Scenes from the E train

subway

One of most frequent questions I get about this blog is “Who is the Holly and who is the Folly?” It is usually accompanied with a little smile because everyone seems to assume that I’m the folly. Humph.  That’s not necessarily true. However considering the inspiration that Danielle’s latest post, SCENES FROM MAISON KAYSER, provided seems to point in that direction.

Last Friday I met up with some old coworkers. We had a really fun time. I tried to finally forgive them for moving on and getting fun new jobs and also making me come to east side. Wine helped with the forgiveness process.  Happy hour was long over by the time we left the bar but that was when the real adventure began.

It all started on the E train around 1ish AM. The first encounter was with a middle aged woman, who was definitely on something hopefully wine, trying very unsuccessfully to make it down the escalator alone. To her defense it was an unusually long and steep escalator. My coworkers were a little scared. The normal protocol for drunk strangers is a solid ten foot radius but in the spirit of we’ve all been there I offered her my help, linked arms and somehow made it down the stairs.  When she started to ask for help getting to NJ that was when I started to get scared.  I had to point her in the right direction and hope for the best, the escalator was all the help I was willing to offer.

Once I split from my friends I was on the platform waiting patiently when I started to eavesdrop on the couple next to me.  NYC is the best city to people watch hands down.  One of my favorite people watching game is trying to decide whether it is a first date or not.  Major flirting was happening but no touching. I was choosing between first and second date when out of nowhere she dropped the boyfriend line in the middle of the conversation.  Another we’ve all been there moment.  Poor kid.

The train finally came and I realized how amused I was and started thinking about everything that I’ve seen on the subway in the past years.  Once I saw a girl faint and completely face plant on the platform, I saw a guy with a huge tree branch that he refused to take off a seat, a kind stranger informed me of a “medical incident” and told me that I might want to pick another seat, baby carriages filled with everything but a baby.   It was only three quick stops to Hell’s Kitchen.  I put on my headphones and power walked home to the new Fitz and the Tantrum’s “Hand Clap”.   All in all Friday was a quiet NYC subway ride.

&t

On the Road Again…

 

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My gig usually has me on the road about 60-70% of the time.  By some strange twist of fate, I’ve been on home turf in Brooklyn for about three straight months — punctuated by only a few quick trips to Boston.  But I’m heading back to business as usual and packing my bags for a heavy stretch.

On the docket for the next few months for work and fun — Austin, D.C., Boston, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Atlanta, Chicago, and Detroit — with a few more trips that will likely be slotted in between.

I do really love traveling, and have been at it enough that I’ve learned how to not have it disrupt work and life.  But what I still need to work hard at is not letting the extreme travel wreak havoc on my physical health.

Here are some of the go-tos I’ve developed over the past few years:

ClassPass:  I promise you that this blog is NOT a walking advertisement for Class Pass, and Taryn already shared its joys.  I’m with her.  And while it’s getting pricey in NYC (at $125 a month), I hang on to it because it’s fantastic when I’m traveling.  Each city I mentioned above has CP, and I can continue my mixed routine of yoga, barre, boxing, gym time, etc. while I’m on the road.

You gots to hydrate:  I’m not a big fan of bottled water, but when I’m traveling I grab one of the 1L smartwater bottles (and pay the ridiculous $5 price).  I don’t have a preference for the water itself (we all know it’s tap — sorry smartwater) but I LOVE the bottle.  It’s light and skinny, which makes it possible to carry around when I’m also lugging a suitcase and laptop bag.  I refill it and refill it and refill it, and it’s amazing what a difference it makes in keeping me going.  Better and healthier than all the caffeine in the world.

Buddies:  While it’s sad that not all of my closest friends live in NYC with me, one of the huge benefits of work travel has been being able to catch up when I’m in town.  I get home cooking and some quality down time with friends in other cities in between the crazy meeting packed days at work. And it’s usually during the week, so I get to be part of the evening family routine, which for many of them now includes running after little ones.  Nourishing for the soul.

SkyMall:  Whoever invented SkyMall is my personal hero.  The comic relief this catalog of ridiculousness (squirrel busts, tree faces, waterfalls for your cats) that you find in the backseat pocket of airplane seats has literally added years to my life.  No matter how stressful or busy a trip has been, flying back home with SkyMall and a glass of wine is an instant remedy.  P.S.  To everyone who I’ve sent too many pictures of my most desired items on SkyMall…it’s about to pick up again.

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Eat yo vegetables:  It is really hard to find anything that’s not a processed carb when you’re grabbing food on the go, particularly in an airport or train station.  And I’ve struggled through one too many Amtrak salads (iceberg lettuce, one cherry tomato and carrot shreds) to count on what they do have. So, I’ve started scoping out the farmer’s markets and grocery stores close to where I’m staying and the stops I’m going to in between in order to stock up.  I’ve also tried packing fruits and veggies with me in my luggage, but I got a little gun-shy last year when TSA took away my box of Brussel sprouts.  I know this one sounds like a lot of effort (and maybe a little nutty…?) but it’s probably one of the things that keeps me feeling most balanced and healthy while I’m traveling.

Off I go!  Let me know what you do to keep your health on track while you’re traveling. I need to keep up my game.

And let me know if you’re going to be in one of those cities, so I can cook some veggies with you on a week night…

&d

 

 

Prose and Hos(e) Friendsgiving

cranberries

Our latest meeting for Prose and Hos(e), the book club we started about a year ago (more on that in an upcoming post!), fell on the Monday before Thanksgiving.  We decided to turn it into an early Friendsgiving to get everyone in the mood!

On the menu? We started with turkey meatballs, since making the real thing after work on a week night  would be a stretch.  Then added mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, roasted brussel sprouts, and sangria to complete the turkey-day meal.

After a massive failure to coordinate in advance, we did a late-in-the-game but productive run to the farmers market to stock up on ingredients — overdosing on fresh hebs in the process.  If you figure out a way to resist the allure of fresh rosemary and thyme, let me know.

We then managed to whip it all together in Taryn’s micro-kitchen in Hell’s Kitchen using professional coordination – an attempt to make up for our lack of preparation, I suppose.  Season the turkey.  And switch.  Peel the potatoes.  To the oven. And switch again.  Who says you need a lot of counter space to create a homecooked meal in NYC?

We set ourselves up around Taryn’s coffee table – shifting the enormous sangria bowl to the side table – and everyone dug in.  Brussel sprout-haters were converted.  Turkey meatball skeptics gobbled them down.   Everyone ate too many mashed potatoes.  In between bites, we dove into the discussion on our latest book.

On the bookshelf?  The Girl on a Train. A fun, smart thriller that you should read over the holidays since it’s hard to put down.  Of all the books we’ve read this past year (including Where’d You Go Bernadette?, The Secret History, Lila and Yes Please!) this was definitely the most universally liked.  If you’ve ever been part of book club, you know that’s a rare treat.

After some more deliciousness, dessert (choclate covered espresso beans!) and belly laughs later, we all left Taryn’s place for home, feeling a lot more festive then when we walked in.

Friendsgiving Sangria