Birchbox May Reveal and major apologies

So I need to start with major apologies.  I am down to one week in New York and it’s crazy!  I was in Los Angeles for my sister’s college graduation (pics to come later) and it was FABULOUS!  I took a red eye back to NYC Sunday night-Monday morning and that was incredibly hard.  I love the ideas of a red eye-not wasting a day traveling but as I’m getting older, they are getting harder and harder to do.

This past week and next week are definitely being spent finishing things up at work and trying to experience New York as much as possible before I leave in one week, eek!  My father is actually flying out here and we are driving back to Oregon in a SUV with my cat, fun times 🙂  I’m positive we will all survive but I will keep you posted.

May Birchbox was pretty fun-still enjoying and in fact gifted my mom a three month subscription for her birthday and mother’s day.  I got an email from her excited to share with me when I get home–I’m excited for that!

May Birchbox  Inside of Birchbox

 

I’ll be honest, it’s been a busy month so I haven’t had a ton of time to try everything.

Birchbox Eyeliner

I was excited to get an eyeliner because I recently had a near brush with pink eye (they thought I had it but it was misdiagnosed–argh!) so I had to throw away my nice stila eyeliner.  I liked how smooth it was but found the black to be a little harsh after the lighter browns I’ve been using.  I’ll probably keep using it until I get around to buying a new one.

Birchbox toothpaste

 

I should have brought this with me to LA last weekend because I forgot toothpaste!  But it will drive cross country with me and be my toothpaste then.  I look forward to trying it.

Birchbox sunscreen

 

Again haven’t tried yet but am looking forward to trying new sunscreen.  I’ve been pretty sensitive with sunscreen the past several years-only using Aveeno on my body and Boscia on my face but am hoping this one will work!

 

 

 

Birchbox hair mask

 

I just won a contest of face items with Sea Buckthorn from Santana at http://www.curlygirlbeauty.org/ so I’m excited to try this mask with the same ingredient.

Birchbox Tea

 

As we know, I am very excited about tea and can’t wait to try it.

So all in all, another super fun box from Birchbox and I look forward to trying things out with my mom soon!

If you are interested in Birchbox, use my link to register: http://birch.ly/10Skw2o

I will do my best to post next week but no promises as I am out doing stuff EVERY SINGLE DAY and then I am driving cross-country.  But, I know that when I get home, I will have some good time to post about all the fun shenanigans I will be getting into this coming week as well as the fun times in the past week and a half!

Have a great holiday weekend!!!!

 

Flying Out West

So generally speaking I like to do a Foodie Friday post on Friday but this is a special occasion!  My baby sister is graduating college this weekend!  I am the oldest of three kids and my sister is the baby of the family, we have a brother in the middle-three years younger than me and five years older than my sister.  I’m sure I’ll write more about the rest of my family later but today I’m going to write about my sister!

Danit is eight years younger than me and has always been one of my favorite people in the world!  I remember the moment my parents told me they were having another child and I remember when she was born and every moment in between!  I know I have pictures from when we were younger but at the moment they are in boxes and scattered all around so instead I have pictures from probably the last ten years or so.

Danit and Rachel

The weekend of Danit’s Bat Mitzvah-nine and a half years ago.

Although it’s been about ten years since we’ve lived in the same city at the same time, we still talk on the phone and text every single day.  We did spend three summers at camp together, two of which sharing a room-now that is an experience!  But I think we made a pretty good team!

Danit and Rachel

The picture on the top left is us at the Oregon Coast in 2005 I believe.  Below that is Hanukkah 2005 and below that is my college graduation tea party in 2006.  The top right is Danit’s visit to New York in 2010 when we did a tour of the village and were outside Murray’s Cheese.  The bottom picture is from a family cruise in 2006 (and we are soon to be going on another one!)

Danit and Rachel 2

Top left is us at camp one summer, top right is at Avenue Q in 2010 in New York.  Bottom left is me and her at my MAeD ceremony–same school she’s graduating from!  And the bottom right is us on the family cruise at the safety drill.

She is graduating with her BA in Psychology and planning to stay in LA for the next exciting venture.  Right now she’s very interested in stage management and has been working on a lot of plays in the area.  I am super proud of her and so honored to call her not only my little sister but one of my closest friends!

I will definitely post about the weekend next week but for now, I am flying out west!

