Friday, September 30, 2016

October Goals

Seriously, how is tomorrow already October 1st? I feel like I blinked and September passed by. It was a wonderful month filled with catching up with friends, trying new things, and taking out my camera again.

October is going to fly by with Rosh Hashannah, Yom Kippur and Halloween all taking place this coming month. I also have my monthly dinner in the city with my best friend and her mom, my sister's BF is officially moving in with us, I am going to FrightFest, and two Halloween parties.

With all that said I still have some goals that I want to accomplish this month and by putting them out here I am holding myself accountable. I will write a follow up post at the end of the month and hope that I will have accomplished them.


1)  Cook one meal a week. The goal is to start with basics such as chicken cutlets, stir-fry, and spaghetti & meatballs. It's funny I have collected so many cookbooks over the years and never use them. I won't be using them right now, but hopefully I will become more comfortable in the kitchen over time and then start to use them.

2) Learn the settings on my camera. From 2011-2013 I worked for the largest electronics retailer and during that time acquired a great camera. I took photos here and there, however lately I have been really enjoying shooting scenery, home projects, and other subjects that aren't humans. The camera has so many settings and I want to get to know and understand them.

3) Go on 3 dates. Are you online? I get that question at least once a day from friends, family, and anyone who finds out I am  single. I have a free profile on Match.com and JDate.com and I am also on JSwipe( similar to Tinder). But I want to meet people offline as well. Step out of my comfort zone.

4) As I continue to search for a full-time job I need to put myself out there and network regularly and not be so afraid. I plan to attend more events in fields I am interested in: Nonprofit, Marketing, Social Media, Hospitality & Social Responsibility.

I have done plenty of goal setting in the past and usually fall off the wagon a week or two in. This time around is different, because I have written it down and I am also working with a life-coach. We have touched on many areas but these I want to try and then come back to her with success. Talking to someone who is outside my inner circle has helped me tremendously to remove pressure and understand myself better. She has also helped me to control my anxiety better without the use of medication. I am excited to see where the next few months take me!

What goals or items are on your bucket list for October or the rest of the year?

XoXo,
Tracy

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

#WorldTourismDay

Follow my blog with Bloglovin When I think back on my childhood I have fond memories of traveling with my family for my father's job. We were constantly in a new city, staying mostly at Marriott properties, and trying new restaurants. My father always made sure there was a local running race going on as well. From San Diego to Orlando and everything in between.  This is going to sound crazy, but my sister and I enjoyed taking the pen and pad from each place and when my dad traveled solo he would bring that home for us as a present. It's those memories that sparked my interest in the Hospitality Industry and eventually led me to Johnson & Wales University for my Bachelor's Degree in Hospitality Management.

I love all things: Hotels, Spas, Restaurants, Wineries, Cruises, and Travel. You can follow along on my _Travelist_ Twitter handle. Read more of my restaurant reviews here. So when I heard it was #WorldTourismDay I knew I had to share some of my favorite places as well where I hope to visit in the future!

Israel

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
One of my biggest travel goals is to visit the Australian Open, Wimbeldon, and French Open. I have been lucky enough to attend the US Open for many years. Australia is the top trip on my list especially after reading this from Naomi.

I also want to visit London, Paris, Barcelona and all 50 States.

"If you don't go, you will never know" shared by Lindsay Silberman. Talk about inspiring, this post says it all.

Finally I will leave you with this. It is also currently the background on my phone.



What stamp would you like next? Where is your next trip taking you?

XoXo,
Tracy

Monday, September 26, 2016

Weekend of #TrySomethingNew

Can you believe we are less then a week away from October? How is it that Labor Day was so long ago? The temperatures in New Jersey are starting to reflect the actual season which I like!

This weekend was packed with all good things!

I had a migraine on Friday and by the time my sister's boyfriend arrived for the weekend I was passed out at 7pm. I knew food would be good, so we grabbed dinner as she was working. Beers and the Met's game it was at our local Chili's.

Saturday I worked in the morning at the yoga studio before heading to my cousin's house for her son's 7th Birthday! The theme Pokemon Go was all over the house and the backyard. Thankfully the temps were just right and the sun came out so we could be outdoors. The only picture I got was of the 3 yes 3 cakes he had. Spending time with the family the always fun. I am looking forward to next weekend as we will all be together again for Rosh Hashannah & Yom Kippur before everyone leaves for their travels!


