Saturday, March 26, 2011
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Originally uploaded by dutch_merlijn.
I was out getting coffee the other day and walked past a hairdressing salon not too far from my office. I'd been thinking about having my hair done for a couple of days, so the find seemed quite timely. The clincher though was the fact that the salon I found is an Aveda concept salon. I absolutely adore Aveda products so I was sold on it.
Heading over for my appointment last night, I was really looking forward to the glamorous, fragrant, relaxing Aveda-style pampering that I remember from my exposure to other salons in Chicago and Adelaide. I was introduced to my stylist, a Russian expat who exuded "fabulous" out of every pore. I was also introduced to a giant fellow who would be my pre-Russian pamperer.
Maybe it was my fear of giants and/or Russians bearing scissors, but I relented on my usual no-touch policy and I consented to an Aveda scalp massage before my haircut. Over comes Giant, cracking his knuckles and bearing a grin that I took to be raw sadism but was probably just concentration. He drizzled some fragrant oil onto the crown of my head and then got started on the most amazing cranial manipulation I have had in a looong time. Oh Aveda, how I have missed you.
Giant Man kneaded the nape of my neck, massaged my temples and worked his magic on my knotted shoulders. Every single follicle of hair was responding - I was feeling relaxed and energised at the same time, it was really weird.
Then Giant took me over to the sinks for the pre-cut hair wash. As the water ran over my head, my hair felt like it was fizzing. A really strange sensation. Shampoo. Rinse. Conditioner. Rinse - but with cold water. OMG it was like heaven. Happy Hair, Happy Gab.
Russian dude was classic - a man of few words but someone who certainly knows how to use a pair of scissors. He prides himself on being the best short-hair stylist in the salon. I think he might have conducted that poll himself, but who am I to doubt him?
As if my sensory Aveda appointment experience to this point wasn't memorable enough, Russian dude then turned his attention to cutting the back of my hair. As he cut and cut, he leaned forward and gently blew the hair strands off my neck.
Yes, friends. Rather than brushing the cut hairs away with his fingers (as he had done up until then), he again leaned forward and - ever so gently - blew the cut hairs off the back of my neck. I was sitting at the front of the salon - right by the register! People could see! This is not part of the usual Aveda treatment, and it was so amusing I didn't know what to say. So I just shut up and blushed furiously. Hopeless.
After my do was done (and I honestly feel he did a great job), Russian dude slipped me his business card and said he hoped to see me soon.
On the way out the door, I made a comment about the Aveda soy candles they were selling.
"Oh they're really good," says the Russian. "We keep ours in the toilet". Interesting sales pitch, man. So of course I bought one. And guess where I keep mine? Uh-huh, you guessed it.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Scottish soccer in Times Square, New York
Originally uploaded by Mike G. K..
So my poor tired feet are literally throbbing at the moment Before I start to feel sorry for myself though, I have to think back to all the walking I've done this weekend and I feel pretty proud of the battle scars.
I was up early again today and I made plans to meet K&N for brunch not far from Macy's, where I knew that they had wanted to do some shopping. We met at The Crooked Knife and I stuffed in toast, bacon and a poached egg - it was tasty and even the coffee was delicious. Plus the bar was decked out in fairy lights and as my aunt JoJo says, "you can never have too many of them". She's so right.
K&N had bought my Saturday shopping bags with them, so I went back to my apartment and dropped them off while they did some more shopping and stocked up on gifts for family.
I headed home via Borders. The store is closing soon (like all the others around the world) and the place looks like a jumble sale. They didn't have the Keith Richards autobiography that I wanted, but I can get it online another time. And in any case, I did find a couple of books to keep me busy. Typical book nerd!
When I got home I made the mistake of sitting on the couch and I could quite easily have nodded off. So I got up and started to make sense of the flat pack bedroom furniture that I delivered last week. The screwdriver I was using was a little slippery and I ended up carving a chunk out of my hand, so needless to say that put a stop to the furniture assembly. I've slid the flatpack under my bed, where it will no doubt remain for the foreseeable future.
K&N called not long after I sustained this minor injury, and so I jumped on a bus to go and meet them at the fabulous Zabars deli. Some of the shoppers up there would easily have had their 100th birthdays already, but I don't even care about tottering along behind them at a snail's pace. I love the market so much and all the sights, smells and sample plates make going there a fun experience. I picked up some more cinnamon rugelach and a small loaf of signature rye bread and I reckon they will both keep me happy for a while yet.
