Jamaican Me Crazy

Tomorrow Mr. Dr. and I be soaring over top of you in a plane heading to sunshine and sand. As far as cocktails, I am sure we will be indulging in all of the usual suspects that a tropical vacation offers.  We will probably start with some pina coladas once we arrive at the resort and our view will look like this:

And then we will probably get situated and our view will look like this: a beer for Mr. Dr. and a strawberry daiquiri for myself.

By the end of the week I am sure our view will eventually look this: a miami vice (blend of daiquiri and colada) and a mudslide.

I think the gist is that cocktail Friday will be commencing every day of the week for us next week.  Looking forward to a great vacation and sharing our adventures with you when we get back.  For everyone celebrating Easter this weekend, I hope it is filled with love, laughter, lots of food and drink, and fun with family and friends.

Happy Cocktail Friday…Mon.

An Easter Tale

As Easter approaches I can’t help but be reminded of what my Easter was like last year.  Our 1st Easter together as a married couple was spent honeymooning in Tahiti.  On the heels of an amazing wedding celebration, we spent Easter dinner at one of the great Bora Bora restaurants.  Nothing can beat that.  Especially when our 2nd Easter together as a married couple ended with a trip to the ER.  Crap.  It really did.  I can’t even deny it.  I briefly mentioned this in my recap of 2012 but here are the nuts and bolts of how I remember it…

We knew for weeks leading up to it that Mr. Dr. was going to be working the full day on Easter Sunday.  I decided for what was probably the first time in my life to embrace it to the fullest.  Instead of going home for the holiday to be with family I wanted to stick around and be with him once his shift was done.  He of course was grateful although pushed me in no way.  But I had a plan.  In order to justify my decision and not feel lonely during the day, I would cook.  Not my normal here is chicken, rice and vegetables for when he arrives home.  No.  I wanted to take on the task of cooking a romantic Easter dinner for two so we would have a proper celebration together…even if that meant at midnight.

So I prepared accordingly.  I got a ham, sides of carbs, sides of veggies, ingredients for deviled egg apps, proper drink elements – the whole shebang for when you cook a real holiday meal for your husband.  I was ready.  I woke up that morning feeling well prepped and full of energy after Mr. Dr. scurried off to work.  It was a beautiful day.  I called my mom to get some last minute advice before I began my exciting cooking extravaganza.  She gave me the thumbs up, jokingly said be careful and away I went.  Turns out she wasn’t the only one with “thumbs up”…

I opened up the freezer to get the ham out.  Yes I said freezer.  Why did I not put it in the fridge earlier that weekend you ask?  Great question.  I will tell you why.  God was giving me a sign.  I had forgotten for a reason.  I should have stopped at that very moment.  But I prevailed.  A frozen ham is nothing some warm water in a sink can’t fix.  OK onto the next challenge.  Peeling potatoes for my potatoes au gratin dish.  Success.  I was back on my feet and on my merry way.  Little did I know that peeling potatoes would be my only success of this meal.  Sigh.  I took out my veggie slicer to thinly slice my potatoes.  And I did.  One potato sliced with a side of thumb skin…and nail…and blood caught under a blade of the slicer.  OK.  I told myself not to freak out.  I immediately covered it with a wad of paper towels.  I instantly knew I needed to get to the hospital because it was deep.  I called Mr. Dr.  He asked if I was going to pass out because this has happened before (…more on that later…).  I calmly replied no and told him I was leaving to come down to the hospital.  He insisted I wait for him to run home so we could go together.  I was stubborn.  I left the apartment, walked outside and before I even had 2 minutes to tell my mom on the phone what happened, I look up to see my knight in shining scrubs frantically running down 1st avenue in his white coat to rescue me.

Resident Wife Perk 1 – Living within walking distance to the hospital is convenient…no matter what the circumstance.

