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 Final Garden Post, I Promise

There are a few details that I just did not have space to mention in the two previous posts. Take my shoes for instance….

They’re a lot more comfortable than they look.

I love these shoes, but I very rarely have an opportunity to wear them. Both Husband and Zoey told me that the Botanical Gardens were probably not the best location to show them off, but I just couldn’t wait any longer. I got comments on them all day (good and bad), so I was happy I wore them.

Something else I’d like review at the NYBG is their food. They have two cafes for dining or snacking in the Gardens. We had lunch at The Garden Café, and were mostly impressed with our selections. Between us we had veggie and meat chili, butternut squash soup, a veggie wrap, two different meat sandwiches, fries and coffee.

mmmmm…veggie wrap

The vegetarian chili was very good, the butternut squash soup, however, not so good. Now it was not bad, but it should definitely be listed under dessert. This soup is crazy sweet. It was a disappointment because I expected a different taste, but if I had ordered hot pudding it would have been completely acceptable.

Butternut squash pudding, anyone?
The French Vanilla Coffee was exactly what I needed

Besides the food in the restaurants, there is food found in the gardens! We found fresh apples that had just fallen from an apple tree, AND we found the “The Edible Garden”! This garden is meant for people to get down and dirty…in the literal sense, not the dirty sense. You can plant seeds, look for worms, and even do a little taste testing. We missed the cooking demonstrations, but I did find a few ripe grape tomatoes at the bottom of the vine, just waiting for me.

The Edible Garden

During our tour, we were very surprised to see thousands of bicyclists all gathered towards the exit of the Children’s Garden. We could not figure out what was going on, so naturally, we headed towards the free pizza and Powerade to solve the mystery. By the time I reached the pizza table I learned that we had stumbled upon the end of the Tour de Bronx. (It’s the largest free cycling event in New York State.)

The tour ended in a free musical festival at the garden.

That’s it, there’s nothing else I can possibly say about the NYBG. We loved our trip, and are already planning the next visit! Thanks again to the Gardens for sponsoring me!

Cheers!

Stress Management

Why, hello there! I’ve been MIA for the last 5 days but I have a good, or at least an understandable reason: stress. This past week was just too much. My job is good but it’s also hard, extra hard at times.  For years I would force myself to do EVERYTHING on my to-do list no matter what the cost, which was usually sleep, sanity, and clean hair. So after not washing my hair for four days (oh please, I know I’m not the only one) and losing too much sleep, I decided something would have to give this week. That “something” was this blog. It’s the one thing that I don’t have to do to, you know, get paid and stuff.

Whenever I force myself to do too much it has a toll on my physical and mental health, and that almost always ends in a panic attack. That is just something I don’t want to risk anymore. The answer to my problems was to take a break from writing. Instead of blogging I used that tiny bit of extra time to do stuff that has zero expectations of me, and requires little to no effort.

First on the list was getting my hair done because my roots were disgustingly long (like 8th grade, winter-time, when my sun-in was fading long), and I was just too drained to wash my own hair.

Then, as a reward for being so responsible, Husband made me chocolate chip cookies and gave me all the extra batter.

mmmmm raw cookie dough
proof he loves me…or maybe he just loves cookies..

The next day, I decided a trip to Target was in order. Retail therapy is always the answer to being sad, angry, stressed, tired, lonely, bitter, etc. I bought crap I don’t need like a Jack-o-lantern shirt, skeleton socks, and popcorn. Most importantly, I spent a half-hour in the Halloween section.

channeling Dick Van Dyke and Mary Poppins
he just loves when I force him to go to Target

Later, I saw Frankenweenie (ummm, a little too depressing), and then had a date night in Chelsea. Husband and I accidently found ourselves at the new Urban Space in the Meatpacking district (or in Chelsea? I’m not completely sure what the difference is…) I was BEYOND excited because Roberta’s has a food cart here! This Brooklyn pizza joint is oh-so-amazing. Their bee-sting pizza with hot sauce and honey is unbelievable!