Walking back from 79th Street, we cut across to walk along Central Park. In the fading daylight the Park looked really beautiful and families and joggers alike were out enjoying the fresh, cool air. It was probably about that point when my feet started to throb (at least in a way that I could clearly feel). Farewelling K&N, I strode across town to 2nd Avenue and jumped on the express bus home.
I really hope that this weekend's weather has been a sign of things to come for us. I'm really looking forward to walking around next weekend, perhaps spending a bit more time in Soho, down through the Lower East Side and around to Battery Park - just for something different. I even got a power adapter for my camera so that I can start documenting my future adventures in pictures for a change.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to put my feet up for a bit!
New York Skyline - Three
Originally uploaded by daverobson.
I had a fantastic day yesterday, hanging out with K&N who are visiting New York from Ottawa this weekend.
I got up early and caught two buses to their hotel and thus began our amazing self-guided walking tour of the city.
First stop was FAO Schwarz, quite possibly the most incredible toy store anyone has ever seen. Two guys dressed as toy soldiers opened the doors for us when we arrived, and then those employees closest to the door gave us a standing ovation when we got inside. What the?! It was crazy but quite funny. And remember the giant floor keyboard that Tom Hanks jumps all over to make music in "Big"? Well that's at FAO Schwarz and it is amazing. The employees take requests from the crowd and then they play the tunes - I was there to watch and hear them perform Beethoven's Fur Elise, just crazy. Around that point the kids started to crowd and it all got a bit intense watching the 'musicians' jump up and down from key to key. All I wanted to do was bellyflop and slide across the keyboard. I wonder if you'd get stun-gunned for that?
After that K introduced me to Bloomingdales; such a gorgeous place. We made friends with the shop assistant at the Chanel counter, then got stalked by every fragrance spritzer in the place, and finally allowed ourselves to purchase a pair of gorgeous Calvin Klein ballet flats (they are not grey, they're 'graphite'). Bloomies is onto something when they have a gorgeous man selling ladies shoes - it's an inspired sales tactic. Cha-ching!
We walked slowly back to the hotel to drop off our shopping bags and somehow ended up at Tiffany's. This is not a hardship, trust me. We convinced N to let us go in ("just to do one lap") and I went into a trance as I browsed the shiny, sparkly, shimmery displays of gorgeousness. The 4th floor is where all the Tiffany silver jewellery is and I just love it - the whole place; I mean, I can't pick a favourite. I am proud to say that I walked out empty handed though that was not an easy feat, I can assure you.
It was quite a relief putting down our bags at the hotel and heading off again, with two hands free for more commercial adventures. All the walking and fresh air had given us quite the appetite, so we went to visit The Soup Man (made famous on Seinfeld, "NO SOUP FOR YOU!!") who has reopened his little hole-in-the-wall store on West 55th. I had a delicious jambalaya and for $10, I got the large soup, some bread for dunking (hooray!), and for dessert - an orange and a Lindt chocolate. It was delicious and really good value. The store has little collapsible chairs and tables stacked up against the wall, and you just help yourself to set up an area to eat and when you're done, you just collapse the chairs & tables down again and stack them where you found them. No muss, no fuss - and nobody yells at you either. I loved it.
Replenished by the hearty soups, we kept walking downtown along Broadway, through Times Square which was typically nuts. It's easy enough to bypass Times Square when you're on foot, but sometimes you owe it to yourself to get caught up amongst the craziness and push and shove with the best of them. I think it has to be all part of the experience. I was actually quite pleased to go there because the only exposure I have to Times Square is when I've been going to a play or cutting through there to take the subway home. I've always been en route to somewhere else. This time I was literally just a pedestrian, looking around and soaking in all the souvenir stores, clothing outlets and struggling actors waving pamphlets in their desperate attempts to convince tourists to come and see their shows.
Once we'd made it through the hustle & bustle, we reached our destination - Fishs Eddy (which N, and now me, can't help but call "Eddie Fishers"). It's a dinnerware, houseware, bit-of-everything store which is amazingly cluttered but really gorgeous. And they sell groovy New York-inspired bowls and glasses etc that make excellent gifts. I couldn't resist the NY architecture magnets - even though our fridge is almost collapsing under the weight of our existing ones. These ones are little anyway; they won't do any harm.