Fortunately for me, Mr. Dr. was on a hand rotation for the month.  I was grateful for this irony at the time of the incident.  So he took me straight up to the offices and called the hand fellow who was on call to come take a look.  The fellow graciously came in to examine my poor, mangled thumb.  After he nonchalantly mentioned that he recommended scraping part of my thumb nail off to get to the root of the cut, I vowed in my head to never use a vegetable slicing device ever again.

Resident Wife Perk 2 – Sometimes you can bypass the ER and go straight to the source…with no waiting time.

I walked out about 2 hours later with a sore thumb, 7 stitches, half my nail and a whole lot of humiliation.  My post-operative instructions were to go home, have a glass of wine and not step foot into the kitchen.  Mr. Dr. got home late that evening.  I was diligently marinating on the couch a couple glasses deep.  We He cooked every portion of the meal I was intending to make and we he got food on the table at about midnight.  I was thankful.  It was a memorable Easter.

Resident Wife Perk 3 – Usually my husband knows…just what my doctor should order.

One year later you can’t even tell anything happened to my thumb.  It looks completely normal and healed beautifully.  Thank you Mr. Hand Fellow for fixing me and not allowing my intern husband to do it himself.  The veggie slicer has been shoved to the back of the cabinets and not touched since.  I have yet to attempt another gourmet meal BUT I am trying to cook more frequently than before.  Which for me is a feat.

This year we will spend our 3rd Easter together as a married couple celebrating with my siblings in Jamaica…at a resort where they will cook the food for us.

Happy Easter Everyone.

That was a pretty solid confession for Confessions Wednesday…

Living Young Wild & Free

….Aruba, Jamaica ooo I wanna take ya to
Bermuda, Bahama come on pretty mama 
Key Largo, Montego – baby why don’t we go 
Jamaica off the Florida Keys 
There’s a place called Kokomo 
That’s where you wanna go to get away from it all…

I am looking forward to this work week flying by because this weekend we leave for Jamaica!  I cannot wait for some sun, sand and many strawberry daiquaris.  This will be the second annual trip with my brother & sister-in-law, sister & boyfriend and me & Mr. Dr.  The 6 of us had a blast last year vacationing in Montego Bay at the fabulous Seacrets, Jamaica Resort.  This year we decided to change it up and go a little further out on the island to Ocho Rios.  I am excited for jerk chicken, bottomless adult beverages, baking under the hot sun, aspiring Bob Marley entertainers, lots of r&r, the pool bar at happy hour and most of all fun quality time with my hubby and siblings.  One thing I am not looking forward to is gaining some lbs as I will certainly be over indulging in copious amounts of food and drink.  Below are some highlights from our trip last year.  We will probably take some similar pics this year too so no judging…mon.

Beach bummin it

Beach bummin it

Seacrets!

Seacrets!

Cheers to a great trip

Cheers to a great trip

Jamaicans on stilts

Jamaicans on stilts

Carlton's daily coconuts - I always picked the biggest one in the batch

Carlton’s daily coconuts – I always picked the biggest one in the batch

Oh one last thing…I tried the Sangria recipe from Friday and it was a home run.  But definitely add some peaches with the strawberries, raspberries and grapes to add a touch of sweet to compliment the overall drink.

Saint Sangria

This week marked the start of Spring.  How exciting!  Not.  The word Spring doesn’t even come to mind with what it feels like outside in NYC.  The only spring I’m seeing is in my feet taking me from place to place so I get there faster in this still brutally cold weather.  It’s no surprise that these “first days” of seasons were determined by meteorology people because as usual those clowns don’t seem to know the difference between a snowflake and a blooming cherry blossom.  If we are going to keep letting a groundhog determine the fate of our seasons why don’t the networks just cut the weatherman segments and add a few more minutes of reality TV?  Just saying.  Despite the non Springy feeling air I still have every intention of practicing the art of Spring in cocktail land.  That way when it peaks Hello I am prepared for the weeks that follow.

