food, Holidays, Motherhood, New York, Travel

It’s officially fall!

I know that it’s been fall for a good amount of time but I feel like we’ve just started to feel those effects on my part of town. The leaves are finally starting to change colors and most days you can feel a chilly breeze that makes you break out the warm jackets and cozy sweaters. But my ultimate bucket wish list? Apple picking. From day one, I’ve told Łukasz that I’ve been on the east coast for such a long time and I’ve yet to experience a real east coast fall: you know, going to see the leaves change, pumpkin patching, apple picking, all the good stuff. Maybe finish the night with a big old mug of apple cider or mulled wine. Now that Petra’s 17 months, there’s nothing she loves more than having the space to explore without worrying about where she could be going. This was obviously a no-brainer of a weekend.

When at the apple orchards, eat lots of apple cider donuts! Petra gobbled these up. We went to Barton Orchards in Poughkeepsie, NY which is about two hours away from NYC. It was an amazing scenic drive. Honestly those changing leaves is what made me fall in love with the east coast and what makes me hesitate when we even think about leaving.

Petra fell in love with this wagon. She immediately wanted to help and pull our cargo but of course she instantly regretted it. It’s not light! I think she ended up enjoying the ride more so she could sit and eat apples and donuts. Łukasz and I would hand her apples and she would put them in our half bushel bag. So helpful!

And of course, sneak bites. It was a day full of apple snacking which I’m definitely not mad about. Healthy snacking is a plus.

On our way back we stopped by the petting zoo and Petra pet all the donkeys. They’re so sweet! Like big puppies, they just wanted to be scratched behind the ears.

I definitely recommend these Orchards. We happened to visit on a Monday so the grounds were rather empty and the cool attractions and restaurants were closed but I’m ok with it if we are able to avoid these crowds! The Orchards full up on the weekends, people get there at 9am. Aside from Orchards they grow their own veggies and fruits and they even have a tap room on site for some refreshing adult beverages. I literally can’t wait to come back here with Petra and Łukasz next year!

Xo,

Karen

Advertisements
Travel

Up Yonda Farms

On our way back from camping, I knew we had to stop somewhere to sightsee. The drive is, like, four hours! Soon after we left Rogers Rock and had lunch at Bolton Landing, we decided to explore and stumbled upon this beautiful outdoor conservancy. It was called a farm but it was mostly a few close and easy hikes with an indoor butterfly garden. I was mostly excited about the butterfly garden because I wanted Petra to see these Monarch beauties up close. They did not disappoint. Even though I believe Spring is the time butterflies are abundant, on this summer day, we had a fun with a few gorgeous butterflies. Łukasz managed to catch one on his hands and after Petra saw how it was done, she had to grab one for herself too! We held her back though and taught her hold to gently hold them so as not to squash these delicate creatures. Petra learns so quickly by watching us. It's constantly reminding me to watch what I say and do to set the right example for her. Kids really do learn by example!

The hikes in the surrounding areas provides some of the most beautiful views of the lake that I had ever seen. While I got Petra ready to go hiking by slathering her with sunscreen, Łukasz checked in and found out that the property belonged to a rich family who donated it sometime around the 1920's and they turned it into a conservancy to help preserve the natural forest that surrounds it. It's gorgeous! So many lovely wildflowers. I will admit, I wasn't properly dressed for this and I showed up wearing Saltwater Sandals but luckily the forest floors weren't too thick and the hike didn't require any crazy climbing. Petra loved the view as she was strapped to Łukasz' back. It got a little hot so we let her walk around a little at the top of the hill but she was more than content walking on grass and playing with her water bottle.

Such a beautiful day! I'm really glad we got to stop by this space. We had come to Rogers's Rock so much, who knew that this beautiful space was only a few miles away! Adventuring with these two is my favorite!

