Five Things (10)

These five things are brought to you by all that jazz!

The bee’s knees and the cat’s meow! 

Twice a year, Governor’s Island takes a step back in time to the era of flappers, speakeasies and jazz. Michael Arenella & his Dreamland Orchestra throw a 1920s themed party where men and women dress up in their 1920s rags and picnic on Governor’s Island lawn. This year I got to partake in the celebration.

I didn’t go in costume even though I purchased a dress from Modcloth for the event. I decided that I didn’t like it and ended up sending it back the week before. I did buy a cloche hat from Modcloth, and I had my pearls, so I felt a bit in the spirit of things. To be quite honest, I felt a little underdressed for the event, so many people went all out, I was impressed!

I took a picnic – fruits, cheese and crackers – with me and my friend and I had a feast! We got a spot close to the dance floor and spent a few hours eating, chatting, people watching and having an all around good time. I’m so happy I went, I almost didn’t, ALMOST, but in the end I am so happy I did go! It was exciting, there was a contagious excitement in the air. I am looking forward to next year, I hope to attend both sessions.


Wedding, the first

The first wedding of the season happened on the first weekend in August and I caught the bouquet. It was a sweet ceremony, the food was delicious, the bride was gorgeous and the groom was dashingly handsome, and there was a lot of dancing with friends, overall it was a fun time!

I didn’t mean to catch the bouquet. I was hiding out in the back, minding my own business, when it came flying through the air at me. I stepped out of the way and it landed with a thud on the floor. I looked around and no one was picking it up so I did, unthinkingly, and tried to hand it off. No one would take it, so I was left with it.


Wedding, the second

The next wedding happened the following week, in Wyoming. To get to Cheyenne we flew into Denver and then drove to Cheyenne. The morning of the wedding we ran the 3K in support of breast cancer. I didn’t run the entire way, but when I was running I didn’t feel winded at all, which in itself is a success. The wedding happened that evening, and it was a great time. I enjoyed hanging out with old and new friends, we had some fun times in the city.

Cheyenne is really fun! There was a farmer’s market that day, so after the run a few of us ventured into the farmers market and I came away with some jam, tea and a taste of the best organic, grass fed, real cow meat I’ve tasted – ever.

Oh, did I mention that I got me some cowgirl boots?


632 on Hudson

I attended a networking event at 632 on Hudson, the food was catered by Gotham Bar and Grill – it was delicious – but the place was the best! The place was amazing. So beautifully laid out, each room had a different feel to it but it worked. I spent some time on the roof with my coworker, chatting and enjoying the view. It was a lovely time, I’m so glad I got the opportunity to attend.

Showers galore!

Along with all the weddings comes showers and I got the opportunity to plan and implement my friend, J’s, shower! It was supposed to happen outside, but with the threat of rain we moved it indoors.

I like event planning, I like coming up with ideas and seeing them come together so it was a lot of fun for me planning this event. But, at the same time I grew to appreciate event planners. It’s a lot of hard work! There are so many little things and details that you need to consider in order for things to go out without a hitch. If I’m being honest, I must have been running on adrenaline all day long because I’m not sure how I managed to pull it off! Everything came together, everyone had a good time and in the end that made me ridiculously happy!

The party was hosted by a friend of ours, who helped a TON in the setting up! When the guests arrived, we served them drinks – I found this great virgin mimosa concoction online, and I knew my bride loved OJ but not alcohol, so it was a great find. You mix 2 parts OJ, 1 part Seltzer water and 1/4 part Elderflower syrup. The elderflower syrup is what makes the drink. I discovered this wonderfully delicious drink/syrup only this month!

We played the wedding taboo game, but instead of clothes pins or hair clips we used bangles. We also played  the he said/she said game and I got the idea to use mustaches and tiaras from a blog online. We gave away jewelry trees for the big prizes and necklaces for the smaller ones, and these gifts made the perfect – non floral – centerpieces (I have a thing about flowers off the plants).

The food was catered by a woman from the church and it was delicious. I’d recommend her to everyone! She doesn’t have a website but I can pass her information along if you want someone to cater for you.

Planning events are difficult, but seeing happy guests is rewarding. Hats off to all you party planners out there!


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. 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 Parks 

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



Five Things (8)

These five things are brought to you by the sunny days of summer!

