Be Our Guest

I’ve been a little behind on the blogging this weekend and am likely to fall behind this week…We have guests, guests and more guests. Big surprise, right? We have more people stay with us than anyone I know. I’m pretty sure my neighbors think we are running a brothel. It’s also been suggested to us that we open a hostel. Not a bad idea, actually. We also had friends staying with us all of last weekend. It’s just been so busy, that I haven’t had more time to blog about it.

My friend Sara came into town. She’s been mentioned on the blog a number of times. We met her while working in Albania, she came to stay with us in NYC and has now been to Nashville a handful of times (although her boyfriend may have a lot to do with that). We love our Sara and could not wait for her to meet Luna.

meeting tia

Our weekend was a little less adventurous than it normally is when Sara comes to town, but we had a really nice time going on walks in this finally beautiful spring weather.

saraandsteve shrooms

look at those adorable baby feet!
look at those adorable baby feet!
big tree
woah, big tree

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We ate tons of great food, bought lemonade from the cutest little lemonade stand ever (buy 4 get one free!), got ice cream from Jeni’s (heck yeah!) and some more walking through parks. lemonade jeni's dandelion yellowleaves

 

We love having our friends come to stay. Good thing too because we will have people with us until next week. Hope we get to catch up soon…I’ve got more reviews, giveaways, anxiety attacks and adventures coming your way!

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Cheers!

Weekend Update

I keep swearing to myself that I am going to get onto a schedule, get more productive blah blah blah…and then all of a sudden the weekend is here and I somehow only scratched 3 things off my to-do list. Sigh… Guess I’ll start over again tomorrow. Anyhow, we had quite a busy weekend.

I mean, really...how could I possibly get up and write when these two cuties are fast asleep on me? (Not to mention the cat sleeping behind my head.)
I mean, really…how could I possibly get up and write when these two cuties are fast asleep on me? (Not to mention the cat sleeping behind my head.)
She makes the best faces.
She makes the best faces.

We had guests over every single day and quite a few of them were meeting Luna for the first time. One of which was my Husband’s Nanny from his childhood. She is now 94 years old and still as lively as ever. Luna immediately loved her. She’s like the baby whisperer. We had lots of friends come by too. Including, a good friend of mine who I haven’t seen in FOREVER. A few years (well more than a few…) ago we were hittin’the dance floors in downtown Nashville regularly and also teaching together at a magnet school for the arts. Now, we’ve both moved on to new ventures and both have baby girls. My, how things have changed.

Me, my friend Marsha and our two baby girls!
Me, my friend Marsha and our two baby girls!

We had lunch out, went grocery shopping, cleaned the house and got constant updates on my Dad. Who, BTW, will hopefully be going home tomorrow! Yay! It’s pretty impressive that someone can have brain surgery, have titanium mesh put in their skull and be up and walking around the next day.

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Tomorrow, I am seriously getting down to business…my workout routine is starting as well as my healthy eating habits. I’ll also do my damndest to get Luna on some sort of routine. Come back and see me this week to see my “getting back in shape” plan. Also, if you’ve got any tips for getting a 6 week old on a somewhat normal schedule PLEASE send them my way!

Cheers!

The Past Week

Today is the first day, The VERY First Day, that we have our house all to ourselves in about two months. It’s glorious. I have spent much of the day doing fantastic things like washing sheets, paying bills, cleaning counters and writing thank you cards, but it still feels like a small vacation. We LOVE having guests, we really do, but ooooooh is it nice when the house is quiet. And, let’s face it…it won’t be quiet for long.

We will probably have more friends visit soon and even more once Luna arrives, but until then here are some snippets from our friends and family the last week…

We had a late family Christmas with our family who came to visit from Pittsburgh and we ate and ate and ate and ate and ate and ate…

family dinner

After driving all day then stuffing my belly/baby I need to lie down… I love this photo someone caught of my big belly with Husband in the background.

34 weeks bump

We celebrated Zoey’s birthday at Sky High – Trampoline Park!

zoey and heidi

I couldn’t jump so I made my own fun by snapping photos of everyone else.

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All the girl cousins in a group hug before we say goodbye.

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And, we just had to stop for ice cream when it was only 8 degrees outside.

ice cream

Until next time…

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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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”!

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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!

The Positively Panicked Hostel

Two of our good friends from Tennessee stayed with us a couple of weeks ago. As many visitors as we have had over the last year our super might think we are running a hostel. My co-workers are starting to think I am making it up. Every weekend that someone plans a employees night out I seem to turn it down with a “Sorry, we have visitors this weekend!”. We don’t run a hostel, and I have yet to make up a visitor… we just love having friends over, and our friends apparently love sleeping on our couch.

In an effort to take our guests somewhere new (We are trying to add more restaurants to our guided tours.) we went to The Burger Joint, also known as New York City’s worst kept secret. The teeny tiny dirty burger dive is hidden inside of one of Manhattan’s finest hotels, the Parker Meridian.