Xo,
Karen

New York

Running a Half

This past Saturday, I did something I never thought I would do: I ran a half marathon.  I know that a few posts back I explained how I would train pretty consistently but that didn’t happen. I got sick halfway through the month of April with a pretty bad cold that turned into a sinus infection. Then Petra got sick and most of my time running was taken up by taking care of my baby girl.  I spent the week leading up to the race running but also not trying to overly exhaust myself because I knew I’d need the energy for Saturday. My long run was 6 miles easy. Like super easy. I told myself 13 miles would be fine.

My diet was a little bit healthier and I focused on eliminating carbs, despite everyone telling me I’d need them for energy.  I’ve just always felt bloated when I eat pasta and I didn’t want to chance it on race day. Someone mentioned that I might have a gluten intolerance and I’ll definitely look into it at some point. I’ve been eating a lot of eggs and chicken breast and veggies and it has honestly helped me feed Petra a healthy diet too knowing we’re basically eating the same healthy food. 

On Saturday, I was pretty nervous and I only had a banana for breakfast but I felt pretty energized.  When I got to the race, I ate one of those energy gels (which are terrible) because I started to have doubts about the fact that I probably didn’t consume enough calories to sustain my energy for thirteen miles. I packed a few gels at 100 calories each on my belt so I could quickly reach for them during my run if I needed them, which I did in the end.

The actual race itself wasn’t terrible. It’s funny because I felt like my body just went into auto pilot after a while and I feel like if I stopped, I wouldn’t be able to start running again so I just ran. It was my most Forrest Gump moment. I ate a gel pack at around mile 6 and my knees started to hurt around mile 9 which wasn’t a great sign. I did start feeling a little tired but I tried to fill my body with empty calories at the water station and I chugged Gatorade instead of water. I’m not one to run with music but during that last mile, my only thought was seeing Lukasz and Petra at the finish line. It really helped me run faster to get home. My time was 2 hours and 17 minutes. 

I will admit, I thought I’d do better but who am I kidding? I wasnt fully prepared for this so I feel like I did decently, trying to maintain a 10 minute mile pace.  Overall, Id do it again. It was fun challenging my body this way. I went out for food and a glass of wine after with my family and Tatiana and Todd but honestly, I think next time, I need to stay home. My body needed all of Saturday to recover and the next day, my legs and muscles were surprisingly okay but my abs were killing me (six pack trying to peek through?). Lukasz and I said we’d run another half in the fall so we’ll see! 

Xo,

Karen

food, Holidays

Thanksgiving

Super late Thanksgiving post alert! But better late than never. I simply had post about it and show all of our pretty pictures because it was Petra’s first Thanksgiving and I was wanted us to remember it forever.  Sometimes I can’t believe that she’s six months old and time is flying and now when we do things like celebrate Thanksgiving with a big dinner, Petra is right there, eating and celebrating with us.  This time, last year, she was still in my tummy…  HOW IS TIME MOVING SO FAST?

This Thanksgiving was a little different in that I can honestly say I prepared for it, like, the day before but, weirdly, felt extremely calm about the whole thing.  I picked out some recipes while Petra was taking a nap the day before, did some grocery shopping via Instacart, packed Petra up and went to the buy a roasting pan and that was that! 

On actual Thanksgiving Day, first things first, the parade had to go up on the screen. As in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade!  On previous Thanksgivings spent in California, I would always have the parade up the second I woke up. Who knew one day I would be living in that city…yet watching the parade in my living room on a TV? Haha, does this make me a real New Yorker yet? Crowds are definitely not my thing.  After watching the parade and getting ready, Lukasz’ took Petra and the dog to have a “Dad’s Day” while me and my other lady, Tatiana basically spent the entire day drinking wine and cooking up a feast. I don’t really know why this Thanksgiving wasn’t as stressful as precious years but it really was just fun to hang out and cook all day and then enjoy the fruits of our labor with my adorable family.  Petra even ate some of our candied yams! 

In addition to the Turkey (duh) we have a green bean casserole, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, candied yams, cranberry sauce, stuffing, glazed shallots, and gravy.  For desßrt, there was two pies, pumpkin and chocolate pecan and ice cream. We also had Mai Toddianas which were Tatiana and Todd’s delicious drink recipe! 

