natural ginger ale

I was sitting on my back porch on a warm summer evening last week, watching the sun fall lower and lower. Sometimes I forget the simplest of things. To take a step back. To reflect. I am constantly in a rush here. Everyone is. It dawned on me that this time last year, I was in Florida, studying for my second to last physics 2 final, dreaming that I'd be moving to New York City once I graduated in a month. I wouldn't have imagined that one year later I'd actually be here, with a soul full of so much growth, experiences, and accomplishments. It's a damn good feeling. 
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It's July, which means a few things. Summer is in full swing. It's hot, and incredibly humid lately from all of this rain. My birthday is coming up at the end of the month, as well as my one year anniversary of leaving Florida for this crazy place. I also can't even believe I haven't posted since March. I think I say something like that in every post, but gosh life moves so fast here.
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Some updates I've been looking forward to sharing with all of you: I moved into a new apartment with a backyard (!!!) in a pretty wonderful, charming, still-somewhat-Italian neighborhood. My dad and little brother paid a visit to the ol' big apple. And, possibly the most exciting of them all; I wrote an article for Food52
ginger ale_2014_ac_web_1Food52 has been one of my biggest inspirations since I made my career change a couple of years ago. When Sarah, one of the editors, reached out to me to contribute I truly couldn't believe it. "Me? They like MY blog?" Really, I was in shock. But I am so grateful for the opportunity. Honestly, I needed it too. I've been working between three to four jobs, hustling hard to make it here, which can be a bit draining when none of them aren't what you really want to be doing. But you have to start somewhere though, and really give it everything you have.


grapefruit, cucumber, and arugula salad with mint and citrus dressing

Monday morning I awoke, my eye-lids glued three-quarters of the way shut due to lack of sleep, due to last-minute photo editing/blog writing, due to my obsession of making sure last Monday's post was up first thing in the morning. My hand still grasping my phone from pressing snooze one twenty-too-many times. I sat up, instantly remembering the dream I wish I didn't have to leave. My feet were so cold. I applauded myself for coincidentally placing my slippers at my bedside the night before. In one foot, in the other. Staring at the window, I dreaded walking over to it. "If there's snow, I'm not going to work. I'm just not doing it", I said to myself with justification.
I peered over at the window again, then back at my bed. "It needs me", I thought with even more justification. Then again back at the window. The fire-escape appeared to be free of snow. It gave me the push I needed to climb out of my warm sheets.
Eyes now halfway open, I found myself at the window sill looking down at a snow-less sidewalk, and even though cold air was sneaking through the crack in my window, I was filled with so much relief. "Thank you. Just, thank you." I said to the universe. "You really understand my feelings of not wanting to wear ankle-weights snow boots ever again." (Well, at least until next winter.)
I know I touched on this in my last post, but I really cannot think about it/talk about it/shout it from the fire-escape enough. I've got a serious case of Spring fever, people. I need warmth and sun and cuffed jean jackets. The days where scarves cause my hair to become knotted and nappy at the back of my neck need to be long gone.
To speed up this transition of the seasons (at least in my mind,) I conjured up a simple salad with flavors that are illustrative of both. Grapefruit; winter's best, and fresh mint; a perfectly complementary spring herb, both combined with arugula, cucumber, toasted walnuts, and tossed in a citrus dressing consisting of grapefruit juice, lemon juice, freshly grated ginger, and extra virgin olive oil.
grapefruit_cucumber_salad_acp_2014_web-0120 Again, it is simple. But it's refreshing and makes me think of brighter days, which I think we all could use a bit of. There isn't much of a recipe to it, but I will estimate the proportions I used. Feel free to adjust the amounts to your liking.


me, myself, & new york city

I had an impromptu date with this fine city today. Just me, my camera, surrounded by the only thing I felt like I really needed at the moment; New York. Its people, charm, constant life. I set out for the village, my favorite place of all. One moment I'm on 7th ave with crowds and cabs, and the next I'm on a quaint block left only with my thoughts.
And oh, yes. Spring is coming. I can feel it. Breathe it. Dream it. Along with every other city dweller who is long over this frigid winter. Today was the second Saturday in a row where I could wear a lightweight coat, ankle boots, and feel the warmth of the sun on my skin. It was a frabjous day. One for the books, (or blog), I'd like to think. 

