Central Perk

 

Central Perk

 

OH…MY…GOD ! Yep, that’s Central Perk Cafe alright! This is my tenth post and I thought I’ll write about the 20 year anniversary of  the debut of FRIENDS. To commemorate the anniversary, Warner Bros partnered up with Eight O’Clock Coffee company and set up a pop up cafe with a complete replica of the FRIENDS coffeehouse where the six famous friends shared their highs and lows through humor, on a pumpkin colored sofa. I grew up with this sitcom and am a total FRIENDS junkie and know all the dialogues for most of the episodes by heart. The show is still relevant (save for a few points like those massive things they call cellphones 🙂 )and continues to have a huge fan base as you will see below.

Whenever I watch the reruns, I get very nostalgic. I cherish all those years when I was finishing school and entering college, where life was easy  and the only thing I had to worry about was where to meet my friends for coffee.

So this past Saturday, G and I decided to check out the cafe and take some pictures. When we got there, there being Lafayette street in downtown New York we found that people were lined up outside the cafe in a snake like zig that spanned about 3-4 streets. Apparently, people were waiting outside the cafe from about 8am waiting for the doors to open at 10am. We got there around 10:30am. This is what we saw.

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Very few things are worth waiting in line for three hours and this is certainly not one of them but it is New York and this is what people here do! Call us crazy but New Yorkers (me an honorary one) will stand in line for anything and everything! Whether it is waiting in line for Grimaldi’s Pizza, Shake Shack burgers, Cronuts or Max Brenner desserts! Ok, I guess I see a food pattern. But hey, we like our food, ok?

So while we were waiting in line, I popped in to a pizzeria and grabbed slices of margherita pesto pizza for us. While devouring them, we got talking with the people in the line in front of us. They had traveled by bus for 2 hours to get to New York just  to visit Central Perk! Finally we got in at 1:30pm. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. That we were insane to wait so long. But after we had waited for an hour an a half we didn’t want to give up. Once we got in, we spent exactly 10 mins inside to see all the memorabilia which included Joey’s hideous dog,the cast’s wardrobe and Phoebe’s guitar. En route to the main attraction  aka the pumpkin colored sofa was free coffee. The famous sofa where it all began. We were allowed to sit on the sofa for a quick minute while one of the staff took pictures of us minus our hot coffee and called out “Next!” And that was that really!

Sofa

Cast's Wardrobe

The Cast’s Wardrobe

 

Joey's dog, The Geller trophy and Science Boy

Joey’s dog, The Geller trophy and Science Boy

Was it worth it? Well if Matthew Perry was there, probably. Since the cafe is only open for a month to celebrate the anniversary, the crowd was insane but maybe if it was open longer,the lines wouldn’t be so bad. Maybe.

The only thing I truly missed was hearing a rendition of Smelly Cat!

The rest of the day we spent in pleasant retail therapy so all in all a fun Saturday.

 

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SLAM!

My best friend G is a big fan of Shah Rukh Khan and wanted me to go with her to his concert in New Jersey last weekend. I hemmed and hawed a bit coz although I’m a fan it is nothing in comparison to G’s excitement. She is a tad obsessed if you ask me. But she didn’t ask me, so it was all decided and we bought tickets for us and two other friends. The show was on Sat, Sep 20th and we reached the IZOD center at 7:30pm for the show. The place was jam packed and all the women there had the same idea- they were in their dazzling best to impress the stars.

I noticed that the audience seemed more focused on taking selfies, pictures and videos of the actors than actually enjoying the show. Here’s a pic of the twinkling lights of iPhones and Samsungs and any other phone that I do not know of.  It looks like a planetarium !

 

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The crowd was all pumped up and cheered as Vivaan Shah performed the opening dance to the concert’s title song. Deepika Padukone made an etheral entry onto the stage perched on a papasan like swing high above the stage looking absolutely ravishing. Abhishek Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan made grand entrances through the crowd and engaged the audience with their dance performances. Abhishek’s stage presence was unbelievable and he looked amazing! The crowd screamed wildly whenever Shah Rukh was on stage. Now the section where my gang was sitting was relatively less crowded and the audience was a bit subdued and didn’t really make too much noise. In fact, our entire section seemed rather into eating hot dogs and taking their own pictures.The opposite side on the other hand was quite rowdy and cheered the on the actors. Of course all the performers focused on interacting with the more fun side from then on! They kept encouraging us to “Make more noise New Jersey!”

