Saratoga County Fair

I am going to attempt to catch up a bit! I am sorry for the time away but I had a very much unplugged Fourth of July holiday with some friends and than it was a busy week before my yearly trip to Lake George with my parents and the boyfriend.

I prefer to spend some time relaxing on vacations. However, the boyfriend takes a much more active approach to vacation. So this year was full of firsts for me at Lake George. One of the most unique firsts, was the Saratoga County Fair.

While I currently live in NYC, I did grow up in the suburbs. But those suburbs were twenty minutes outside NYC, so the county fair was still something odd and exciting.

I have heard about county fairs with headline events such as tractor pulls, cow contests and pie eating contests. I have never been to one though. That all changed.

We missed the pie eating contests and pig wrestling (although they were actually on the schedule!) We did get to admire all of the prize winning livestock and check out the tractor pulls!! There were also displays of prize winning antique and vintage toys throughout the fairgrounds as well.

Elaborate train set on display. It included a circus and many scenes!

Elaborate train set on display. It included a circus and many scenes!

Prize winning cows!! There were rows and rows of prize winning livestock!

Prize winning cows!! There were rows and rows of prize winning livestock!

There was a healthy selection of rides to try out as well. There were lots of ups and downs, twists and turns!! All of that excitement was accompanied by flashing lights, loud music and laughs!!

Ferris Wheel!!

Ferris Wheel!!

Swings! Except this one goes up in the air as it spins! It left me wishing I had not left my sweater with my bag!

Swings! Except this one goes up in the air as it spins! It left me wishing I had not left my sweater with my bag!

I love the brightness of all  the rides!!

I love the brightness of all the rides!!

The biggest disappointment of the night was that we determined to have some fried Oreos. Since the rides were calling us loudly, we decided to hold off until the end of the night for some fried deliciousness. Apparently, everyone else wanted to make sure they got their serving of fried goodness also, so they were all sold out by the time we were ready to eat them!

CSA and Sweat

So I want to talk a little bit about the idea of a CSA (community sourced agriculture). These are popping up all throughout the city and are a way to get access to fruits and vegetables from local and organic farms. There are different ways to do this. Some make you buy a share in the agriculture. Others (although this harder to find) go week-to-week. 

So I was hanging out at the hub for the CSA I get my produce bags of weekly goodness from and could not help but to snap some pictures of these lovelies. 

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Don’t they make you want to lick the screen? 

Or how about the carefully packaged in individual bags mint?

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It makes me excited to be cooking more and filling my body with food that I know came out of the ground the old fashioned way! I am not one to get overly excited about where my food comes from but it is nice when possible to contribute to small batch farming done the traditional way. 

 

And than this morning I finally rekindled my love affair with the spin bike. I am in a constant love-hate relationship with the gym. The one activity I actually really enjoy is spinning. It makes me so happy. Lately, I have not been on the bike or in the gym. Life has gotten in the way. But it was so good to change that today. 

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I also love the clip-in cycling shoes! I have had them for almost as long as I have been spinning. (It was a GREAT sale!) And they make a huge difference. 

 

 

Puglia with Friends!

Puglia

Last night I was lucky enough to go to one of my favorite restaurants in the world, Puglia. It is located in the always chaotic and always lovely Little Italy/Chinatown area of Manhattan.

I was alerted to this place’s existence by a dear friend (and food blogger!!!). His specialty is focusing on places which are honoring old-school traditions. This restaurant in particular, makes use of many homemade items (cheese, sausages, sauce, and WINE). The food always tastes like exactly what I can imagine an elderly Italian grandmother making for Sunday dinner. The restaurant has been in the hands of the same family for decades and are honoring old-school traditions.

Since it is too good to not photograph, here is a sampling of the food the table ordered. I have never had something not delicious and ridiculously fresh here!

We had a tray of spicy calamari brought out to our table!

Calamari

And baked clams!

baked clams

If you are truly to enjoy a classic Italian meal, you can not skip the house-made red wine!

homemade wine

And the entrees were delicious as well!! It was absolutely necessary to have a few bites of everything on the table!

Gnocchi

Chicken parm!

Pizza with prosciutto , fresh basil and fresh mozzarella !!!

Our dessert tray

And of course, tiramisu

I do not believe any Italian meal is complete without tiramisu (it is what happens when you don’t like cheesecake). And this tiramisu was absolutely delicious!!

 

Fate???

I know I have been away for a while. My family had a bit of a tragedy. My grandfather lost his battle with cancer. It was a very rough time and afterwards, I took some time to grieve with my friends and family.

I needed to take some space and time to work through a complicated web of feelings and am very grateful that I have so many amazing people in my life who were there unconditionally for me.

 

So right after the funeral I left for a camping trip that had been planned for months. I knew my grandfather was very much about enjoying life so he would have wanted me to go. My family agreed with this as well.

Well, this camping trip was NOT the trip I had expected in any way. But it was the trip that I think I needed. It brought me closer to a couple who had previously been only acquaintances. These are two wonderful people who I see becoming more important in our lives. I found new things to bound over with existing friends. I had a whole bunch of new experiences. It was truly wonderful to experience. Friday night consisted of a bit of crying and mourning for my grandfather but the rest of the weekend turned into a whirlwind of life and laughter and emotions that I could not believe it. I went to bed with a smile and a happy heart every night. I woke up happy to be alive…..okay… I was not happy until after my coffee but same thing right??

