central park

photo dump: world photography day

Your eyes are not deceiving you, I’m actually posting on a Saturday! It’s a special Saturday because it’s also World Photography Day. Being that I am a true professional*, I would love to share some of my favorites to the masses**

*totally not a professional

**all 5 of you

I’ve posted most (all, probably) of these in previous posts but let me have this.

Obviously, some are more edited than others, some are straighter than others, some are overall better than others, but they all make me feel good. I could tell you a story about each one. I have, if you look hard enough, but I’m not going to do that right now. I haven’t been out with my camera probably since I was in California and I miss it. I have to get back on the horse and as soon as I do, I’ll be sure to inundate these pages with photo dumps. lucky ducks.


finalist squared.

According to Facebook, it’s been 10 days since I’ve last posted. TEN DAYS.


I really don’t know what’s wrong with me or where my motivation went. I thought I was hitting a stride, and then, mid-leap I hit a wall. HARD. Anyway, not to make any empty promises, I’m going to get myself back on track, hopefully sooner rather than later.

I just wanted to hop on here and share with you guys some good news. Remember last year when I entered that photo contest and was picked as a finalist? Well, I entered again, and for the second time in a row, I was named a finalist! I submitted two photos but only one was chosen, and if we’re being honest, I’m not surprised at their choice.


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The backstory on this one is that I took it on the same day that I took the last finalist photo (the hot dog vendor one). Unlike the first photo, I was immediately in love with this one and, by the time Lisa and I had left Central Park, I had convinced myself that this would be included in Time Magazine’s Most Iconic Photos of 2013. #conceitedmuch I’m still waiting for that phone call. Fast forward about two years when I donated a print of this to the Silent Auction at work. It was right when the war on cops and the Black Lives Matter movement was really starting to heat up. I showed it to my co-worker and she told me that it probably wouldn’t go over too well. I don’t work in the best of neighborhoods, to put it lightly. Discouraged and more than a little miffed, I donated it anyway and on the day of the auction, I watched it LIKE. A. HAWK. It didn’t get any bids. Not a single one.

Today, this baby is a finalist and I couldn’t be prouder.

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Like it’s sibling, it will be published in the Photographer’s Forum Best of Photography 2015 with my name written underneath it and a bunch of other cool things. Like a certificate and the knowledge that somewhere, in some school’s library there will be books with my pictures and name in them.

Take that, (silent auction) haters.

I’ll see you guys soon. Hopefully before the post I’ve written in my head deletes itself, because that’s annoying.


sweater weather tag! (totally not the candle)

The other night I was scouring the internet for something, anything to inspire me. I was in my usual funk of I have things to say but don’t know what to write. I went through all of the writing prompts on Pinterest, tried to come up with a witty list, possibly entitled 20 Things To Do When You’re Home Alone That Doesn’t Involve Hulu or Netflix. Except, what is there to do besides catching up on Hulu and Netflix when you have the TV to yourself? I was about to give up when I clicked the refresh button on my Reader. Up popped a new post from Kristen over at Peaches and Poppycock. It was a tag! And she tagged me! ask and you shall receive. So, thanks Kristen! She put a limit on her word count, but you guys aren’t getting that lucky with mine.

So, without further ado:

favorite candle scentLeaves by Bath and Body Works or Home Sweet Home by Scentsationals (you can get it at Walmart. it’s actually those wax cubes for the tart warmers. wax that smells good = candle)

coffee, tea or hot chocolate?  first of all, if i’m drinking coffee, it’s iced. second, I like all of those beverages so it just depends on my mood.

what is the best fall memory you have — i don’t really have one. early fall usually reminds me of school and sometimes i forget how old i am and i start to look for my backpack to get my homework started. old habits die hard, i guess. honestly, the only other thing that comes to mind is doing blogtober last year. i really loved that challenge (and a challenge it was!) and all of the people i’ve “met”/found because of it.

best fragrance for fall — Chloe by Chloe or Burberry Body

favorite Thanksgiving food — Stove Top stuffing. sorry, i’m just not a fan of the homemade ones. my aunt also makes this corn bread/pudding thing that i would eat the whole pan of if i could.

most worn sweater —  i don’t wear a lot of sweaters because i’m always warm.

football games or jumping in leaf piles — ohh tough choice. i’m going to go with football games. we all know i feel about men in uniform.

favorite type of pie —  apple or cherry, both with vanilla ice cream.

what is autumn weather like where you live — gorgeous. and the views aren’t bad either.

which makeup trend do you prefer: dark lips or winged liner — dark lips, hands down.

what song really gets you into the fall spirit —  the monster mash?

is pumpkin spice worth the hype — it used to be and then starbucks thought it would be cute to release it in august. then dunkin donuts, for some reason, decided not to release their apple cider. NOT COOL. how else are we supposed to fight against the great pumpkin (spice)?

