Tag: New York


6 Months of Silence

One of the largest points of self realization that I have come to accept is that I sometimes bite off more than I can chew. What sometimes seems like a minor side project, or a great idea, turns into a time suck that eventually falls by the wayside to be abandoned when priorities change.

At the end of the day, I am not a full time blogger.  Hell, I am not even a part time blogger.  Yes, I have a blog, but not always the time to update it.  Just look at some of my past blog posts.  I was gangbusters for a good 6 months, maybe even 8 months.  Then I had to find a real job in my career field. Read more “6 Months of Silence”


Foto Friday – December 2, 2011

Today’s photo comes from central park in New York City.  With family in town for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, we took an opportunity to play tour guide and show our family around NYC.  After a wonderful breakfast, we ventured into Central Park to enjoy the overcast and rainy morning.  Taken from over one of the Trump sponsored skating rinks on the south end of Central Park, the low clouds, fog, rain and the last remnants of Fall colors provided a great depth and ambiance to the gorgeous NYC skyline.

This Foto Friday marks a few changes as of late, the primary one being my (attempted) return to my Foto Friday posts, as well as an addition to the camera arsenal. I originally started my Foto Friday posts with only shots from my Canon SLR, however recently with work being as hectic as it has been, my iPhone is the only camera that I have on my 95% of the time anymore, so this is the first iPhoneography shot to be featured on Foto Friday.

The shot was taken with the built in camera on the iPhone, stitched together with AutoStitch and cleaned up with SnapSeed.

Hope you enjoy it.

Camera – iPhone 4 | Software – AutoStitch, SnapSeed

Do you have any photos from some great, non-traditional Thanksgiving events?



Foto Friday – June 10, 2011

Today’s photo comes from a nearby New York Vineyard, Clinton Cellars.  This old barn is actually the tasting room for the winery and no longer functions as a barn, but proved to be very picturesque with the right photo touches.  Unfortunately, the wine was nowhere near as good as the scenery was, and the customer service was even worse than that.

The memories of this shot, besides the abhorrent wine was that this was Sean‘s first visit to upstate New York to visit us.  The winery is set off in the countryside, with nature surrounding it.

Sean had a great time during his short visit here in New York, but as our first visitor that stayed longer than 1 night (sorry Mike), it was a great feeling to have a little piece of home out in NY with us in the form of our friend.

Camera – Canon EOS Rebel XT | Lens – Tamron 11-18mm | Exposure –  F6.3 – 1/60

Do you have any photos that remind you of certain friends?

If so, share them in the comments below!


Foto Friday

Foto Friday is a feature on Get Busy Livin’ and will run regularly, you guessed it,  every Friday.  This will be my opportunity to display some of my photography, as well as a short story to go with the photograph.

Usually in this space I like to share a story behind the photo, the trip I was on, the composition of the shot or something to make the photo relatable.  This update will be a little different in light of the recent events of the past week.

Today’s photo comes from New York’s Grand Central Terminal from a trip I took a few years back.

The events of this past Sunday, the location and killing of Osama Bin Laden, have had a profound effect on this country, and even more so on this state.  New York has been in the spotlight again, 10 years after the attacks on 9/11/01 and the World Trade Centers.  President Obama was at Ground Zero yesterday for a ceremony and chatting with local firefighters and policemen, thanking them for their service and dedication.

For today’s photo, I wanted to post one of the ones I had taken at Ground Zero, however none were to my standards to publish, so my focus then changed to something uniquely New York.  I had a few great photos of the Statue of Liberty, the fire station at Ground Zero, Times Square, but this photo spoke to me with the American flag hanging high overhead, our symbol of freedom.

Camera – Canon EOS Rebel XT | Lens – Tamron 11-17mm | Exposure –  1/50 – F/4.5


Project 333: Lessons from an Experiment

Remembering the Beginning

Where it started

About 4 months ago I posted a blog about my participation in a personal experiment known as Project 333.  I asked my readers, and myself, could you live for 3 months with only 33 articles of clothing?

I was all for it. I had quit my corporate job in July and put away all of my slacks, suits and dress shirts in favor of shorts, jeans and t-shirts for my new job.  I had been in that new job for 4 months when I made the decision to pack away the majority of my clothes and settle on just 33 items.