As we were walking around we happened to spot a large crowd and crazy-looking stage on the pier. Turns out, that David Blaine decided to do his latest trick at the exact moment we walked to the pier. We literally walked straight to the front of the stage minutes before he walked in front of us, went on stage, and electrified himself with 1 million volts of electricity.

he walked right past us
the build-up
Electrified!

The build up was pretty exciting, especially in the middle of hundreds of David Blaine fanatics shouting “WE LOOOVVVEEE YOOUU!” but the actual stunt was less thrilling than I imagined. It was still completely insane, just not as loud and bright as I imagined “a million volts.”

The rest of the weekend was spent catching up with two childhood friends that I have not seen in at least 6 years, taking Belle to off-leash hours, eating the biggest breakfast ever at Big Daddy’s diner, and hosting a chili/wine/monkey picnic/Dexter party.

doggy hill
coffee, juice, pancakes, eggs, toast, and hash browns please!

Five days later, I’m feeling much better, more Zen. Thanks for understanding the hiatus. Take it from me; it’s not necessary to do EVERY thing on that to-do list. It’s probably not even possible. So, take some time to drink a glass of wine, read a book, and go for a walk this week. It’s worth it.

Cheers!

A High Calorie Post

Besides refining our taste for fine art this weekend, we also refine our palettes. We did lots of walking and exploring, and I decided it would be wise to stop in any interesting restaurants we see. It’s so hard to decide on a place to eat in this city. There are just too many choices. Ordering take-out is often so overwhelming that we end up eating Kraft macaroni and cheese to avoid a fight.

After our escapes with Art Saturday, we stopped for a snack at our favorite chocolate shop. Vosges Haut-Chocolat is the BEST place to buy chocolate! They are always super friendly and happy to hand out samples of anything you’d like to try. Every few months they come up with some new crazy flavors, and this weekend happened to be one of these times.

 

We bought the Crispy Carrot Chocolate bar, which is 100% better than it sounds.

After dessert, we went downtown for dinner at Arturo’s. Arturo’s is an old and famous pizzeria known for it’s never-changing setting and it’s nightly live jazz music. We devoured our Caesar salad and large pizza within minutes! I’m sure it was delicious, but we were so hungry that I barely tasted it.

 

Sunday, we took one of our  “Great Walks of New York”. This walk that was supposed to last 45 minutes, ended up taking about 4 hours. We are easily distracted.

The first distraction was an adorable little restaurant name The Little Owl. It is in the middle of Greenwich Village, and directly across from a cute wood-framed house built by William Hyde. The atmosphere here reminded me so much of our favorite teahouse in Venice. It only had room for a handful of tables, the waiters acted like old friends, and the food…. The food was phenomenal!!! It was only 5pm when we decided to try The Little Owl so we just shared a few things. We will be going back for sure!

See the adorable home right across the street??

 

Arugula, peach, and fig Salad with Champagne Dijon dressing
don’t judge, but we were craving french fries ALL day…and these may just be the best fries I’ve ever had
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Not too long after leaving our new favorite restaurant, we came across Milk and Cookies Bakery. The smell of fresh baked cookies wafting out onto the sidewalk lured us in, and forced us to order MORE dessert.

 

 

The weather is sadly starting to get chilly so I ordered hot cocoa, but Husband got the Bacon Smack. The Bacon Smack consist of maple syrup, candied Neuskes cherry wood smoked bacon, dried cranberries, 72% dark chocolate chunks, toffee, and graham cracker pieces. I’ll probably be ostracized by fellow vegetarians for admitting this, but I tasted it. Holy Hell, that cookie is good! (In full disclosure, I haven’t had real bacon in years, so just the hint of bacon flavor in a cookie was pure heaven.)

 

11,885 calories later, we are stuffed and happy. Maybe the rest of the weekend should be spent at the gym?

Or maybe that should wait until Monday…woops Tuesday.

Cheers!