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favorite fall TV show —  does “You’ve Got Mail” airing on ABC Family (or wherever) count?

skinny jeans or leggings? — leggings if i could find a long enough, light enough sweater or tunic. otherwise, skinny jeans. who am i kidding? elastic waistband for the win.

combat boots or Uggs — gun to my head? Uggs. but really, riding boots.

Halloween: yay or nay — nay. or should i say nae nae?

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fall mornings or evenings — do i have to choose? 

what do you think about Black Friday? — it’s cool, but no thanks. too many people, too much pressure. i think it’s bullshit that stores are not giving their employees a chance to enjoy the holiday. opening at 6pm on thursday? by that time, my pants are still buttoned and i’m not looking for the fennel to help me to digest yet. #italiansolutions. i mean, what kind of shit is that?

one Fall 2015 trend you love — blanket scarves #baaaasicccc

Now for the tagging.

I tag:
Libby @ Honestly, Libby
Mallory @ Mallory Can’t Even
Laura @ Life with Lolo
Allison @ AA
Anyone who wants to do this. Really! Feel free.

Can’t wait to see everyone’s answers! Just make sure you tag me or leave a comment or whatevs.

Later gators!



photo dump: central park, where else?

I’ve had these pictures hanging out, waiting to be posted for a little while now, but I haven’t gotten a chance to actually put it all together. Don’t get too excited, they’re of Central Park – again. I know, let’s all put our shocked faces on. Whatever. It was a nice day, albeit hotter than Hades. This time, Martina and Lisa’s Day of Fun started at the Shakespeare Garden, which is like something out of a fairy tale. Or the English countryside. I assume.


I was too busy running around chasing butterflies, trying to get pictures of them, and failing miserably to get pictures of what was at the top of the stairs. Imagine a round English garden and that’s what’s upstairs. Not that I’m in any kind of situation for this to happen to me, but if I had to list a few places to get engaged, this would be pretty high on my list. take note, boys.

Before we left for the park, Lisa told me she was going to bring a sandwich and have a picnic. The last time we had a picnic in the park, we sat on a bench and watched a Men’s softball game. This time, we’re walking down the path and Lisa says, “Let’s sit here”. I look around and there’s no bench, no men in tight pants. I said, “Where?” “Right there”, she replies, pointing to an open space of grass. She walks over, opens her bag and pulls out a bedsheet, spreads in out, sits down and starts getting her sandwich out of her bag. Thankfully, there was a hot dog vendor nearby so I bought myself a hot dog since I really didn’t believe we were picnicking in the park. From where we sat we had an excellent view of the back of the Belvedere Castle and the trees provided excellent shade.



After we ate, people and dog watched, we started our journey down to the East Side. I keep forgetting that Central Park is basically the Met’s backyard. One day, I’m not going to make myself not look like a subway troll and I’m going to go to the steps of the Met, channel my inner Blair Waldorf, and have lunch. #pagingchuckbass Except I heard that that’s not allowed so I guess a quick photoshoot will have to suffice. Through the trees, I spotted 5th Avenue and like the Ansel Adams that (I think) I am, I stopped and took 400 photos, even making Lisa move the weeds out of my way. #ineedanassistant #thatswhatfriendsarefor


The building on the right is Marymount, which is an extremely Catholic school, or so I was told. Either way, it sure is pretty.

We made our way down past Alice in Wonderland to visit Hans Christian Anderson. Good old Hans. I take the same picture every time we come to see him, but I really don’t care. After we said goodbye to Uncle Hans, we started back on our journey down and out of the park.




Finally, we made it to the Bethesda Fountain. I’ve been trying to get artistic shots of her for a while now and today was no different. What was also not any different was the fact that I still couldn’t nail the shot I wanted. There’s always next time because you know, sure as shit, I’ll be back.




We walked through the mall, got a Hello Kitty ice cream bar, which promptly fell on the ground. Left the park and went over to Columbus Circle in search of a bathroom.

NEW YORKER TIP: DO NOT I repeat, DO NOT use the bathroom at the Starbucks near Columbus Circle. It was filthy and horrible. I actually felt bad for my shoes. So gross. But I was really desperate. I don’t know what that says about me and I’m not sure if I like it.

I was getting dark by the time we were ready to leave so my pictures of Columbus Circle are eh. I’ll have to go back at Christmas time because everything is prettier at Christmas. Wait for it.

We had finally had enough of the heat and humidity so we decided to head home. While we waited for the train I looked down at my arm and it was literally wet from the humidity. Ahhh, Summer in the City.


And that’s that. Now I’m waiting for the mail because Amazon says that Mindy Kaling’s new book will be delivered today. Gotta love Prime!

What’s going on with you?

Let’s discuss!


photo dump: all around central park

I know I post about Central Park excessively and today’s post is no different. I make no apologies.