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The 3 hour show was entertaining with dance performances from Malaika Arora Khan ( those legs! ), Farah Khan (a bit loud!), Boman Irani (a laugh riot), Sonu Sood (those chiseled abs!), Yo Yo Honey Singh (who? oh the one who sang lungi dance) but the highlight for me was when Shah Rukh took some time to interact with the audience and called an Indian couple presumably born and brought up in the US to the stage. I presume that, because they weren’t in awe of Shah Rukh as the average India fan would be, who probably spent several hours watching reruns of Shah Rukh movies on TV. Anywho, Shah Rukh was giving away a Harley that he drove onto the stage for the song Dhoom Machale. All the couple had to do was answer a few simple questions such as which movie featured the song “Main Hoon Na”. He was greeted by blank faces. Shah Rukh couldn’t believe that this couple who claimed to be his fans and paid quite a bit for the tickets (they were way way close to the stage) had no idea about his movie especially when the song and the title were the same name! They seemed a bit baffled when he asked if they saw his latest movie Chennai Express. Finally he said he will hand over the bike to them if they answer which movie had the song “Baadshah Oh Baadshah!” Not shockingly, they did not know the answer to that either. The crowd and Shah Rukh had fun teasing them and I did feel a little embarrassed and sorry for them. Finally, Shah Rukh supplied the answer to the couple by singing the song Baadshah over and over again and declared them the owners of the brand new Harley. Even though I was sitting quite some distance away, I could tell the couple had gone a deep pink from their 15 mins of fame or probably embarrassment.

I was happy I finally got to go to an Indian musical show as I had never gone for one before and it was a really fun experience.

This is the gang who went to SLAM!

Me, G, Bhakti and Meghna

Me, G, Bhakti and Meghna

 

Parlez-vous Français?

Bonjour!

I’ve been taking French classes at FIAF ( French Institute Alliance Français )in NYC for the past 5 months. The classes are fun and my Professor Fatiha Bali is fantastic . She keeps the classes lively and regales us with anecdotes of her life in France. We always leave the class hungry after watching video snippets of French food and mentally planning our trip to France not just to  show off practice our language skills but also to completely absorb in the French culture.

 

This is the gang from the last class

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FIAF hosts an Open House every now and then and this September I got to attend!  A lot of people stopped by for wine, some delish cheese and a free beauty treatment! Now you know why I went :). The beauty treatment was done by Vênsette, who come to your home to do your hair and makeup. My friends and I decided to go for a natural look and later we took a few pics in the one place that has the perfect lighting – the women’s restroom of course!

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Michele, Me & G

Michele, Me & G

There was a booth there for Sakara an organic meal delivery service catering to New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Boston. They have a 1 Day Cleanse that I’m debating trying out using FIAF’s discount. If I do, I’ll be sure to let you know.

I met Clémence von Mueffling, the editor of BWB who  manned a booth for her online magazine and I hope to talk with her more about her mag. Her outlook on beauty is from the inside out. She provides a lot of information on following a healthier lifestyle which includes delicious recipes, beauty products and meditation to name a few.

The highlight of the evening of course was the wine and cheese !

 

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All in all, a fun evening!

Au revoir!

 

Dear Fall

Dear Fall,

I know you’re around the corner and I’ve caught glimpses of you over the past few days but I wanted to officially welcome you to 2014. You are beautiful with your scarlet and yellow hue and you make scarecrows look cool. All my favorite pumpkin dishes make dessert decidedly more interesting!

You also make clothes fashionable with your Fall collection and you cater to both the fashionistas as well as the lazier ones who would gladly dress up an outfit with  different scarves or a brightly colored cardigan while wearing their old comfy jeans.

