Another Day, Another Workout

After skipping a workout the day before, I had to push it hard today. I walked to class and began to sweat, while having a lot of fun with my classmates and Marina.

I like to call this picture above, “Cat on a Hot Tin Step!” Cat Migliaccio was working hard and I loved the way her leg was pumped forward.

Jump, jump, jump!

Here, Marina is pushing us to shrink our thighs even more.

After class, I met Ray and had a delicious snack on Broadway. We found an open table and ate green grapes and cherries before walking home. I love that you can always find a place to sit from Times Square to 34th Street.

Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs and Chili. Sometimes, putting things on a small plate tricks my mind, but today was one of those days where I just wanted more to eat and had to use my will power to restrain myself!

Lunch: Chicken Parmesan with Whole Wheat Spaghetti Noodles. I threw in my Eclipse bracelets, since I saw it earlier that morning!

Dinner: Veggie Patty with Potatoes, Zucchini and Tomatoes.

Official Release of Twilight

My sister-in-law came into town to see the triple feature and official release of Eclipse tonight. From 6:30PM-2:30AM, we were in the theatre. That meant, I skipped my workout, but that was fine to do one day, in order to see the book series come to life! I was very sleep deprived the next day, but it was worth it! A 1000 people filled the theatre that day in just Regal Battery Park and it was the largest world wide release ever!

The only full meal I ate today was breakfast: Salmon on a Multigrain Muffin. Grapefruit.

Semi-Dinner: I had some junk at the movie theatre. I ate popcorn and sour skittles. I’m pretty sure those things added up to my 1300 allotted calories a day!

Eclipse Pre-Screening

Don’t judge me! I love Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series. As I mentioned in last week’s post, I was invited to a free pre-screening to the film because of my wonderful book club. I loved the anticipation of seeing the movie and getting an early preview of the movie before its opening the following day.

I know that it may be bizarre that at my age I love a story that was written for teens, but I find that a lot of people feel the same way. In fact, there was a great article written by Caitlin Flanigan in the Atlantic explaining why it is that adults love this series. The following quote really describes my own feelings about why Twilight is so sensational.

“Twilight is fantastic. It’s a page-turner that pops out a lurching, frightening ending I never saw coming. It’s also the first book that seemed at long last to rekindle something of the girl-reader in me. In fact, there were times when the novel—no work of literature, to be sure, no school for style; hugged mainly to the slender chests of very young teenage girls, whose regard for it is on a par with the regard with which just yesterday they held Hannah Montana—stirred something in me so long forgotten that I felt embarrassed by it.”

I haven’t met anyone who didn’t love the series when they read it and trust me, I judged others when I was told to read it. My initial reaction was, “Seriously? You want me to read a book about vampires?!” But, I will admit I was wrong and I recommend the series to everyone.

Twilight brought out emotion that you remember when you were younger and you would long to read one book after the next. This is the first book series I found in my adult life where I read all four books in 6 days, not minding the little sleep. I left all responsibilities for those six days because I was completely immersed in this gorgeous love story. I also love the fact that it’s a very innocent love story and abstinence in this series is extremely sexy. This series rekindled so many emotions in me and felt like it awoke me from regular routines and inspired me to open my eyes again.

World Cup Truck

Down in the Meatpacking District, I walked past this ESPN Match Truck, which is currently focused on The World Cup. For those that want to watch the World Cup outdoors and with others, this truck is located squarely in the middle of the street. Every day, the truck changes location. For more info on where it will be, click on the link above.

Morning Adobe Photo Walk

Though I appreciate my Saturday sleep in days, I was willing to give it up today for the Adobe Photowalk with Bryan O’Neil Hughes and Tom Hogarty. If you’re thinking most photographers are male, you’re right and the photo below is accurate. It always seems a bit unbalanced in that department. That’s why I’m here, to take it over! :O)

My hubby and I woke up and walked over to Fotocare at 6th Ave and 22nd St. We met a few people and walked over to the High Line Park, a park built over concrete and old railroad tracks that opened up last year around the Fourth of July.

As we walked there, I took a few photos of anything I found interesting. I thought this sign was funny and used a fish eye lens to create the distortion and capture the building behind it.

I took a few shots of flowers in the park. The first one just caught my eye. The flowers were beautiful and pink and immediately brought a smile to my face.

This second shot I took, my hubby likes to call “A Flower in a Tornado,” because of the grass twisting viciously around this pretty flower.

We lost the group and walked back through the meatpacking district. It’s such an interesting neighborhood. Amongst high end stores and restaurants are empty areas like this with random advertisements or graffiti.