“That’s EASY” you might say, especially considering I could pretty much wear to work what I would wear on the weekends, so not much variety or creativity was really necessary when it came to picking out 33 items, or so it would seem.

December 31st, New Years Eve is when I sat down, went through all of my clothes and filled up around 8 large storage boxes full of clothes, shoes, jackets, hats, etc.  It was liberating, but at the same time a little scary.  Not only was I planning out the clothes I would wear for the next 3 months, I was also planning out the clothes I would wear in California for work, where at the worst it was 50* and raining.  I also had to plan for a trip to upstate New York, as Juliet and I were leaving on January 4th for Rochester and 20* (and below) and snowing.

All in all, the decisions were not hard, but I wanted to be dedicated to this and prove to myself that I could do it.  Little did I know how my life would change and how much this would help me through it.

Changes in Latitudes

We're not in California anymore, Toto

Not 7 days after packing up all of my excess clothes, Juliet accepted a job that would move us back to upstate New York, a little faster than we anticipated.  When she accepted the job, we were thinking March 1st or even March 15th.  Perfect, 2 more months in Southern California, 2 more months of shorts, t-shirts and sandals.

Then the news came.  Juliet starts her new job February 7th, which means we are on a one way plane to New York on February 3rd.

So I quit my job and started realizing that I wouldn’t really miss it.

When it came to moving, we were moving into temporary housing, so we didn’t have to move everything, just our essentials to live in a hotel for 4-6 months.  The last few weeks leading up to moving were quite stressful, packing, planning, booking airfare, renting cars, figuring out just what in the world I was going to do.

“But what does this have to do with Project 333??”

Thanks to Project 333, while my wife packed all of her clothes for work, casual, gym, etc, and filled 5-6 boxes, my clothes fit in 1. This was somewhat due to the fact that Juliet was packing for work, casual and everything else, where I did not have to pack for work, however, the only thing I altered in my Project 333 clothing list when we moved was the addition of 2 pairs of shoes and a few sweatshirts.

Lessons Learned

After reading more from Courtney Carver of Be More With Less, the originator of this challenge, as well as reading more from others who were participating, this “challenge” is not so much of a challenge to force yourself into “living like a poor person” as some people like to put it, rather, it is a challenge to the mindset of what is really needed in life.

The major takeaway I have from this is a shift in the mindset of choosing clothes on a daily basis.  I cannot honestly recall one time, from January until now, where I have uttered the words “I don’t know what I want to wear today?”  I can pick out matching clothes with absolutely no effort, whether that is going out for the night, running errands or hanging out with friends.  I can worry about getting busy living my life and not worry about what clothes I am going to wear.

Current Numbers

Jumping into the 2nd round of Project 333, we are encouraged to update our wardrobe and switch out any items we want for the next 3 months and put away others we wont need.  While I applaud those who do it, I have taken more of a permanent approach to the lifestyle.  While I might not live with 33 items, I keep the number low and have limited my spending on new clothes.

Here is my current tally of all the clothing items I have with me in NY:

  • 38 T-Shirts (16 I consider “outer-wear”, 7 undershirts, 15 shirts for around the house)
  • 5 Collared Shirts
  • 8 Sweatshirts/Jackets
  • 14 Workout shirts
  • 2 Workout shorts
  • 4 Jeans
  • 3 Shorts (1 I consider “outer-wear”)
  • 1 Sweats (loungewear)
  • 2 Slacks
  • 4 Collared Work Shirts (will only wear to work)
  • 6 Baseball Hats
  • 3 Beanies (loungewear)
  • 4 belts
  • 7 Pairs of shoes (1 pair snow boots, 2 pairs running shoes, 4 pairs causal shoes)

Quite the far cry from 33 items, isn’t it?  By my count, for Project 333 numbers, I am at 45 items, as although I have “work clothes” I have not had the need to wear them, nor do I see the need in the foreseeable future.

I have gotten more comfortable wearing my workout shirts instead of t-shirts when heading out, as they handle the dry and wet a little better.  Out of the 14 I have, there are 6 that I will wear out.  I could (and probably will) put about 20-25 items into a storage box, as I am not wearing them, so don’t really need them right now.