All in all though, I don’t need a holiday to remind me to be thankful for what I have. I’m reminded every single day that I wake up and look around. I have an amazing boyfriend who is also an amazing father.  And I have one beautiful and adorably sweet daughter that I can never get enough of.  These two are my whole life and I don’t know how I got so lucky. #Thankful.

Xo,

Karen

Travel

Lukasz’s Birthday

Last Thursday, my babe, Lukasz, turned 27.  To celebrate, we decided to leave the city and head up to New Paltz.  It’s the cutest little college town.  It has the small town feel that makes me feel like I’m in an episode of Gilmore Girls! 

Unfortunately, we passed the stop to get to New Paltz and ended up an hour away in Woodstock, NY! Never one to shy away from exploring, we drove around to see what fun stuff we could do.  We found a water reservoir hidden along the road and stopped to explore the forest and do a little photo op with the baby.

I really love how Petra has grown so much in these last few months.  Before, my idea of venturing out with a little munchkin would have me filled with anxiety. Is it safe? Is the bugs? Are there ticks? Will I be able to breastfeed?  Now, she’s just as curious as we are to head out into some unknown, safe in her dads arms.  I love it so much and it makes me excited for the days I can spend with these two, camping and hiking when she’s a little older. 

On our way back, Lukasz stopped at an orchard and grabbed a quick bag of apples and cider.  I forgot how much I love fall here.  The air gets chilly, the leaves change into beautiful warm colors.  It truly is my favorite season.

We also stopped by Lukasz’s family’s house in Jersey. They’re such nice and warm people.  There’s also a lot of polish being spoken which I love exposing Petra to.  They greeted us with delicious dinner and an ice cream cake for Lukasz.  It was a good day.  

I love this handsome and amazing man. Happy birthday, my love. ❤️

Xo, 

Karen

Holidays, New York

The Birthday Post

It finally happened, my 28th birthday came and went.  I don’t feel 28, I don’t feel older than, like, 21.  Are there people out there that feel that way too? Just a perpetual child in a body that’s growing older?  I don’t mind getting older either.  They say you’re supposed to be wiser too.

I had a really good day!  Originally, Lukasz and I had planned to take Petra on her first camping trip but our plans fell through when we realized it would be raining all weekend at Lake George.  Breastfeeding a two-month old baby in a two-person tent because of thunder and rain? Pass.  Luckily, we live in the greatest city in the world so theres always something to do.  That’s actually one of the things I’m really excited to explore with Little Petra: just how much this city has to offer in terms of entertainment and food and culture and just everything.  We decided to hit up the Museum of Natural History and maybe go some place for dinner after on the Upper West Side. And Tatiana and Todd had the day off, so it was basically a party. 🙂

But here’s the thing, have you ever spent a whole day out with a 2 month old? After getting on the second train to take us uptown, Petra decided that some more milk was in order and it could not wait.  So after a pit stop in Central Park for a quick lunch for our baby girl (read: Breastfeeding in the park), we were back on track headed towards the museum.  Here’s a pro-tip:  Never do anything in NYC on the weekends.  Kidding!  But not really.  I kind of forget how crowded everything is on the weekends and the museum was no exception.  Petra slept a little bit and we wandered the exhibits.  I always forget how big that place is going in.  There was so much to see and so many floors and so little time and so many people.BirthdayBirthday6

Processed with VSCO with 4 preset

Birthday2Birthday1

Birthday3
We attempted to get this picture a few times. It was kind of hard to get one without Lukasz attempting to grab my boobs, hahaha. What a goofball ❤

And for dinner, we hit up Jacobs Pickles.  It was our first time trying it and it was AMAZING.  Everything, their pickles and biscuits and fries, etc was super delicious.  We even got lucky and sat outside and they accommodated the stroller next to us.  I’m definitely keeping this place in mind for future dinners because it was kid-friendly and the food was great.  That’s one of the things I love about the Upper West Side, how family friendly the neighborhood is.