So this weekend I think I may try to experiment with a new Sangria recipe.  I don’t typically love Sangria because most places make it too weak and I feel like I am often times drinking fruit juice.  I don’t need those extra calories or that bloated feeling when my main point of interest with a cocktail is the alcohol.  But Sangria screams Spring to me.  I think I may have mentioned this before although not certain but St. Germain is becoming one of our favorite liquor ingredients to play with.  You can add it to pretty much anything for a nice little twist on an old-fashioned drink.  So why not add it to to some white Sangria?

-1 Bottle of White Wine (Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc)
-Generous Amount of St. Germain
-Strawberries
-Grapes
-Raspberries
-Any extra fruit of your choice
-Notes: I have become more open to white Sangria. I think there is a lot of potential to enjoy some fun variations of it. One other little trick to this recipe is if you want to make it a Sparkling Sangria then add a couple splashes of club soda right before serving.

Happy Cocktail Friday!

Confessions Wednesday

Linking up again with Catayln for Confessions Wednesday!

I confess that I’m angry about the weather.  A NYC snowstorm in late March is not OK.  Walking home in hail and snow the week after St. Patrick’s Day is unacceptable for my taste.

Speaking of St. Patrick’s Day, I confess that I felt old this weekend.  While at our local bar on the corner, responsibly enjoying a refreshing beer at happy hour on Sunday with Mr. Dr., there was a vibrant group of girls decked out in green with beads, sunglasses, boas and stickers.  They were balls to the wall celebrating Saint Patrick and looked so young and innocent while flirting with the cute bartender.  I swear they were 18.  But then I remembered that was me 5 years ago.  And just like I was on Sunday, there was probably a girl back then sitting in the bar watching me, reminiscing about her days of flirting with cute bartenders and getting drunk as a skunk on St. Patrick’s Day.  Ugh.

I confess that I dread working out.  While I was realize this is a common feeling for most, I don’t dread it because of the workout itself but because I don’t like to wash my hair more than 3 times a week.  When I do cardio it gets dirty so much faster and messes up my hair washing routine for the week.  This annoys me.

I confess that I have been keeping a secret.  Very, very soon it will be revealed and I am excited to share it all with you.  Hint: who doesn’t love a makeover? ;)

Survival Of The Fittest

Just keep Swimming

Cue Dory’s epic solo of Just Keep Swimming from Finding Nemo…

People often ask me “How does he do it?”  In reference to his nutty schedule.  Sometimes when I describe to people how Mr. Dr. gets through his weeks I refer to him as a robot.  For lack of a better term it really resembles what he seems like day in and day out during the really tough weeks.  It’s as if he is programmed to just “keep swimming.”

Then it hit me. I too am a bit of a robot.  The second this man went to medical school and we moved our life up the East coast together I made a decision to start a path.  A path filled with upcoming sacrifices and decisions I couldn’t even at the time imagine would be part of my life.  Let’s face it.  I was clueless.  Two years ago when I chose to give this man my heart for the rest of my life I chose to stay on that path forever.  This path has been nothing short of a roller coaster and I know it will continue to be for years to come.  I am so proud of where we are and how far we have come.  But…I still think I am just as much of a robot as him.  I wake up and I go to work.  I have no choice – we wouldn’t be able to drink as much wine or eat as much steak if I didn’t.  I look at my schedule at the beginning of every week to see what nights I will get to see my husband for the next 7 days.  I see that he is on call or working 24 hr shifts and I barely budge because at this point I am trained to normalcy.  Freak out?  Maybe last year.  But now?  Second nature.  I spend most every day of work not hearing a peep from the love of my life.  Ironic because most people out there would freak out if they didn’t hear from their spouse for over 12 hours.  Me?  Expected.  An invite comes in the mail for a weekend event.  Most people are excited to RSVP.  Me?  My first thought is…I will most likely have to attend solo so I hope it’s close by and with people I like.  The holidays approach.  Most people are excited to plan trips to see loved ones.  Me?  I know I am lucky if I get 1 full holiday with him and our families together.  Most people that went to college and got a degree approach their 30s with a firm financial standing if they are smart.  Me?  I like to think we are somewhat smart and we live paycheck to paycheck with a debt stacked higher than the Empire State building.  The point?  I have programmed myself into thinking this way of life is normal.  In reality, it is far from what most people consider normal.  But when you become a Dr. spouse you are given the choice to sink or swim.  It’s not easy but if you don’t choose swim you’re pretty much screwed if you want to survive and lead a happy life.  Just like when you become a Doctor.  If you want to survive you just keep swimming.