I think that life has a way of providing you with what you need even if you don’t think it is what you need. I did not expect the camping weekend to go how it did but I am incredibly grateful for it.

Come On Irene!!

First I want to apologize for the infrequent blogging lately- been confronted with some really crappy stuff in my family lately but not sharing anything more than that.

 

So yesterday I was working on the Upper West Side and was a little shocked by just how panicked everyone in Manhattan seemed to be about the incoming hurricane. There were huge lines to get into the Fairway and the Trader Joes. Everyone had plastic bins, grocery store (and liquor store) bags in their hands. There certainly seemed to be plenty of feelings of having fun during the storm and I can not say I blame people.

I read on Twitter reports of stores being out of many necessities. I spoke to many people walking by on the street who reported that they could not find batteries or bottled water anywhere. Camping stores were a CRAZY scene with people wanting water gear, lanterns, candles, camp stoves etc.

People were seriously panicked by the storm. I have not seen this much panic over something in a while!! And usually NYers are so calm. I saw quite a few who acted like it was seriously judgment day combined with the zombie apocalypse.

I would in all likelihood be much more panicked if it wasn’t for how incredibly calm my boyfriend seems to be. He is such a good influence on me.

When I got home on Friday, we did some preparations. I picked up all my school books and varied paperwork and put it into a spare bin we had. I took everything off the bottom row of cubes in our cubicle organizer. I filled up all the water bottles we had with water and put them in the fridge.

pre hurricane stuff 027

Yes, there are linens on the bottom but we are putting them on the futon we will be sleeping on in a few hours. And yes I might own a monkey covered snuggie!

Some of the most important stuff I did last night? I made four quarts of cold-brewed coffee. Due to shortage in the number of pitchers, one of the two quart re-purposed bottles has not been filtered yet but I do not need power to do that. The boyfriend might have mocked me but I figure he does not want to deal with me without caffeine at all!! So it was really done only because I am a humanitarian and I care about him about having the best possible times.

There is a box half a box of wine in the fridge. There is plenty of peanut butter and yummy granola bars. There is plenty not enough beer. I also have cheese and crackers. I also have Greek yogurt. I have the stuff to make oatmeal if we need too. I think we will be okay.

Even if we lose power, we will be able to use our stove so I have plenty of stuff to cook. (Yay for not having an electric stove!!!)

This morning was a bit more prep. My boyfriend made blueberry pancakes and I drizzled raw local honey on them. It was quite delicious. Also for breakfast was some bacon!!

 

pre hurricane stuff 007

We packed emergency bags. We know where we are going if we need to. We picked up ice (had to buy more expensive ice because we waited but oh well). We filled up the bathtub with water to use in the toilet just in case.

The biggest concern I have is flooding. We have an adorable basement apartment. I normally love it but it is making me the tiniest bit uneasy. We have small windows and they have those cute lines on them so I am not too worried about them breaking.

What we JUST did and maybe should have done sooner is sandbags. We went outside to see the storm and the neighbors had made makeshift sandbags with garbage bags and linens/towels. We went back inside and immediately did the same thing! I am not the proudest of them but they are pretty darn good for what they are. I do hope some of the stuff in them is salvageable though. But I figure worse case- couple times in the washing machine will cure them!!

pre hurricane stuff 030

 

I made homemade mac-n-cheese for dinner even though it was a hodgepodge of things since I did not have all the ingredients for any one recipe I found. Recipe will come maybe Monday. It was unbelievably yummy though!!

I also have charged my Nook, my digital camera, my iPod,  am obsessively charging my phone. I just panicked because the netbook is not charged but I figure I still have time to charge it.

So QUESTION TIME!!!

Are you anywhere where Irene will be visiting? How do you feel about your prep for it? Are you worried, indifferent or convinced it is judgment day?   Have you been in a hurricane before?

Sunday Opinions

So there was a discussion on Twitter today that got me thinking a bit. The participants in the discussion included @laughsweatagain ( that would be me!!), @katieRUNSthis , @tlysvan  , and  @AllThingsGwen.

The discussion involved around was Sunday the end of the week or the beginning of the week. I view Sunday as a combination of the two. Sunday means I have to start thinking about the coming week. What am I making for dinner? What night will the man and I have a nice dinner/movie in date night? Do I have enough food for the week? Is there enough clean clothes to get through the week?

I need to start thinking about these things so I feel prepared for the coming week. I review my calendar and start to think of what days would be good for cooking, what days are good for gym/yoga. I also add anything to my calendar that had not made it into it previously.

I also try to make sure that the man and I have some chill alone time together to unwind from the previous week. This allows us to reconnect since we are both rather busy during the week and have very different schedules so when I want to cuddle, he wants to play video games etc.

I am very happy to have a productive Sunday morning and than a relaxing Sunday afternoon. I like it when we are both off on Sunday and can share the day and the chores and relaxing! It makes things so much nicer together! (I have a  nonstandard hours job and the man will take overtime on the weekend if it is available).

Today is a weird Sunday since the weather prevented me from doing laundry in the morning. But it did involve a quick trip to the grocery store, breakfast cooked by the man, some light cleaning up in the apartment and now we are on the way to a housewarming party for a friend!! I have not seen some of the people at the party since I left my previous job so I am excited to see people today!!

 

So how about you? Do you view Sunday as a day of rest or as a day to prep the week ahead?