A Visit to the Tenement Museum

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One of my goals living in New York has been to do the New York activities. Well it’s kind of taken me leaving to get to some of them. One of the ones that has been high up on my list has been to go to the Tenement Museum. The concept behind the Tenement Museum is really cool, in the late 80’s, two women wanted to create a museum to the immigrant experience that centered around the Lower East Side starting in the 1800’s (as early as 1830s & 40s). They fell upon 97 Orchard Street. 97 Orchard Street had been a tenement house, in fact one of the earlier built ones, in the 1860’s but in the 1940’s when housing laws were getting more strict, the owner couldn’t afford to fireproof the building and so just sealed the upper floors shut. It stayed that way for forty some years and now has been made into a museum.

For a great book about the building, there is a book called 97 Orchard that tells the story through the edible history of the family-a great book that I completely recommend. The book talks about the families from different countries and religions based on the foods that they ate but also gave a good description of life in the tenement.

My roommate and I went on a tour entitled Sweatshop Workers. The tour centered around two Jewish families from the turn of the 20th century, the Levin’s and the Rogarshevsky’s that both lived in the building. The Levin’s lived in the building and the husband also ran a sweatshop in his front room and main room, employing three other people. The Levins ultimately moved to Williamsburg where Mr. Levin ended up working in the garment industry outside of the home. We got to see a sweet picture of his three daughters at the wedding of one of their grandchildren in the 70’s.

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The front room of the Levin’s house where dresses were put together.

Levin_Kitchen

The Levin’s main room with the stove.

The other family’s apartment that we saw were the Rogarshevskys. They had the same size apartment but lived in the tenement slightly later than the Levins. They also had six children living there. I cannot even imagine how eight people lived in three rooms. The older two girls worked in a factory as did the father. The father was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1916 and passed way in 1918. Mrs. Rogarshevsky was actually quite brilliant and used her skill as a master housekeeper to become the superintendent of the building and was actually permitted to live there long after everyone else had been evicted.

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A Tenement Apartment that had not been replicated.

The entire neighborhood has existed as somewhat of an entry point for new Americans and the streets have even represented that.

Allen Street, Avenue of the Immigrants

There are still remnants of the large Jewish community that remained throughout the Lower East Side and we walked near some of them but ultimately were curtailed by the massive rainstorms.

A Synagogue Economy Candy

97 Orchard Street “97 Orchard Street-built in 1863-64 by Lucas Glockner, a German-born tailor, 97 Orchard Street is typical of the earliest form of tenement house constructed in New York. For millions of immigrants from scores of nations, this tenement and others like it was a place of first settlement in America. We salute them as our urban pioneers on the municipal frontier.

This is the first tenement to be individually listed on the National Register of Historical Places by the United States Department of the Interior. September, 1992.”

My family’s immigration story is a bit different, my mother’s family immigrated directly prior to and following WWII and lived in Upstate New York, Lockport, near Buffalo before moving to California. I’m not sure if my father’s family lived in the Lower East Side at all but my dad’s grandfather definitely came in the right time period-landing at Ellis Island in 1906. My dad’s mother’s family came earlier and unfortunately I haven’t been able to discover much about her family although I would really love to.

It’s interesting to think how our family histories play such an important part in where we end up today and I wish I knew more about certain pieces of my family history. Regardless, the Tenement Museum offers quality tours and quality historical documentation on a huge piece of the American Immigration experience.

Foodie Fridays: Cafe Blossom and Molly’s Cupcakes

Last weekend my roommate and I decided, after both working all day Sunday, to go to the West Village and eat at one of our favorite vegan restaurants, Cafe Blossom.  Yum!  We’ve been coming here for over a year now and enjoy every visit!

Cafe Blossom

 

Cafe Blossom has quite a few locations around New York and we’ve been to two of them, the one in the West Village, on Carmine and the one in Chelsea on 9th Avenue.  My favorite by far is the one on Carmine-I love the West Village and I love the menu at this once.

We started off with drinks, Russell had a Sangria and I had the Montague which was had tru gin, fruitlab jasmine liqueur, lakewood pomegranate, prosecco. . . . YUM!!!