Fun Day Numero Dos

Today is dubbed Brooklyn Day! Our trio (Husband, Zoey, and myself) spent the whole day discovering what Brooklyn has to offer. Brooklyn is SOOOO far away from our apartments. It takes 45 minutes by train to get to this borough, which is just not worth a frequent visit.

Our first stop was the Dekalb Market. This market is created by Urban Space and is made from old shipping containers (old train cars). They made a small community from these containers and created several little shops, a performance space, and little eateries. It’s a little pricey, but it’s worth a trip to walk around this crazy recycled space full of really nice hand-made products.

After shopping, we took a couple more trains deeper into Brooklyn to get to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. This place is enormous and beautiful; it reminds me a lot of Cheekwood in Nashville. They have a really large field full of cherry trees that I am dying to come back in visit whenever they are in bloom. We spent hours walking around the floral exhibits and stealing fruit and veggies off the many low-hanging branches.

This tree is so beautiful, but hundreds of people have carved their initials into it.

They actually had a sign up that basically said they do NOT use the produce they grow, which to us was an open invitation to help ourselves. We weren’t the only ones either. While trying to reach some very high kiwi growing on the terrace over our heads we somehow convinced two male strangers to climb the lattice and the vines and pick several kiwi for us to share.

After all the walking and illegal snacking, Zoey got bored and left us to fend for ourselves. Husband and I hopped yet another train to get to the most trendy and hipster neighborhood in Brooklyn…Williamsburg.

There is a make-your-own jewelry store here called Brooklyn Charm that I just adore. I had a special jewelry project in mind that would require their help.

While visiting my Grandma last week in Texas I found an old coin that belonged to my PawPaw. It’s not of any value, it’s just a Grand Master’s coin from the Mason’s Lodge he was a member of back in the day. I do not have anything of my PawPaw’s so I politely asking my Grandma if I could have it to make a necklace with, and she was happy to give it to me. I spent a little while coming up with a design for the necklace (with Husband’s help), and when I finished, the awesome girls at Brooklyn Charm put the whole thing together for me in a matter of minutes. The finished product only cost me $15!

Before saying good-bye to Brooklyn, we decided to have dinner at Fornino’s Pizza.

my mouth is watering just looking at this…

We arrived in our own hood right as the sun was setting. We weren’t ready to call it a night so we grabbed Belle and headed to the roof to watch the sun set. We laid on the warm rooftop gazing at the city lights and skyline for a while, and I realized how similar this was to laying in the grass gazing at the stars in the country. Both are beautiful, relaxing, and make you feel so small and in awe of the world around you.

Husband and I often have conversations about where life has taken us. We both had dreams of living in a big city and traveling, but when we met over seven years ago did we imagine living in Manhattan? Together? Snuggling on our rooftop? Of course not. We know we are lucky ducks, and love these special moments together.

I have not written about anxiety lately, but I should mention I’ve been on the verge of panic lately. (I’ll have to write more on this later.) Lying on the roof with my favorite person and favorite dog, taking in the city that never sleeps was comforting. There is something about this city, knowing that there are so many people around; working, playing, eating, shopping, living, that is calming. It’s soothing to have busyness all around me. I guess if I’m not busy, it’s nice to know that some people are. It’s kind of like they are keeping things productive and making up for my down time.

Thanks God for these summer nights, and thank Brooklyn for it’s trendy attractions. We had a great day.

Cheers!

Mom and Dad Take NY

Day Two in NYC with the parents was a smash! We headed to SOHO first thing in the morning, and we decided to have Subway surfing contests the whole way there. The rules are to stand without holding on to anything and see who can last the longest without moving or falling over. We made it extra challenging by keeping our feet together. (I don’t think we had any winners in this game…)

When we got to to SOHO we were starving, so we took them straight to our favorite restaurant…Tacombi! I was soooo over the moon excited that they actually had a tamale maker working! I have been wanting for their vegetarian tamales for what seems like ages, and they always tell me, “our tamale maker is out”…until today; which shall now be declared Tamale Day!

Tacombi was delicious, as always.

