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!

 

Lost Adventures

I was scrolling through iPhoto recently and came across the album from when my friends visited back in December. While looking through and reminiscing I realized I hardly blogged about any of our adventures that week.  I don’t know how I left some of them, and their corresponding stories, off the blog. It may be a month late, but here’s a glimpse of their week in the city.

Let me start with this photo of us eating Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches at the Holiday Market in Bryant Park. I got a toasted peanut butter sandwich with chili pepper jam….It was the BEST pb&j I have ever had. Yes, even better than the sandwiches at The Peanut Butter Company. The sandwiches were made by Jammin’ Nut, which apparently can only be found at the Holiday Market…not fair.

IMG_3556

The next pic is of an obese squirrel at Washington Square Park. One afternoon, we took our friends for a quick walk through the park where a chunky squirrel not only ran right in front of us, but basically stopped, put out his hand and then pointed to his mouth. Obviously, we dug out the only snacks we could find and offered it our new friend. Within seconds dozens of overweight squirrels were scurrying down the tree to beg for our food.

IMG_3580

I don’t know what is being discussed in this photo, but our expressions are hilarious.

IMG_7948

While walking through Chelsea Market, my friend told us how much she loves the Food Network and Mark Dacascos. Since we were in the home of the Food Network, we decided to take the elevator up to its headquarters, sneak around a bit and search for a chef or two. We made it to the doors of “Kitchen Stadium” and a few other studios, but the place was deserted for the weekend. Boo.

IMG_8065

Here is a photo from my fav-o-rite book store, The Strand.

IMG_8079

Then, there’s the shot of  us dancing on the famous FAO Schwartz giant piano. It was 11pm, the store was about to close and we were virtually the only people in the store. Perfect timing.

IMG_8293

Finally, is the best photo of them all! After work one day, I rushed to Time Square to meet up with everyone at Toys R’ Us. I found Husband and Friend’s Husband on the 2nd floor next to a giant stuffed animal display. We talked for a minute…I asked where my friend was (“walking around”)…I mentioned the giant pile of stuffed animals on the floor (“How did all of these animals fall off the shelf??”). Just as I was about to sit on top of the giant stuffed animal pile, my friend burst out of them screaming “surprise”!

IMG_8936

I am laughing in this picture, but I have never been more shocked. When she popped out, I screamed and almost lost my $h!t. I cannot believe I did not put 2 and 2 together before she came jumping out. Hilarious.

I love my friends! Who is coming to visit next??

Cheers!

Unique New York

I recently wrote about taking Cousin around New York and opening my eyes and my mind in order to continue to enjoy the tourists’ spots around the city. I wrote about enjoying some of the places I’d seen a dozen times, and I’d already tired of visiting. I did not, however; get a chance to describe some of the new or never-before mentioned places. This post is dedicated to those people looking for something unique to do in Manhattan.

In Chelsea Market there is a really great venue called The Filling Station. The Filling Station is a shop full of extra virgin olive oils, various specialty oils, balsamic vinegars, and exotic salts. They provide an endless supply of tiny paper cups for all the visitors to use for tasting. It’s so much fun to choose one of each filling, and create your own delicious combination. You could do chipotle olive oil, honey ginger vinegar, and Spanish rosemary salt or even Persian lime olive oil, coconut vinegar, and Hawaiian Hiwakai salt. It’s the most fun!

 

When you are tired of tasting dozens of oils and salts, just walk around the corner to People’s Pops for a Popsicle made from sustainable grown fruits and herbs.

 

Even in Time Square, which I must have visited a thousand times this year, we came across a few places we’ve never ventured.

There is a visitors’ center in Time Square that has an old New Year’s Eve ball. It’s covered in crystals, lights up, and they even have a countdown every 20 minutes that finishes in cheering crowds and Auld Lang Syne. The center is lined with Broadway memorabilia, and loads of historical information about the square. One wall is covered with pieces of confetti that have people’s wishes written on them. Apparently, anyone can write a wish on a piece of confetti, pin it on the wall, and on New Year’s Eve it will be released upon the crowd gathered in the middle of Time Square.

 

In the enormous Toys R’ Us store in the middle of Time Square is a four-story high Ferris wheel. Cousin decided she wanted to go for a ride, which was great, because this was one ride Husband and I had never ridden. It must have been our lucky day too because we got the best ride on the whole wheel.

 

Turn onto West 47th St in the Square and you’ll find Baked by Melissa. Melissa makes the teeniest cutest cupcakes I’ve ever seen. They are as wide as a quarter and about an inch thick. She makes the best flavor combinations! There’s peanut butter and jelly, chocolate mint chip, red velvet, peanut butter cup, and several more. It’s the best bite-sized baked good you’ll ever have.

 

A few blocks southeast of Time Square is New York’s Public Library on 5th Avenue. Husband and I have only been here once before and we spent all of our time in the “Lunch Hour NYC” exhibit on the first floor. (Excellent exhibit BTW) This visit, I decided to explore the rest of this crazy big library. I walked down the marble covered halls, and up the giant Sex and The City-wedding staircases to find room after room of beautiful books and long wooden tables. Studious people and tourists littered the chairs, floors, and aisles.

I sat in a chair for a few minutes to watch and reflect. There were so many people working around me, on what? I don’t know, but I know I want to go back with my laptop and write and write and write. With an iced latte in hand I just know it will be the perfect place of inspiration to focus and be productive.

I have exactly 2 more weeks of summer left to enjoy these great places before full-time hours come crashing down on me, better make the most of it!

Cheers!