— Thing One —

I took a plane to Canada for my cousin’s 30th (again) surprise birthday party. His wife put it together for him and he was very surprised! It was fun hanging with my family for the weekend. I don’t get to do to Canada often because the price of tickets are often ridiculous – I mean, the flight is not even an hour, do I really need to pay 400$ for a round-trip? – and when there are folks driving up I usually cannot go due to work.

I had a great time there, the birthday was fun and the food delicious but, the best part was the cake! Not only was it delicious it was a beautiful thing to behold.


— Thing two —

I went up to a retreat at Nyack college. First off, that campus is AMAZING! The views from the campus are spectacular, the grounds are quaint and quite beautiful and the buildings are fun! The retreat was also AMAZING. I had a great time and hung out with friends and met some lovely people. It was rainy the first night, but the next day the weather was perfect. A few of us went into town and the stores in the town were so adorable! There was a bookshop called Pickwick (I know, cute!) and I wanted to go in to see if they had any Dickens. Such a lovely place, I’m so glad I went away for the weekend.


— Thing three —

I was at a conference where the speaker was talking about the power of word of mouth advertising and he mentioned a speakeasy that exists in New York where you enter in via a telephone booth inside of a hot dog shop; when I heard this I knew I had to go visit!

It was definitely an experience. They took reservations on the day off, but you had to call after 3pm! I called about 10-15 times before finally getting through and making our reservation. I think it’s a great spot for a small group of friends to relax and have a good time. I loved that it wasn’t crowded and that we were able to hear each other talk. It was strange, but it was really peaceful, I’d go back again!


— Thing four —

I have a set of pink clubs, I haven’t taken it to out in about three years – since my black car! A weekend ago I did take them out, I went with a friend and her hubby to the driving range where I attempted to teach him how to hit a golf ball. For me though, the best part of the trip was seeing that I was better than I expected. I hit the balls about 95% Of the time and got it out past the 100 mark most of the time – which is pretty amazing since I only recall barely making the 75 mark. There were a few times where I even hit it past 150! I was shocked!

I forgot how therapeutic hitting a golf ball was, I think I’ll have to do it again!

— Thing five —

When you get the right group of people, the right music and the right mood, Karaoke is pretty awesome. I definitely had the right group of people this past Friday. I loved it! We wanted to go for an hour more, but alas, the rooms were all booked!

You know, I really love New York. It might not be as old as European cities but there is a lot of history here. I also enjoy the cultural mix. The fact that I can go to a speakeasy one night, Karaoke the next night and if I want some Korean food with girlfriends, I can find it if I just walk down a block or two.



Five Things (7)

These Five Things are brought to you by the letter S and the number 7.

— Thing One —

Shanny, Shanny, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? My sister, father and I went to Home Depot and Lowes one bright Saturday morning – far too early for a Saturday morning might I add – and bought the necessary equipment for planting a small vegetable and flower garden. Later, my sister and I spent four hours digging up the earth and laying down soil and compost (mmmm, compost), and finally, planted our garden! In the front we have Burgundy Blush, Silver Star, Sensation Deep Rose and I later found some English Lavender which has a wonderful smell! I cannot wait for late spring/early summer when everything will be in bloom!  In the back we planted some tomatoes and basil – I suppose we can make it into sauce. I want to plant some peas, cucumbers, mint and maybe lettuce, we’ll see how these take.

I’m not too worried about the flowers, they are pretty low maintenance, but I am a bit worried about the tomatoes, I already see issues with the leaves so I’m going to have to do some more research on taking care of them. I am happy to report though, that they have grown in the last few weeks which makes me hopeful that they will last! Maybe the black thumb curse has been broken!


— Thing Two —

That one time I built a reading fort, one free Sunday afternoon. One of my poles got a bit messed up after this adventure, but I think it will still be able to support the tent. There’s really something fun about pitching a tent, even if it’s in your backyard.


— Thing Three —

If you’ve seen The Princess Diaries then you’re acquainted with her work. Meg Cabot came to visit New York and I got a book signed by her! Yay! She’s hilarious, as you can see from her blog, and she writes for kids, teens and adults. She writes a lot! After signing the books she warned us about the weather and reminded us to take umbrellas. Author and meteorologist, is there anything Meg Cabot cannot do?


— Thing Four —

There is this place in College Point called Spa Castle and it is wonderful. That is all!

PhotoGrid_1368828120653[cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory]

— Thing Five —

My dad, my sister and I took a drive from New York to Pennsylvania to visit my uncle and his family. They recently moved west and we haven’t visited them since. It was a great day for visiting, no rain and with hardly any traffic (looking at you GWB) the joys of cruise control was experienced.

