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David checking out the lake before a storm

F: How was your time in Cleveland?

L: It was really good to be home and we missed you being there!  Yesterday, our Aunt Rosemarie had a lung transplant after months of waiting.  All went well and she is now breathing on her own.  I was able to spend some time with her the day before the call came through that a lung was available.  It’s all just remarkable!  I also spent a night over the weekend with my girlfriends from high school which is always wonderful.  Dad and David took us out on a boat ride before all the crazy stormy weather started.  Sunday night we had a big family dinner at Mom’s house with our sister-in-law’s family.  Monday morning we had a fabulous brunch over at Suzanne’s.  I just feel so lucky to be a part of a big, loving family and to have such solid lifelong friendships.  It’s always a bit jarring to return to my life in New York after these visits but it was great to be there.

F: Have you thought at all about your birthday and what you want to do?

L: Seems pretty early to be thinking about my birthday.  A close friend of mine gave me a bottle of wine when I turned 30 to drink when I turned 35, which will be this year.  I can’t really believe it.

F: Are you reading anything new?

L: I’ve been doing a better job than usual of keeping up in my New Yorker subscription but I haven’t started any new books lately.

F: Have you gone to McCarren Pool this season?

L: I haven’t.  I’ve actually only ever been there one time and I think it was the summer before last.  It was nicer than I expected and it’s a good place to remember when it’s super hot here.

F: Any more summer plans?

L:  I’m hoping on a visit from my sister!

Hoping you had a lovely summer weekend!  Here are a few pictures from our weekends:

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Lauren – Cleveland, OH

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Pre-dinner cruise and nearing 20 years of friendship!

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Lighthouse walk in Huron, Ohio

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Rock climbing cousins

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Watching a serious storm coming in over Lake Erie

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Farrell – Los Angeles, CA

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Born to surf

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Our chariots await

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The cutest coffee bar at our friend Jessi’s Sunday brunch.

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Something like this always happens when I FaceTime with my family.

cloud swing

(image via here)

There’s a bit of a TMI factor to today’s post but yesterday I watched the video below, “Is The Birth Control Pill Destroying Your Health,” and felt it was worth sharing. I was on birth control pills for several years in my twenties. They never caused me any trouble, that is until I stopped taking them. Without my knowledge my doctor had switched my prescription to a generic brand. I wasn’t aware of the change until I went to pick up it up at the pharmacy. I wasn’t happy about the change and was equally frustrated with the pharmacist who told me it wasn’t a big deal, that they were exactly the same ingredients but this one was $10 cheaper. I’d always considered myself lucky not to have had the various negative side affects birth control medications can cause and would have rather paid the extra $10 to stick with what worked. Nonetheless, I backed down and started the generic pack. Shortly thereafter I broke out in the worst acne along my jaw-line that I’d ever had in my life. I put two and two together, and as I wasn’t in a relationship at that time, decided to go off the pill all together.

The following months were some of the hardest in my life. A deep depression had come over me and I didn’t know why. Sure there were plenty of external life circumstances I think contributed but I also had a vague, nagging sense that it also had to do with going off the pill. I tried to little avail to do online research to support my theory but mostly only found a few similar stories buried deep in online forums. This video (via Healthy Crush) finally provided me a clear answer as to what was likely going on in my body. It’s also chock full of other details related to hormones, birth control pills and other contraception, should you be in the market for such info.

Is The Birth Control Pill Destroying Your Health? from Jenny Sansouci on Vimeo.

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I hope you won’t mind indulging me in one more set of pictures from Cartagena (yesterday’s set here).  New York City looked so cool and quirky to me on my way home last night.  As much as I enjoy exploring a new place and experiencing another culture, I equally love and appreciate returning home to see my own surroundings with a fresh perspective.  If it’s been awhile since you’ve been anywhere, take at least a day and get out of town!

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IMG_3967 I’m back in New York after a relaxing, sweaty week in Cartagena, Colombia. I most loved the colors of this highly walkable city. We stayed in a sweet guesthouse in Getsemani, a once run down and dangerous neighborhood that is now home to many delicious restaurants, small hostels and hotels and lots of street murals. During the day young kids played soccer in the neighborhood square; at night people sat along its perimeter eating and drinking from food carts.

When we weren’t in Getsemani, we were a short walk away exploring the windy streets of the walled-in colonial old city. It was so hot during the afternoons that we were constantly stopping to eat or drink something. The food was delicious, fresh fruit and juice is available at almost every turn. We ate amazing ceviche, arepas and empanadas from street vendors, drank limonada de coco (coconut limeaid) and, my favorite, fresh strawberry-lychee juice.