The more options you have in your life, the more opportunity you have to be indecisive and waste your time hemming and hawing over the correct decision. I have chosen the path of reducing my wardrobe to quality, versatile pieces that take away the “what do I want to wear today” question out of the mix.  I can now worry about more important things, such as where I am going, who am I spending time with and how I am going to make the most out of my life. I can concentrate on living my life and spend less time worrying about things completely within my control.


Have you ever done anything like this? Consolidated all of your clothes into a backpack to see the world? Just downsized to simplify your life?  I would love to hear your insights on what paring down your wardrobe taught you about yourself. Let me know in the comments below!



Epic Road Trip 2011: The Victory Lap

This is part 4 in a series about my Epic Road Trip 2011.  If you have not yet seen the teaser, or read the background behind my love for the open road, then it would be a good idea to start reading Part 3: The Long Haul and Part 4: Uncharted Waters.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.

All done? Up to speed?  Good.  Let’s do this.

Friday, March 11

After a much needed rest, our time to hit the road has come.  2700 miles of road behind us, just around 900 in front of us, and 700+ of those miles are ones we have covered in previous trips.  With that in mind, this segment is dubbed, “The Victory Lap”.  One more time through some familiar territory, some time ahead with some good friends and the completion to this Epic Road Trip on the horizon line.

It is with hesitation that we bid goodbye to the Atlanta area and our good friends, for we have some highway to tackle.

Some gas for the beast and it is on the road, north on I-85 towards North Carolina.

80 miles into today, we cross into our 9th state of the trip.

State number 9

With 100 miles in the drivers seat today and the previous 2 days of driving, it is time to turn over the driving duties to Mike.  A quick pit stop and driver change just outside of Anderson, SC proved to offer a little more than just a rest stop.

I have heard in the past how beautiful South Carolina is, however, if this is what their rest stops look like, I am sold.

Not a bad view for a rest stop

A little more exploration, and 100 yards or so away is one of the fingers off of Hartwell Lake.

Even Rusty enjoyed the scenery
Lake Hartwell
Could have sat here for hours
Pictures do not do it justice

The lake and surrounding areas are so quiet and peaceful, we decide to linger for a bit to take some photos and enjoy the peace, quiet and serenity of the area.  With I-85 not 200 yards behind us, we cannot even hear the noise of the road.

Tall Tall Trees...
Yeah, I could live here. Just outside Anderson, SC. #epicroadie2011 - http://t.co/8wpznCB
Justin Hamlin

Back to the road we head, less than 100 miles to Charlotte and Virginia just a few miles past that.  Our destination for tonight is Charlottesville, VA.

Old stomping grounds

Back into old stomping grounds for Mike, we are a few hundred miles from Virginia, basically a straight shot around Charlotte and Greensboro, then into VA, but not without a quick stop for some food.  Hush puppies and shakes to go!

Apparently their shakes are pretty well renowned around these parts #epicroadie2011 (@ Cook-Out w/ @) http://4sq.com/e47hSU
Justin Hamlin
Rusty enjoying the scenery
State number 11

160 miles to go until we get to Bryan and Alisa’s, this might be the most grueling drive of the trip, as we are in the mindset of pushing through to our destination, off the interstate and onto rural state routes, we will be averaging around 45-50mph as we go in and out of small, rural towns.

Rt 29 towards Ruckersville, VA

Dinner time with some great friends at a small restaurant in Ruckersville, VA before heading back to the hotel.

Dinner with the Watkin clan

Back to the hotel we head.  Tomorrow is another 400 miles. 8 days down, 1 to go.

Hockey game online and then some sleep. Tomorrow is home! #epicroadie2011 (@ DoubleTree Hotel) http://4sq.com/ggNYIh
Justin Hamlin

Saturday, March 12

The end of the road is near.  At this point, the trip is no longer about having fun, enjoying the open road, it is about covering ground and getting back to New York.  Sad to say, but that is how every road trip ends.

Today is 400 miles, playing cross-country courier and getting home.

Another one off the list

Skirting around the outside of DC, we cross into our 12th state of the trip.

Not long after that, chalk up number 13.

