Sakura Season

I heard at work that NJ has more cherry trees than Washington D.C., and they are prettier. Having been to D.C. during cherry blossom season, not sure I agree with that, but the blooms at Branch Brook Park near Newark sure are pretty.

The place was pretty packed owing to Easter Sunday–everybody seemed to bring a picnic basket. The blooms were coming down from peak–recent rains and winds seemed to have de-petaled about half of the delicate flowers. But the park’s variety worked in its favor as there were still plenty of cherry blossoms to go around. You had your standard round five-petals, but then tiny, silvery-pink stars; thick, almost magenta clusters, and bright white ones.

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July 4th Weekend

So my work actually gave us the Friday before the 4th as well as the actual 4th off so…4-day weekend! Since I’ve been here for 2 years but never gone to the beach, we decided to fix that. Justtwomorethings had a good experience with airbnb on her roadtrip–and there was an added plus of finding people that wouldn’t mind a 3rd, fuzzy house guest.

Justtwomorethings: Finding a place that is okay with cats is definitely easier on Airbnb, but the selection is still pretty limited (although dogs seem to be welcomed in many, many places).

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Apple Picking! Pumpkins too.

I went apple picking for the first time last year and definitely wanted to go ahead this year–since Justtwomorethings is hanging out with me, I took her along.

Sun High Orchard in Randolph was the place again. It was a little full, given that this is Columbus Day weekend, and the weather, though starting to dip toward the cold side of fall, was sunny and not too chilly yet. We picked out pumpkins first–and since I had someone to help me this time, I got a big one plus 3 little ones for my front steps. We also picked up a caramel apple and some apple cider from the store before checking out the little bunnies (actually quite big) for the kiddies in the front.

The apple picking itself was a little disappointing. I went a little later this year than last year, but the one variety I wanted–Crimson Crisp–was very picked over already. Practically nothing was left on the trees! I had to scrounge around a little on the ground–thankfully, the ground is moss-covered, so enough apples had fallen unbruised that I could fill my bag. They taste as good as I remember though — very sweet, with ruby red outsides and bright white insides.

Morristown: Festival on the Green

The first time I went to Morristown’s Festival on the Green was last year. It was hot, humid, and packed. This year was not as hot or humid, but just as packed.

The Festival is not a huge one, just surrounding the town square (the Green), and nothing really unique about it (save some circus performers, which was new this year, but the rest of it is tents done by local businesses and restaurants) but its a nice way to spend some time. Justtwomorethings and I walked there a couple weeks ago–the weather was a perfect sunny 70-ish, so I didn’t feel like I was melting on the sidewalk, and we walked around trying some of the offerings at the tents…which of  course included the fried goodness pictured here.

NJ Balloon Festival

New Jersey has a Balloon Festival every summer. My company is one of the sponsors, and I’d spent the last couple months designing the tent and sampling program we had there, so this weekend I took my complimentary ticket to geek out over my work.

You have a few choices for parking, but I elected for the free option–parking at the local community college and taking the shuttle bus there. When the shuttle emerged from the trees into the field by the airport, I was surprised to find the Festival was a lot bigger than I expected. They not only had a large area cordoned off for the hot air balloons to launch and land, but also a giant stage for scheduled bands and singers (which made feel old, as I recognized none of them, and only knew a popular singer was next by the excited teeny-boppers jumping around), a multitude of food booths and beer tents, and even more festival tents split 50/50 between people selling stuff and companies (including mine) giving away free stuff in hopes of making you pay for it in the store later. Coke was there, as well as Progressive, Playstation, Oscar Meyer, Snapple, Honest Tea, Lays, Walgreens, Chobani, Planters, Monster, etc

I geeked over my company’s tent and spent the rest of the time wandering around. Alas, I did not stay for the actually balloon launch in the evening because it was, well, hot. 90F when its sunny and the blacktop is burning under your feet is exhausting, and I think I got a sunburn despite dutiful slathering of the sunscreen beforehand. But it was surprising more fun than I thought it would be, and I would go ahead next year if I got a ticket.

Weekend in the City: Tribeca Film Festival

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Spring! And it actually felt and looked it!

Last weekend, Justtwomorethings and I were in the city for the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival.

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I had just spent the last two weekends stressed out over a very important presentation, so I was ready to relax. The films we wanted to see were in the evenings, so that left most of the day free to walk around. Union Square is always a staple, though we resisted buying food at the Farmers Market so we wouldn’t have to carry it around (though I was tempted by the world’s tiniest radishes).

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Random street art (with felt pigeons) is always fun too.

Lunch was at Momofuku. I hadn’t eaten there before, but it’s an NYC attraction. The apple and bacon chutney thing was a little disappointing (decently good, but not a standout) but the Momofuku O.G. bowl and roast duck were very yummy. As was the Thai tea cake, though it could have used a little softening up. The tamarind top layer was nice and bright, balanced out by the smooth almond cheesecake-y base.

Justtwomorethings: Momofuku Ssam Bar.  Apple and bacon kimchi, actually, and the problem was that although the apple slices looked like they’d been kimchi’ed, in reality they didn’t taste the least bit like kimchi spice.  Great idea in theory (spicy heat playing off the sweet apple), poor execution.  And the Thai tea cake was just a little too chilled to sink a spoon into easily.  Roast duck, as always, was delish.

Our evenings, on the other hand, were spent in the theaters. Justtwomorethings is better at film reviews than me, so I’ll leave those to her. But I did get to see 4 famous people during my first TFF though, so that was cool. Alas, I did not get an autograph from any. We were too far away from Katie Holmes and Nadia Comaneci, Amber Heard was swamped, and Christopher Walken booked it to the door 😦

Justtwomorethings: For the record, the only autograph I would have been interested in was Christopher Walken (Nadia Comaneci is cool, but I’m not into gymnastics).

Snow Fun

So, if you haven’t gotten it from the last few posts, it’s cold. And snowy, but mostly cold. Like 30 below  cold. I have spent the last few days enduring the elements only enough to drive to work and shovel my driveway for the umpteenth time.

Unfortunately, spending so much time inside has resulted in me watching far too much Netflix (including finally seeing what all the fuss about Sherlock is about, which was a terrible idea, because it actually is that good, and now there are still two weeks until the US Premiere of Season 3, dammit!) and the kitty going nuts with cabin fever.

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Holiday Week

justtwomorethings and I were able to take the week between Christmas and New Year’s off, so we had a very relaxing time at home.

12/26: Lunch was at home, with leftover pork roast made into pork noodle soup, but dinner at Sweeney’s , a local seafood restaurant that our mom’s friends had recently renovated. We had a very yummy peppermint sundae.

12/27: Day trip to Columbus, stopping first at the Columbus Museum of Art. A rather small place, as art museums go, but it had a cute little Lego art exhibit. After that, we went across town to Graeter’s Ice Cream’s Columbus corporate office. If you haven’t had Graeter’s yet, you should. Their rich, densely creamy ice cream is too rich for all the time, but unique seasonal flavors like eggnog and Aztec chocolate (chocolate with chili and cayenne pepper) is worth the occasional visit.

12/28: Brunch at Cincinnati’s House of Sun for their shaobing yutao, which is this Chinese baked flatbread, but with flaky layers and sesame on top. We stopped by Cam, a local Asian market on the way back for some groceries.

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