Lens on May 2019

May flew by with fun weekend trips and packed weeknights, and at this very moment, most of June has flown by as well! But I don’t want to miss a monthly update. I don’t see my schedule slowing down any time soon. I need a vacation… good thing July 4 weekend isn’t too far off.

If you’ve been following along, you know I had been preparing for a 5K in May. Well, just like the first 5K I prepared for in the fall, this one was cancelled due to weather! Thanks to inclement weather, I’m 0 for 2 at the moment. I signed up for another one which is scheduled for this week – will let you know how that goes in the next post. It’s going to be a rainy week so I am keeping my fingers crossed.


Some eats in New York City and just across the Hudson River, organized by distance from central Manhattan…

Gregory’s Coffee (Upper East Side location) – Not much to say about this cool chain besides after 5pm their pastries are half off – including a nice selection of Gluten Free and or Dairy Free pastries. Not sure if this is all locations but it was a nice surprise!

A mezze platter with dips such as hummus, baba ganoush, spinach, and yogurt on a blue tiled table, on the next table there is a loaf of bread and a dish with some stuffed grape leaves.
The mezze platter on a beautiful tiled table at Beyoglu… and do you see that delicious bread on the side???

Beyoglu (Upper East Side) – definitely a favorite restaurant here in Manhattan. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: share the mezze platter and as many apps as you need to fill your stomach, and don’t skimp on the warm bread.

Joe’s Shanghai (Midtown West) – nice place for worktime lunch – fast service and a reasonably priced lunch menu.

Calle Dao (Midtown West) – took my husband here as a surprise – the menu was interesting, and happy hour prices great, but it was way too loud to have a conversation. I would go back for happy hour at the bar but not a meal.

District Social (Midtown) – met some friends for drinks at this multi-level bar. Just like Calle Dao, it was super loud, but great prices for happy hour.

Talad Wat (Hell’s Kitchen) – fun Thai menu with lots of flavor, but a bit pricey for my taste.

Noona Noodles (Koreatown) – nothing special as far as Ramen goes, but in a fun food court where I also had…

A plastic cup on a counter filled with green matcha ice cream, chocolate ice cream, and a large churro loop.
This masterpiece is a looped, warm churro, stuck into a cup of soft serve ice cream (matcha and chocolate flavors).

Sweet Churros (Koreatown) – ….a churro loop stuck in a cup of soft serve ice cream. Can life get any better? I submit that it cannot!

Colombia in Park Slope (Park Slope) – this is our favorite place in Park Slope! We were in the neighborhood and planned to stop there for lunch. We shared a Bandeja Paisa, my husband ate all the meat and I had the egg. We also split a side of Yucca Fries and a passionfruit juice. SO DELICIOUS!! Can’t wait til we go back.

Bagel Pub (Park Slope) – after lunch we grabbed coffee at Bagel Pub and embraced their half off bagels after hours.

ACE Thai (Brooklyn) – ordered take out from here when I was working in Brooklyn and it was delicious.

Rumba Cubana (Guttenberg, NJ) – nice Cuban restaurant across the river with nice view of the city skyline. I ate so many tostones!!

a few fun bites up in the Hudson Valley…

A grilled cheese sandwich on a white plate on a wooden table. There are also french fries and a little dish of ketchup on the plate.
A gooey grilled cheese with fries at Grazin’ Diner.

Grazin’ Diner (Hudson, NY) – cute retro style diner with local eats.

Talbott & Arding (Hudson, NY) – upscale deli with prepared foods, cheese, and an assortment of snacks and beverages.

A look into Verdigris shop. There are tables and counters with different items for sale such as teacups, mugs, chocolates in bags. In the back there is another counter with a sign that says "Drinks" over it.
Overlooking the chocolate and tea cup selection at Verdigris in Hudson NY.

Verdigris Tea and Chocolate (Hudson, NY) – incredible selection of teas and chocolates! I bought a few different kinds of teas to try at home.

Cinnamon (Rhinebeck) – after a long day of eating in Hudson, Cinnamon was the perfect place to top it off with a tasty Indian meal.

…and two in Chicago!

A slice of deep dish Chicago style pizza on a white plate.
Vegetarian veggie stuffed deep dish pizza!

Lou Malnati (Chicago) – apparently there are two top deep dish pizza places in Chicago – you either like one or the other. Our friends liked Lou’s so we tried it. It’s not New York pizza, but it wasn’t bad either. Their website, however, claims it is the best!

