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Sunnyside Pizza {Queens}

Sunnyside Pizza Queens

Whenever I am in NYC, I have to visit Queens. It’s my favorite borough, plus, I have amazing friends who live there. When I was leaving from a quick visit this May, I decided to get a slice of New York pizza on my way to the airport (pizza in Hawaii is pretty disappointing). I chose this place because it was close to the subway.

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I was just early enough to miss the lunch rush. Sunnyside Pizza is small, with just a couple stools for those who want to enjoy their pizza immediately. I was one such person, and the pizza guys talked to me while I ate. That’s what I love about Queens: it’s a real neighborhood, where the pizza guys will talk to you (with heavy New York accents, and in a gruff but friendly way) and ask you where you’re going with a suitcase.

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I know it infuriates some diners, but I ask the staff what to eat when there are too many good options. They recommended a chicken parmesan slice, so I got it. It was amazingly delicious, and I ate the entire, huge slice. If I had been able to save half for later, I would have definitely done that instead, but I knew I would’ve just made a mess. This actually wasn’t quite the classic NYC pizza I was looking for, but I still really enjoyed it.

Sunnyside Pizza

40-01A Queens Blvd. Sunnyside, NY 11104

(718) 433-4040

Strala Yoga Teacher Training

Since Tara Stiles’ great new book, Strala Yoga, is now out, I thought it was finally time to share some information with you about Strala Yoga. She also just announced that she is pregnant (congrats, Tara!!) which makes me feel doubly blessed that I was able to take her 2-day Immersion Teacher Training this year (she’ll have to take a break from such events for maternity leave next year).

STRALA: MOVE LIKE WATER, FUELED BY YOUR BREATH. THE RESULT IS FLOW STATE. YOU TAP INTO YOUR CREATIVITY AND INTUITION. YOU FEEL ELEVATED, ENERGIZED. YOU FIND YOUR OWN BEST BODY, BEST FITNESS, AND BEST HEALTH. YOU GET HAPPY. YOU RADIATE LIGHT.

strala nyc yoga teacher training

I took the 2-day teacher training this May in New York City (at the Strala Yoga headquarters/main studio). I took a redeye flight out of Honolulu Friday night, then landed in New York City Saturday morning and went straight to the training, which was 9 am-6 pm for two days. I was able to stay right nearby at one of my best friends’ apartments, and we met up for lunch both days.

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Here are all the other cool people who participated (can you spot me?). As far as trainings go, this was one of the best group of people I’ve had the pleasure to learn with. FullSizeRender (3)

Here we are playing around with natural movement, led by Mike. So who is this Tara I’ve already mentioned multiple times? Tara Stiles is a former dancer and model, who created Strala drawing on her background in classical ballet and choreography, as well as her long-time personal practice in yoga. She began her yoga study in the 1990s with her ballet teacher, Rory Foster of American Ballet Theater. The science and movement of Strala is also guided by her husband Mike Taylor, who studied mind-body medicine at Harvard, and complementary medicine at Oxford.  He has practiced Eastern movement and healing, including tai chi and qi gong, for 30 years.

strala yoga teacher training intensive NYC

Here I am during the training, laying down (on the left) while everyone decides who is most in need of a savasana massage (I guess I must have been pretty relaxed because almost no one picked me).

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And here is our whole group at the end of the training. It was two 8-hour days, but I could have spent much more time playing around, moving, breathing, learning, and picking Tara and Mike’s brains. Tara and Mike are both super friendly, responsive, approachable, calm, grounded, clear, efficient, graceful… all the things I aspire to be!

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Strala is a way of being, moving and healing, that helps people connect with how they feel, move how it feels good, and handle challenges with ease. This is yoga that moves far beyond poses, helping you blow past your goals and get into your dreams. It’s a freedom flow that expands your limits and cracks you wide open. You reveal your radiantly inspiring self. If this appeals to you, you can read even more about this awesome practice here.

