Ginger Escapes: New York Edition; Part One

About 5 years ago, my cousin Beth moved to New York City to peruse a career in fashion. She made her dreams come true and ever since moving there each time I would see Beth at family parties she would ask me the same question, “So, when are you coming to New York?” Every time I’d reply with a half-hearted promise to come see her, both of us knowing that it was inevitable that I’d have a reason not to go.

Huz has always worked nights and weekends until recently and finding a sitter is definitely not on my list of easy things to do. This made going to New York one of those things that I would always put off until later.

That was until a few weeks ago. Beth had sent me an email asking if I’d be interested in coming up to talk with a group of teen moms about the issues they might face and give some advice on being a young and successful parent. I admit that I was extremely flattered that she would even think of me in that light and honestly I was very surprised.

In the past I had entertained the thought of myself being a public speaker to the youth, imagining that through talking about my mistakes and sharing the life lessons I have learned that I could possibly influence a younger generation in positive ways. I immediately agreed to come up but only under one condition, that my work would allow me to take the day off.

It figures (and probably sounded like another excuse) that the day that I was asked to go up there and talk to the girls was the same day as the State of the Union meeting at my work. The State of the Union is the biggest meeting our company has each year and everyone is required to attend so I knew I could not request off. When I told Beth that I wasn’t able to come she said she understood but followed with the almost (practically famous) phrase of “Well, when are you coming to New York then; Just to hang out?”

I could not say no this time, I did not want to say no this time! Now that Huz is home on the weekends and I had it on my list of resolutions I figured why not. Why not just go? Even better, why not take my daughter with me to visit Beth in New York? Nan is older now and super fun; the three of us would have a blast! I asked Beth if we both could come and she said of course! I’m sure she (and definitely Nan) were expecting me to back out but really I did want to go so I was determined to prove them wrong.




Naturally, I waited until the last minute to book the Bolt bus and could not get any tickets for Friday night. The ones for Saturday were sold out, except for the 6:30am bus. 6:30 am? hmmm. I couldn’t flake out this time so I booked the early ass tickets. Believe me when I tell you, I was super nervous that I would not be on that bus so early on a Saturday morning. Huz was nice enough to offer us a ride downtown so we would not have to take the regional rail that early in the morning. I’m sure he also figured if he didn’t take us down we would never make it on time (after 13 years he knows me well).

I was super excited to see Beth because when I woke up on Saturday it was 3:54am and by 4:15am I was already on my second cup of coffee and starting the day. I got showered and dresses and woke everyone up;

The bus ride was quick and by the time we arrived in Manhattan at 8:30 am Nan and I were wide awake and hungry. Within a few minutes Beth had texted me that she was a few avenues away and wondered if we were hungry? I laughed out loud, it was then that I knew it was going to be a great weekend!

I wish I had my camera out when Beth ran up to the corner where we were standing so I could have captured that perfect snapshot of her. She was breathtaking! She looked so glamorous and stunning; she looked exactly like a New York City girl, fashionable, confident and IN CHARGE. She is a New York City girl!

Beth gave us huge warm hugs and then as we walked by a ton of buildings she noted which ones were what and told us the bits and pieces along the way.

We stopped in a little cafe and ordered fresh omelets and pancakes and chit chatted before we headed over to the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty.

It was freezing cold, almost as windy as a hurricane and we must have been ca-ra-zy to go out in that choppy water on a ferry but it we had so much fun. I took almost a million pictures and looked like a total tourist but I didn’t care, I was a tourist, that’s how we do!

Because of the nutso weather we decided not to get off at Liberty Island but Beth suggested that we stop at Ellis Island to check out the Immigration Port Museum. We explored the warm (and wind free) museum but before we left, I said that I had wanted to duck outside for a smoke. I couldn’t find my lighter for a minute and while I was growling Beth said, “Eh, just go out there and you can ask a European for one.” I was a bit confused and then happily found my lighter.

When I was outside a beautiful woman came up and started talking to me in French. I failed French in high school so it took me a minute to figure out what she was saying but then realized she was looking for a light. By then I also figured out what Beth had meant. Smoking is disgusting and unhealthy and most American women know it however, me and the beautiful French woman do not. I suppose I should move over to France or Europe or France or if France is in Europe then either place. I failed geography, too.

Anyway, back to the story…

After the quick stop at Ellis Island, we ferried our way back to Manhattan and got back on the Metro then we walked around Times Square to make a purposeful stop at the M&M Store. (We Couturier’s have a weird thing with M&M buildings)  I can only wonder what was running through Beth’s mind as Nan and I ooh’d and ahh’d various items. We picked gifts for the boys and even some very expensive cat toys for Spook. While browsing around Beth and I made fun of some toxic looking M&M’s. When we were done searching the store we payed for our goods and because we had spent 60$ we got to pick out a free M&M’s dispenser… Complete with toxic M&M’s.