I set a goal to challenge myself to leave my comfort zone, try something new, talk to new people so when I found a Knife Skills class at my local Williams-Sonoma, I knew I had to try it! I have always been afraid of cutting myself and dicing the vegetables wrong so I knew this class would be a great starter which I found very informative. We were about 10 ladies and everyone asked questions except myself. The instructor took one look and after class gave me a mini tutorial as he could tell I was afraid. After class I was inspired to utilize the lesson later in the day when we were cooking dinner. You have to start somewhere.


In the area of learning something new I decided to actually sit down and watch the #WASvsNYG game yesterday. Thank you google for helping me to understand certain rulings and calls as I am a beginner at this sport. I am 100% a Giants fan; however I don't always watch because I found it too confusing. Now that I understand more and am slowly enjoying the sport I look forward to the rest of the season! I'll have to start catching games at local sports bars!


Sunday night dinner included Steak with Shrimp & Pineapple Fried Rice. It was absolutely delicious and a team effort in the kitchen. My sister and I would watch and learn from her boyfriend and read the recipe card. We also made chicken cutlets for the week to have as well as the rest of the leftovers. Here I was able to put my Knife skills to use by dicing the onions and chopping the garlic. I also cut chunks of a pineapple, which getting the skin off was my least favorite part. The meal was easy to make and I look forward to more nights in the kitchen!


My sister would love to kill me for the number of journals I currently have, it's an addiction, a good one. I love to write. That is why I have this small corner of the Internet after all. Last night we popped into Home Goods, a dangerous store for me to pick up some bathroom items, when I came across some journals. I knew I couldn't leave the store without at least one. I had 3 at one time but she reminded me I could always come back for the others. That store is a constant inspiration for me, what about you? Do you love it?

"A little Step May Be the Beginning of a Great Journey"
I love the picture above oh and we are growing Basil and Parsley! Again, try something new. It can't and won't hurt.

How was your weekend?

XoXo,
Tracy

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Favorites #4

Are you excited that yesterday was the first official day of Fall? At 9am it was 66 degrees and by noon it was 85. Not sure I can get behind the "fall" wardrobes just yet. Maybe next week. 

Before we jump into my #FridayFavorites I just want to say I hope that Charlotte comes out strong on the other side.  

We all need to take time to reflect sometimes. Today I found myself at Elmer B. Boyd Park in New Brunswick, NJ before my mammography. I am considered High Risk as my mother was diagnosed at 35 with Metastatic Breast Cancer, which means I need to have a yearly mammography starting at 25. To be honest, I haven't had one in 3 years. Here is my PSA: Get Screened. Be Proactive. Take Preventative measures. 





Now for some of my favorite things this week!

1) If you haven't already watched "This Is Us" on NBC you are missing out. That pilot episode was one that actually stopped me in my tracks. Watch it. 

2) Every night this week the sky turned pink. It was beautiful. The colors were everything. It makes you appreciate the moment. Just like stop and smell the roses, stop and look up! Every Instagram and Snapchat showed so many different views and perspectives. 

3) Carly, wrote about "How to Turn Around a Bad Day" and let me tell you it resonated with me. Every once in a while I feel super overwhelmed or irritated and I need to remember that if you "schedule" yourself and then move you will feel better. 

4) It's Swabtember for #DeleteBloodCancer. 

5) Have you ever wanted to do or achieve something and didn't know how to? Usually is easy, you just have to "Start." These two ladies, Kelly Roberts & Alison Feller Cristiano are both super inspiring and now are part of this epic movement called "Project Start" from Women's Running

What are you enjoying this week?

XoXo,
Tracy 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pink Sky

The past few nights if you have been on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat or Facebook I am sure you have seen some amazing photos of the sky lately. The colors are absolutely beautiful and have literally stopped me dead in my tracks.

Here is my shot last night on Instagram. Follow, if you aren't already!

As I was cleaning my room I happened to come across my camera, which I took as a sign to head outside and get some cools shots! I am so happy I did, because some of them came out great in my opinion. I have worked for photographers, with photographers, and for a camera company so the passion is there, no questions there.






The sky that pink is something we should enjoy in the moment. It is the smallest things in life that we should embrace and enjoy. Now if only I had Rose to drink while watching the sunset, it would have been even better.

What do you enjoy taking photos of? Do you ever just look up and wonder?

XoXo,
Tracy

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday Brunch: The Brass Rail

Did someone say Eggs Benedict?

Mimosa anyone? 

I'll take both with a side of girlfriends for an amazing brunch any day. 