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I am so incredibly grateful to have found this practice and Tara Stiles as a badass role model! I have been guiding Strala classes at my home studio here in Honolulu, at Yogaloha Hawaii, since July. If you’re interested, come check out Strala Strong with me on Thursdays, 7-8:15 pm. Strala Strong is a moving vinyasa flow that builds strength, balance, and flexibility evenly in the body. Calm ease is carried through simple and challenging movements alike. All Strala classes move slowly and continuously, guided with deep breath and easygoing movement from your middle. You’ll get strong, let stress go, and accomplish tremendous challenges with ease. You’ll also feel free, creative and intuitive, and get healthy and happy from the inside out!

Egg Shop {New York}

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In May, I visited New York City for a yoga teacher training (more on that to come). After the training ended, I had a day to hang out with one of my best friends, who I was crashing with.

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We started the leisurely day walking from her apartment to Egg Shop, in the Lower East Side, stopping at Mud for coffee on the way.

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Mikayla and I both LOVE eggs, so we were destined to love Egg Shop. I mean, what food isn’t improved with an egg? Mik decided to be all healthy by ordering the appropriately named “Spandex.”

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This beautiful bowl consisted of poached egg, miso quinoa, avocado, pickled carrot, farm greens and gluten-free tamari (tastes like soy sauce). IT WAS SO GOOD. I want to stock all the ingredients for this in my fridge and just make it all the time.

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I had the”Pepper Boy:” soft scramble, gruyere, bell pepper, maple cured bacon , caramelized onion aioli, all in a bell pepper. This can also come served as a panini, but Mikayla had ordered healthily, so I went for my healthier option too. This was very delicious, but I kind of wish I’d had the panini in retrospect. Mostly because the aioli was lost in this pepper-vessel version, although it did add to the overall rich creaminess, of the eggs.

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And because my friend and I are actually fatties at heart, we ordered this delectable biscuit with honey butter to share. Yes, it looks like fried chicken, and tasted like heaven. This is what you’re salty-sweet food fantasies are made of.

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Egg Shop

151 ELIZABETH ST. NEW YORK, NY 10012

(646) 666-0810

Inspiration: @ElectricLoveNYC

Electric Love NYC Instagram

Electric Love NYC is a company that makes unique dream catchers. Not being a big fan of feathers, I’m not necessarily interested in ever purchasing one of their pieces, even though they are lovely. However, their Instagram account is full of these beautiful creations, as well as short, positive messages and affirmations, often paired with geometric crystal arrangements, and surreal, stunning, moon art (which they appropriately label “Dreamtime Inspiration“). For a daily dose of mellow, positive, dreamy art, check out their page!

 

PS- I don’t get anything for this post, and Electric Love NYC doesn’t even know I exist; I just really like their account and hope to share with you, what inspires me. 

Electric Love NYC

Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City

Socrates Sculpture Garden Astoria

One my absolute favorite places in our old ‘hood is Socrates Sculpture Park. It is technically in Long Island City, but basically is also in Astoria (I guess it toes the line).

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The small park is right on the water, making it ideal for an easy stroll.

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It features large-scale sculpture installations.

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Brunch & Botanical Garden, Brooklyn

Sorry if you’re seeing this twice – the scheduler on my WordPress has been acting up so some posts have been sent out / put up early by mistake. So here’s today’s post!

Brooklyn brunch and botanical garden

Wow, it’s been awhile since the last Sunday Brunch post. Brunch is my favorite meal, but sadly, I now work weekends so no more Sunday brunch for me 🙁 Kiyo and I have tried to go a few times here in Honolulu, between my work and teaching, but by the time we get there (around 1 or 2) all the most popular items are sold out. Plus, I have to rush back to work or teaching afterwards. No fun. Hopefully soon I will have one weekend day off per week (fingers crossed)!

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Last year around this time – or was it Autumn? They are so similar and both are the best times in New York, when it’s sunny and cool but not too cold – my friend Geneve was visiting NYC so we met up for a day in Brooklyn. I drove from Queens – the only acceptable way to get there. The subway route between the two boroughs is a nightmare!

