How It Works

 Posted by at 6:19 pm  Ramblings
Feb 242012
 

I got out of work early today, because my dear friend Savvy Julie is in town to visit for a few days.  Getting out of work early is always awesome, but it’s even more awesome when you get to see your best blend’s smiling face when you are finished for the day!

You know those friends who you can sit next to for 12 hours, jumping from one conversation to the next, to the next, and to the next, back to the first, then the eighth, and around to the first again?  That’s the way it works when Julie and I are together.  When we have weekends at each others’ places, we have at least one day planned when we sit side by side on the computer, bouncing ideas off one another, sharing screens and creativity, asking for perspectives and suggestions on any number of subjects. [But always weaving in and out of blogging and blog-community subjects throughout.]

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That’s the way it works, which explains why I started this post almost three hours ago, and am just now getting to the third paragraph. 

Julie and I met online.  People, even fellow bloggers, seem to always be shocked by this fact. We’ve heard “I always thought you knew each other BEFORE you blogged!” more than a dozen times at various meet-ups and conferences we have attended in the past two years.

Back when our current blogs were both only a month old, we connected via each others’ comment sections.  Julie found me from a post-in note I’d sent in to Operation Beautiful, came over to check out Then Heather Said, and left me a comment to tell me so.  I followed her link to Savvy Eats and saw that we were meant for one another in the great world of friendship.  I was excited to see that Julie lived in Madison, my home, sweet, home.  I told her so, added her to my must read folder in Google Reader, and started to realize, very early on, that we would get along swimmingly. 

Thanks to months of emailing and daily G-chats, our friendship grew over time. Seven months later, we met in person for the first time, when I flew to Madison for Julie and Dan’s wedding.  This is the part which always tricks people out: I was invited to [& flew to!] their wedding even though we had never met in real life.  But to me, and I suppose us – hold on let me ask her…. nope, not her either, – TO US, it never felt weird, or odd, or out of the ordinary in any way.

When we finally did meet in person, we had a photographer on hand, and were lucky enough to capture our first meeting on camera.  [If by photographer, you mean my dear friend Megan, who you may also know as Megan Orcholski, THS contributor Winking smile

The way it works with Julie and me, is that I call her “J” a lot, and she sometimes calls me “Heath.”  More than anything, though, I call her “The Savvy One.”  We both know she is much better in the kitchen, which more often than not leads me to take on the roll of bartender after I almost chop off my finger or cover the kitchen in burnt vegetables any time I try and help. [I promise I’m not THAT bad, she is just SO MUCH BETTER!]  Julie’s tea collection could rival my un-filled journal collection. And we both like to get crafty. [and apparently don’t mind making a mess in order to do so.]

The way it works is Julie and I have the ability to call each other out on being insecure, and in the next breath need to be called out ourselves.  We see the best in each other, probably more than we see the best in ourselves [something we are both constantly working on]. We can be honest with one another with just about anything, and have found the balance necessary to call one another out on bull-shit and celebrate and enjoy the things in each others’ lives that we ourselves may never understand or adopt ourselves. [I will never be a gardener, but my next visit to Ithaca, I hope to help in her garden and experience what brings my best blend so much joy!]

When Julie comes to visit, I tidy up for all of about 7 minutes, making sure to rinse out the wine glasses and….. that’s about it for the most part.  She’s that kind of friend.

When it comes to food and the way we eat, the way it works is I eat Julie’s way when I visit her, and she eats my way when she visits me.  That means when we’re in Ithaca, and we both pitch in for dinner ingredients or a meal out, we eat mostly local and even more mostly home-cooked. But when we’re in Scotia, we go out for at least one meal and cheap is almost always the main priority. When we are traveling together, we find the blend in-between our two meal styles, and choose locations to dine accordingly. [she is now making fun of me for using the word blend, by the by.]

Also, Julie is definitely a dog person, but Benson apparently missed that memo because he tries to be near her at all costs and may have tried to wake her up with kitten kisses this morning.

That’s just too adorable not to share. And that’s the way it works.