After stuffing our faces with tacos and guacamole, we shopped around SOHO for a while before heading to Chinatown and giving the parents a very cultural experience.

Not only did they get to shop around all the Chinese vendors and food carts, but we took them behind alley ways and locked doors to see the “real” stuff that is secretly sold in Chinatown. We didn’t make any purchases, but it was definitely fun to be taken through locked doors, and then watch a young man add “gucci” and “prada” tags to the bags while we shopped around him.

We left the Chinese purse dealers to visit the 9/11 memorial. We wanted to avoid the long lines and the hassle of removing all our metals and valuables, so we did the free viewing from a large building across the street. Outside said building (that I keep forgetting the name of) is a large courtyard area with a waterfront view. A perfect spot to relax in the sunshine.

Next, we headed downtown to Battery Park to get a glimpse of Lady Liberty. After zooming in to get a close-up of our most famous statue, we took a short walk to the Charging Bull at the bottom of the Financial District, walked to Wall St., and saw a few Occupy Wall St. protestors. They are looking pretty sad lately, we can only spot a few at a time. I think they’re endangered.

So at this point we were all starving, desperate to sit down, and completely unable to find a working subway! Every subway in the financial district was closed for repair, or some lame excuse like that. Eventually we gave in and took a taxi to Lombardi’s, America’s first pizzeria. And likely the America’s best pizzeria. We managed to eat two large pizzas and a carafe of sangria in record time.

We were so exhausted when we got back that we literally passed out together on the couch.

It’s hard to believe we woke up at all the next day! But, we did, and possibly managed to walk even further. Read all about it tomorrow!

Cheers!

NYC Thus Far…

Thank you Zoey for starting your blog and therefore encouraging me to start mine up again. I know I left everyone hanging on a thread, sitting on pins and needles, and holding their breath waiting to see what was going to happen next in mine and Fiance’s venture into Manhattan. Soooo, in this blog, I will attempt to summarize what’s been happening over the past… 5 months? Yeah, that sounds about right.

Where do I even begin…?

We’ve had A LOT of visitors! (Marsha, Mom, Mom-in-law, Dad-in-law, Teddy, Genevieve, sister, brother-in-law, Steve, Derek, Zoey, Danica, Scott….did I miss anyone?)

We’ve seen 10 Broadway shows, a couple concerts, the Rockettes, an amazing off-Broadway show, and too many street performers.

We have discovered some really fantastic restaurants. Some of these are crazy expensive and uber fancy, and others are dingy little dives…that are still a little pricey. My favorite is a little taco shop in Soho called Tacombi.

I have spent way too much money because NYC just isn’t fair. There are too many great shops. Every corner you turn there is a new boutique, or department store that I somehow missed. Every New Yorker should be given an allowance. It’s just too hard to live like a tourist everyday.

I am still working 6 or 7 days a week…yet still living paycheck to paycheck (see above paragraph).

I still enjoy my job, which has a lot to do with my boss who is really great and supportive.

Our wedding plans are crazy. Everyday is a new dilemma, a new reservation to make, a new item to order, and another payment, but we are loving it and absolutely stoked about the big day! I only freak out every other day so I think I’m doing considerably well.

Belle is completely citified. She potties in the street (not on the sidewalk). She shops at all the designer stores. She’s even attended a party honoring an artists at Ralph Lauren. The loud noises freak her out much less. She has her own spiral staircase to enter our loft at night. She now has a vet, thanks to her very unfortunate incident on an escalator.

We have had most experiences in NYC that one should have. (i.e. yelled at a cab driver, yelled at the subway, started calling the subway “the train”, ate bagels, ate hotdogs, ate lots of pizza, got stuck in a subway  train, gotten frustrated with tourists, spent New Years Eve in time square, seen every major tourists site, joined a museum, and had every type of food delivered to our door for dinner.)

And, if you haven’t heard, Zoey has now moved to NYC!!! She is only a block and half away and has started her own blog!

Check her out here: New York Whimsy

Cheers!