Ray took this shot above of the graffiti. I loved the way the light fell and he caught it before I noticed it, so I need to give him props for a job well done. I played with Topaz on this photo to give it a little extra edge.

Breakfast: Oatmeal with Cinnamon and Raisins. I apologize for the bad photo, but I was in a rush to have a great breakfast before a long walk.

Late Lunch: Veggie Pita with Mushroom, Cabbage, Asparagus, Greenbeans and Cheese. All of this was warmed up and toasted in the toaster oven.

Dinner: Chili, Corn and Beans with Hot-sauce.

Book Club Treats

I belong to an amazing book club, run out of Brooklyn by a group of fabulous women. It all started with the love for the Twilight series, and because of that, we are called Twilighters United.

Besides sharing our love of various books with each other, we obviously see the Twilight movies together and go to see other movies together whenever we can.

So, after I got in a really great workout for an hour with Marina, I got another perk from my book club.

Tonight, we got a chance to see a free pre-screening of Knight and Day at the Union Square Regal Theatre.  It was a really funny action movie. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I love action movies, but I never find them hilarious. Take James Bond, for example, which has some funny moments, but an overall serious tone. This was quite opposite. I also found Tom Cruise perfect for the role, despite all of his recent wackiness!

Breakfast: Egg Sandwich on Multigrain Muffin.

Lunch: Cous cous with Tomatoes, Olives and Feta Cheese.

Dinner: Normally, when it’s this late, I don’t want to eat anything, but I was really hungry, since I forgot to bring my afternoon snack with me. I was also hungry, after smelling the popcorn all throughout the movie. Luckily, my friend brought some cherries with her into the theatre to keep me a little satiated, but I was looking forward to a real meal. Chicken with Veggie Medley.

Polish Presidential Election

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been 60 days since the Polish President died in a tragic accident. I wrote about it a bit in this post.

On Saturday, I woke up at 3:45AM, had a good breakfast and walked over to the Polish Consulate on 37th and Madison to take part on an election commission. I felt honored to be partaking in this momentous occasion for Poland. There were 8 of us selected to administer the voting process, make sure the records and details were accurate, oversee the vote and certify the results.

The process was really interesting; I’ll go into detail with photographs so you can understand how it works.

Voting always takes place in Poland on Sunday. All the Consulates in the United States did their voting on Saturday, so the time change would line up properly. By the time we were finished, Poland had already been voting for several hours.

The first people were allowed in to vote at 6AM, but when I arrived at the consulate, I saw several people who had been waiting to vote since 3AM.

When I came in, the setup process had just begun. I took a photo of the empty voting box.

We sealed it with our consular stamp to visibly ensure that no one tampered with the box.

Before we let anyone through the doors, every voting card had to be counted and checked several times. We would verify this count at the end to make sure no cards disappeared or were added.

When there was a lull earlier in the morning, I did my voting!

First, you have to queue up based on your last name.

Then, you hand over your passport and someone from the commission checks to see if your name matches up to your voter registration. The validity of your passport is checked. If you look really close, you can find my passport photo in this picture!

You step into the booth and mark your vote with an X!

Drop your vote into the box and voila, you are finished!

Above, Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka, the Consul General, signed her name to certify she received the ballot.

During the day, media popped in and out and interviewed voters on their opinions.

Around 3,000 people registered at the Manhattan Consulate to vote. There were 17,000 in the New York area. I still need to find out how many people voted in Chicago, since that city has the largest population of Polish people outside of Warsaw.

Here’s a photo of people in the voting booth. I thought it was interesting with all the different angles their feet were pointing.

By 8PM, we closed the doors and started the counting process.

We followed the procedures the Polish government laid out for us, first sealing the ballot box and signing our names. This way, nothing else could be added after the doors were closed.

We looked through all the registration signatures and counted every one to see if they matched up with the number of voting ballots left over. After several hours of checking and double checking, we were positive that everything matched.

We then broke the seal on the voting box and began the long count ahead. After all, there were 10 separate candidates for presidency.

We made sure the box was completely empty and then placed all the ballots on the table and began counting them.

After the count was triple checked, we organized the ballots by candidate.

After all the candidates were checked several times, we tied the stacks with string, so that nothing could be added or subtracted and placed them into packages which would be sent to Poland.

The results are in!

I was at the consulate for 23 hours and went home, extremely exhausted and got about 2 hours of sleep because I had to shoot the next day. I did find out that the election did not have a majority, which is required for a winner. So, on July 3rd in New York (July 4th in Poland), there will be a second round to determine the next President of Poland.