Today I found myself visiting one of my girlfriends from all the way back to elementary school in Hoboken. The walk-able town is super cute and filled with people walking their dogs, hanging out at local restaurants, and exploring the waterfront. One of my goals this year was to be better with maintaining friendships and I have vowed to visit her more, especially since she lives in a cool area of New Jersey and we always have a blast when we get together. 

The buildings below are one a street near her and I absolutely love the design. Not all apartments have parking so the garages below the units make it super convenient. 


In the beginning of the week I told her to pick our spot for Brunch today, totally not realizing there was a Giants home game at 1pm. It worked to our advantage as the restaurant she chose had TV's at the Bar but we were able to be seated outside. I didn't mind but some people didn't like the delay from the bar next door as they were ahead and we knew before a touchdown was scored. 

The Brass Rail is located on the corner of 2nd Street and Washington Street( the main street in the town). As mentioned we sat outside and were chatting for close to 30 minutes before we even looked at the menu. The waitress was extremely sweet giving us time to catch up and not interrupting us. Once I looked over the menu I knew I was in trouble since so many items looked delicious. Just means another trip will be in order to try more options. We both decided on the Prix Fixe Brunch for $22 which was perfect. You ordered one appetizer, one entree and one alcoholic beverage and each additional beverage was either $2 or $3 depending on what you ordered. 

I started with a mimosa my go-to brunch drink. For my appetizer I was torn between the S'More Crepes or the Smoked Salmon Toast. Both sounded delicious and in the end I went with......

S'More Crepes

Let me tell you they were crispy with the perfect amount of marsh mellow "fluff" and chocolate sauce on the outside. Filled with more chocolate sauce and topped with graham cracker crumbles it was one of the best "Crepes" I have ever had. I could have easily just had 3 servings and been happy.

As for my entree I decided on the Lobster Eggs Benedict. Usually I am more of a french fry girl, but this time I completely forgot to ask and when it arrived wasn't sure about the home fries; however in the end it worked out since I ate it with the extra hollandaise sauce. There was plenty of lobster bites and topped anything topped with bacon get an A+ from me. The eggs had just the right amount of run in them and I really enjoyed the side of fresh herbs. 

Lobster Eggs Benedict
Eventually I landed up with 2 mimosas but unfortunately never got a picture of them. Oh well. We sat for close to 2 hours just catching up on careers, relationships, and life in general. I left after that and headed home to help my sister and her BF with housework as he will be moving in soon. 

Seeing her made me wish I still lived in Manhattan and we would be so close. In due time things will come together for me and when they do I will be ready with open arms! 

As for my next Brunch location I am taking recommendations for NJ or NYC? 

XoXo,
Tracy

Friday, September 16, 2016

Friday Favorites #3

Happy Friday!!



I can describe this week in two words: Productive & Inspiring

As we head into the weekend I am looking forward to spending Sunday in Hoboken having brunch with one of my girlfriends! As for the rest of the weekend I will be working tomorrow and maybe catch a showing of Bridget Jones Baby. Who else is excited to see it?

Let's jump into some favorites from this past week!

1) We all have the opportunity to be better and to make our community a better place, and Howard Schultz & Rajiv Chandrasekaran show that in Starbucks, Upstanders. If you haven't watched it or read some of the stories add it immediately to your to-do list!

2) We hear you ladies, and thank you for standing up and having a voice. "Obama's female staffers come up with genius strategy to make sure their voices are heard."

3) I don't know about you guys, but I know that in the past I have had an extremely hard time accepting compliments. The other day one of the yoga teachers stopped me and said I wanted to text you and tell you "You are such a bubbly, strong women who I really appreciate and thank you for telling it as it and always being straight forward." It took me a few minutes to process and I said thank you. I guess if you trust the person and actually believe in yourself accepting a compliment wont be so bad.

4) Women are dominating in sports. Kara, from KaraRuns brought this article, about the NFL opening job "pipeline"for women at team level to my attention on Twitter.

5) "29 Under-30 Powerhouses Poised to Change the World" Enough Said.

As for being productive this week I made a bunch of doctor appointments, oil change, opened 2nd Savings Account took a yoga class and utilized my planner to its fullest ability!

How was your week? What are you loving?

XoXo,
Tracy




Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Summer to Fall Transitions mean Donations

The transition to fall means trading the flip flops for boots and the t-shirts to comfy sweaters. Two years ago when I moved back home I knew it was time to downsize and go through clothes, shoes, accessories, and miscellaneous items I was keeping. Question for you: Did you keep your yearbooks from Elementary School through High School? What about school pictures your parents bought? Let me tell you I have boxes of stuff.