Feb 152011
 

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During the first #CDNYEatDrinkBlog meet-up in July 2010, a discussion of favorite local dining establishments took place.  I had only been in the area a short time and was thrilled to gain a list of local places providing quality food prepared by talented chefs.  Early on in the conversation, Lauren spoke quite highly of New World Bistro Bar in downtown Albany.

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When I found out a few out-of-town bloggers would be visiting the Capitol District, I knew that New World Bistro Bar [NWBB]  would be a terrific place for a ladies night out.  I started chatting with Zoe, the day manager at NWBB, a few weeks prior to our visit.  She was invaluable when it comes to my planning this event!  Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find a nice location to host events for a larger group; but NWBB is such an exception to this rule.  Zoe really took time to give me proper attention, discussing our groups needs and truly delivered with each of my requests.

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NWBB set us at a long, banquet style table, and had no problems adjusting to my numerous calls regarding changes in the number of diners- including the call I placed just a few hours before we were scheduled to arrive for pre-dinner drinks.  I loved that they put us smack dab in the middle of the beautiful exposed brick bar area, which gave us a tiny photography advantage with a bit of overhead lighting. [One of my requests to Zoe was the best photography lighting possible; just another way she provided for our desires!]

Our server, Mike D, was perfection. [Katie later referred to him as “Captain Awesome”,” as a matter of fact]  Enthusiastic without being pushy, friendly without being creepy, with a charming smile and great sense of humor; the kind of guy you leave wishing you were long time friends.  He handled our group of 14 gorgeous, enthusiastic women seamlessly – answering questions, offering suggestions, and making us giggle along the way.

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Every bite and sip I tasted was delicious!  Kelly, Julie, and I split a bottle of wine – Duck Walk Merlot.  A delicious red coming from a Long Island, NY winery, which I later suggested to Jen to meet her in-state wine/beer challenge requirements.

I started with a fabulous arugula salad, topped with local pears, toasted almonds, manchego cheese and a truffle vinaigrette; a perfect blend of flavors.  I also ordered one of the appetizer specials, the fluke crudo, after hearing from Mike that it was the peak of freshness, traveling from sea to table in less than 18 hours. Purely splendid.

I wasn’t the only one pleased with her plates, either.  I didn’t hear a peep of negativity from the ladies across the table.  Everyone seemed to loved their orders, and I’ve already received several questions of when we will be visiting again.

We were all especially impressed with NWBB’s attentiveness in regards to preference and allergies.  NWBB regularly offers both a vegan and gluten free menu, but they went above and beyond, creating a specialty tapas plate to accommodate Cynthia’s allergies. Mike was especially mindful, making sure that each item on her colorful plate was not cooked in soybean oil or even came in contact with other soy products.

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Front Row, Left to Right:
Rachael, Cynthia, Emily, Alicia. Middle Row, Left to Right: Lauren, Katie, Julie, Heather, Jen, Courtney. Back Row, Left to Right: Emily, Melissa, Kelly, Erica

I would say the #CDNYEatDrinkBlog New World Bistro Bar meet-up was a great success. I was beyond pleased with every detail of our experience, and am very thankful that I was able to visit such a special location with such wonderful women.

If you find yourself in the Capital District of New York, make a point to dine at New World Bistro Bar. Located at 300 Delaware Ave in downtown Albany, NWBB is currently open for dinner at 5:00 PM every day, closing late on Fridays and Saturdays.  They also offer a brunch 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM each Sunday.

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On the drive to New World with Kelly and Julie, I started to get a bit sentimental about the blogging community.  Through starting Then Heather Said, and becoming active in the “healthy living blogging” community, I have met some of my very best friends; friends who are willing to travel several hours – by plane, train, and automobile- to come and visit me for the weekend.  I’ve also gained a strong group of supportive, encouraging, like-minded local friends who I adore so much.  My #CDNYEatDrinkBlog Blends have left quite an impression on my heart in the past six months since the group first formed.

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While some of us were gathered together, I had to take a moment to make a toast to these gorgeous ladies, their sharing of their stories, tips, tricks, recipes, and friendship with me.  Cheers to Blendship!

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Posts of Interest if you’d like to hear more about New World Bistro Bar:

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