 

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If I had any complaints at all, it is that you sometimes get into one of your icy moods and I’m totally unprepared for it. Other times you bawl your eyes out and I’m drenched. And I have 18 umbrellas at home. But aside from that, I’m a fan!

In closing, my only request to you is to stay a while and let the Ice Maiden take her own time to visit.

 

 

In Memoriam

For the past 6 years, I’ve been commuting into downtown New York near The World Trade Center. I’m often reminded of the people who lost their lives there 13 years ago.

There is a Tribute in Light into the New York Sky this week to commemorate them and  remember their families.  Today let’s take a moment to honor them and their loved ones.

WTC

 

 

Bushkill Falls

This past August ,when the weather was warm but not overly sunny- my mom, G and I went to Bushkill Falls in the Pocono Mountains. I love all things green except maybe an all green salad (shudder!) so when I saw the lush green park, I was super happy to spend a few hours hiking. I use the word hiking loosely as it wasn’t exactly a hike,it was more of a nature walk with beautiful woody bridges and a bunch of stairmasters thrown in. The color coded trails were all easy to hike, the hardest of which involved a lot of steps but totally worth it to view the 8 waterfalls along the way.The three of us enjoyed the nature walk dipping our feet in the creek that we passed on the way to the main falls.

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Trees

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Beautiful isn’t it?

We rewarded ourselves afterwards with Bushkill’s Finest Fudge located very conveniently in the snack area! All in all, a good way to spend a Saturday. If you are in New York/ New Jersey / Pennsylvania, Bushkill Falls is an ideal day trip for a lovely nature walk.

What do you guys normally reward yourself with after a hike/ trek? Is it coconut water? Or maybe the cream of coconut mixed with pineapple juice and a splash of rum.

 

Yoga

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I first started Bikram/Hot Yoga about a year or so ago but only  used to show up to classes sporadically, partly because I was lazy. Actually that was the only reason. It wasn’t until my friend G told me one day in late Jan that there was an 18 in 30 classes Yoga challenge at the studio we normally went to and that we should try it out, that I got interested. Surya Yoga Academy is the studio I go to in Hoboken although they have branches all over Jersey City so its really easy to get to any of the studios if you live in the neighborhood. The challenge was from Feb 1- March 3 when the east coast was reeling from new terminologies such as the ‘polar vortex’. It seemed doable as I didn’t have to go all 30 days and was catered for anyone interested in starting or  getting back to yoga. The natural thing for us to do  was to buy yoga wear because that’s what people who never go for yoga and probably never will, do instead of making do with our existing t-shirt and track pants. We threw in a snazzy yoga mat with inspirational inscriptions that sounded vaguely like a hallmark card and a nice shiny new water bottle. Just when we thought we’d covered everything we realized that we needed a grippy mat towel! We didn’t want to slip and fall down during one of those poses now did we? This whole process although fun set us back a bit but we knew this was an investment worth making. Armed with all our gadgets and accessories we started our challenge. I’m going to be honest. The first week was not that hard mainly because we were excited to be part of a challenge and a group of people we saw every day. Coupled with some fantastic teachers the whole experience was fun. By the second week, I was feeling a little fatigued and cranky but my sugar cravings had reduced drastically. I also realized several undiscovered muscles were being awakened from their slumber and they did not like it. The third week saw me making better meal choices. I would actually prefer having a banana or watermelon to cake if I wanted dessert which to me is shocking.  Most of all by the end of the challenge my  skin started glowing and my appetite post yoga only craved coconut water and fruit. I preferred evening classes after work so I would get home and drink a bowl  of soup before I headed for class.

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G and I came out successful in our baby steps towards health and well-being. We had a sense of achievement and a free tank top from the studio as our reward! I could see my body and mind change slowly but surely. I am able to manage my stress now because of yoga particularly hot/bikram yoga. The extreme heat and sweat make it impossible to concentrate on anything but on being present and in the moment.  Stress is a part of our day to day life now and although we have tools available to us to help control it, not all of us make time to do that. Simple lifestyle changes go a long way in making your day and your week better. I consciously try to do that (I hope you do too!); of course I slip up a lot but tomorrow is a new day so it’s always a new beginning. Namaste!