjoyed a lovely brunch in Queens; a couple drinks in the oldest bar in Manhattan (George Washington hung out there. No big deal.); a little known subway ride to the beautiful abandoned City Hall subway station (of which is mentioned in the museum), admired while standing between subway cars; a tour of Matt’s flippin’ beautiful building he works in; an authentic delish Greek dinner in Astoria; and rounded out the night with a walk to the water for a nightly view of the Manhattan skyline. Today was a good day. 

you’re such a TEASE …

Those trendy cute city restaurants like to tease us with these imposters … cool liquor bottles full of water, not Bulleit Rye,  for the table. Bummer. Being in the city automatically makes me want to drink more. Weird, huh? No, not really. If you live there or lived there (or even visited there), you’d totally understand. But don’t worry, along-side this 750 ml bottle of non-alcoholic tasteless liquid, I had a burger and a stout ;) And it was delectable.

I don’t miss doing this all the time, but I do miss enjoying brunch and nice dinners with friends in the city. However, it makes my trips back to visit much more memorable and special. I’ll drink to that!

EASY like overnight oats …

Overnight oats are so freakin’ easy and so freakin’ delicious, so you oat (bahahahahaha) to try them real freakin’ soon. You will love them. I promise.

For my first attempt, I used a recipe from the blog spinach4breakfast. Since then, I have altered the recipe a million times to try new taste sensations and/or to use what I have on hand and/or to add my own ingredient ideas. When I cook, I use a whole lot of ingredients. You’d never know it, but there are 10 ingredients in that bowl of goodness above. But, you can start simple. When you get the hang of it, go CRAZY and be CREATIVE!!!

By the way, you can eat them cold right from the fridge (if that doesn’t weird you out). See, easy easy easy! Let me know how your oats go!!!

ALOE everybody !!!

People say that caring for cactus is easy. I totally disagree. Ooooor maybe I just make it harder than it really is ;) I lived in Arizona for 13 years and owned some cacti, obviously. And I killed a good number of them too. Sorry guys. So cactus ain’t my thang. I moved back to New York and took on some green house plants. Those were more my speed. Water them once a week, say hi to them, pick out the dead leaves every so often (which my cat, Luna, was really good at!). But sadly, when I moved out of my Jersey City apartment, my plants did not move with me.

Just recently, I saw a cute little aloe plant in the grocery store and thought, I did so well with those house plants, maybe I have a greener thumb now. So the aloe came home with me. I got this. Um, no I don’t. Within a month, it was brown, weak and droopy. I decided I’d use its magical aloe powers on my skin, so that the plant didn’t go to waste. For about a week, I was breaking off pieces of the “leaves” for my skin’s pleasure, when I came home 2 nights ago and aloe was green again. It’s leaves were stronger and more upright and it was GREEN!!! I mean, it now looks quite the opposite of cute, but I was still super excited to have aloe back alive and kicking! I determined that the plant healed itself through healing me … told you it had magical powers. (And it also may have helped that I hadn’t watered it in a while as I thought it was dead.)

Now I can go back to saying “Aloe!” to it every morning. Get it? Gosh, I’m funny.