If you could only chose one of my many Central Park posts to read though, it should be this one. It’s worth it, I promise.

Lisa and I decided to take a trip out of our comfort zones this time. And by out of our comfort zones I mean waaayy out. Like to Harlem. I’ve been wanting to go to the Conservancy Garden up there because it’s absolutely gorgeous. Like, so gorgeous the pictures actually do it justice.

See? I told you.

A little hint to Central Park is that when you walk through the park, your walk goes faster. So, through the park we walked. And walked. And walked. Just to give you an idea, I’ve taken the liberty of highlighting our trail. This is a pretty rough representation, but you should get the idea.


So, yea. Thank God for benches.

You know what’s funny though? Lisa and I both said that we didn’t want to walk the whole length of the park and that we would leave and get on the train when we were ready to eat or when we just had enough. That obviously didn’t happen. we do this all the time. everything is a production.

After the park we went for linner. Which we walked to. It was about 6 blocks from where we exited the park. I mean, go big or go home, right? Then I got it in my head that I wanted to go to Rockefeller Center. There was a mishap with a bus route so we ened up walking another 6-ish blocks back to Rockefeller.

Just keep in mind that we started out the day in Harlem, on East 110th Street. Now we’re on West 45th. That’s 65 city blocks (and then some) and across town. I should be 75 pounds with thighs that could crack walnuts.

Fifth Avenue, as usual, did not disappoint.

Yes, I know the Palace Hotel isn’t on 5th. It’s close enough though.

What a difference a season makes.

After Rockefeller we were pretty spent so we got a nice cupcake from Magnolia for the Express bus ride home. which is not so express. 

I didn’t know where to put these two pictures but I really liked them.

When we got home, I watched the end of “You’ve Got Mail”, which is the perfect New York movie. #lifeimitatesart

That wan’t too bad, was it? I have to go and put my feet up now. I don’t know if they’ll ever forgive me.

*All of these photos were edited with BeFunky. I was getting a little tired of PicMonkey so I Googled and found them. I totally recommend them if you’re looking for a web based editor. A premium subscription is the same price as PicMonkey so it’s definitely worth a try! And no, they aren’t paying me to say any of that. Although, I wouldn’t mind if they did.


book talk!

No matter how many times she entered it, Dolly never lost her sense of awe at the sheer majesty of Central Park. To her it was like its own city within a city, or perhaps more of a kingdom, the kind of place where there should be a castle in the middle, complete with a moat and drawbridge and a turret soaring to the clouds with a pretty lady fair peeking from the window.

-“Searching for Grace Kelly” by Michael Callahan

I mean, there is a castle in Central Park, but no moats, drawbridges or ladies fair. Central Park is quite magical, though. It’s like those elusive “traveling pants” whenever you step in, it’s a perfect fit.

I recommended this book when I was halfway through and now that I’m finished I’ll recommend it again. If you’re looking for old New York glamour, pick this one up!

searching for grace kelly

I know I asked a few days ago but, read any good books lately? Have you read this gem?

Let’s discuss!


the real silent killer

It’s officially a week until the Silent Auction! I’m not excited so much as I am entering full panic mode. The snow from the blizzard that sort of never happened is not helping. I was able to snag a snow day today because we all thought the snow was going to be a lot worse, but now I’m a day behind. It’s driving me up a wall. I wish I had a remote to fast forward to about 7pm, February 5th. By that time, I’ll be exhausted but the nightmare will be over.

Anyway, the point of this is that, like I did last year, I donated some photographs to the auction. Also like last year, I thought I’d share them here. Some aren’t new to the blog so you’ve probably seen them before, but humor me and act surprised (please?).

I hope they go over well like they did last year. I could really use the ego boost! I’ll definitely keep you updated.


a horse is a horse- of course, of course

This post was supposed to be a throwback Thursday type of deal but considering it’s now 12:28 Friday morning, I think I missed the mark.


As we all know, I love my city. And I love playing tourist here whenever I get a chance. (meanwhile, have i ever been to the empire state building? nope. statue of liberty? negative.) However, another fun fact about me that may or may not be known is that I am scared of everything. I mean ALL. THE. THINGS. I don’t like rides. I take the steps one at a time. I over-think before I leap (literally and figuratively). It’s annoying, but I like to think that it’s an endearing quality that someone will learn to love and find cute about me. here’s to hoping.

That being said, about 7 years ago I played tourist and went on a big city adventure with Lisa, Nicole and my cousin, Jill. We went for lunch at Jekyll and Hyde and to Max Brenner for dessert (which I highly recommend). Somewhere in between it was decided that we should take a carriage ride around Central Park. Obviously, this was not my decision. I hemmed and hawed and asked the guy how much weight is too much weight for his mighty steed to pull. In a delightful Irish brogue, he assured me everything would be fine and before I knew it I was being hoisted (read: thrown) into the carriage by Lisa and Nicole. It took a few minutes to get acquainted with being in the carriage. With every bump I feared the worst.