He has programmed himself to go through the motions regardless of how painful it can be at times.  I have programmed myself to accept that this life we live is normal…our normal.  When comparing to non-medical relationships I realize that our life is far from the norm.  But ya know what?  If we didn’t face the challenges we do then our life wouldn’t be shaped by the crazy, exciting experiences we have had.  Boring isn’t a term I could ever use to describe the life we live.  And lucky for us we think that is normal.  So while it seems we have programmed ourselves to look at our life a certain way, I believe it will be the reason we both survive and get through it all…together.  We will just make sure to keep some tins of oil on the side for when we need regenerating.

Visiting Russia In NYC

This week for Cocktail Friday I am narrowing in on a personal favorite of mine.  Vodka.  Exploring new places in this city is always fun and a few weeks ago I google-search stumbled on a spot that I knew I had to get to…and soon.  Any place with the word Vodka Room in the title is a place I need to try.  So we did.  Residing just outside of the theatre district I was a bit confused by location and exterior.  Below is us approaching the Russian Vodka Room.  As you can see from the outside this is the kind of place that you pass by and don’t think twice about.  And while it does have a piano as well as a man playing it in the evening – that is not the appeal of this place despite what the awning says.  So I was slightly thrown off upon arrival.

Russian Vodka Room Exterior

Happy hour comes by every day of the week here and the vodka is flowing.  An intimate interior with dark decor and a bit of a chilly inside greeted us.  I prefer a bit friendlier when it comes to staff but I didn’t let it ruin my vodka tasting.  Especially after I saw these sitting across from me when I sat down at the bar.

Vodka Barrels

I was immediately sucked in once my eyes met with the marinating barrels of vodka that were being stored indiscreetly.  We were given a menu filled with delicious sounding drink options and for our first we opted to each taste a shot of their house infused vodka.  I chose apple pomegranate and he chose ginger.  I preferred his.  Next was the garlic pepper & dill.  Also very good.

Vodka Shots

After sipping on some shots we each enjoyed a cocktail.  I chose one made with their house infused ginger vodka and he chose a Bloody Mary made with their house infused horseradish vodka.  Both were yummy.

Vodka Cocktails

After those were finito, as you may have guessed, we were tipsy and scooted out to absorb the vodka in our bellies with some dinner.  All in all, I’m glad I visited the Vodka Room because…well it would have been on my bucket list if I didn’t.  I’d venture back for a good happy hour if I’m close by and certainly see myself experimenting with some other cocktails on the menu.  I’d recommend this place to any and all who like vodka as much as I do.  Hmmm.  I wonder if Chelsea handler has been to this place.  I bet she has.  Anyway, after visiting a place like this one conclusion remains true – Russians definitely know vodka.

Happy Cocktail Friday!

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Match Week 2011 Flashback

It’s match week in medical land.  The dreaded yet most anticipated and exciting week for all 4th year medical students.  A week of so many mixed emotions and a week where I probably lost 10 lbs from anxiety 2 years ago.  Although that’s not entirely true I guess.  I had nerves but we also had a great deal of confidence going into the match because of how his interviews had gone.  But you can never ever be 100% confident and no matter how confident you think you are, nothing is for certain until you open that little white envelope which has been holding your fate for days.

