Archive for the ‘ Events ’ Category

Braving Brooklyn

  The first time I set foot in Brooklyn was just this past spring when I did the Five Borough Bike Tour. I’d always heard great things about the NYC borough with its cultural treasures, cute shops and eclectic collection of peoples. Though my visit was brief, it left me wanting to go back to see what the fuss of Brooklyn was all about.

Yesterday, my girlfriend and I decided to kick off the three day weekend with a visit to Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Museum of Art participates in the Target sponsored “First Saturdays” where entry is free after 5pm and features a cash bar, music, and other special events. I’d been to a free Saturday event before at the MoMA and it’s wonderful. A community of people coming together to celebrate the arts and mingle with each other.

We decided to plan our day around the museum visit and headed into town early to walk around the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Fortunately, we had a perfect, sunny day to tour the gardens. We meandered through the Japanese Tea Gardens, past rosebushes and ornate fountains with other visitors of like mind. I snapped a bunch of great photos and got to see a huge sculpture made of living roots and vines that reminded me of something out of Star Wars.

After the gardens we ate lunch at a tasty vegan restaurant with a great ambiance called Dao Palate. Our meals were creative without being pretentious and I had the best ginger ale (made with real ginger) I’ve ever tasted. From there we journeyed north to hit up the Brooklyn Brewery to continue our quest to visit as many breweries around the globe that we can. As one of the first microbreweries in the states it became one of the forerunners in a growing trend of breweries around the country and remains as such today. We waded among the hipsters to snag a pint glass and jump on the last tour of the day. While the tour was one of the more interesting with stories of robberies and mafia and eccentric logo designers it was held in a cramped room packed to the gills with people who don’t appreciate personal space. Yikes!

By the time we crossed the brewery off our checklist and wandered around a bit (stumbling upon a hipster hive and barely escaping with our uncool lives), it was past five so we made our way back toward Prospect Heights and the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Apparently first Saturdays are THE event and while we enjoyed our museum tour, we spent most of our time sitting outside on a low wall eating frozen yogurt and people watching. As the sun set, illuminating the sky in a brilliance of color and the lights of Brooklyn twinkled on, we both basked in the beauty of our lovely day in Brooklyn.

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The Magic of BEA

  My first time to Book Expo America was amazing! Wall-to-wall books, authors, publishers, bloggers and fans of all kinds packed into the Javits Center in NYC last week for the annual event. Since it was my first time, I was happy to accept tips from anyone who offered them and learned a lot for my future trips.

1. Bring a wheeling suitcase. Since I took the train, it would have been perfect to store all my books into the suitcase and easy to transport my goodies back to my home. Apparently, the people of BEA are wise and well-seasoned and know bibliophiles well as they provide a luggage area for people to check their bags while they browse the wonders of the expo.

2. No need for bags. A lot of the vendors were more than happy to pass out bags with logos of their publishing houses or new releases or authors for people to throw their swag in. When you’re bags got too full you could either dump your loot into your suitcase in the baggage check area or into a box with your name on it that you could then ship to your home if you were flying in from farther away.

3. Make a plan of attack beforehand. With the plethora of info found on the BEA website, the BEA app, or the free schedules provided at the expo, you can easily map your day out to the minute. I saw many people with single-minded expressions plowing their way through the dense crowds in order to get in an autograph line an hour early so they wouldn’t have to wait in line (no, it doesn’t make sense, but don’t tell them that!). In addition to the autograph stations, there were various speakers, signings, and events happening throughout the expo. I mostly just wandered around with a dazed look of awe on my face until I would stumble into something that caught my attention. πŸ™‚

4. Sign up as a book blogger. Apparently, (and I only know this thanks to the well-planned Sheila @ Book Journey who also went to BEA – sadly we missed each other…) you can sign up for BEA as a book blogger and go to special book blogger events. So cool!!! I fully intend on taking advantage of that next year as I totally missed the boat this year and thus didn’t network as I would have liked to.

5. If you see an ARC you want, throw all niceties to the wind and dive for it lest it get snatched from you. Okay, I’m being a bit melodramatic here – but not much! Anyone who has a huge passion for something (such as book lovers at a book convention or Augustus Gloop at the Wonka Factory), is willing to go to pretty great lengths to get something they want. Now I’m not saying people were downright mean or rude, but they definitely didn’t wait for an invitation or follow any polite conventions if it meant they wouldn’t get an ARC or item of swag they had their eye on. One of the talks I sat in featured Colin Meloy, Carson Ellis, (writer and illustrator for the upcoming MG novel Wildwood and also husband and wife) and Lauren Oliver (who was talking about her new MG novel, Liesl and Po). I got there early and noticed a rep set down two piles of each book on the stage. I really, really wanted a copy of both but didn’t feel okay just going up and taking one because someone else had and I heard the rep complain. But then a lot more people just kept taking them and the rep didn’t say anything and then they were all gone and I was left empty-handed. Some people even got them signed! Double sadness. Ah well, next time I’ll ask or simply tackle someone and take their copies. πŸ˜‰

Overall, though, I had a wonderful experience and am definitely going to attend for years to come! Here are some pictures I took to share with you:

  Colin Meloy, Carson Ellis and Lauren Oliver talk about Magic and Myth in Middle Grade novels

 

Ellen Hopkins, Lisa McMann, Megan Kelley Hall, and Maryrose Wood talk about Dear Bully

 

 

Ally Carter signs an MP3 of her latest book for me

 

Harlen Coban is happy to pose for a picture with me

 

  Jan Brett signs copies of her latest picture book

 

  My loot πŸ˜€ Even better than candy at Halloween!

