22. Go to a New Restaurant Every 3 Months: Da Marino

Hello. Yes, I’m still alive. I’m sorry I went MIA for a whole month. February is probably the worst month of the year for me. As far as work goes, I’m busy teaching my classes, passing out recital costumes, calling the costume companies when said costumes don’t fit (I’m pretty much on a first name basis with Weissman’s), trying desperately to choreograph my 19 recital pieces, and lastly, preparing for our big dance fundraiser, Storybook Ball. Which, by the way, is on Friday. So I’ll be retreating back into my hole after this. In my personal life, I’ve been busy working on “Fiddler on the Roof” for one of the local high schools, attempting to keep my house clean, and…well, that’s about it. I’m too tired for anything else. So clearly, February was a great month for me to decide to take a long weekend in NYC.

I have had this trip planned for months, and it was the only reason I made it through the first 2 weeks of February. Initially, my sister, Mal, and I were plotting to go see “Big Fish: The Musical” in New York for her birthday. We saw the show in Chicago last spring, and loved it, so we wanted to see it again with the original cast. Unfortunately for us, the critics didn’t love “Big Fish” as much as we did, and the show closed in December, after we’d already purchased plane tickets. So, we decided on “The Lion King,” which was an excellent choice.

We left on February 14, and flew to Philadelphia. We were supposed to take the train to Warminster, where my Aunt Pam lives, but, sometimes, trains get cancelled.


Waiting for a train that would never come…

But, fear not! My aunt rescued us. After meeting up with my Aunt Sarah, eating homemade pizza and birthday eve cheesecake, we went to bed and got up early the next door to take the train into New York. (This train showed up. Woot!) We spent the day at the World Trade Center Memorial (beautiful), exploring Time Square (amazing), and taking in one of the most visually beautiful shows I’ve ever seen. Oh, and there were cupcakes too!


This picture doesn’t do it justice…the entire memorial is gorgeous!



They mark the names with roses, if that person would have

been celebrating their birthday that day.





Leaving the Minksoff Theatre…what an amazing show!


The frosting was slightly damaged during the tornado

we ran through, but they still tasted amazing!

Before the show, we had dinner at Da Marino, which is a tiny Italian restaurant in the theater district. My Aunt Pam made the reservation, and I had briefly looked at the menu online, but I tried not to make any decisions beforehand. We got to the restaurant early, but they seated us right away. Everyone on staff was incredibly friendly. We were seated in the back corner, which was really cute. The space in the the restaurant was very tight, but the atmosphere was cozy. Per Ria’s instructions, I bypassed the spaghetti carbonara, which I had deemed a “safe choice,” and went with the rigatoni buttera. Normally, I stay away from tomato sauces altogether because a) I hate tomato pieces and b) I’m very picky about the flavoring of tomato sauces. But, I figured I’d give it a whirl. I was NOT disappointed. It was one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever had. The dish had rigatoni pasta, a spicy tomato sauce, and sausage. There was the perfect amount of everything in it, and it was incredibly flavorful. It was the exact amount of spicy I like. The portions were very generous, and although I thought I’d be unable to finish it, I powered through like a champ. Paired with our sweet red wine and Mal’s surprise birthday dessert, it was a wonderful dinner. I can’t speak to the price, as I never saw the receipt, but I’m guessing it wasn’t totally unreasonable for NYC. If/when I go back to the city again, I’d love to eat here again! Bonus: it was only a few blocks from “The Lion King!”





Fresh bread and lentils…I’d never had them before. Not bad.



Aunt Pam and Aunt Sarah


Me and the birthday girl!


Birthday wine!


Pam’s meal…some sort of mushroom ravioli


Sarah’s chicken marsala


Sarah’s pasta


My rigatoni buttera (Mal got the same thing!)


So much goodness.


No shame.


Birthday tiramisu

Well, there you go! Another new restaurant experience. I really wish we had good Italian food like that here. Well…we probably do. I just need to find it. 🙂 I’m off to bed. I hope you enjoyed hearing about my NYC experience as much as I enjoyed adventuring. Stay tuned for more list excitement!



Crossing the 2nd Thing Off My List…

Happy Super Bowl Sunday! Are you watching this game?!?!

…neither am I. (I do have it on; just not paying attention. Oops.) I hope you all had an excellent weekend! I sure did. I’ve decided that since January sucked so much, the rest of the year is going to be good to me. I’m going to make sure of it. So, I started my first day of February with a day in. My original weekend plans got a bit jumbled because of the snow we got yesterday, so a day in was excellent! I did a bit of choreography for the musical I’m currently working on, had a quick phone chat with Erica, cleaned the house a bit, rearranged the kitchen cupboards (which I’ve been meaning to do for over a month), and finished the night with a much-needed friend dinner with Elizabeth and Tyler, featuring fajitas, chips and salsa, and some yummy mango margaritas. It was just an all-around great day. I started today off with some kitty snuggles, then coffee with my wonderful friend, Jessica. I don’t get nearly enough “girl time,” I’ve decided. Sure, I spend time with my dancers all week, in an office with all girls. But, as far as getting one on one time with a girlfriend who is my age that doesn’t involve Skype? Well, that never happens. I followed up coffee with a lunch date downtown with Bryan and Seth. When I got home, my mom was here. She cleaned

Ok, sorry. I just got side-tracked by the new Spiderman trailer. At least, I think it was new. It took the entire trailer for me to realize my mouth was hanging open. As I was saying…

My mom cleaned the walls around my stove because they are a greasy, gross mess. She also delivered a whole bunch of Thirty One products! I can’t remember if I mentioned this before, but my mom is a Thirty One consultant. I had a party 2 weeks ago, and it was such a success, that I got a bunch of free product. I am SO excited to use everything! Yay!  On a totally unrelated note, if you ever want to host a Thirty One party, let me know and I’ll hook you up with my mom. 🙂 Anywho, since she left, I’ve just been hanging out, making garlic chicken alfredo in the crockpot and pretending to watch this game. (The Seahawks are winning. I do know that!)

So…my exciting hoola hoop journey has come to an end. Don’t worry; I finished out strong!

Day 26 (Jan 28): 6 minutes

Day 27 (Jan 29): I forgot. Yes. I FORGOT. Like, didn’t remember until the next night. I’m an idiot.

Day 28 (Jan 30): Upon remembering, I had a moment of panic. Did I need to start over? I decided no; if I’d made the conscious decision not to hoola hoop, then sure. I’d start over. But I forgot. It was a crazy week. I compromised and decided that I’d do a double session over the weekend. But I did do 5 minutes that day.

Day 29 (Jan 31): 5 minutes

Day 30 (Feb 1): 5 minutes + 5 minutes to make up for Wednesday

Day 31 (Feb 2): 5 minutes

That’s it! I’m finished and can cross it off my list! Yaaaaaaaaay! Although this hasn’t been the greatest, given the knee/back/mental pain (ha), it did have some positives. Firstly, I started a habit and stuck to it. I’ve decided that although this may not be an every day activity, I would like to incorporate it into my weekly schedule. Lastly, and most exciting, I lost 3/4 of an inch on my waist and a full inch on my hips! WOOT WOOT!

I’m hoping February will see me crossing a few things off my list. What would YOU like to see me do next? Let me know 🙂

As always, xoxo