This year my sister and I who are roommates are gaining a new roommate, her boyfriend. One of the biggest upsides is he enjoys cooking which means I won’t go hungry or continue to eat cereal for dinner. He also has been making us clean out the common areas and I have to say it’s been pretty therapeutic. Changing out really old photos for new ones, redesigning the Kitchen, Living and Dining Rooms and getting rid of stuff we don’t use or need. When I say getting rid of stuff, I mean making large donations to different organizations and that is what I really want to speak about.

I can't remember the last time we threw out clothing or household items that could still be used. I remember being younger and my mom took me to a shelter to deliver old blankets we had collected from friends and family. I think back to that time with her every time I make a big donation trip. She would be so proud and I am thankful for that wonderful lesson, one of many she taught before passing away. 

Bags of Clothing & Mirrors

More clothes, pots & pans, and mirrors.
I have an easier time parting with clothing I don't wear or items I haven't used in months where my sister is more attached. This was a huge project for her and I am proud of her for making large donations. This trip we donated to the local Goodwill in East Brunswick, NJ. 

When you are cleaning out your closets this Fall/Winter and you are thinking of throwing things out, make a smarter decision and donate. There are so many amazing organizations out there that will take unwanted items. Some will even come to your house and all you have to do is leave the bags outside the front door. Remember to get a receipt as you can use it as a tax write off next year.

As we cleaned out the pantry and kitchen closets we came across a lot of unopened food that pantry's could use. A great local organization in New Jersey is Move for Hunger. If you are moving all you have to do is put aside your unopened food and the moving trucks will pick up the food and donate to a local food pantry. We also donate to Elijah's Promise.

So as you clean out and transition from Summer to Fall this year donate all your unwanted clothing, shoes, household items and food. Give back to those who need.

What organization do you support?

XoXo,
Tracy 


Friday, September 9, 2016

Goodbye Summer

Does anyone else feel like this summer flew by?

First, I am probably the only person who will say this right now, #ScrewYouPumpkin. It was 95 and humid today on the Jersey Shore, so I am not ready to accept everything pumpkin just yet.

Today was my last beach day of the season and let me tell you, it was the hottest most humid day of the entire summer. We only lasted 3 hours and I still managed to get burnt.

Here are some photos from my morning on the beach.







Thank you summer for beach days, pools days, and BBQ' with friends. Avon, I will see you next summer!

What was your favorite summer memory?

XoXo,
Tracy

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Central Park Pictures

Last night I met my best and friend and her mother in New York City for our monthly dinners. When I lost my mom 6 years ago I knew I had many mother figures around me that I could always turn to. We have been friends for over 15 years and I am so lucky to have her and her family in my life.

Our reservations at Thalia were not until 7:30 and I arrived in the city around 5:30. With time to spare I headed to my absolute favorite place, Central Park! Having lived only three avenue's from the park a few years back I miss not being able to walk through everyday. Each part of the park has a magical touch and every time I go I find something new. This trip was no different. These hidden stairs have to be a new favorite of mine and I enjoyed just sitting on them and listening to the sounds in the park!

Looking Down

Looking Up
No trip to the park would be complete without a stop to my favorite bridge. When I lived in Manhattan and I was feeling anxious I would always pop over and stare out from the bridge. The clarity I found those days I wish I could bottle up and take with me all the time.


NYC The Official Guide is running a promotional campaign: #SeeYourCity. ( Explore.Snap.Share) I took the picture below and shared it on my Instagram and Twitter.


After walking around the park I stopped into The Shops at Columbus Circle, Time Warner Center. Secretly I was hoping to spot some players in town for the US Open, as in years past they have visited there. Unfortunately no spotting's; however I stopped into JCrew and landed up talking to a sales associate who grew up in the same town as me, talk about a small world! This is the first year I am not attending the Open and I'm pretty bummed. Next year I will have to buy tickets in advance.

Some other photos from my walk through the city!




Dinner at Thalia was wonderful. We shared the following appetizer's: Fricasse of Mushrooms, Burrata Cheese, and California Roll. For my main dish I went with the Tiger Shrimp Scampi which was delicious. I enjoyed the shrimp alone with Focaccia Bread dipped and the Orzo on the side!


After dinner and lots of bubbly Rose Prosecco we headed to Junior's to end the night with cheesecake!

Whenever we are together it is a a great evening!

What is your favorite non-chain restaurant? What is your favorite NYC restaurant?

XoXo,
Tracy