Easy Street (Chicago) – we had an amazing brunch at Easy Street – a relatively new offering of theirs which I hope they continue. The waitress was so nice answering all of our questions with our dietary needs, prices were amazing, since we were comparing it to New York, and everyone’s food looked incredible. I had avocado toast and shared the smoothie bowl with my husband, which was mostly me eating it before he realized what was going on. Anyway, this place had a great outdoor backyard patio, and plenty of dining space inside. I wish this place much success!


Two women are sitting on stools with microphones. On the left is blogger Mrs. Frugalwoods. On the right is the founder of the Financial Gym.
Mrs. Frugalwoods speaks!

Mrs. Frugalwoods at the Financial Gym – one of my favorite bloggers, Mrs. Frugalwoods, was speaking in New York and I got to see her! And I even met her! It was so cool. The internet is real, people! Also, I learned about the Financial Gym which is a cool place to get your financial butt in gear. They have plenty of events as well.

Nice display at Filiz Studio.

A Day in Hudson – my mother and I took a day trip up to Hudson, NY, a bit belated Mother’s Day celebration, where we wandered the main street, popped into a number of cute stores, and tried many delicious treats.

A view of 'the Bean,' formally known as Cloud Gate, a mirrored sculpture in the shape of a bean in Chicago's Millennium Park. In the sculpture you can see buildings reflections, and also behind it are more buildings. There is a crowd of people in front of the sculpture.

A Weekend in Chicago – my husband and I went to visit friends in Chicago where we got to try deep dish pizza and see the Bean, which I learned is actually called “Cloud Gate”. But mostly we had a great time catching up with our friends!

The Frick Collection's courtyard. There are columns around the perimeter, and plants and marble benches along the outside. In the center is a decorative fountain lined by green leafy plants.
The courtyard at the Frick after hours.

Sketching at the Frick Collection – a friend of mine is a member at the Frick and invited me to join her at a sketching night. It was really special to be in the museum after hours, mostly in silence, sketching the works around you.


Half fiction, half fiction this month… I’ve now completed 20 books this year!

Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger – Book club was on a classics kick. This was easy to read but annoying, but nice to read scenes of New York back in the day.

I am holding the book Where the Crawdads Sing. The cover is orange and on the bottom there is an image of a woman in a canoe rowing out to sea between two trees. The background of the photo is a colorful spray painted metal grate.
Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens – there was much fuss about this book, and it was a captivating read, like the tide rushing in and out throughout the day. Definitely loved the ending, while some of the characters felt a little underdeveloped, I loved watching the main character grow and flourish despite her many hardships.

The cover of The Uninhabitable Earth, which is white with black text. At the bottom there is an image of a dead bumblebee. Behind the book you can see pink flowers and green leaves on a bush.
The Uninhabitable Earth

The Uninhabitable Earth, David Wallace-Wells – Oh no. It’s all over. There’s no point! If you’d like to know what kind of wreckage we’ve already imparted on this earth and what’s to come, read away. If you value your innocence, just keep recycling and thinking someone else is going to fix this mess. Also, move inland.

Atomic Habits, James Clear – a great book on how to change your habits, your identity and your life. Highly recommend!

Low Buy Update

I finished 2 sheet masks, a skincare product, one eyeliner, and a bar of soap in May. I also gave a few full-size items away to friends and family that I won’t be using.

A photograph of empty beauty products - two face masks, a skincare product, an eyeliner, and a plastic box (representing a bar of soap).
My May empties.

Last month, I started a new skincare routine which has done wonders (doctor’s orders!) I had to buy a few things for this, and I won’t be using as many other skincare products as I anticipated. However, for example, since I had already opened some cleansers, I will use what’s left to remove makeup and clean brushes.

Overall, the past two months have not been super ‘productive’ in terms of my panning but I’m feeling positive for June.

As far as other purchases for May:

  • Bath & Body Works – I dropped some dollars at Bath & Body Works during a candle sale, buying a number of candles as well as their “Mother’s Day Tote” but gave most of the candles as gifts. They smelled so good!
  • DSW and Jackrabbit – Following some foot issues I’ve listened to my podiatrists’ advice and purchased GOOD shoes with arch support. I went through the shoes I had in my closet and gave ones in good condition away, and made a bag of trash shoes. I bought a new pair of running shoes, a pair of walking shoes, and some sandals.
  • Old Navy – I purchased a summery tropical floral top at Old Navy but when I tried it on again, it didn’t fit so I will return it next time I’m there.

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