White-envelope

Mr. Dr. was matching in Orthopedics.  Not only is it one of the most competitive specialties to pursue, included in his top tier rank list were 3 of the top 10 programs in the country.  There wasn’t enough vodka in NYC to sedate me that week.  We were getting married in a month, had been engaged for a year and a half and couldn’t begin planning our future until we got past March 17th, 2011.  Looking back on it nothing could have prepared me for the match.  I didn’t realize how intense it really was until I experienced it.  I had heard stories and talked to people but there is no good way to describe it unless you go through it for yourself.  Because it is truly the most bizarre thing I have ever seen or felt.  Every school does it a bit differently and has their own traditions.  I have heard some are more formal and even make their students open one at a time.  I would have literally passed out if that was our protocol.

For us, it looked like this: All of the students gathered with each other, and their families if they were lucky, and they stood in front of faculty members who were lined up at the front.  Each one held a group of letters categorized alphabetically.  There were balloons, there were cameras, there was school press – it’s only the biggest day of a medical school career.  We walked up once the clock struck 11am and were handed an envelope.  Like as if it was just another piece of mail that the mailman forgot to leave in your mailbox the day before.  And then boom. Open, read and just like that, your life unfolds before your eyes.  The paper barely had any writing on it.  It had his name, his specialty and the program that selected him to be their resident for the next 5 years of his life.  How great would it be if the match envelope came with a signing bonus and a stash of bills was sitting right behind the letter welcoming the candidate to the program?  Ha yeah right.

Surrounding us were tears, hugs, cheers, screaming, excitement, disappointment – you name it we saw it being experienced by someone in that room.  I feel so lucky that we were a couple experiencing happiness and hugs of joy.  We were so fortunate that our fate was what we had hoped it would be for the next 5 years.  Ironically it was also St. Patrick’s Day and a gorgeous sunny day.  So we spent the afternoon enjoying many a cocktail with friends – some drinking away their sorrows, some that couldn’t wipe the happy smile off of their face.  I am ashamed to say I have NO photos from match day.  I can’t find a single one.  Honestly, my emotions that day were on such a roller coaster that my hand probably wouldn’t have have been steady enough to hold a camera, and the other was busy holding a beer.  We did keep his letter on the fridge for a few months before we moved that summer though.

Match day holds a special place in my heart because it was a milestone in our relationship, his career and our future.  It is a day that Doctors and their significant others don’t forget.  A day that wears on both throughout 4 years of med school because it’s inevitable and means so much.  A day that changes lives in so many different ways.  A day of more emotions than one can imagine.  But most of all, a day of accomplishment no matter what that letter says.

Good luck to all who are going through the match this week.  I know it’s tough but try to relax, grab a drink or 5, and try to enjoy this special moment with your loved ones no matter what the outcome.

It’s Up To You New York, New York

…Cue Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York

Recently on one of my morning commutes I found myself staring up at the tall buildings surrounding me on my daily walks.  I was passing by on my usual route and for the first time in a while, I felt real appreciation for the architectural content that I witness every day.  When we settle in and live our day to day life I think us New Yorkers forget how much culture surrounds us every time we step foot outside of our apartment.  From the lobby of some of our own apartment buildings all the way downtown to one of the first saloons in NYC where Abe Lincoln himself used to venture for a drink when he visited the Big Apple, there is history everywhere.  Of course the sight seeing is endless with major landmarks but just venturing outside down a few different blocks we are bombarded with unique visual offerings within this city.  Museums of art, wax, furniture, music, sports and even sex are all over this landscape.  You name it, we have a museum that showcases it.  Beer?  Just head to one of the many beer gardens or brew houses.  Wine?  There are wine bars galore.  Vodka?  Well for that we can easily just step into my apartment.  I had some fun on my morning commute the other day taking photos.

NYC 6th Ave.

NYC 6th Ave

NYC 35th St.

