Fall Break in NYC

IMG_20131018_112629

*Written Saturday, October 12th…obviously I’m a little behind on my postings….LOTS of catching up to do!

We are officially halfway through our “babymoon” vacation. We just left the big apple (in-flight now), are headed to Nashville for some haunted housing and a very big ceremony. Then it’s off to Florida! New York was great, and I think it will end up being the most relaxing part of this two-week vacation.

Love walking along 5th and Central Park
Love walking along 5th and Central Park

For the first time ever I went on a vacation with zero plans. I had our flight in and our flight out written in my calendar, and nothing in between. After living there for two years it seemed a bit ridiculous to make plans. So, we played everything by ear and ended up relaxing a lot (for us, anyways).

I've been trying some new hairstyles everyday...I'm a bit sick of my hair at the moment.
I’ve been trying some new hairstyles everyday…I’m a bit sick of my hair at the moment.

We hit our favorite spots…Central Park, the MET, the giant public library on 5th, Chelsea Market, etc. Strolling around the park and relaxing is possibly what I miss most about New York. We spent a lot of time just people watching, and laughing at the people in the boat pond who had no clue how to row a boat.

Husband and Zoey having a leaf fight in the park (and yes, he is wonderful and carrying all of my crap)
Husband and Zoey having a leaf fight in the park (and yes, he is wonderful and carrying all of my crap)

The MET had a few new exhibits, as they always do, and we happened to go on the most beautiful day of the week. The rooftop was open, the sky was sunny and the views were spectacular. The exhibit on the roof right now is called “Zombie Garden”. You see why, right?

Zombie Zoey
Zombie Zoey
Rooftop of the MET
Rooftop of the MET

20131012_132425

The library had a new exhibit up that focused on the history and importance of children’s books, which is right up my alley. Plus, there was an entire Mary Poppins section!

IMG_20131018_112359
Mary Poppins umbrella is on display!

We shopped on 5th Avenue, Madison and through Chinatown. We snacked at a Chinese bakery on pineapple bread and mango and basil seed juice. I haven’t been to a Chinese bakery since we were in China 5 years ago, so it brought back lots of great memories. At Bloomingdales, I bought my first ever pair of shoes for the sole reason of being comfortable. I LOVE shoes, but in a fashionable artistic way. I could care less if my shoes are comfortable, until now. Being pregnant has made my feet total weenies. I was barely making it around Manhattan and began to worry about all the walking we will be doing around Disney. So, I did what a sensible person might do and bought a comfortable pair of non-slippery shoes with lots of support. They aren’t so bad. I’ve got to say, my feet feel aaammmmazzzzinnggg!

Shopping down Madison Ave.
Shopping down Madison Ave.
Mmmm pineapple bread and some weird delicious iced tea
Mmmm pineapple bread and some weird delicious iced tea
oh yeah...comfy shoes
oh yeah…comfy shoes

We ate bagels at H&H, breakfast at lots of little diners, tacos at Tacombi and pizza of course. Sorry, but I am definitely one of “those people” who swears New York has the best pizza! (They do, they really do!) We even ate at the Stardust Diner for the first time ever. The Stardust is in Time Square and is famous for it’s staff, which is ALL professional singers, actors and dancers who are trying to make it on Broadway. (Rachel and Santana work there now, for all you Glee fans.) We decided we might as well try it since we are acting as tourist all week. The waiters were surprising talented and entertaining, the food was nothing to brag about and overpriced.

bagels at H&H
bagels at H&H
tacombi!!!
tacombi!!!

IMG_20131010_184429

We also so Pippin on Broadway, because no trip to New York is complete with a trip to Broadway. Pippin is an old musical that’s been revived and features some crazy cirque du soleil type acts, erotic dancing, some intense singing and a storyline that leaves you thinking “WTF”? We liked it, but I am also biased due to the fact that Gilmore Girls referenced the heck out of Pippin in one episode.

IMG_20131011_121303

Box seats for the first time!
Box seats for the first time!

Of course, the best part of our trip was catching up with friends. We had dinner out with different friends almost every night and really enjoyed catching up and getting to spend time with people we love so much. We love traveling and moving around, but it always sucks to make and leave friends so often. It’s also a good reason to go back and visit though.

Maybe, I’ll keep up with writing better over the next week, maybe not.

Exploring the archives of the MET
Exploring the archives of the MET

Have a great week!

Cheers!

Let the Babymoon Begin!

*Written at 8am yesterday.

Today is the first day of our last big hurrah before Baby Z’s arrival. Our original plan was to travel internationally…(we take at least one international trip every year), but things did not line up accordingly so this year we are being less adventurous than normal, but still excited to visit two of our most favorite places: NYC and Disneyworld.

