Start at Home

Planning summer escapes? Don’t forget to include some day or half-day trips close to home. Last weekend was glorious and a friend and I walked to the River and headed North. I ride my bike that way a lot, but that leaves a lot of the more interesting sites out of reach for the wheels.

In 80 blocks, I saw flora & fauna, wild life, beautiful and interesting sculptures, fabulous nooks with comfortable chairs that begged to be sat on, gorgeous views of the George Washington Bridge, people napping and picnicking or just sitting by the water with a book or a friend. There was free kayaking, the boat basin, lots of sail boats in the water, places to rent bikes, foMer-man - Version 2od carts and a cafe. And, as we got closer to Riverside Park, the grounds began to resemble Central Park. Lush trees. Woodsy vistas. Hills and ornamental steps and old monuments. And then there was that outdoor rehearsal we came upon, complete with a bearded man in a Victorian gown. What was so amazing was that the highway and cars and skyscrapers and the hectic city life was the distance of just one block away…and yet miles away in my mind.

With lots of stops to admire, explore and photograph, the five mile tour took about four hours, and that included a stop for lunch at the cafe. Though I pass through the area with some frequency, slowing down, taking closer looks and seeing everything a bit differently, I almost felt I was in a different state. We did take the subway back downtown, another benefit of NYC living. I came home relaxed, excited about some of the things we discovered and with many many good pictures to share. The total cost for two, for lunch and the subway home, was less than $25. An added benefit? Walking is good for your body and an enjoyable walk is good for your spirit.

New York isn’t the only city with surprises for its residents. Sit and think of interesting places in your vicinity that you pass by but never stopped to explore and learn more about.

Long weekend coming up. If you’re not leaving your town, think of what you can explore or revisit in it. Enjoy the day and don’t forget your camera!

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How Do You Want to Remember This Summer?

Summer seems to go by as quickly as winter drags on. Poof! It’s over and we wonder where it went and mourn the things we never got to do. That’s why it’s it’s so important to me to imagine in advance how I want to remember the season and make a plan to make it happen….

For more, visit my latest Bed Camp article on the Huffington Post.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jo-laird/mindfulness-practice_b_5509711.html

You Have to Check Out this Food Site

I love the freshness of summer meals. Living in New York, it’s hard to accomplish light summery meals in the middle of winter. So, I take advantage of every summer day to use the best of the season. Simple meals that let the flavors and colors shine, and that don’t take much time away from being outside, are my favorites. Over the years I’ve saved scored of treasured recipes, but that doesn’t stop me from looking for more.

Recently, I found a new web site chock full of my ideal summer foods. And, to make it even better, each recipe features the most delicious pictures in it’s step-by-step directions. Needless to say, it’s been bookmarked. So far my favorite is the Rocket Pizza, though there are many many runners-up.

These aren’t meals just for the summer. Cooler (and outright) cold weather will be here soon enough and there are many I’ve got on my list to make. I already have visions of making the Drunken Noodles. What all have in common is how good they look and how easy to prepare….and those wonderful pictures.

Here’s the web address. Bookmark it for a source of great, easy, tasty beautiful meals!

Bon Appétit!

Hungry & Tired

A Guide for Quick and Delicious Dinners

 

Stress-free New York?

I’m still crazed about a recent survey that ranked New York City the #2 stressed-out big city in America. I get their reasoning – the crowds, commuting time, density, etc, but wish someone would take equal effort measuring the daily stress-relievers the city has to offer.

This weekend marks the second family wedding in three weeks. I have lots to do. Family from across the country and across the ocean are coming in. Some are staying here, but hopefully a lot of the others will be stopping by the house for a visit before and after. How am I not stressed, with New York and family gatherings to ready for?

New York actually offers what seems like an unlimited supply of stress relievers for anyone just willing to open their eyes and see things differently. I’ve been thinking about this since I read that study. Consider this a first entry on New York Stress-Relievers:

New York is the perfect place for walking and walking is a known stress-reliever and good exercise. It’s sometimes best for my head, when I need to figure something out or just want my mind to wander. I carry a Metro card but use it only when I’ve going far from the neighborhood or when I’ve bought too much to carry home. I don’t have a car, but I do have a shopping cart. I rarely use my ear buds when I walk, preferring to be in the moment.

We have beautiful places to walk – along the rivers, in beautiful parks and gardens, as well as a host of neighborhoods to explore. And we have much to walk to – for shopping for almost anything under the sun, to entertainment, to parks, libraries, museums, landmarks, to breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight snacks from an unlimited offering of cuisines.

Best of all, walking is free, there is no schedule and you’re in control of how far and how long. You can go alone, with a dog and/or a friend, or with a group. At the end of the day, you’ll feel better. And you’ll never know what you’ll find.

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Photo of a sidewalk ‘shopkeeper’ from a Sunday afternoon walk in Soho. Love street-shopping!