NYC in a Nutshell

skyline

Our quick trip to the Big Apple was so full of plans and adventures that we are still recovering a week later. (Quite literally, thanks to catching some nasty colds.) As you know, we attended Comic Con, but before, after and in between the convention we hung out with friends, visited Zoey, ate some NY staples and showed Luna around our former stomping grounds.

The first night was a late one for us, and after flying and a full day of Comic Con-ing, we ordered in from our favorite Indian restaurant. Holy crap, how I miss that place and REALLY miss having dinner delivered! I forgot how easy and wonderful it is to have meals delivered and no dishes to wash.

The next day I had a bit more free time and got to join some of my best friends and their baby for a long walk though Central Park and a shopping trip through FAO Schwartz. We just had to spoil our babies with something from the iconic toy store. We didn’t stop walking there either… We finished up at Time Square and perhaps bought another special gift at the Disney store.

We saw not one, but SEVEN raccoons playing together at Central Park.
We saw not one, but SEVEN raccoons playing together at Central Park.

time square

Saturday, we took the babies to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and let them okay and explore for a couple of hours. They loved the hands-on exhibits and play areas, but the daddy’s had the most fun.

museum

Sunday, we spent all day in Brooklyn with Aunt Zoey!!! Zoey allowed us to relax in her new fancy pants apartment and bask on the even fancier rooftop. She showed us around her favorite Brooklyn hotspots (which consisted of the waterfront, ice cream and Artists and Fleas). And, we even made an appearance at the wrap party for the latest show she wardrobed (A Crime to Remember).

kittens barry park zoey's roof

Our last day in the city was the slowest and most nostalgic. After coffee with my former coworkers, whom I miss all the time,  Husband, Luna and myself spent the day doing our favorite things: shopping down 5th and Madison, eating chocolate at Vosges, drinking Starbucks, getting sandwiches at Lenny’s, window shopping in Bergdorfs and soaking up everything NY has to offer before hopping on a plane back to Nashville.

bergdorf

It was a really great trip. Luna was an awesome little trooper. Her favorite part of the city was how it lulled her to sleep all day…

sleeper

I may just have to invest in a “noises of the city” CD to play her at night. Time to start planning our next adventure.

Cheers!

Fall Break in NYC

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*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

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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!

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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!!!

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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.

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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!

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!

Fuerzabruta!

With just one week left in this Big Apple I am going to squeeze in as many “New York” reviews as possible. I have the opportunity to review a few more shows before I become a Southern gal again, and you better believe I’m jumpin’ on em’. My most recent night of entertainment was spent with Zoey at the crazy Off-Broadway show, Fuerzabruta!

fuerzabruta

 

When we arrived, I honestly I had no clue what this show was about. I was shocked when I looked at my tickets and saw the words “standing space”…as in no seats. We clamored into a large room with about 70 other people all huddled in the middle of the room. There were bright lights, tons of fog and no sign of a stage. Before the performance began, a loud voice came over a loudspeaker to announce that we must move when asked, no sitting is allowed, but we are free to take as many photos and videos as we want! I’ve never been to a show that encouraged photography so I was only equipped with my iPhone. Boo.

bruteforce

 

Fuerzabruta means “brute force” in Spanish, and that’s pretty much the only thing I know about the meaning of this show. While watching the performance I found myself thinking, “How the hell am I going to describe this? I have no clue what is happening!” When the show began there was a man in a white coat running on what can only be described as a giant treadmill, he was shot at one point, the walls turned to giant sheets of foil and their were two women dancing and flipping sideways down the wall as rave-like music played and the room filled up with smoke. Zoey and I began wishing we arrived early enough to buy a cocktail…or two…and perhaps taken a Xanax. (I typically don’t believe in arriving anywhere early.)

We tried to stick to the outside of the crowd, but we were quickly attacked by the giant flowing foil wall.
We tried to stick to the outside of the crowd, but we were quickly attacked by the giant flowing foil wall.