I am sitting on a plane headed for New York as I type. We will spend 5 glorious days soaking up one of our favorite home away from homes. Then, we are flying back to Nashville for a very special ceremony for out Aunt. The very next day we are driving to Orlando for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, EPCOT’s Food and Wine festival and Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights! And maybe, just maybe, we’ll stop by a nice warm beach for a minute or so. Woohoo!

View of the Upper East Side from Roosevelt Island.
View of the Upper East Side from Roosevelt Island.
Food and Wine Festival 2012
Food and Wine Festival 2012

We love traveling more than pretty much anything else…hope this baby is okay with going overseas for her first birthday. I don’t know if we will be able to wait much longer before another big trip. Once we got the itch to travel the world, it just hasn’t gone away.

I’ll do my best to keep you posted on our babymoon adventures over the next two weeks, but no promises!

I hope each of you are getting some sort of fall break. Don’t we all deserve a little getaway?

Cheers!

What I DON’T Miss About NYC

The view from Brooklyn Bridge
The view from Brooklyn Bridge

After my last Top Ten, “What I Miss About NYC“, I think it’s only fair that I write another…..”What I Don’t Miss About NYC”. So, let’s get down to it.

1. My smoking neighbors. I think everyone in my “non-smoking” building smoked weed and cigarettes. Since our walls were thin and a billion years old (give or take a few) we had a constant whiff of smoke seeping into our apartment. Eww.

2. The extra expenses. EVERYTHING in NY is soooo expensive. Groceries, toiletries and restaurants are two or three times as expensive as anywhere else. Don’t even get me started on the fashion…

3. Winter. Way too cold and way too long. Brrrrrr rabbit.

4. Rude waiters and sales clerks. I am typically on New York’s side when I hear that “people in NY are rude.” I defended New Yorkers by saying “People just keep to themselves,” “people are in a hurry,” or, “they are just as nice as people anywhere, you just don’t know them!” The majority of waiters and sales clerks do not get my defense though. They are just plain rude. New York has the worst customer service I have ever experienced.

5. The radiator. The radiator in our apartment sounded like someone was beating metal poles with a baseball bat ALL NIGHT LONG. It also made our tiny apartment exactly 250 degrees, even when we turned it off.

6. The laundromat. I don’t really think this needs explanation, but in case you are one of those lucky people who have always had a washer and dryer in your home I’ll help you understand. The next time you need to do laundry, preferably when the hamper is over-flowing, grab your hamper, detergent and bag of quarters and walk 2 or 3 block to the nearest laundomat. Now spend a couple of hours doing laundry, throw it all back in the hamper and walk back to your 4th floor walk-up apartment. Then, let me know how much fun you had.

7. No bathtub and no dishwasher. We missed both of these very important amenities in both Albania and NYC. I will never again take these simple things for granted!

8. The stairs. Our house has stairs, which I love, but they are nothing compared to living in a 4-floor walk up. Carrying groceries, shopping bags and luggage home always sucked. But the worst…the absolute worst…is when I’d leave for work with just enough time, get to the bottom floor and realize I left either my keys, my purse, an umbrella, my shoes or my lunch upstairs.

9. Tiny space. Our NY apartment was less than 400 square feet. It was cozy and just right for a short time in the city, but only  a short time. I LOVE how much space and how many closets we have now! It’s glorious!

10. Dog poop. I hated picking up Belle’s poop when I walked her. I hated constantly looking out for other’s dog poop that was not picked up even more.

There it is…sorry New York, but you aren’t perfect.

(I still miss you though.)

Cheers!

What I Miss About NYC

It’s been a while since my last “top ten” post, and boy am I ready for another one! Tonight/this morning I am up and thinking about NYC. Today a friend asked me if I miss the city, and of course I do. Who wouldn’t? So tonight’s top ten is..

“Top Ten Things I Miss About NYC”

1.  My job. Looking for a new one stinks, especially since I really loved my old job. It’s so rare to find a job you love, a boss you love in a location you love.

2. Central Park. Tennessee is full of nature and breathtaking views, but I still miss walking to Central Park, taking Belle to “off leash hours”, picnicking and people watching. No park can compare to Central Park.

3.  The FOOD! OMG, why don’t the nice men on bicycles ride to Nashville to deliver my favorite vegetarian dishes at 2am?! I miss the pizza, the bagels, the Indian restaurant near my apartment, diner breakfast and it’s only been a few weeks!

4. Public Transportation. I never thought I’d miss the subway, but it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than buying gas. It was also nice to just sit and read while someone else did the driving. subway

5. The shopping. I miss Madison and 5th so much. Not that I could afford to shop on Madison and 5th, but window shopping was mine and Husband’s favorite way to relax.