DIY Skull T-Shirt

I do not typically love fashion pieces with skulls, but every so often a special piece catches my eye, and I immediately need it in my collection. For example, this top from Urban Outfitters…

…it was love at first sight.

I spotted this on Facebook one day and decided I HAD TO HAVE IT. It probably had a lot to do with the cutouts all over the back. I am such a sucker for anything with a cutout back.

I ran to the closest Urban Outfitters as soon as possible and rummaged the store for it. Just as I was about to give up I saw one of the employees wearing it! I basically attacked her to find out where the shirt was located. Much to my pleasant surprise, she told me it was on the clearance rack and it was 50% off! Woohoo!

Much to my horrible discovery, there was only x-larges left. I then trekked to the next closest Urban Outfitters, and found the same situation. I had just about given up on my new clothing obsession when Husband gave me some large tee’s he’d recently received from E3 (a video game convention). He didn’t want them, and said I could have them, or toss them.

I decided to craft with them, and craft number one was my own skull cutout tee.

The shirt: pre-craft.

It was a simple project, but tedious and time consuming. I simply pulled up the Urban Outfitters picture on my laptop, drew the holes with a pencil, and carefully cut them out with my best pair of scissors. Voila! It’s a little bigger then a I prefer, and there are a few words left on it, but it will do.

I took the shirt out on the town, and ironically, Zoey happened to have on a skeleton tank top, so we had a little fun taking pictures waiting for the train.

Here’s the shirt in Chelsea Market.

Then, I took it for a walk in Grand Central Station.

This is the best view I got of the front…

I still have 3 more large men’s tee shirts to play with, anyone have another easy craft I can do? I’m all ears…and scissors!

Cheers!

Perfect Last Day

My parent’s last day in NYC* was sunny and warm, and Central Park was definitely calling our names. We picked up bagels at the famous H&H and ate them in front of the reservoir as we watched the classic sailboats float by, being steered by clumsy preschoolers. We also watched a few middle-aged men drive around their personal miniature speed boats, battleships, and pirate ships.

This one even had it’s own theme music.

After breakfast, we walked them to Bethesda fountain, through the Ramble, to the large Sheep’s meadow, the Mall, to Shakespeare’s Garden, and basically to every pretty part in the southern half of the park.

While relaxing in Shakespeare’s garden, we spotted a beautiful bride and groom making their way through the garden. We couldn’t help, but stare and discuss whether we thought they just got married, or were about to get married. Within a few minutes, they had walked up to where we were relaxing, and the bride walked over to us and very politely asked if we would mind videoing their vows with her little camera. It turns out that the couple is from Canada, they are getting married all alone (besides the officiant and a photographer), and the bride wanted her vows videoed so her Mother could watch them later. We were more than happy to video the sweet ceremony for her.

They had the four of us, plus one more park-goer as their witnesses, and it was a really beautiful wedding! We were all a little extra sappy with thoughts of mine and Fiance’s nuptials right around the corner.

After what must have been miles around the park, we were famished. We hopped on a train to Union Square and had hotdogs and burgers at Dogmatic. The dogs just weren’t enough, so we had dessert at Chelsea Market. It was my Dad’s first time to have gelato!

That’s an asparagus dog. It’s mine, obviously. Also, we won a Dogmatic Dollar for solving this riddle, “When you take away the whole and some is still left…” **

We also took them to the high line, since we were so close. It’s not my favorite park…but it’s worth visiting to have my favorite popsicle. We tried a new flavor this time too, Mango and Chili. It was very spicy, and not near as good as my cucumber-lime -sicle sprinkled with chili.

Fiance and I started to feel a little bad for my parent’s blistered and sore feet, so we took them back to the apartment to rest.

But, only for 30 minutes, we had tickets to see Rock of Ages! My Dad has never seen a Broadway show, so we wanted to be sure to pick one he would love. I have seen Rock of Ages 5 times now, and I’ve yet to tire of it. Rock of Ages is basically all the best 80’s songs turned into a hilarious story full of 80’s jokes, neon, animal print, strippers, alcohol, crazy dance moves, a sweet love story, and phenomenal singing.

I am a sucker for beautiful dances and beautiful voices. I get goosebumps anytime I hear or see someone super talented. Idina Menzal gives me goosbumps anytime she opens her mouth. Some of the students I used to teach in TN would gave me goosebumps when they’d perform. I have a friend who gets goosebumps when watching someone draw or paint. In fact, she once got goosebumps when I drew Spongebob SquarePants on a blackboard. So, I don’t feel so weird about the goosebump thing…

Some performances even bring me to tears. I cry while watching Dancing With the Stars, Glee, and basically every musical I’ve ever seen. While watching the finale of Rock of Ages for the 5th time, I wiped the tears from my eyes, and thought how weird I am for crying (they were fist pumping and singing “Don’t Stop Believing” in a bar). I looked to my right and saw my Dad wipe tears from his own eyes. Then it all made sense.

Sometimes I forget how similar I am to my Dad. I wonder if he gets goosebumps too?

After the show, we strolled through Time Square to get some night time views.

I should also mention that we did a series of “dance dares” in the very large M&M store for about an hour. We videoed most of the dance dares, but I think I need to save that for its own blog! (If you aren’t familiar with dance dares, watch Ellen! Or just watch this…)

All that dancing apparently worked up an appetite because we stopped and had dinner at midnight at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

And, that’s the end. We had so much fun with my parents! We stayed up too late, said goodbye in the morning, and reminded each other we’d see one another again in just a couple weeks!

Cheers!

*just kidding! My parent’s flight turned out to be canceled and they had to come back to our place and hangout for an extra day! We let them relax this time.

** Answer to the riddle? You didn’t figure it out??? It’s wholesome.