A lot of country jokes were made, my sister decided to play Hunger Games because they had some “woods” (see clump of trees below) and someone might have spotted a “bear” or two. However, the best thing was the welcome we received from my little cousin, Nate, as he saw us pull in – the screaming and the hugs that we experienced were priceless.


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Five Things (6)

Five things come trotting across your interwebs …

— Thing One —

I was invited to an imprint launch, in April, for Harlequin Teen; it was excellent! A full report is posted on my Book Blog, and I’m glad I bumped into a few people I already knew as well as getting the chance to meet new people. This event actually caused me to think a bit more about networking. While I think I’m generally social, my shyness often leads me towards passive interactions with new people at events. Something like a book event, where I don’t necessarily know a bunch of people personally, is pretty tough because it means I have to open up and talk to others; on the other hand it’s easy to talk about books, so I didn’t feel completely pressured. However, something did catch my attention while at this event. I gained a lot of business cards, but only contacted two people, my reason being, these people actually took time to talk to me. I’m not sure what is the best tactic for networking, but personally, I feel more inclined to connect to someone if they take the time to talk to me and ask a few questions about me before moving on to the next person.


— Thing Two —

I’m not generally spontaneous, I’m a planner at heart. I like schedules, calendars, lists and that sort of thing. However, every now and then I just feel like doing something different and a spontaneous side takes over. I love having friends and family that are also into spontaneous hangings; whether it be dinner or movies or just geeky events! I found three amazing eating places from spontaneous hangings in April. The first was Ryan Maguire’s Ale House in the financial district – which was only a mile walk from my office – they have the most delicious Grilled Salmon! Next were lunch places in SoHo, there was Great Jones Cafe, I had the chili, it was wonderful and then Ceci Cela whose Salmon Quiche was stupendous! I loved Ceci-Cela’s decor, I can picture myself going there for a tea break during the summer, sitting in the back with tea and a petite madeline while reading a book! So excited 🙂

— Thing Three —

There are people still cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy and we don’t necessarily hear about it because the media has moved on. I was fortunate to notice a Facebook post about a volunteer opportunity and since I was free that Saturday, I decided to go to Far Rockaway to volunteer with some New Lifers and Starbucks (that’s right, Starbucks!!). It was a very long day, and I was with the gardening group. At the end of three hours we cleaned up the garden and the plot and planted some herbs and veggies. It was a lot of hard work, but definitely worth it!


— Thing Four —

I went to a networking event for work where I got a chance to be a part of a wine class that was taught by Kevin Zraly – owner and instructor of Windows on the World Wine School. It was more fun that I could imagine! I love learning new things and I definitely learnt much more than I’ve ever known about wine!

— Thing Five —

The first pedicure of the year, what an excellent feeling! The last Saturday in April was a bit of a girls day! J and I got our nails done, then took my sister to the mall where she got a chance to look at some prom dresses. The day ended with burger from Bobby’s Burger Place and some family time. Pretty much a perfect Saturday.

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Five Things (5)

This version of FIVE THINGS is brought to you by Relient K’s Wake Up Call, because it’s 2am.

— Thing One —

I love Easter for a number of reasons, first there is the fact that it’s the day Christians remember, not only the sacrifice and suffering of Christ, but also the fact that he rose from the grave, victorious, conquering death. Secondly, I love that I get to spend it with friends and family. The planner in me also loves seeing plans come together and people having a good time. I’m very happy to be a part of my community of friends, they really are a group of fun and interesting people!

— Thing Two —

I don’t usually get to hang out with many of my cousins as much as I would like to, but the times we do hang out are always lovely. I am glad I got the chance to enjoy dinner and  a movie with D&A – even if the movie was Temptation, and even though Kim was the best actress in that entire flick. I love the openness, candid talks and crazy laughter that we experience together. I love getting to know them and see them grow into who they are and I enjoy our differences and similarities. Family is awesome.

— Thing Three —

“Turn up the car radio we can be karaoke superstars!” You know that moment when you chose a song from Wicked to sing at karaoke, and someone else in the room knows the song so you don’t have to sing both parts by yourself. And then you decide to do What is this Feeling? because you’ve always wanted to do it at karaoke but couldn’t because no one else knew the song? Yeah, that feeling is awesome.

