Five Things (9)

These five things are brought to you by the Fall in the Summer.

Sparks Fly on the 4th & Zombies Walk the Streets

I had a pretty surreal 4th of July weekend. Had a wonderful barbecue at a friend’s place (a sort of house warming event), after which we walked to the school nearby to see the fireworks.ย The next day I spent with a friend, just hanging out, watching World War Z (not bad but, not great) and talking about life, love and other mysteries. Finally rounding off the weekend with new jewelry, a swim in a pool and book club.

I know it seems like a pretty normal thing, but the topic of the weekend was a bit surreal and it got me prepared for the next big adventure …

Road Trips to Small Towns in Massachusetts

I went on a personal retreat with two friends. I know what you’re thinking; how is it a personal retreat when two other people are there? Well, that’s easy, the idea is to get away from the normal and do nothing, either with each other or by yourself. It’s a time to refresh.

I definitely needed to get away, to relax, to journal, to think. I did all of that and more! Coming back was hard, but at least I was at peace.

shanella retreat

Big Screens in Little Parksย 

One of my favourite things to do during the Summer is to see a movie in Bryant Park. Every Monday, the park is packed with New Yorkers and visitors as they wait, on blankets or chairs, for the sun to set. At sunset the movie begins. This month I saw Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, it was a fun time, even though it rained, even though the sounds was off, even though we were VERY FAR BACK! It’s just fun to share the time with friends.

shanella in the park

A Ferry Ride to the Island

I finally went to Governor’s Island again! After about three years! A few things have changed, but overall it’s just as I remembered it.

It was a fun day, hanging with friends as they came and went. Being on a Ferry for 30 minutes before they finally decided to move and then seeing my life flash before me as the ferry decided to dock in the same spot as another Ferry. It was quite the adventure!

They still have the bikes, so it was fun to ride around the island and see a closer view of the Statue of Liberty. They also have a new food court pavilion with Waffles and Dinges! I’m looking forward to visiting the island again, this time in 1920s garb for the Jazz Age Lawn Party!

shanella on gov island

The Great Tomato Report

I am really excited for my garden. This month I planted some peas and bought a mint plant, but the most exciting part is the number of tomatoes that keep growing! I’ve also got a lot of basil and quite frankly I don’t know what to do with them – other than smell their awesome scent.

Did I mention that I also have lavender?

Seeing my little garden makes me very happy. I did a lot of work to get it going, so much so that I was in pain for a week after digging up the ground and getting rid of old stumps! I’m so glad that tomatoes are so easy to grow! Basil too! I really cannot wait for the peas to grow, then I can make a veggie dish, using the fruit of my labour. (heh heh)

shanella garden tomatoes



Woohoo I’m 31!

I like looking back over the year and seeing the different things that I did ๐Ÿ™‚ it makes me stop and be thankful for the life that I have. I really am grateful to the family and friends that I have in my life, and as I start my 32nd year I hope that I will remember these things and remember the awesome people in my life and remember to show them that I love them.

1. Last year around this time Manhattanhenge happened (oh, and I turned older). I spent it eating mussels at Petite Abeille (I love this restaurant!!) with two of my favourite people.

2. I attended a lot of bookish events, but the KGB Bar on stood out. KGB Bar is a little hole in the wall (up some stairs) in the Lower East Side that hosts literary events. Packed into a tight room, we listened to authors read and talk about their books. Plus side is you need to be over 21, so no teens at the events (even though the event we attended had a YA author). Sometimes I just want to have a literary experience with people my own age!

3. I made my own signature scent! I called it Fleur de Ciel because it’s heavy on the flowery scent and there is a touch of ambrosia in there which makes it the “scent of the gods”.

4. Went to Europe! Prague, London and Paris – with layovers in Dublin. It was 10 days of non-stop action and fun!

5. While in London I saw Les Miserables in a West End theater, on a stage with the turntable, and it was fantastic!

6. Also in London I visited the Harry Potter set – it was magical. Now thanks to Google you can visit Diagon Alley.

7. I saw a lot of BROADWAY! Jersey Boys, Chicago and Spider Man, Rock of Ages, Newsies, Phantom of the Opera … I love Broadway!

8. I also got the chance to meet Maggie Stiefveter and receive a signed final copy of The Raven Boys! It was a wonderful book and I am a fan of Maggie’s superb imagination! I’m so happy to be working at my job!


9. On the topic of authors, I saw JK Rowling (and got a signed copy of her book for grown-ups). If you haven’t read the book you should, and if you started it and put it down you should give it a second chance. I found myself up until 4am one morning finishing the story, I was so hooked!


10. Hung out at the Batonical Gardens in the Bronx. It was my first time there and I really enjoyed the grounds and the art on exhibit. It was a beautiful afternoon.

11. Attended a Libba Bray event at Symphony Space for her Diviners book release. It was a 1920s paranormal tale; this book really intrigued me and raised an interest in everything 1920s – what a fascinating era!

12. Hiked with some friends, enjoying the fall foliage before Sandy’s heavy hand was served!

13. Went on a tour of the LES during Christmas and witnessed the area post Sandy. I know everything isn’t opened still, but I recently visited the southern tip of Manhattan again and am happy to see the place is slowly getting back to normal.


14. Co-hosted an Ugly Sweater Christmas Party and absolutely loved it! I’ve always wanted to do one so I am really thankful for my friends who were game enough to come with their ugly sweaters ๐Ÿ™‚ Now all I have to do is convince them to have a Mustache Party!

15. The New Year brought wonderful engagements and I was about to head home when I got a text saying that two of my friends just got engaged! It was a lot of fun rushing over just to say “aaaahhh!!!!” and jump around.

16. The aftermath of Sandy extended into 2013 and I spent a day at Grandma’s, cleaning up. I got to put on the final touches – swiffering the floor! ha

17. Swan Lake = Swell! It wasn’t the entire ballet, but just a part with a few other ballets. It was a lot of fun. I really love Lincoln Center!

18. I saw the inside of Carnegie Hall for the first time and experienced a Night of Awesome! John and Hank Green really know how to have a party!

19. The 3rd Annual Oscar party was the best one yet!

20. The 2nd Annual Easter Dinner with The Flaming Cake! I’ve never attempted to light so many candles before, it was a load of fun.

21. I was also a part of a Book Club, we were reading The Good and Beautiful God. I loved the sessions that we had! I want more book clubs!


22. My first football game – a Jets game, where the Jets lost!

23. I attended an exclusive Harlequin Teen event and it was wonderful! I love their imprint, they have a lot of great books!


24. The Sandy cleanup still continues! We planted a garden in Far Rockaway and this inspired me to start my own!

25. Giving blood for the first time!

26. Actually starting my own garden – I have tomatoes! I can’t wait until they start ripening more!

27. I attended a Spiritual formation retreat where we did manuscript study and it was a wonderful time! Not only was the campus that we stayed on amazing, but the sessions were so inspiring!


28. In the lines of all things 1920, I visited my first Speakeasy. You entered via a telephone booth!

29. Best.Brunch.Ever.

30. Saw Willy Wonka in Bryant Park – after braving a few minutes of rain! I love movies in the park, especially when you have big blankets!

31. Finally, all the tea outings and movie outings with friends and family! Not to mention the cupcake eatings ๐Ÿ™‚

I can’t wait to see what this year will bring. ๐Ÿ™‚