As you enter the lobby of the Prime Meridian you will find a long line wrapping around a few dark walls and leading down a dark hallway to a supposedly “hidden” restaurant….if only it weren’t so popular. We waited for about twenty minutes before we were standing inside the graffiti covered, greasy smelling, and very crowded Burger Joint.

I love to find a delicious hole-in-the-wall type of restaurant, and the fact that this hole is in a 4-star hotel just makes it that much better. I could only eat the fries, just as good a McDonald’s – and I mean that as a compliment. Everyone else told me the burgers were great, so you’ll have to take their word for it.  They certainly smelled great.

After eating, we took the elevator up to the penthouse because Husband’s number one goal in NY is to make it to the roof of every tall building. Luckily the top floor did indeed have a large deck, perfect for viewing the city.

So, if any of you are interested in finding the best rooftops in the city, you know who to contact! We should really consider opening up that hostel…

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!

The People-Watching Train

One of the best things about living in a really big city is the people. I am a people watcher, and there is no better place to people-watch than NYC, except maybe Disney World. In any case, NY is full of interesting characters, enough to inspire thousands of hit movies, TV shows, and books, which is saying something.

Spend one day walking through the city and you are likely to find a celebrity, a lesbian, a Mickey Mouse, a dog-walker, a homeless person, a private school kid, an Italian, a Priest, a Hasidic Jew, a drug-dealer, a guitar player, a psychic, a police officer, a tourist, a nanny, and soooo many more!

When Cousin was visiting us last week, we were lucky enough to catch some crazy (and some not-so-crazy, but equally entertaining) people at their best. It was a people-watcher’s paradise, and I’m taking you along for the trip.

First stop on the people-watcher train: Central Park.

We ran into a group of people playing some intense Frisbee. They were throwing the discs under their legs, catching them upside down, and bouncing them off every part of their body. We watched for a little while and found out that two of them are the Frisbee-throwing world champions! They had just come from Italy, and were stopping in New York for a couple days. I guess they’re doing a Frisbee throwing tour? Maybe you’ll see them at a park in your own neighborhood.

In Battery Park, we (minus Husband) were excited to find that a free dance production was happening! This free performance gives a chance for young dancers to perform and practice in front of hundreds of people. It’s a really great idea, and we stayed for the first two numbers.  We got good seats and sat down right as the show started. The first act was mostly 14-year-old girls. They were not great dancers, but it was interesting, and I still appreciated the idea behind the whole recital. I could have watched a while longer, but we were on a tight schedule.

While walking around Time Square (where there area ALWAYS a plethora of crazy/entertaining people) we ran into this van.

That’s me in the pink skirt and heels standing by the window…I was trying to ask if this was real or some sort of gimmick, but I ended up eavesdropping on the boys next to me who were buying 3 weed-induced lolly pops for $10. Then, I chickened out and decided not to ask for fear of being persuaded to make a purchase, and then get arrested by one of the hundred police officers around me.

We also spotted a chipmunk making a purchase in one of the sandwich shops in Time Square.

Just down the street, near Rockefeller Center, we got stuck in a ton of human traffic, which turned out to be a parade for the Dominican Republic. There always seems to be some sort of parade happening in Manhattan. None of them, with the exception of the Macy’s Day Parade, are impressive. Impressive or not, the Dominicans were VERY excited.

A few blocks North of 30 Rock is FAO Schwarz, where we saw this adorable Dad and his daughter. This girl has got her Daddy wrapped around her little finger for sure.

So sweet.

Finally, my people-watching train is coming to it’s final destination: Washing Square Park. Upon entering the park, we saw the original bird lady from Mary Poppins. I tried my best to convince Husband to give her his toppin’s (I obviously wasn’t about to go over there), but he had no interest in feeding the birds.

Even though I am a bird-aphobic, I loved this scene and could not stop singing “Feed the Birds”. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, we ran into this guy…

This man, who made sure to tell us he is NOT crazy, LOVES pigeons, and spend lots of time educating park goers, much like myself, about the history of pigeons. I stood as safe 30 feet away from him and his birds while he explained all of this to Husband, Zoey, and Cousin, for a good long 15 minutes.

His “pets”.

We almost left the park, when a crowd at the large fountain caught my eye. We ran over to find the fountain full of people swimming (literally swimming!) and splashing around in the shallow murky water. It was so hot out that before we could even consider the sanitary condition of the fountain, we’d already pulled our shoes off and hopped in with the crowd.

Still loving my Nook.

The best part was catching this sign as we exited the fountain…guess this rule isn’t actually enforced.

That brings our people-watching trip to a conclusion. Hope you all enjoyed the ride. Please watch your head and step as you exit, and if you don’t watch your head and your step, then watch your language. This is a family ride! Thank you, thank you, come again!

Cheers!