After we left the store we headed towards Broadway to meet my Aunt Kathy (Beth’s Mom) and Jose (Beth’s boyfriend) because we were all going to see Billy Elliot. I had never been to a Broadway show and Nan had tried to see this particular play through her school last year but it was already overbooked and she was not able to attend. Seeing a real play on Broadway for the first time was very exciting for the both of us! It was such a wonderful play about an 11-year-old boy who finds love and happiness doing unconventional things during a very rough time in his town and his personal life. We laughed. Some cried. I sobbed. It was a fantastic play and it totally made me want to move to New York and fulfill one of my 300 dreams and become an actor.

When the play ended we headed back outside into the cold in search of a great place to eat (if you have never been to Manhattan and love food go there right now) and ended up in a lively little Italian restaurant called Don Giovanni Ristorante. The place smelled heavenly and it was lively enough to not feel bad about and talking loud and laughing hard over tons of food and a few Italian beers.

After we were all filled up we left the Restorante (fancy, fancy talk) we headed back out into the freezing wind, kissed and hugged my aunt goodbye then found warmth in a quick taxi ride to Beth’s apartment in Queens. We all tried to watch a movie but then decided we very much needed sleep rather than the entertainment of Ben Stiller.

It was a wonderful day that we had and the fun continued on Sunday. I will put all of that into a separate post though because I want to make sure it gets all of the love it deserves!

Ketchup. Oh, I Mean Catch Up

One of my resolutions this year was to comment on someones blog. Big deal you say? Well, let me tell you the reason why I put this on the list.

I was scared.

I am pretty shy and kind of self conscience and I really didn’t think I had it in me to interact with people, no matter how much I liked what they were saying.

In other words, I didn’t think I was cool enough to be like one of the hundred commenters that I see on other peoples blogs.

Not that I thought I would say anything offensive or rude but  I just pictured the author reading my comment and thinking, “Who’s this big dummy?”


Pretty good excuse reasoning.

I remember being so excited when I got my first comment. It was from the author of the very first blog I ever subscribed to, Cookies at Midnight. She made commenting look so natural and easy that I decided to give it a go.

I have to say, once I stepped over the scary threshold, commenting has been pretty easy and fun.

Of course, I don’t comment on each and every post I come across because that would make me the mad commenter.

Crazy lady on the loose! Close your comments!

No. I’ve been spreading my likes and comments carefully but unsparingly among posts that I really enjoy reading or find inspiring.

For instance, I can relate to insanitymostly. She’s a mom. She’s a wife .She’s quite a funny girl! She seems to be dealing with the same issues that I am having, perhaps all moms/wives are having, but she makes light of it. She doesn’t yell or scream that she is moving to another country like I do to the Huz. No. She makes laundry and punishment fun. This girl has class! Plus, she reads Real Simple, how can she not be someone I like?

I also found my project twin over at Craft Junkie the other day. She re-did her kitchen cabinets the same weekend I did but check this… She actually finished hers! Unheard of! And this girls dining room… Swoon! Beautiful, spunky and sassy! Turns out she is also very nice. A nice girl with kids, a huz and completed projects? I’m sold!

The real kick in the pants was when I liked a particular post over at Yerttle’s Blog. I had been blog stalking this girl for quite a while, mostly because of the beautiful pictures she takes that are usually accompanied by recipes. I was always afraid to say anything because, well, I was scared and intimidated. Then she posted about all of her kitchen utensils and I couldn’t take it anymore! I mean, this girl has a spatula with a skull and cross bones on it! How could you NOT like that? Love! She ended up commenting back to me that she actually likes my blog, too! Oh, the wonders of those little stars!

I suppose the point of this post (other than crossing something off of my list) is that commenting isn’t as hard as it might seem. No one has cussed me out or has been rude to me after I commented on their blog. No one said ,”How dare you read my blog! How dare you respond to my thoughts!” I mean, that is the point of having a blog right, to hope that someone will read your writings and possibly relate to and appreciate what you are saying?


Chinese New Year and a Sunday Afternoon Downtown (warning: extremely picture heavy)

Since we didn’t get to go to Chinatown on Friday night we decided to take the kids this afternoon. It’s lucky that we did it because we got down there just in time for a parade. Huz thought it would be a better idea to drive down instead of waiting another hour for the train. He figured it would just be cheaper to park at a meter anyway.

We didn’t know it was a big celebration day and couldn’t figure out why there was so much traffic on a Sunday. We were in the car for almost an hour avoiding places like this:

Because huz wanted a meter.


Can’t we just get out and walk?

We passed by the same murals a few times:

Then we realized there was a parade going on and there would be no meters available. Hmm. So Huz gave up and forked over $20 for parking.

That’s all right though because when we turned the corner we heard !SNAP! !CRACK! !POP! and a big cloud of smoke. We got closer for a better look and saw beautiful dragon costumes that you see in movies, but up close and in real life!

To me that made it super exciting and worth being sick over. The costumes were so colorful and fancy, I had never seen anything so exotic up close before. I am glad the kids got to feel all of the excitement in the air as well.

