“The perfect New York weekend”

Many will say that no place will ever compare to New York and as a person who day dreamed about a life here I completely concur. However the reality of living here often means that New Yorkers can get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of work and the daily grind, that they forget to stop and smell the roses (or I guess in this city the trash on the side of the street). This past weekend I was able to get a weekend off to enjoy the city and it reminded me of the energy and thrill I used to feel as a tourist embracing the magic and possibility of the city.

I began my weekend with a yoga class which was the perfect start. Practicing is so important for me on many levels – my muscles need the stretch after all the walking carting around my heavy winter coat/backpack, and my mind needs the calm and peace to center itself in my crazy fast paced life. I then headed to midtown to teach my class at Broadway Dance Center which is always a rewarding part of my day – a little bit of a crazy commute given the Women’s march was taking place on my street but I got there in the end. Given that the weather was so “warm” which I say lightly as it was still much colder than the coldest winter day back home, I chose to walk the 30 blocks home from class to breathe in the city vibes. I took in the buildings really looking and appreciating the many cafes, restaurants, smells, fire escapes and iconic sights. My stroll took me up past columbus circle, the empire hotel, Juilliard and lincoln center – scenes out of a movie and a very good reminder that I am one lucky Srayan to be living here.

Next on the agenda was a night out to watch two of my very first NYC dance students perform at The Alvin Ailey Dance Theater as part of the Joffrey Jazz and Contemporary Trainee program. This was an extremely special moment knowing that I had been a part of the reason they were on that stage  – I have seen many of my Australian students go on to see great success and this is the beginning of a new era as my USA students embark on their success stories in the performing industry.  The growth in their technique in performance over the past three years has been magnificent and it was a joy to watch them perform – one proud dance educator!

One of my very first friends in NYC, Lindsey was visiting from LA for the weekend and she happened to be at the show so in a moment of spontaneity (these are key in NYC) I jumped on the subway and headed to midtown for a catch up with her at the very trendy Ace Hotel. It was so wonderful to chat and catch up on life with her – her infectious energy is great for my soul! It also didn’t hurt that we got treated like royalty given her hotel hookups #kenanjones.

Sunday began with a morning gym session. I know some people reading this are shaking their heads and thinking this cannot be part of a Shannon Atkins ideal weekend but it is still January and my new years resolutions are holding strong. Following this I met for brunch with my good friend Gabby Soto – another of my first and dearest friends here. In New York City on a Sunday “it is all about the brunch darling.” We chose a cosy spot on the Upper West Side called Ella Bar and Kitchen and caught up on life over mimosas and eggs benny.  Feeling relaxed and happy another spontaneous decision found me at the spa on my street treating my neglected feet to a pedicure. I then capped off my blissful weekend catching up with a friend I had not seen in years over drinks – I think this catch up actually carried on into Monday which is when you know it was a good one!

All in all the stars aligned for the ultimate weekend to inspire, rejuvenate and refresh me for the week and year ahead – NYC really delivered the goods.

“A big tick for the first week of 2018”

Despite experiencing weather colder than I have ever imagined was possible and recovering from a horrific bout of Montezumas revenge I’ll give a big tick for the first week of 2018. So far, so good!

It is safe to say for those that know me (and even those that don’t) that I spent the last few days of 2017 in my version of heaven on earth. Just give me sunshine, the ocean, a pinà colada and a good book and I’m “pig in mud” happy to quote my Mark Bonenti. My vacation in paradise was not only a fantastic opportunity for relaxation and rejuvenation but a chance to reflect on the year – I took some serious “me” time to catch my breath and gather my thoughts for the year ahead. This involved beach walks, yoga, great food, reading and even a questionable yet enjoyable massage at the resort spa. It was the perfect getaway to recharge my batteries!

Returning to my cosy upper west side apartment was a bit of a shock to the system with the frigid temperatures freezing the city, however it has been a great New York week. I find January in the city is a fantastic time to nestle in and keep low key – a great time to Netflix, seamless and chill!

Returning to Dance this week was fantastic as all the dancers are focused and gearing up for the first competitions of the year – exciting times in all studios throughout the city. We were blessed with a magical snow day. I’m sure most New Yorkers would disagree with my use of the word “magic” but for me not growing up with snowfall I still get a thrill when I see snow. My favorite part is looking at it in the tree branches- it is so picturesque and like a scene from a movie I could only dream about back in my warm winters on the Gold Coast.

To complete the week my best friend gave birth to the most perfect baby boy. It really has been a fantastic start to the year full of love, hope and warmth (in the heart not outside!) Cheers to week one of 2018! You go alright!