Cafe Blossom Russell Drink  Cafe Blossom Rachel Drink

Russell looks all snazzy because he is a principal and had class that day–he’s wearing his American tie in honor of a debate he had for a program  I, on the other hand, look every bit the camp director in my fleece.  I had been up at camp for a tour and didn’t think I should show my camp t-shirt while I was having a drink!

I definitely have two favorite appetizers there.  The first is trumpet mushroom scallops, cauliflower puree, sweet onion jam on potato crisps.  True story, the first time Russell and I ate there, Russell asked the waiter if these were real scallops because we don’t eat scallops. The waiter wasn’t sure what to respond to that!  Sadly this time, the potato crisps were not as crisp as usual.  It was still good though.

Second appetizer was fresh, made to order guacamole with corn chips.  I LOVE avocado and guacamole but cannot stand cilantro or raw onion so one of the things I love about this restaurant is that you can get the avocado (with a touch of lemon juice) and then you can get the pico de gallo on the side.  Perfect because Russell can get his spicy kick and I can enjoy my avocado goodness!

Cafe Blossom Trumpet Mushroom Scallops Cafe Blossom Guacamole

We each chose different main courses.  Russell chose the Seitan Marsala which came with roasted potatoes, sautéed spinach, shallots, beets, jalapeno, figs, marsala jus.

I got seitan and mushroom sliders, caramelized onions, pesto mayo, housemade tomato sauce, mozzarella, salt and vinegar garlic fries.

Cafe Blossom Seitan Marsala  Cafe Blossom Seitan and Mushroom Sliders

 

So generally speaking I have enjoyed every meal here.  This time was less than fabulous.  The guacamole was really good and the sliders were great and Russell loved his marsala.  My complains were that the potato crisps were kind of soggy and they actually goofed up my main order, bringing something else so then it took another ten minutes to prepare the correct order.

I would still recommend this restaurant because it is generally quite good.

Afterwards, because we were in the neighborhood and because we are huge cupcake nerds, we walked around the corner to Molly’s Cupcakes.  Yummy!  Here are some pictures from there.

Molly's Cupcakes  Molly's Cupcakes

 

Molly's Cupcakes  Molly's Cupcakes

Molly's Cupcakes

So unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of the cupcakes but we had some amazing ones.  Russell got a Nutella banana cupcake, cookee monster, and the mixed berry.

I had the creme brûlée  dark chocolate something and birthday cake.  Very tasty cupcakes always!

 

All in all, it was a fun evening and we had a great time hanging out in the West Village.  Now, as I am winding down my time in New York, we are trying to hit as many of the restaurants that are on my list as possible.  You will definitely see a ton of NY restaurants in the next few weeks!

 

 

Big News and Life Changes


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I have been living in New York for nearly three years now.  I have only lived on the West Coast, born in Los Angeles, raised in Portland, Oregon (minus four years in Jerusalem during high school) then back to Oregon and California for college and graduate school.  Three years ago I was the Associate Director of an overnight camp which I loved but I had always had a desire to spend some time in New York.  It was a good time, my bestie, Jen had just moved here for work and I felt better knowing that I had a support system here.

I also knew that if I didn’t do it then, the likelihood was that it wasn’t going to happen.  So I found a job and moved out here in August of 2010.  I always came with the mindset that it would work for as long as it worked and then I would figure out the next step.  About a year and a half ago, I switched jobs and became the director of a day camp-a good step for someone who loves camping.

Unfortunately this job was not the dream I thought it was and this week I had to make a very difficult decision and I gave my notice effective May 31st.  This completely turned everything into a tailspin and has pushed me to make the decision to move back to Portland.  I am very excited about this move and although I am sad that this is how things are ending with this camp and this workplace, I feel a sense of relief and a feeling that a burden has been lifted.

So, my time in NYC is ending and my time in Portland is restarting.  I am so lucky to have amazing parents who support me in everything that I do and are helping me as I start this new endeavor in my life.  I have no idea where my next steps will take me but I look forward to finding it out and definitely spending more time on my blog and exploring life!

Bumming around Brooklyn

So last weekend my roommate, Russell, and I decided to bum around Brooklyn.  The day was beautiful and we just wanted to take advantage of the amazing weather.  We also had a few things we wanted to do.  We started by walking to BAM-Brooklyn Academy of Music to catch a showing of 42-the Jackie Robinson movie.