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F: What is your favorite thing about summer in New York City?

L:  Being outside!  All the time.  There are so many great things to do outdoors in NYC.  You can sit in a restaurant with its windows open, or on the street, picnic in the park, walk everywhere you want to go, see outdoor concerts and movies, get out on the water, ride bikes, lounge on hammocks, have rooftop and backyard bbqs.  All the good stuff.  There are also lots of really nice beaches fairly close, so it’s nice to get out of town too.

F: Have you made any new recipes lately that you would like to share with the group?

L:  Last week I improvised a bit (i.e. added lemon) on this Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken recipe.  It was quick and simple and turned out pretty well.  I’d like to try it again using homemade breadcrumbs because though I like the taste of store-bought bread crumbs enough, I think it could really raise the quality level to make your own.

F: What’s is your perfect day in New York City?

L:  My perfect day would have a leisurely start with some coffee and a yoga practice, if I was feeling motivated.  Then I would meet up with friends to hang out in the park, see some art, listen to music or eat delicious food.  The afternoon would creep into night and I’d head home satiated and ready to relax on the couch with enough time to still make it to be at a reasonable hour.

F: You are in Colombia this week! How does that make you feel? What are you most excited about?

L:  I’m so excited for this trip and am hopefully having a good time (I scheduled this post in advance of my departure).  I will be in Cartagena for five days with my boyfriend and am most excited about exploring the city with him without much of a plan.  We’re staying in the Getsemani neighborhood, as recommended here.  A friend of mine recently wrote an article for Food Republic on the food carts in Cartagena so we’ll definitely be following some of her suggestions.  I also like the idea of taking in an outdoor movie as suggested in this Things to Do in Cartagena: Cheap Thrills post I found.

F: What is your favorite park in the city?

L:  There are so many good ones: Central Park, Prospect Park, The Highline but I’m going to say Liz Christy Garden, which is actually a community garden on NYC Parks Department land so I think it counts.  The garden is a pretty narrow strip along Houston Street between Bowery and Chrystie Streets – a very busy area – that somehow manages to provide a magical little oasis. There are a few sweet benches and gazebos to sit down and relax, a fish pond, beautiful flowers, a vegetable garden and little pathways abound.  It is a great and unexpected use of city space that would be easy to miss if you didn’t know it was there.

jazz train soul

(artwork by Bobby Logic)

Subway musicians are a huge part of New York City’s underground life.  A couple of months ago I started recording little snippets of the sounds I was hearing in the subway.  I finally got around to uploading them to share with you.  It’s no great recording or mixing feat but I hope you enjoy this quick, under 3 minutes, listen.

the future is bright

(image by Jimmy Marble)

I dwell in Possibility
BY EMILY DICKINSON

I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –

Of Chambers as the Cedars –
Impregnable of eye –
And for an everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky –

Of Visitors – the fairest –
For Occupation – This –
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise –

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Yesterday, my friend Karen and I started a seven-week oil painting class.  Somehow I have never painted before (other than on the walls of my apartment) and I don’t think I have taken any sort of art class since my freshman year of high school.  I’m pretty excited to go back next week.  In the meantime, Bob Ross clips will play on my screen over and over again.

Lovers through the trees - Central Park

Lovers through the trees – Central Park

F:  How do you cope with stress?

L:  I’m pretty much a crier so overwhelming feelings of any sort generally bring me to tears.  Other than that, when I’m really stressed out I try to remember that nothing is permanent and whatever scenario I’m facing will be different with time.

F:  Have there been any lasting habits or changes you have made since the Clean Cleanse in January (it’s ok if there aren’t)?

L:  Unfortunately, I don’t think there are.  I really felt so good about doing the cleanse and experiencing such a level of health and balance in my body.  But as they say, old habits die hard.

F:  What is your favorite summer cocktail/drink?

L:  I’m on a pretty heavy Rosé kick these days.  Delicious and refreshing.

F:  Are you reading anything, yet?!

L: I am!  Recently finished this John Sarno and Paul Arden book (highly recommend the Arden book for anyone looking for a little career – or life – inspiration).  Now I’m making my way through this set of Nora Ephron’s essays and The Diary of Anais Nin.

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F:  What is a creative outlet for you?

L:  This is actually something I’ve struggled with for most of my life & think my life will feel much better once I have identified it.  For now all sorts of little things serve as creative outlets: playing dress up in my own closet, rearranging my apartment, taking pictures, doing a little writing from time to time.  I guess like anyone, sometimes I feel like I’m on a real creative kick and other times I wouldn’t know from where to begin to draw.  C’est la vie, ma chère sœur. 

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