 

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BEA Here I Come!

It’s my first time going to BEA and I’m so, so excited! A day filled with authors and publishers and lots and lots of books. There are two things I’m looking forward to the most: experiencing something new that (bonus!) revolves around writing and books two of my favorite things AND potentially meeting my fellow book bloggers. πŸ˜€

I knew my inner nerd was truly coming out when I downloaded the BEA mobile app. It boasts a full exhibitor list, book signing schedules, an interactive map, and more. I feel like my dream of becoming Penny, Inspector Gadget’s niece, has finally been realized. I’ll be boop-be-booping my way through the expo planning my strategies of maneuvering through the maze of books. Hopefully I won’t miss anyone because I’m too focused on my app or because I’ve tripped over one of my enormous ARC-filled duffel bag and am sprawled on the ground.

I noticed that people are posting pics of themselves so their fellow bloggers are able to pick them out from the crowd. I have a couple pics of me already on my blog, but if you want to find me I’ll be the one with the look of sheer bliss standing immobile as the crowds flow around me. πŸ™‚ See you there!

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Run for a Cause

  One of my favorite aspects when it comes to running is that many races sponsor charities or help raise money for different organizations. It’s an extra bonus. I get to run all kinds of different races in new and exciting locations and my race entry fee goes to support worthwhile causes.

Some races like the NYC Marathon allows automatic entry to those running for a specific charity. Team in Training is an organization designed to help raise money and awareness for cancer research, especially in regards to leukemia and lymphoma. When you become a member of one of their teams, you are provided with advice, support, running partners, etc. Thus not only are runners provided with extra programs to help them succeed in their races but they can raise money for cancer research at the same time.

I recently ran a 5k (3.1 miles) at a local park that raised money for the Matheny Medical and Educational Center. The center is located in Peapack, NJ, but helps people with severe developmental disabilities throughout the state. It’s a really amazing facility staffed with a team of nutritionists, doctors, dentists, therapists, etc. that devote their time to caring for the patients of Matheny.

Then there’s the Superhero Half Marathon and Relay that raises money for the Christopher Reeves Foundation that focuses on spinal cord injury and paralysis research. It combines the fun of dressing like a superhero, running, and knowing the money is helping others. πŸ™‚

  Keep running and be a hero to someone who needs it. πŸ˜€

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Best Marathons for First-Timers

If you dream of running a marathon this year but aren’t quite sure how to choose from the multitude of growing options, here are some of the best races around the world as well as some tips to help you decide. πŸ™‚

The Chicago Marathon – Sunday, October 9 – The perfect race if you’re looking to run in scenic downtown Chicago while getting cheered on by thousands of spectators. With multiple cheer zones and a charity block party at mile 14, there is energy abundant along the course. And with its flat, fast course the race attracts participants from around the globe.

 

 

The Flying Pig Marathon – Sunday, May 1 – One of the more unique marathons, Flying Pig runners will experience the high energy of a huge race crowd plus more than 100,00 spectators cheering them on. There’s also a half marathon and a relay. It’s worth it for the great pig themed t-shirt and finisher’s medal alone.

 

 

 

 

ING New York City Marathon –Β  Sunday, November 6 – Quickly becoming the most talked about marathon after Boston, this marathon is open to first-timers through a lottery where you pay a nominal fee to apply and if, after three years you haven’t gotten chosen, you automatically are entered. Another way, if you want to bypass the lottery and head straight to go, is to choose a charity and run for a cause. All charity runners are allowed entry. With a scenic run, 130 bands and 2 million spectators it’s easy to see why everyone wants to run the NYC Marathon.

 

Rock n Roll Marathons – For those of you who want constant distractions to get you through your first marathon, a rock n roll marathon is the perfect choice. With a band performing each mile, cheer sections and a rocking after party celebration, these marathons, which are held all over the country, make for memorable races.

 

Walt Disney World Marathon – Sunday, January 9 – Nonstop action accompanies the runners of the Walt Disney World Marathon. Fireworks kick off the festivities while Disney characters, DJs, parade floats, cheerleaders and other fun distractions line the course. Run through Cinderella’s Castle and the Magic Kingdom and experience all the wonders Disney has to offer!

 

 

 

Napa Valley Marathon – Sunday, March 6 – Not many races offer wine at their events, but it flows freely at this marathon. Local high-school bands and classic music ensembles serenades runners through the lush fields of Napa’s renown wineries and scenic landscapes. One of the less crowded marathons means calmer seas to navigate as you enjoy the peaceful course. Finishers are treated to massages as they celebrate their victories.