Ten minutes in, I wanted to curl into a ball and close my eyes. However, every few minutes it got a bit better. The gunshots stopped, the wall dancing went away and I was able to focus on some fun dancers in front of me. There were performers walking through the audience grabbing random audience members (me included!). From this point, the show just got better and better.

stairs

As hard as I tried, I couldn’t find a storyline to follow. The treadmill scenes reminded me of the phrase “being stuck on the conveyor belt”, but other than that, nothing. It was just a big production with wild dance scenes, acrobats and swimming on the ceiling.

*stole this photo*
*stole this photo*

That’s right, at one point the ceiling transformed to a thin clear plastic floor with a very shallow pool of water. The women performers then performed a wet and wild routine of dancing, sliding and jumping around in the water as the floor tilted from side to side, forcing them to slide around the floor/ceiling. The thin floor was also able to lower itself to just a few inches above our heads! We could actually touch the floor and feel the dancers. They began recklessly running over us and body slamming into the floor causing uproars of applause and lots of oohs and awws.

There was a middle-age woman behind me, who kept insisting she was hallucinating…”This can’t be real! I swear I’m really hallucinating this!”

closeup touchingceiling

 

It was an amazing sight, but I found myself feeling envious that I couldn’t join them. Imagine being ten years old and watching your friends slip-and-slide from the other side of a gate, barely out of reach. I wanted to play with them so badly! I attempted to get some videos, but missed the best scenes because I never wanted to look away.

Once the show was over, and the performers took their final bow, the party started. They made us clear a circle in the middle of the floor and then it began raining from the ceiling! They stood in the rain for a second, then began encouraging everyone to join them and dance! The DJ went nuts and everyone began having a dance party! It was awesome. We didn’t partake in the rain because it was only 8pm and we had places to be and still look presentable, but I’d love to go back and dance the night away!

danceparty

 

I suggest seeing this show with a group of fun girlfriends or with a fun date, someone willing to dance in the rain and have a good time!

Cheers!

A Two Year Quest

Not long after moving to New York Husband and I discovered that NY is packed with numerous ramen restaurants. I really like ramen soup, but Husband LOVES it. We tried several restaurants over the last two years, but not enough.  See, if you google “best ramen NYC” about a million links come up with lists and lists of the best ramen ever. If you know anything about us, you know that we attempted to try all of the “best” ramen locations.

The problem is that every single ramen place in the city is teeny, does not take reservations and always has a long line of people out the door waiting for a table. The wait for these restaurants is always somewhere between 1 and 4 hours. Who has that kind of time?! Not us.

When Husband came to visit me last week we decided that for once we had the time. We decided to try Totto Ramen because it has excellent reviews and won some sort of ramen awards or something. We met our friend Dan, and camped outside the restaurant for a good two hours before our name was called…and by called I mean whispered.

thecook

The protocol for getting a table at Totto is to arrive early, write your name on a list hanging on the door and then wait on the sidewalk with about 60 other hungry New Yorkers. Every ten minutes or so one of the workers will open the door, grab the list and very quietly call someone’s name. If no one responds, the name is crossed off the list and he moves on to the next person. He is so quiet and serious that every time the door opens the entire crowd goes silent and simultaneously leans one ear in as far as possible hoping to hear their name.

When our moment came we quickly found our way in, and were seated at the bar right by the door, which remained propped open. This wouldn’t have been a problem except that it was raining and 40 degrees outside (in May, yes). We shivered as we ordered our soup and appetizers, praying that the food would be worth the wait and the numb extremities.

cooking

The boys ordered pork and beef sticky buns, which they repeatedly told me were “sooo good”. We all shared the tuna tartare, which was probably the best I’ve ever had.

stickybuns tuna

Then, came the soup. The boys both ordered miso ramen with some sort of spicy sauce on the side. I ordered the spicy vegetable ramen. Every ramen place we’ve tried has exactly one option for vegetarians: the vegetable ramen. It is always bland and boring. This spicy vegetable ramen, was nothing like the previous places I’ve tried. It was the best ramen I have ever had.

boys veggie ramen

Turns out that Totto is worth a two-hour wait in terrible weather. It’s even worth eating by an open door. I’d eat it in a house, I’d eat it with a mouse…I’d eat it here or there, I’ll eat Totto Ramen anywhere!

tottoramen

It was Husband’s last night before heading back to Nashville and I’m happy to say he left satisfied.

Cheers!