While N browsed a nearby camping/outdoors/sports store, K and I rested our weary legs at Union Square. The sun was shining and everyone was out, enjoying the shops and the farmers market and generally just the great opportunity to get out and about.
We headed in the direction of the East Village and wandered past a guy on the street selling amazing vinyls. K couldn't resist picking up some Springsteen - one of the records had never even been opened before, so that was a great find. The guy selling the records suggested we visit the oldest alehouse in New York, so we wandered there next.
At the corner of E 7th St & 3rd Ave, McSorley's Old Ale House was established in 1854. It is a little bit tucked out of the way but was almost bursting at the seams by the time we got there. With sawdust on the floor, a creepy bouncer and low, dark ceilings it's a very 'old time' atmosphere. I couldn't tell you what kind of beers they have, or what the service is like, because we didn't stay. I am certainly going to come back another time, but maybe when it's a bit earlier in the day and the place isn't quite as busy.
We walked a bit further to the corner of 1st & 1st, to The Tuckshop - a great little place run by an Australian-Irish guy. Neither K nor N had been there before, and I had lured them there with the promise of Aussie beer and meat pies. I delivered on the former (Coopers Pales) but instead of the latter we split a pork & sage sausage roll which was delicious.
By this stage we were hungry again and we agreed that Italian food would go down a treat. I did a bit of Googling to find something nearby and we chose to visit Three of Cups. The restaurant doesn't have Italian decor at all, but the menu is really diverse and authentic and delicious. I devoured my mushroom tortellini and I don't think my lemon sorbet dessert even touched the sides. I was so famished! But the meal was great and the bottles of Chianti we shared were a wonderful reward for such a great day's exercise.
I'm up early again today (Sunday) and my legs are admittedly feeling a little tender. I don't think I'm going to be as tough on them today, but I am still going to get out & about. There are some flea markets that i want to see, plus a girl's gotta brunch - so that's on the agenda too. I'm just not sure where any of these things will take place. I had better put on comfy walking shoes - just in case...
Sunday, March 06, 2011
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
Super-Cat! (Aka Evie)
Originally uploaded by Chrissie64.
You may or may not be pleased to know that I am not dead.
I have been taking a blogging hiatus because real life has been so mundane that blogging about it seemed totally pointless. I know it sounds ridiculous to think that life could possibly be mundane in such a vibrant and wonderful city as New York, but life (as I know it anyway) has been exactly that. Home-Work-Home. But trust me when I tell you, it has been completely blissful. I've had self-indulgent weekends spent catching up on Food Network and DVDs, reading the latest edition of "The New Yorker", and cooking for myself.
I am on a bit of a health kick, you see. In less than six months, Baby Sister gets married and I'm maid of honour. That means that photographs are going to be taken of me/us. In some of them i'll be posing and the rest will no doubt be candid ones taken from any number of bizarre angles. I loathe having my photos taken, but there's not much that one can do about it for a wedding - they're part of the territory. So I'm getting a jump start on "Project: Body Modification" so that from as many angles as possible, I don't look like a blob.
As I walked to work the other day I was thinking about HOW I might approach this weight loss/body improvement task. Stage 1 is getting my diet back on track - not dieting per se, but a healthy eating plan is what I mean. I was going to put 'exercise' at Stage 1, but the very thought of doing sit-ups literally made me dizzy so I'm shelving the fitness bit for a while. I'm on Day 3 of this healthy eating plan and I'm so far doing pretty well. I'm taking my lunch to work every day - salads - so I feel very smug about that. I drink about 4 litres of water in the office, and so obviously I pee about every 12 minutes which is way too much information for you. I can't remember the last time I had a beer (maybe in K's old place when I first arrived) and with the exception of a spectacular albeit unscheduled fall off the wagon this past Friday night, I haven't had wine in two weeks [the Baileys I drank during the Oscars doesn't count because I was celebrating Colin Firth's win. It's the "Colin Firth Defence", so there]. On the food front at least, I'm headed in the right direction to be camera-ready by late August. I just need to psych myself up for some sort of gym-related business. Ugh. The things I do for Baby Sister.
With K due back from Europe this weekend, I'm also more energised to come out of hibernation and get to know the city. I don't mind doing touristy things on my own of course, but it's just nice to have someone else around who can recommend places you should/shouldn't visit. So yes, more outdoor activities are essential - particularly as the weather is slowly improving and it is staying lighter longer. Plus next weekend K&N are in town from Canada and I'm tagging along with some of their activities - can't wait!