 

 

Portland Marathon – Sunday, October 9 – For another scenic venue head north from Napa to the beauty of Portland, Oregon. Like other marathons this has a great vibe and a mostly flat course. Music and cheer squads pump you up as you run through the course. Best part? Announcers say your name as you cross the finish line!

 

 

Marine Corps Marathon – Sunday, October 30 – The first time I heard of the Marine Corps Marathon I thought that I would never in a million years participate in something that sounded so daunting! If there’s one race I hear more positive feedback about than the NYC Marathon, it’s this one. Dubbed the “People’s Marathon” it is the perfect atmosphere for first-timers who don’t like the intensity (or the lottery) of the NYC Marathon. And with 30 bands, 100,000 spectators and a mostly flat course, this makes an ideal first marathon. Oh, and a lieutenant drapes a medal over your head when you finish. πŸ™‚

 

 

 

For other ideal first-timer marathons, check out Runner’s World for their article on 1st time Marathons. Have fun and run safely! πŸ˜€

Fitness Friday!

You’ve finally come down from your endorphin high after running your Thanksgiving Turkey Trot. Now you’re on the hunt to find another equally exciting and good-spirited race to run in December or January. Well, you’ve come to the right place!

For those looking for carefree races to participate in, this is the perfect season for them. Despite the drop in temperatures, runners everywhere are shucking their turkey hats for elf ears and jingle bells. My favorite runs for December are sometimes called Jingle Bell Runs or Christmas Dashes, but all possess that insouciant atmosphere.

Here are some great races for December and one for January (as well as some clutch links):

Pensacola Christmas DashPensacola, FL – This one mile evening event is fun for the whole family. Every participant receives a blinking LED elf hat and finishers are awarded a 10-inch candy cane!

Jingle Jog 5-K – Atlanta, GA – Music will follow you as all runners receive bells to wear on their running shoes. Beware of “Grinch” hill at mile two and then stay for the postrace festivities.

Boxing Day 10-Miler – Hamilton, Ontario – For those of you who like a chilly challenge, sign up for this 90 year Canadian race. Beware snow and negative wind chill numbers, but warm up postrace at Slainte Irish Pub. Finishers get snowman medals and mittens with snowman logos. Cool!

Resolution Run – Hillsborough, NJ – I ran this one for the first time last year and LOVED it! Racers run down bicycle lanes and through neighborhoods where bundled up families stand in their driveways to cheer you on. Prizes for top placed runners and postrace food and water. Best part? The awesome hooded sweatshirt you get just for signing up! They change designs and colors each year, so I’m planning on building my collection. πŸ™‚

For more info on races near you, check out:

Active.com Holiday and Resolution Runs

Runner’s World

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Fitness Friday!

It’s getting close to that time! Turkey Trot time!

I recently posted on why I love Turkey Trots, so if you want to read that blog click HERE.

The reason I’m posting again so soon on my favorite race of the year is that I thought some of you might like a list of great Turkey Trots to check out. These races are held around the country and chances are there’s one near you, so check out my last blog to do a general search.

A List of Great Turkey Trots

Parade Company Turkey TrotThis race has been a Detroit staple for the past 28 years and boasts both a costume and a race float contest (think big running Chinese dragon). It offers a 10K, 5K, and 1 mile “Mashed Potato” run.

Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot – Lauded as one of the largest Turkey Trots in the country, this Dallas race now draws thousands Thanksgiving morning. With a 5K run/walk and an 8 mile option as well as costumes, prizes, and big after race entertainment it’s the perfect choice! Also, sign up cost goes to support Dallas area YMCAs and with Dallas being one of the most obese cities in the world, it needs the help!

YMCA Buffalo Niagara Turkey Trot – This 8K first began in 1896 making it the oldest continually running race in the country. More than 12,000 runners come out to race and enjoy the post-run awards ceremony and live entertainment.

Dana Point Turkey Trot – Race along the beaches of southern California with the 5K or 10K run. Not only is the locale a perfect reason to sign up for this huge event, but proceeds go to the Second Harvest Food Bank.

Huge TBRΒ marathon

I signed up @ Bookworming in the 21st Century for the Huge TBR Marathon she’s hosting there. Very exciting!

I have a huge list of books needing to be read, which I will post soon have posted below.

My HUGE TBR MARATHON Reading List:

Ex Machina #3 – Brian K. Vaughn

Ex Machina # 4 – Brian K. Vaughn

Mango Shaped Space – Wendy Mass

When I Was a Soldier – Valerie Zenatti

DK’s Strength Training

The Gardener – S.A. Bodeen

The Other Half of My Heart – Sundee T. Frazier

Whew! I better brew another pot of coffee with a list this long! πŸ™‚

Well, I’ve learned a valuable lesson: Thinking I could participate in a Huge TBR readathon the same time I’ve set a self-imposed goal of completing the final revision of my book is not a great idea. In fact, it’s a very BAD idea. *sigh* I still read some of the books on my list, but sadly was way off my goal TBR reading mark.

Many thanks to Kristen @ Bookworming in the 21st Century for hosting such a great event! πŸ™‚