"I'm throwing on my Louboutins"
“I’m throwing on my Louboutins”

6. The views. We may have snuck onto the roof the Parker Meridian fairly often to enjoy its view of the city, but we also love the view from many other rooftops…half of which were legal.

A rooftop bar is totally legal.
A rooftop bar is totally legal.

7. New exciting things and events every weekend. There is always something new to do in NY. The Daily Candy and Time Out NY always kept me up on the latest exhibits, new store openings, upcoming concerts, Broadway premiers, fashion shows, free festivals, street fairs, comedy shows, park events and so much more. NY has something for everyone…and LOTS for me.

8. The fashion. I loved just looking at what everyone was wearing, but I really loved the fact that I could wear anything I wanted and not be judged. New York is probably the only place that you will see a girl in stilettos, a guy dressed in candy wrappers, someone half-naked, someone else wrapped in cellophane, people in pajamas and people in designer gowns all within feet of each other. No one even gives them a second glance because a)they could be going anywhere or coming from anywhere and b) who cares? Now, in Tennessee, I get stares if I wear a sheer top or tie-dyed wedges.

9. Broadway. I think we saw over 30 shows in the two years we lived in NY. I loved being able to pick up half-price tickets in Time Square on a whim any night we felt like going out.

The night we met Jeff Godbloom on Broadway.
The night we met Jeff Godbloom on Broadway.

10. Zoey. Yep, I miss you Zoey.

zoey

Cheers!

 

Mom in the City

Alright, I may not be in New York anymore, but I’m not quite finished with my NY blogs. Also, I’m having a little trouble with writing Nashville posts at the moment… all I can manage to discuss is how difficult it is to unpack without furniture, how best to organize a closet and how often I’ve wanted to cry because I get almost zero cell service here. For now, I think it’s best that I write about the rest of my Mom’s visit in NYC.

Mom was only able to visit for a couple of days, but I managed to squeeze in a wide variety of NY events during her short visit. You know all about our time at Central Park and Bergdorfs, but we did so much more! Mom has never been to the Empire State Building or any other tall building with a fantastic view, which is a must when visiting the city. I tried to convince her to sneak on the roof of Le Parker Meridian with me, but she was against breaking the law. So, I took her to Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center that is) instead.

topoftherock mom

And no trip to NYC is complete without a walk through Time Square. We went to the bar on the 8th floor of the Marriott which has a great view of the whole square.

timesquare

Another park I somehow failed to mention in the “parks blog” is Brooklyn Bridge Park. The day we walked through this park was so beautiful that every single Brooklyn-ite decided to spend the whole day lying on blankets and picnicking right by the water. As Carrie Bradshaw once said, “New Yorkers treat every nice day like it could be their last”.

bbpark

If we weren’t park hopping, shopping or sight seeing, we were eating. The amount of food we consumed is a bit ridiculous, but we like to believe that we walked it all off. It’s the perfect excuse to eat what you want in New York, you can just walk home afterwards. I had already taken my Mom to my favorite pizza place (Lombardi’s) on a previous trip, so I took her to the second and third best this time.

We accidentally walked into Madison Square Eats (an annual food festival) one night and happened to find a Roberta’s booth. Roberta’s makes this incredible brick oven pizza called the “bee sting”. It has spices, honey and fresh mozzarella. It typically comes with some sort of meat, but I order it vegetarian style.

madisonsquareeats

Then, there was Grimaldi’s. Grimaldi’s is a famous and always crowded coal-fired brick-oven pizzeria right under the Brooklyn Bridge, and a few other newer locations. It’s VERY good, but I still think Lombardi’s has a leg up in the competition.

margheritapizza

One of Mom’s goals this trip was to try some authentic Italian food. I decided to take her to Eataly. Eataly is a large Italian market with lots of delicious Italian restaurants within the market. We shopped around for chocolates, wandered through the handmade pastas and made ourselves very hungry. We decided to have dinner at Le Verdue because a) the food looked so fresh and beautiful and b) there was no wait. Lucky for me it’s a vegetarian restaurant. Our meal, our wine and our service were all exceptional. We sat forever and caught up on life. We talk on a daily basis, but our chats are often short and rushed. It was so nice to sit and actually enjoy each other’s company.

After dinner we bought some dark chocolate and gelato.

eataly

While roaming around Chelsea Market one day we found a brand new food stand called Hybird. We weren’t even a little hungry, but when I saw a watermelon jalapeño slush on the menu, I had to give it a try!

So bizarre, but so delicious.
So bizarre, but so delicious.