I love karaoke! I especially love it when you have the right crowd to belt out show tunes and old tunes, it makes for an epic night. 🙂

— Thing Four —

Brunch at Sarabeth’s is, quite frankly, amazing! Breakfast is probably my favourite food to consume, and Sarabeth’s (even though the wait was crazy!) serves some really good breakfast! I spent a Saturday there with my college friends, celebrating an upcoming birth – it was a lovely time! Great company, great conversation and fun all around. I like being able to hang out with my college friends and share in the milestones of their lives. I hope this lasts for a very long time. =)


— Thing Five —

Since I’m the only one “out east”, I often go “west” to see my friends, but when they make it out this way I can’t help but feel loved! Thanks to my friend who drove out to have dinner and coffee with me as we chatted about serious and not so serious things. I really appreciated the time and really enjoyed the conversation. And let’s not forget good coffee at quaint  coffee-shops. Who knew my neighbourhood hid such an awesome gem …

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Five Things (4)

We are in the fourth month of the year 2013. Spring has officially begun, but Mother Nature didn’t get the memo. I’m thinking we need to rename the seasons, there is Fall from November to January and then Winter from February to April. May is Spring, June/July is summer and everything else is a sort of muggy uncertainty.

Enough with the weather, that universal topic of conversation; it’s time to talk about FIVE THINGS!

— Thing One —

I love Broadway, so I try to go to a show at least once a year (or more). 2013 started off with Rock of Ages, and it was wonderful! I would recommend this show to anyone – it’s electric!

— Thing Two —

I love getting together in small, intimate groups with friends, especially friends that I consider dear to my heart. This past month I got to hang out with some of my old workmates who are dear friends of mine. We met at someone’s house and spent the day around the table, having brunch then supper and talking about life, work and babies! I think I’m going to pass on the babies! haha

Since it was a brunch get together, we each made dishes and I decided to try a recipe that I found on Pinterest. I’ve done a few successful ones and some not so successful ones, my fave being the Personal Lasagna Rolls, but ever since I started my “Delightful Dishes” board, I’ve always wanted to try the French Toast Bake. So, after some consideration, I made it for brunch and, I have to say, it was DELICIOUS! Instead of brown sugar, I only had white sugar in the house, so I added some molasses (yeah, we have that and not brown sugar) and it gave the base a sort of pancake syrupy taste. Of course one serving was about 500 calories, but, hey, it’s the weekend, I can let my hair down (and loosen the belt).


Other such intimate hangouts included time spent with three other ladies, one who I haven’t seen in a loooong time due to time and distance. That was an awesome evening, I started out hanging with C and we talked about a ton of things and I shared some funny (and disturbing) stories about men, that I was experiencing at the time. Watch this space for a detailed post in a month or so. (hehehe)

Then spending the night at the movies with my soon-to-be-published cousin A.J., watching Jack the Giant Slayer and making fun of the predictable plot. I don’t usually talk during movies in cinemas, but when there aren’t many people there it really is a lot of fun laughing and talking about what’s going to happen next. So predictable.

Then this past Sunday there was a spontaneous Sunday lunch (well I had two lunches, like a hobbit) because I was missing some faces, but only lunch #1 was considered intimate. Large gathering does have it’s time and place as well.

— Thing Three —

Girl Scout Cookies!!!!! The Girl Scouts know about demand and supply. I can’t tell you the number of cookies I’ve consumed in the past two weeks … I’m ashamed to count them! But those Thin Mints and Tagalongs are just SO GOOD!

Just the other day I was on my way to the threading salon where I passed a group of Girl Scouts strategically located right outside of the salon, I was going to purchase 1 box of Thin Mints, but ended up purchasing 2 boxes of Thin Mints and 1 box of Tagalongs. I’m a little tempted to buy a bunch and hoard them, but I’m afraid that might lead to the over-consumption of cookies over the span of a few hours.

— Thing Four —

This might have been my first bookish event this year – I’m slacking, I know! I saw Andrew Jenks, Alaya Dawn Johnson and Eireann Corrigan. I wrote a bit about the event on my book blog, so you can check it out there if you’re interested (and see photos from the event).

— Thing Five —

Finally, The Good and Beautiful God book club met for the second time a few weeks ago. I love reading and discussing books with others, it really does amaze me how two people, reading the same text, can find different insights. I love the sharing of inspiration and ideas that come out from the text. I also love how everyone reads differently and react differently to the text. Discussing books shows me how diverse our world is, I absolutely love it!


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