I felt adventurous. I felt good and happy and was brought back to the time where I realized I wanted to call NYC home one day. I was in the West Village.

I tend to just wander when I'm in the village. It's so easy to do that. When I found myself on Bleecker St., there was no question that I had to keep walking until I fell face-to-face with my favorite pizza joint in the city, Bleecker St. Pizza. I ordered a slice of white and walked back outside where the baskets of the delivery bikes doubled as my table as I stood beside them. It was breezy and sunny, and my hat and half-eaten pizza almost blew away with the wind, but I loved it.
It would have been nice to grab coffee with friends, chat about daily life and what-have-you, but today, I just wanted to explore alone. People-watch, possibly discover something new about myself. New York is perfect for that.
While I strolled the village, I noticed many couples hand-in-hand. More than I usually do. Maybe it's because I wasn't in a constant rush like most days, or maybe it's because of what has been on my mind lately. Most of the time, I like me. I can find the utmost satisfaction spending time with just myself. Today was a prime example of that. I actually feel fortunate that I am this way. Independence and self-happiness are things I truly value. But I can't deny those times where I crave the comfort of another soul. Not just friend-wise, but partner-wise as well. I've never been in a "real relationship". Some would argue it's a good thing, less heart-ache and all that. Others may find themselves in a new relationship just as quickly as their last one ended. Me, I was never really one to think about it all that much. My 'sort-of-motto' has always been something like, "Well, he'll come along someday." But recently, I think about it more and more. And notice it too. They're sharing laughs over brunch, cupping hands in the park... You know, the cliche things people in relationships do.

Everyone has their insecurities, and mine tend to really get in my head. I most definitely have them to thank, at least partially, for not feeling that spark, that connection, very often with someone. Of course the usual things play a role too; being picky (I'm getting better), being busy, etc.
There was that rare time in December. The time when I met someone I just clicked with. It was certainly unexpected, but exciting and new and made me feel a little bit of hope for myself in the crazy world of dating, (and in New York City, nonetheless.) I discovered that the major insecurity I have about myself, he actually really liked. Which was just completely unfathomable to me. But damn, it made me feel so much better about myself. Our first date was the most fun I'd had in while, at least by first-date-standards. When we spent time together, I enjoyed myself. He was silly and open, which made me feel comfortable around him. He brought me out of my comfort zone and I felt more outgoing when I was with him. The introvert in me really liked that. It was also a nice change-of-pace to actually have someone to do daily things with.

However, as things started to feel a bit more like a relationship, rather than casually dating, he just shut off. Ultimately, I knew we were too different for each other. And If I'm being honest, I never really saw a future with the guy. But for the here, for the now, I was content. So we did that thing people in our position do.. "lets just be friends." And well, that was pretty much it. Despite the short time of dating him, and knowing he wasn't "the guy of my dreams" or whatever, it still hurt just a little bit. It's that thought. The thought that someone got to know you, but doesn't want you... It just feels a bit insulting. We want to be wanted, insecurities and all.

It was like I was given a small taste of what actually finding comfort in another might be like, and yeah, it tasted pretty good. I think that's why I'm still holding on a little bit. Not necessarily to him, but to the idea of him. And if you are reading this, guy-friend, I feel compelled to say that I really am happy we met. You are a nice person, and a gentleman at that. Thanks for going out to get hot chocolate in the snow even though we had just met. That was pretty cool of you. (Oh, and opening every door for me for the first few weeks we were dating. That was cool, too.)
Anyway, I'm hoping that I'll bounce back to good ol' me soon. Not thinking about men/relationships/everything that comes with it, and just enjoying what I have going in life right now. Like the homemade guac waiting for me in my fridge, or you know, just living part of my dream in the greatest city ever.