One hot spot I couldn’t wait to take Mom was the rooftop bar of The Standard hotel over the High Line. Last time I went it was beautiful and relaxing. There were large cozy chairs and cushions to lounge on, drinks to order and fresh crepes to eat. I didn’t realize that this time happened to be Memorial Day. It also happened to be the opening day for the new season. It was so crowded that we could barely find a spot to sit on the astroturf ground! The rooftop was full of NY’s trendiest crowd and was bumpin’ with the latest hits. By the time we were halfway through the crepe, my Mom said we had to leave because “this place” made her feel WAY too old. 

thestandard

 

I’m pretty sure my Mom left New York feeling more cultured, trendier, happier, more relaxed and very well fed. You’re welcome Mom.

Cheers!

 

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

Months and months ago I heard the exciting news that Annie was coming to Broadway. Annie is one of my favorite musicals and I could not wait to make plans to see the show live and on stage. Annie opened in November, and I did not get around to seeing it until the day before I left NYC! Zoey went with me and we were both thrilled to see Jane Lynch perform as Miss Hannigan, and my friend, Amanda (a former high school alumna), perform on Broadway.

annie

We had really great seats and managed to get there with 5 minutes to spare; just enough time to stock up on theatre junk food and a Strawberry Banana Annie Smoothie.

annieonbroadway

The show was fantastic! Jane Lunch was hilarious (to be expected) and seemed to pull the whole show together. Zoey actually saw Annie a few months ago, and she said it felt like a whole new show this time around. Her comedic timing and stage presence was perfect. She was born to play this role…well this role and Sue Sylvester.

Annie

The orphans were some of the best children on Broadway I’ve seen. Their talent is right up there with the cast of Matilda. There is one very small girl, Molly, who is too cute for words. She’s the kind of little girl you just want to put in your pocket and carry around with you. All the orphans were funny, witty, good dancers and future threats to the older Broadway performers.

"It's a hard knock life!"
“It’s a hard knock life!”

Then there was Amanda. How cool is it to go to a show and be able to say, “I know her!” Amanda has been beautiful and talented her whole life. She’s one of those girls who appears “has it all”. (Although, we know that’ s never true.) She is rare…she was head cheerleader, a beauty queen a dancing star and basically everything a girl wants to be in High School, yet still a genuine nice good person. Recently, she even ran her first marathon. What can’t she do?! I loved watching her sing, dance and act in Annie  She has a blog too, so be sure to check her out!

After the finale and the bows, the cast came together and informed the audience that we were all to be part of a Birthday celebration! The original and current composer of Annie, Charles Strouse, turned 85 that night! They brought him on stage, gave him cake and balloons and the entire audience sang “Happy Birthday” to this sweet and talented man.

birthday

The best part of the whole night was getting a backstage tour from Amanda. After the show she took us on stage, behind the stage and in the wings to give us a grand tour. We got the inside scoop and learned all about how the actors know where to go, when to sing, where the props go and how big pieces seem to magically appear on stage. The back stage area is surprisingly teeny, so most of the props and set pieces have to be stored on top and over each other. There are literally pieces that are stored thirty feet up on cables. They have to use the space above them in order to fit everything they need.

backstagetour

Annie was the grand finale of my many theatre visits in New York. (I saw over 30 shows on Broadway in the last two years!) It was the cherry on top. The next Broadway show I’ll see will be as a tourist!

Cheers!

City of Parks

My Mom’s two requests when coming to see me in New York were, “get a bagel at H&H” and “take a walk through Central Park“. Mom has been here a few times, and these two simple activities were something she just had to do again. And, who can blame her? You can’t get a better bagel than the bagels at H&H, and Central Park is one of my favorite places in possibly the whole world. The sunniest day she was here we had a carb-filled butter breakfast at H&H, and spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon exploring parts of Central Park neither of us had been to. That’s what I love about this park, you never know where you’ll end up.

central park meandmom momarch

 

After eating lunch at Bergorf’s, shopping and exploring Chelsea Market, we headed back to Central Park, but this time to the North end. We got off the train in Harlem and walked south toward the Central Park Conservatory Garden and the Jackie Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. So many fragrant plants were in bloom and the water was just beautiful.

conserv resrvoir

 

Central Park wasn’t the only park we visited during her stay. One night, while heading towards Eataly, we accidentally found ourselves in Madison Square Park. Perfect timing too because the park had an interesting art exhibit up from now through September 8th.

redyellowblueIt’s called Red, Yellow and Blue and it was created by Orly Genger. He used 1.4 million feet of repurposed nautical rope and 3,500 gallons of paint!

madisonsquarepark

 

It’s supposed to look like waves…combining the coastline with the city atmosphere.

redrope waterwall

 

We spent a long time examining the artwork before remembering we were starving for some authentic Italian food, and made our way out of the park.

I had a great time with my Mom, the best time. I’m grateful I get to show her around such a fun and beautiful city.

Cheers!