Birthday5
I look like I’m throwing Tatiana some shade here but I promise I’m not. I’m probably wondering what lipstick she’s wearing because I love her!

Birthday9Birthday10Birthday11

Half of these pictures were courtesy of Tatiana.  I could have sworn I got more but I guess I was too busy having fun, haha. All in all, taking Petra out for a full day was a little scary to think about but everything turned out great. When we got home, we were exhausted and sleepy and happy.  It was honestly the best low-key way to spend my birthday and I loved every second with my little family and friends.  What a great way to start Year 28!

xo,

Karen

Motherhood

A New York Shower

  
When I started my pregnancy to-do list, I knew I would have to have a baby shower on each coast.  West Coast with my actual family and a few friends and East Coast with the people I like to refer to as my “extended family”.  It’s no secret that they’re the people I spend a majority of my time with and they have definitely become a support system of sorts here in New York City where I have no actual family.   
I had been joking to my mother for a while that I would probably have my NY shower in a bar (ok, half joking) but, alas, I didn’t.  Instead, my best friend Tatiana planned the most adorable shower on her rooftop in Bushwick.   We had plenty of mimosas and beers to keep the guests happy and ordered doughnuts from Dough.  Our friend, Henry, also brought warm pork buns that were soooo amazing!

 
The big stars of the party were the pups! We brought along Pierrot and Tatiana had her French bulldog Lincoln at the party and everyone was in love! It was also interesting to see the difference in their personalities.  Our dog, Pierrot, is 2 years old and has a calm demeanor with a stoic serious face while Lincoln, 5 MONTHS old, is cute and tiny and a little ball of energy!   
Our main concern was, of course, the weather.  When you think April in New York, you can either get crazy showers OR beautiful blue skies with blossoms everywhere.  Luckily, we had the latter, with the bright sun shining on that rooftop until the last guest went home. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day.  
I was super grateful for everyone that showed up.  Having been home on maternity leave day after day, it was really nice to have these interactions with the people I’ve grown to know and love over the last year and a half.  It’s so nice to be able to have these memories.

Xo,

Karen

New York

A New York Hour

Sometimes we go out for lunch.  We work in the Upper West Side so food options are aplenty but today we chose to be tourists.  I don’t know how the idea came about (ok, it was me, I brought it up) but we decided to go to Gray’s Papaya Hot Dogs.  Their “recession special” is only $5 and it includes two hot dogs and a drink. How fancy are we? 😉

   
    
    
 But really, my favorite part is just walking around the upper west side.  It’s so nice and calm and much more family-oriented than other parts of the city.  A couple of days ago, I hung out with my friend, Rick, and we walked past the Museum of Natural History and I was reminded that I definitely need to take a trip there soon.  I think one of the best parts of living in New York is that you can live here your whole life but there’s always something new to discover.  

Xoxo,

Karen

Travel

Lake George

Yay, first post of this here blog!  It’s been a long time coming but I’ve finally made it.   I’m so excited for this little corner of the Internet.  I want it to be a place where I can post my fondest of memories.  With Summer finally coming to an end, I’ve always considered Fall an unofficial start to a new year.  And I would be lying if I didn’t say that the best times I’ve experienced in New York didn’t begin in the fall.  I can’t wait to share so many more fun times to come.

The first great memory I wanted to share for this post is our recent trip to Lake George.  Having awesome friends who are also coworkers, it’s hard to get the same time off so we took advantage this past weekend and went camping upstate.  I’ve only known Tatiana and her boyfriend, Todd, for a short time (1 year!) but they’ve already become awesome adventure buddies!

  

Packed Car!
  
  Of course, one of the reasons this campsite happens to be a favorite of mine (besides the beautiful view of the lake) is because it’s animal friendly.  Our dog, Pierrot, loves the outdoors, he even recently survived an 8-mile hike with plenty of energy leftover.  He’s so tiny and pocket sized, I love taking him with us everywhere!  
  
Bae and I ❤️
  
    
We were tipped off to a secluded spot by our camping neighbors, only a short trek away.   

Xoxo,

Karen