Light speed to Endor!
State number 13

Making quick work of these states on I-85, the interstate does not provide for a lot of photographic opportunities other than ones like this of the Wilmington skyline.

Wilmington, Deleware

Around noon, we have already covered over half of our distance for the day.  Lunch with Morgan is planned for 1:30pm in North Trenton, NJ.  Plenty of time to cover 65 miles.

Through MD and onto DE, #epicroadie2011 marches on, knocking out states left and right. Only PA, NJ and NY left to go!
Justin Hamlin

I feel so welcomed

Just need to run through Philadelphia and we will be in New Jersey in no time.

Until this

Yes, we have driven 3200+ miles without hitting traffic since leaving California.  That is, until now.  Construction on the Delaware Expressway (I-95) on the bridge between the Philadelphia Airport and the Naval yard is causing this.

Finally around the traffic, we hit New Jersey and headed for lunch.

The Dirty Jersey

Lunch at Panera Bread in Northwest Trenton, we meet up with Morgan to deliver some mail (long story) and catch up over some food.  Nothing like being a 3450 mile courier service. (and to think, I didn’t even charge him)

After a much-too-short lunch, the road is calling us again.

Buh bye PA! Good to catch up with @, now into NJ and shortly, NY! 120 miles to home for #epicroadie2011
Justin Hamlin

Only approximately 130 miles to go and the driving portion of EPIC Road Trip 2011 will be officially done! #EpiicRoadie2011 #VictoryLap

A few short miles down the road, we click off the last state line crossing of the trip.

Empire State of Mind

A turn up I-87 Thruway and we meet up with Juliet in Newburgh, NY at 5:15pm.  Just 8 miles home to unload the beast and off to a victory dinner at The Depot in Cold Spring, NY.

And finally a victory dinner with @ and @ in our final state of New York. #EpicRoadie2011 http://4sq.com/i1G8Av

A well earned victory dinner

Until Next time my brother

Peace out brother, safe travels @ #epicroadie2011 (@ Stewart International Airport (SWF) ✈) http://4sq.com/h9bXM6
Justin Hamlin



9 days

3600 miles

72 hours of driving



Holy Shit…. I just Quit My Job

I fucking did it.  WOW.

I turned in my notice today.  In 2 weeks, I will be without a job, with nothing lined up, no income, nothing.  It really is happening, and I am balancing being scared out of my mind with being absolutely exhilarated at the upcoming opportunities that I have in front of me.

In 3 weeks, my journey towards an EPIC 2011 continues, with what will prove to be a life changing and inspiring transition.  My lifestyle, livelihood, profession, goals, will all change.

I will get a chance to take a step back from the corporate world and focus on myself, my family, my passion and my hobbies.  Something that I have not had a chance to do in 15 years.  I can pursue my love of photography or my newfound outlet of creative writing.  I can learn to cook (better).  I can start a new business or pursue a new an alternate career. I can do anything.

The Backstory

My wife and I have lived in Southern California for basically our entire lives.  She is a recognized top salesperson for the largest telecom company in the country.  I am a Senior Systems Engineer in the IT industry.  We have lived the corporate, rat race life that is typical of a Southern California couple with dual income and no kids.  Since we met, we have longed for a life outside of California.  The lifestyle of “keeping up with the Jones'”in suburbia.

Jet Settin'

6 months ago, I walked away from my 8+ year career with an IT Solutions vendor to take a job in the corporate retail space with a national clothing retailer.  That move scared me a little due to the fact that my job security with my previous employer was rock solid, as I had been with them through thick and thin, but in reality, had maximized my potential with my only hopes for a promotion being in the employment of another company with more room for me to move up the ladder.

For the 5+ years, Juliet has worked her way through the ranks as a very decorated and accomplished sales representative with a national wireless provider. For her, the only step up was to move into a managerial role.  With that in mind and the company’s non-official policy that in order to move up in the company, you need to be able to move to different regions, we began looking for relocation and management opportunities for Juliet across the country.  After various interviews for positions in Southern California, Northern California and Atlanta, Georgia failed to pan out, we decided that we needed to just live our lives and when the opportunity was right, it would come and find her.

Read more “Holy Shit…. I just Quit My Job”