Me: This is it! This is how it ends!

Lisa: We haven’t even made it into the park yet, Martina.

OK, so I was a little dramatic.

After I calmed down, I started to enjoy myself. The carriage driver doubled as a tour guide, pointing out famous places from movies and celebrity apartments. He showed us Diana Ross’ building, which conveniently overlooks the Diana Ross playground. oh, to be rich. 

By now I was thoroughly enjoying myself. Taking in the sights, laughing with my fellow adventure seekers. I’m watching the road ahead to kind of figure out where we were and to figure out why we were so close to traffic (we really weren’t, but i’m neurotic). I noticed that there was two other carriages next to each other, the drivers having a conversation. Our driver decided to squeeze through.

Me: We’re not going to fit

Lisa: He knows what he’s doing. We’ll fit.

Me: I don’t think so.

We didn’t fit. The wheel on my side touched the other carriage’s wheel. You would think it was a 20 car pile up.

Me: I told you we wouldn’t fit! Who else gets into an accident in a horse and carriage? Us. We do!

Lisa: OK, we didn’t fit.

All in all, it was a really fun experience. So New Yawk. Much better than the pedicab ride Lisa and I took looking for Times Square. But that’s another story.

I also wanted to add that our Mayor is trying to get rid of these horse and carriages. don’t even get me started. I’m going to include a link to the Save the Carriage Horses website. From there you can email the people in charge to ask them to not do away with this New York icon.

For those who worry about the horse’s health and safety – I personally know someone who works in the park as a mounted police officer (cool job, right?!) and she has said many, many times that the horses are treated better than humans. The drivers love their horses and would never do anything to put them in harm’s way.

So if you can (and want to), please head over to the website and send a quick note!


delusions of grandeur

This past weekend Nicole and I took a trip to Central Park because the neurotic in me was convinced that if I didn’t get there soon, I would have missed all of this year’s beautiful foliage. Like the park doesn’t have enough trees in it’s nearly 843 acres.

Here are some photos I took. I used picmonkey to enhance them, but I didn’t really have to.

It’s days like this where I wish I lived close enough to call this my backyard. I’ve always imagined myself living in an apartment that is a cross between Meg Ryan’s in “You’ve Got Mail” (the windows! the french doors! the built-in bookshelves!) and Mr. Bedford’s from the 1994 version of “Miracle on 34th Street” (the window seat! the view of the parade! the park!) In my bigger delusion of grandeur, I imagine I would live in Blair Waldorf’s apartment penthouse and enjoy her use of a chauffeured limo. Although, Meg Ryan’s brownstone and Mr. Bedford’s prime location apartment would cost a pretty penny so I guess they’re all a pretty grand delusion.

Hope you enjoyed! See you next time!


Blogtober14 Day 4: Favorite Instagram posts



Day 4.. are you ready for more? *cricket noises*

Anywayyyy… day four wants me to share my favorite Instagram post. In true Martina fashion, I don’t have just one.

As usual with all of my lists this one is in no particular order. I mean, who has time to rate their own Instagram pictures?


The story behind this one is this: I hate the snow. However,  I wanted to take pictures of Central Park in the snow so I sucked it up. I snapped this shot and thought nothing of it. I was with Lisa when I took at and she loved it from the beginning. I still wasn’t convinced. One way or another more and more people started to see the photo and everyone who saw it loved it and bada bing, bada boom- I’ve sold it 4 times to 3 different people. It has grown to be one of my favorite pictures ever. You can read the whole story, because I’ve blogged all about it, right here.



Barnegat Light, Long Beach Island, New Jersey.



I was having a rough week at work. I knew (and still know) that I deserve better than what I have there. It’s a work in progress. Anyway, I was at my wit’s end when I took a lunch break and when I unpacked the bag to start to eat, this fell out. It made me smile and feel like I could make it through the rest of the day.




Marine Park, Brooklyn, New York I went for a walk around the park with Nicole and Lisa. We were taking a break on a bench and I saw that there were no people in front of us so I seized the opportunity and took this picture. I should censor it because there’s some major cloud porn going on here.


Lastly, and it seems as though I am bending the rules again since this is a collage and not a single picture. I chose this one though, not because of the photo, but because of who liked it. That’s right. ANDREW JENKS. As in the guy from MTV and the maestro of the All American High School Film Festival. (<— click there to read about my experience last year)

This post isn’t 100% fair because all of the pictures I post on Instagram mean something to me or, like in the case of Throwback Thursdays, have a special place in my heart. I would invite you to come and follow me , but I made my page private due to some potentially prying eyes that have no business being on my page. Until I could figure out how to find them and block them, I have my feed on the left side of the blog and you’re more than welcome to browse there.

See you tomorrow!


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