After that we walked about two blocks and got lunch at David’s, which was highly recommended by a few of Huzs buddies. We ordered soups, shrimp rolls and veggie lo mien and tried some things we had never had before, salt and pepper shrimp and walnut cream shrimp.

All in all everything was good, the day was fun and I really enjoyed spending time with my family doing something unexpectedly exciting and new.

Valentines Craft Tutorial

I decided that I needed to get a move on the Valentines decorating since it is only uhm 2 days away.

Hmm. I knew I wasn’t going out anywhere to buy any decorations because I’m pretty much cheap and not spending any money right now quarantined due to the fact that I’m ill. So I decided I’d try my hand at a craft. I found these really beautiful printouts over at Crafts & Sutch and they were just too dang pretty not to print out and create something with.

Just the inspiration the doctor ordered!

Now, mind you, I have not made a craft since I was in high school 15 3 years ago and I had no idea about what I was actually trying to do, nor did I have anything other than regular boring house stuff and the super cute lovely paper.

So here is what I did:

I printed up the 4 sheets of cutesy love song papers and a paper heart cut out that I just found by Googling “paper heart cut out.”

It was tricky, but I survived. Just kidding, it wasn’t hard at all!

Next, I looked around for some sturdy paper and found some on top of the fridge because naturally that’s where it belongs.

Then I grabbed:

2 paper bags

spray glue


the heart cut out

the pretty paper

a needle

and dental floss

oh, and a glass of wine. But it’s totally up to you if you need that to create this super amateur craft (or just need it to finish reading the rest of this post… I don’t judge)

And here are a few pictures:

I very easily cut out a total of 16 hearts using the template so they would all be the same size

Sprayed the adhesive on the card stock, poster board, whatever it might be called paper

Put the hearts on it

Flipped the paper over and sprayed it

Put pieces of the paper bags on it  (I cut it up) right side down

Flipped the paper back over and started to cut out the hearts (this was the longest part)

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I then threaded the needle with the dental floss and with my handsome assistants help I placed the hearts about two inches apart from one another

After that I hung the garland from my mantel!


Amateur, YES!

Quick and easy, VERY!


Make a craft and decorate for Valentines day crossed off the list, YOU BETCHA!

I hope all you lovely ladies get flowers and all of you men get lots of kisses!

I Don’t Want to be Sick this Year

happy valentine's day
Image by mugley via Flickr

In the past I never though much about being sick. As a child I was a victim of semi-annual illness and as an adult I’ve suffered through the flu each year, almost annual bronchitis and terrible seasonal allergies.

I have always just thought of it as something normal that happened and something that would continue to happen through my life. I dealt with the symptoms as they came along, got medication, took a few days off to get better and moved on.

This year however, I am tired of being a person who gets ill. I eat healthy, I exercise (though I have avoided the gym still for a while I still am on the move constantly at home), I get ample sleep and I wash my hands like a maniac.

I don’t understand. I have too many things to do. I can’t be sick. I don’t want to be sick.

All week long I was fighting the sniffles and a cough but I thought that was because of the cabinets I worked on last weekend. I suffer from a terrible reaction to dust and I just figured that because I was sanding the cabinets before I painted them that the runny nose and hard time breathing was from allergies.

Yesterday morning I got ready for work as usual and was feeling good because my skinny jeans were still fitting and I looked cute. I drove the hour drive into work and could feel my body changing along the way. Before I could even get my email up and running a wave of you better get to the restroom quick hit me. I stayed at work for a total of 20 minutes before I was driving another hour ride home with a trash bag as my companion.

I was hoping so badly that I could just take some medicine and a nap and then feel better.

Not so.

When I got home I changed into sweats grabbed a pillow from my bedroom and curled up on the couch. For 15 and a half hours. I spent the whole day and night laying on the couch just waiting to feel better.

I was in and out of sleep and the only thing I accomplished was working myself up over all of the things I’d like to have been getting done. I could have finished the cabinets. I could have done a craft or decorated for Valentines day. We were going to take the kids to Chinatown last night.

Another whole day of my life wasted. And what is even worse is that I’m still not up to par. I still feel weak and tired but I can’t lay down anymore. I don’t want to watch tv and I certainly don’t want to waste another day when there are so many other things to do.

I think I am gonna just try to keep down a balanced breakfast, drink some orange juice and day-quill, get a shower and push myself to get something done. I know it’s probably not a good idea to do anything that requires a lot of effort but I know there are a few things on my list that don’t involve muscle, brain cells or being in prime condition for that matter.

Spooker Dee Dooker Dook

This is my favorite (and best) picture that I have taken in a really long time. I love this cat. He thinks he’s a dog. He rips my curtains down and is picky about the food he likes. If he wants something and you don’t acknowledge it he will ignore you. He listens when we say no. He gives tons of kisses to us and loves us all to pieces. He waits at the window for us to come home. He is verbal. He is curious. He humps everything and claws up the chair. He loves his toy mouse and catnip even more. Most of all he loves us almost as much as we love him.