Wedding Dress Shopping

After a tough pilates workout (my arms and abs are very sore!), I ran over to meet my friends to do some wedding dress shopping. I met them at Pronovias. My friend, Monika, had one of those love at first sight magical moments happen for her and she’s getting married to a great Alaskan lawyer.

Here’s a gorgeous dress by Carolina Herrera. It’s not one that Monika tried on (I have some amazing photos of her, one which I’m dying to put in my portfolio–I’m not going to show her in a wedding dress until after her wedding), but I thought the design was incredible!

After looking through dresses, we headed over to a really cute restaurant and wine bar on 3rd Avenue, called Accademia di Vino (at 64th St.). We went to the basement and sat on tall bar stools. They ordered wine and I treated myself with Diet Coke. The extra calories from alcohol were just not worth it for me. I’d prefer having an extra few 15 calorie popsicles or something instead!

Breakfast: Granola with Skim Milk. I know, I’ve been doing a lot of granola lately, but it’s quick, easy and tasty.

Lunch: Lentil, Feta Cheese and Tomatoe Wrap. The lentils make it extremely filling.

Dinner: A small square of Chicken Lasagna with Whole Wheat Noodles, of course.

A Light Snack in the Park

After class, I walked over with my classmate, Donnell, and had a bite to eat in Bryant Park. I knew I had to set up my dinner shot at home, so I didn’t bring it with me. Instead, I had a delicious green apple, while my friend ate her dinner.

We talked and watched people doing yoga in the park. Every time I walk into that park, something new is happening. I love having an exercise class so near to it, so that I can just stop by and see the next happening!

Breakfast: Granola and Skim Milk

Lunch: Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Chicken and Broccoli.

Dinner: Chicken with Carrots, Green Beans, Zuchinni and Peppers.

The Key to the City

I received my own “Key to the City,” this week, as part of an art project created by Brooklyn’s Paul Ramírez Jonas. It truly is a key to the city which unlocks places, events and items throughout the five boroughs.

With this key, I’ll be able to unlock secret boxes, walk on paths rarely walked on and do things that most people aren’t privy to.

I find this type of art fascinating and unique. I think it is very clever that Paul Ramirez Jonas made 25,000 custom keys that will open up portals all over this city. So, even if you are a local, you will get to explore your own city in a way like none other. So far, around 10,000 keys have been given away and there is a little more than a week left for you to get your key.

I had a chance to chat with Paul and get his thoughts before I received my key. He said that he got the idea for the project while thinking about the difference between city monuments and more intimate art, such as a painting. There are very few monuments that people connect with, whereas with a painting, the viewer easily makes an emotional connection to the art. How often does someone exude emotion as they pass a public sculpture on the street? Or, in his words, “How do you make something public into something personal?” This is the problem he is trying to solve with his “Key to the City” project, which makes public monuments more intimate and accessible to everyday citizens, and allows people to become active participants in ways they couldn’t before.

This is Paul’s fourth project with special keys; his last project involved a museum that allowed people to come in after hours, which I think is brilliant!  This time, he teamed up with a group called Creative Time, which works with artists to conceptualize their art on a larger scale. They worked together since the Fall to plan everything out and worked with organizations all over the city to negotiate and change locks for a few months this summer.

How it works: Go to Times Square.

The kiosk is on Broadway between 43rd and 44th Street. You must bring a friend or make a friend on the street and one of you must bestow the key onto the other.

While in line, you fill out a “passport,” with your name and the person you are bestowing the key onto; you also fill out your reason why you want to give the key to your friend. I saw things like “I love my friend dearly and love her blog,” “In consideration of being such a good mom,” or “Because my friend saved me from feral basement cats.”

When you get to the kiosk, you receive a key and then wait in a shorter, second line, to begin the “bestowing ceremony.”

The ceremony begins by writing what you wrote in your passport in a huge book. Each of you stands on the opposite sides of the table.

You read what you wrote and ask, “Do you accept this key to the city?” When your friend accepts it, you award the key and passport booklet to your friend. Now, you are ready to explore the unexplored!

The keys are available through June 27th (Open M–F 2PM–8PM; Sat–Sun 12PM–8PM) and you can unlock things throughout the five boroughs through the beginning of September. There are 24 different sites in the entire city.

My key: I am sharing my key with a friend, so as I journey along, I’ll let you know what secret doors I open up! I’m particularly excited about opening a room not open to the public in the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Queens and unlocking the mysterious box in the coat check at the Whitney Museum of American Art!

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