We somehow ended up at a Polish “diner” called Teresa’s, but it was more like a café than a diner. We got a nice table outside and shared a few items: halubky, which I love (my grandmother makes the Russian version all the time). It is meat and sometimes rice, vegetables and even bacon, stuffed inside a cabbage leaf, baked in tomato soup. Delicious. We also had sauerkraut, dumplings (pierogi) and some sort of sausage… there was a good amount of meat, which is typical of a Polish meal.

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On the side, beets, of course…

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And a cucumber salad (salad, according to many Eastern Europeans and all Russians, involves mayo). Maybe not really a brunch-style meal, but tasty nonetheless. I thought it was simple but solid Polish fare.

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Afterwards, we drove to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. Since we were already playing tourists, we took some photos with this statue in the parking lot.

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Here is Geneve, at the pretty entrance to the park.

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Club A Steakhouse, New York

Club A Steakhouse NYC Salad

One year, when Kiyo and I were still living in New York City, we went on a belated Valentine’s Day date to Club A Steakhouse (we never have gone out on actual Valentine’s Day). It was a large restaurant (we were seated upstairs) that felt very closed off from the frenzy of the city, which was nice for a date. We started with the usual breadbasket and split a salad with blue cheese, onion, radish and tomatoes.

Club A Steakhouse Dinner

Kiyo and I both had meat, and we split mac & cheese and French fries (just trying to keep it light, you know). It’s been awhile so I can’t remember details but I know we both enjoyed our first two courses.

Club A Dessert

The dessert was my least favorite part of the dinner, by far. To be fair, both tiramisu and zeppole fall very low on my list of favorite desserts. But, these zeppole were served cold, which was very unappealing. Whatever the cream was on top was ok, but the donuts being cold really made me not want to eat them at all. The tiramisu was ok, but not noteworthy. Overall it was a very nice date experience, but I’d recommend skipping dessert or finding it someplace else nearby… Magnolia Bakery, anyone?

Club A Steakhouse

Open: Monday – Tuesday 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., Wednesday – Saturday 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Location: 240 E 58th St, New York, NY 10022 Phone: (212) 688-4190

Club A Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

What I Ate Wednesday: New York

WIAW NYC

Just to quickly recap, since it can be confusing:

  • May 2014 – I left New York City after living there for 2 years
  • September 2014 – I arrived to my new place of residence, Hawaii (which is where I lived from age 13 to 18)
  • December 2014 – I visited New York, from Hawaii, for an awesome 1-week vacation to see friends as well as my mom & sister, who both live in New York state

It felt so great to be back in NYC, especially since the weather at the beginning of December was quite nice; it was crisp, a bit chilly, and rainy at times, but also sunny many of the days I was there. However, being back made me even more certain about my decision to leave. I will always love NYC and feel at home there (I was born there too, after all) but it’s not where I want to live as an adult.

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Breakfast: these pictures are all from different days during the week. One morning I got brunch with some of my Skidmore friends at Hearth in the East Village. My dish was delicious – kale and sausage hash with eggs and toast – but it was $16, which I felt was a rip off. Welcome back to NYC, am I right?

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I did a lot of walking around, running to meet different friends and exploring with my mom.

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St. Patrick’s Day Sweets, New York

St. Patricks Day Cookies

Here is a fun assortment of St. Patrick’s Day treats (desserts) we had in the office one year for the holiday. Someone made s’mores chocolate chip cookies, my favorite of anything we had that day!

St. Patrick's Day sweets

Someone else brought in cute, little, themed cupcakes from Baked By Melissa. On the one hand, I like that they’re so small, because you can try different flavors. However, you think you’re not eating much so then you end up eating more than you would have if you’d just had one, regular-sized cupcake. Note my festive nails for the occasion (we were going to Boston for the weekend so I went all-out).

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Strange Food Saturday: New York

Strange Food Saturdays FinalSFS trader joe's NYC

I was intrigued by these two savory granola bars I saw in Trader Joe’s in NYC in December: roasted jalapeño and honey smoked BBQ. I hate when you want a savory snack and all the bars available are sweet, so I think this is actually a good idea.

Thinking back on it, why didn’t I jut buy one of each? For only $3 total, it would have been worth it. Has anyone tried these two flavors?