NYC 35th St

NYC Macy's

NYC Macy’s

As I was admiring I found myself overlooking one very important fact.  Not all people live like this.  There are people who live in middle America who are hours away from any major city or even minor city for that matter.  They get in their car in the morning, drive to work down a quiet suburban road filled with hills, pastures, cornfields and animals that I typically only see in the zoo.  Or maybe they don’t even drive a car.  Maybe they drive their tractor around their farmland checking on their crops.  There are still farmers out there right?  The closest I get to a farmer here is probably through the carton of eggs I buy in the grocery store, and the closest thing to a green pasture I see is a place called Central Park.  If I can’t find a deli, pharmacy, bar or coffee shop within 75 steps of my current location I feel like I’m in the sticks.

People visit from all across the world to see the unbelievable culture that fills this great city.  To prove it, there are some days when I am meandering around town and I don’t hear a word of English for hours.  In front of me on the street corner is a group of French tourists.  For a second my mind travels and I picture myself standing in Paris…sipping on a cup of Parisian joe and nibbling on a croissant while I study the front of the Arc de Triomphe on my way to the Louvre.  But then my daydreaming is awakened by the horn of a cab and I look up only to find the exterior of Grand Central Station, and that coffee is a Starbucks and in my other hand is nothing more than a good ol bagel with cream cheese…although NYC does have delicious bagels.

We have Chinatown, Little Italy, Koreatown, Kosher delis, Thai food, Greek cuisines, Burger joints, Fine dining, Pizzerias, Steak houses and even the old fashioned fast food spots like Taco Bell and McDonald’s all within minutes at our disposal.  There is an appeal for every ethnicity, every culture, every type of upbringing and every kind of person.  What other place in the country has all of this on one big island for any and all to enjoy 24/7?  I am lucky.  Unfortunately to enjoy it ALL, ALL the time you need to have a full wallet and an endless credit card limit.  Or just be mentally OK with debt for a while once you rack up the bills.  Well I can certainly check that box thanks to med school.  So I think we’re covered.  And I have Sinatra to keep me going.  After all in his words…if I can make it there, I’m gonna make it anywhere

I sure hope he is right :)

A Cocktail Lover’s Haven

Answer:
A mysterious tucked away cave-esque establishment where you form a delicious partnership with a bartender who makes cocktails with liquor and any other imaginable ingredients of your choice.

Question:
What is a NYC Speakeasy?

Ding Ding Ding. Well, minus the illegal selling of alcohol part.

The scene: No signage on the outside, no numbered address on the door.  You get a slight rush of excitement and nerves fill your body for those few seconds you walk down the dark stairwell and see the door at the bottom residing in the quiet alcove.  You doubt yourself for a split second that you have the wrong location.  You know you don’t.  You quickly realize the lack of decor is all part of the mysterious appeal .  You expect a locked door as you pull on the handle and instead it welcomes you in.  You walk into a dark, sexy, candlelit room with a long bar, some tucked away tables and the perfect blend of tunes from the current Top 40.  You approach the bar and are greeted by your mixologist who asks you to choose your ingredients of choice from the chalkboard on the wall.  Your taste buds trust him.  He delivers.  You enjoy a great secret bar, great company and a greater bill than what you probably wanted.  But it’s worth every penny.

NYC is filled with these unmarked gems, scattered across the city in neighborhoods you wouldn’t expect.  Only the true locals and bar hoppers know of their existence.  I had the pleasure of enjoying some time at one of them in the Soho neighborhood accompanied by two great friends.  Here were our indulgences:

Mulberry Drinks

 The first is a vodka & cucumber blend garnished with a strawberry.  The second is a vodka & jalapeno blend garnished with a pepper.  The third is a prosecco & ginger blend with grapefruit juice.  All of the above were yum.  We chose from a selection of ingredients ranging from rosemary to kiwi and all that’s in between.  It was every bit satisfying and fun to try some unique cocktails at a very cool speakeasy.

What’s better than walking into a bar, telling the bartender what ingredients you like, what your liquor of choice is, and then having him make you a delicious adult beverage that encompasses all of those components into one tasty treat?  Maybe heaven if this isn’t heaven itself.

Happy Cocktail Friday!