BAM-Brooklyn Academy of Music

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This movie was especially poignant for me as the Dodgers, especially the Brooklyn Dodgers have a special meaning in my life.  I may have already written about this but my dad was born in Brooklyn and legend tells a few stories about the Brooklyn Dodgers.  The first being that my grandparents had actually broken up at one point and my grandmother had a friend give my grandfather a ticket to the Dodger game and she “happened” to be there.  Second is that my family lasted one season after the Dodgers left Brooklyn and moved to Los Angeles.

The movie did not disappoint!  It was a wonderful story of how Jackie Robinson was the first black player in Major League Baseball and Branch Rickey, the manager who got him there.  I loved seeing different parts of Brooklyn and loved thinking that we were on Flatbush Ave-only a few short miles away from where the Dodgers used to play at Ebbets Field!

Even the walk was beautiful:

Texas Bluebells and Tulips

Texas Bluebells and Tulips

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Russell in front of Barclay's Center

Russell in front of Barclay’s Center

We walked back up to Prospect Heights after that and ended up getting some Mexical for dinner–hard to find good stuff in NYC but this wasn’t bad:

IMG_0461    IMG_0462

 

We also just played around with the camera:

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IMG_0460  IMG_0458

 

There was another reason I wanted to end up in Prospect Heights  I had read about an Ice Cream place called Ample Hill Creamery.  And let me tell you, the line was out the door and around the corner!

IMG_0464 IMG_0465

It took us about 45 minutes just to get into the store and then the line wound around the restaurant.  I felt like I was at a ride at Disneyland.  It didn’t hurt that there was tons of cool murals and stuff on the walls!

IMG_0470   IMG_0468

IMG_0467    IMG_0466

Some really interesting stuff about the owner:

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And we finally got the front and by goodness, the ice cream did not disappoint!

I had Salted Crack Caramel: salted caramel ice cream with pieces of Deb’s famous crack cookies (saltines, butter, sugar, chocolate) and Ooey Gooey Butter Cake: The smoothest, creamiest vanilla ice cream with gobs of St. Louis Ooey Gooey Butter Cake Pieces.

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Russell had Bananmom: a twist on banana pudding: organic bananas, Saigon cinnamon and vanilla wafers and Sweet As Honey: homemade honey comb candy in a sweet cream ice cream.

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At the end of the day, thanks to my handy dandy UP by Jawbone bracelet, we had walked nearly 7 miles.  A very good chill day in Brooklyn!

 

Mug O’ Comfort Swap

mugocomfortswapI was so excited and honored to be a part of Mug o’ Comfort Swap through Chaotic Goddess Swaps!

I was paired with the delightful Beth from Living a Goddess Life!  She lives in Seattle which is only four hours from my hometown of Portland, Oregon and we’ve been exchanging fabulous emails and I’m loving my new friend and blogging buddy!

So thanks to the pain in the butt that is the New York mail system I didn’t ghet my package until Friday 😦 but it is WELL WORTH THE WAIT!!!!

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Love that the package was wrapped with pink zebra striped duct tape!  It made the package much more fun than boring shipping tape!

 

 

 

 

The package was full of so many awesome goodies:

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An awesome hot pad to rest my teapots or hot mugs–I love that she crafted it all herself!  I look forward to putting my teapot on it soon!  I also LOVE that everything had a note that explained!

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I love Chai and I love the purple orca spiced chai!  I can’t wait to try this!  Chai is definitely a newer obsession of mine.

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Three whole different kinds of coffee!  Even though it was ten o’clock last night when I opened it, the smell permeated through the house and I was ready to brew a cup of coffee right then and there!

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Tea, tea, tea!  So many different kinds of tea that I am excited to add to my repertoire of tea drinks!  My favorite thing to do is have different types of tea every day lately so this is perfect!

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Homemade hot chocolate mix, I am so excited for this one!  I love hot chocolate and I love that Beth made her own hot chocolate for me!

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I love the colors of the mug and how shiny it is!

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A book because what better than to sit with a hot drink and a fabulous book?  this one looks super interesting and I can’t wait to read it and get back to you.

 

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The perfect card to go with the tea box!  The green stamp acts like a tea tag!

This was definitely the perfect way to join the blog linking party world and I look forward to participating in future swaps and more blog fun!

Thank you Beth for the amazing package!  And thank you Angie for getting me involved in this awesome swap!!!!!